March 15 – Forbidden Planet and the Barrons, My Fair Lady

1956

Audiences cheered

Pioneering sci-fi film Forbidden Planet is released, complete with Robby the Robot playing himself, monsters from the Id

… and the first entirely electronic soundtrack, with theremin and other ‘electronic tonalities’ by pioneers Louis and Bebe Barron.

Bebe and Louis Barron

The spaceship (a flying saucer known only as United Planets Cruiser C-57D) lands on planet Altair IV to discover what happened to the previous expedition. They are about to learn The Secret of the Krell. Comic relief is provided by the crew’s cook and sophisticated Robby the Robot. Stars include Walter Pidgeon as the father, Anne Francis as the daughter, and Leslie Nielsen as the saucer commander.

The Barrons were both college music majors and Minneapolis natives. Bebe studied with Henry Cowell at NY’s New School for Social Research. Louis adapted circuits in Norbert Wiener‘s 1948 book on cybernetics.

The newly-married couple were gifted with one of the first tape recorders in NYC. (*) In 1950 they completed the first US electronic music for magnetic tape, titled Heavenly Menagerie. They follow in 1952 with music for Ian Hugo‘s (*) 9-minute short The Bells of Atlantis . It catches the ear of MGM production-chief Dore Schary.

With Forbidden Planet, for instance, we built a circuit for every character. Then we would vary these circuits accordingly. We would consider them as actors. They were like leitmotifs.
Bebe Barron

Influence on Ben Burtt

The movie even spawns 1989 jukebox musical Return to the Forbidden Planet in mid-80s Liverpool, moving to London’s West End in Sep. 1989. It also sees over 200 performances Off-Broadway. The show’s music consists of 50s and 60s rock classics.

Finale Mixed Emotions (2000) ▷EM:the Barrons ▹ ▷EM in films ▹

▷Remake!? ▹ Effects and Affects Key Studios

1956

Smash hit, “perfect musical” My Fair Lady opens on Broadway.

Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle takes speech lessons from Professor Henry Higgins so she can pass as a lady. Lyrics and music are by Lerner and Lowe.

The musical sees 2700 performances in NYC, with 2300 for the 1958 London version, which results in a UK#1 album.

A well-received 1964 film version stars Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison — and wins eight Oscars. Famous musical numbers include Wouldn’t It Be Loverly? , The Rain in Spain , I Could Have Danced All Night and many more.

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