Q & A: Jerry Goldsmith and Channing

I get a lot of e-mails from people asking me about television shows, made-for-TV movies or miniseries they remember from years or even decades past. I try to answer each question as best I can. Every now and then I like to pull out a few e-mails to answer here at Television Obscurities for everyone to enjoy. Keep reading for today’s questions and answers.

Would you know anything about something called “Catch It on the Wing”? The only thing that is known about it is that famous film composer Jerry Goldsmith scored it. Since he was working a lot at CBS (including failed pilots like the first “Man on a Beach”) — presumably under contract, as was the case back then — it might be a CBS work. A Goldsmith fan site lists it as 1962 (further adding to my CBS speculation), but I can’t find anything whatsoever to back that up.

From what I’ve been able to dig up, I’m very comfortable saying “Catch It on the Wing” was in no way connected to CBS. It was the working title for an episode of an ABC drama series called Channing that ran during the 1963-1964 season. I’m not entirely sure Jerry Goldsmith actually composed the music for the episode, however. It’s a bit of a convoluted story.

Channing got it starts as an episode of Alcoa Premiere, an anthology series that ran on ABC from 1961 to 1963. The March 6th, 1962 episode was called “Of This Time, Of This Place” and served as a pilot for a proposed series set at a fictional college. Jason Evers starred as English professor Joseph Howe with Henry Jones as Dean Fred Baker.

Shortly after the pilot aired, ABC ordered a series to be called The Best Years but made the unusual decision to hold it until the 1963-1964 season. Production started more than a full year before the series would hit the air. Revue Studios was responsible for producing the series. Before it hit the air the name of the series was changed twice: first to The Young and the Bold and finally to Channing.

I found at least one reference to Jerry Goldsmith being attached to compose the theme song to Channing (in late 1962 when it was still The Best Years and also score the first episode produced (“Catch It on the Wing”). I checked the closing credits to several episode and all include Jack Marshall under Music Score. There is no mention of Jerry Goldsmith. ClassicThemes.com lists Jack Wilton Marshall as sole composer of the Channing theme song. Apparently, Goldsmith was replaced by Marshall.

Channing premiered on September 18th, 1963. A total of 26 episodes were broadcast during the 1963-1964 season, none of which were called “Catch It on the Wing,” but I believe it did air under a different title. Suzanne Pleshette and Jeanne Cooper were listed as guest stars in “Catch It on the Wing” and both appeared in the October 30th, 1963 episode of Channing, “The Potato Bash World.”

Furthermore, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has a copy of the script for “Catch It on the Wing” in its archival collection and the description indicates it was production number 17205. According to The Classic TV Archive, “The Potato Bash World” was production number TP17205, further proof that they are same episode.

Unfortunately, the copy of “The Potato Bash World” I have access to does not include complete closing credits so I can’t confirm whether or not Jerry Goldsmith is credited. Perhaps someone with a complete copy can check to see if Goldsmith receives any sort of credit.

One Reply to “Q & A: Jerry Goldsmith and Channing”

  1. Glad to see that they are getting along on cataloguing all those scropts at the U fof I. I am a graduate of same and several years after I was told I knew too much and to move on, a former professsor of mine arranged for the Universoty Library to acquire a very large (I think ~3000) piece colelction of TV scripts that had all been accumulated by one person. This was in the late 80s early 90s. This person’s goal was to attain one script from every TV series made, The scripts all made it to the rare book room and no one could see them until the scripts were properly catloagued. Library cataloguing is a difficult prcess on items that are not already in a library somewhere and are most likely unique as to being held by a library. This was not a high priotroty task and progress was slowly made, My former professor had a list the previous owner had made of all the scripts. At the time I was looking to view some of them for research on a book I was writing. He gave the libraians the task to prioritise those scripts and I was ths able to view them. There were a handful of series, I do not reacall their names, that had more than one script in the collection and a few where the guy seemed real interested in the series had had many of thme.

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