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 Post subject: A collector, Jerry Goldsmith, and IN HARM'S WAY
PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2009 10:57 pm 
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There I was, one Saturday afternoon in March 1974, with a 1/4" tape deck recording each successive, compulsive re-clearing of my dry throat as I listened to the phone on the other end of the line continue to ring. When it finally got answered and I heard a woman pleasantly say "Hello?," I cleared my throat one final time before diving in.

"Hello. May I speak to Mr. Goldsmith, please?"

I was a 19-year-old college junior in New Mexico, majoring in Journalism & Mass Communications. A week earlier a friend -- the Student News Director of our campus AM radio station -- had pushed me into getting an interview with Jerry Goldsmith (who he knew, like most of my friends, was my favorite composer). At first I sensibly refused; I had little interest in radio and practically no experience. But within just a few minutes that friend watched me take myself from "Oh-sure-no-way" to "Hey ... why NOT interview Jerry Goldsmith?" (It was only supposed to be for a 15-minute time slot, anyway.)

Enthusiasm is no substitute for professionalism; but sometimes youth keeps us from feeling as much embarrassment as we might. So by the following Friday evening I had phoned Goldsmith at home. ("Where did you get this number?" "Mr. Goldsmith, even student journalists learn not to reveal their sources.") He gave me permission to call him back at 2pm the next day, when he would grant me an interview by phone.

Today I find it truly humiliating to listen to the raw tape of that interview, with all my gulping, stammering, and at times not having the right follow-up question ready. Worse, because I had been handed a blank tape shorter than its box indicated, I watched my tape stock run out after only 27 minutes! I just never told Goldsmith I was out of tape -- I kept listening, asking more questions, gradually dealing with my being so seriously star-struck for the first time. (I'll always appreciate how gracious and patient he was with me -- a nervous kid who felt FAR out of his league.)

Because I had greater experience as soundtrack collector than as journalist, at some point I gave myself away by asking about some of his albums. Though he already had been pleasant, Goldsmith warmed considerably when he realized that I could discuss his scores in dramatic context -- referencing their contributions to their films -- and had not just stockpiled his records. (It also pleased him to learn that I had been trying since age 15 to see every film he scored.) He even offered me generous career advice (which I didn't follow!). Frankly, for all I know, he may have liked kids who addressed him as "Mr. Goldsmith" rather than "Jerry."

But the relevant issue for this post came toward the end of our conversation. When I told Goldsmith that the most valuable of his out-of-print LPs on the soundtrack-collectors' market was IN HARM'S WAY, its composer laughed. "You know, that's the one I don't have for myself."

He explained that he had been given a box of courtesy copies of the RCA album and kept passing them out to different people, until he discovered too late he had neglected to keep one for his own.

At least I had enough tact to avoid mentioning that I had acquired an excellent stereo LP of IN HARM'S WAY the summer before. The hard part was knowing that only a few days earlier, I had made a deal to buy a second copy -- intending it for an even younger friend who had gotten a later start collecting Goldsmith on LP. But now I had a decision to make.

After 90 minutes on the phone I thanked him sincerely for his time and trouble, and he wished me good luck. It took me about a day to make up my mind; but I was so buzzed over that phone conversation that I decided to give that imminent second LP of IN HARM'S WAY to Goldsmith himself! Since the record would have been a surprise for my friend, he never had to know. But I loved the prospect of giving something back to Jerry Goldsmith for the pleasure he had given me.

And besides, part of me selfishly thought that however long it might take before I met him in person, the gift of that record guaranteed that he would remember who I was.

I phoned the Goldsmith home again, maybe a couple of days after the album should have reached him by First Class Mail. Again, his wife Carol answered and told me he couldn't come to the phone because he was working. Then I asked if my parcel had arrived.

"Oh, was that you who sent that?" asked Mrs. Goldsmith. "Let me tell you, when he opened the package and pulled out that record he stared at it for a second, then he threw his head back and laughed! Even before he read your note! You made him feel so good."

Soon afterward Mr. Goldsmith thanked me himself. He also invited me to meet him if I ever went to California. And for more reasons than I'll take space to list, it never worked out. However, in 1989 I learned the composer was to conduct an outdoor concert of his music that June in Michigan. I bought tickets and flew from Chicago with my girlfriend, having not the slightest doubt that he'd remember me because of that IN HARM'S WAY gift. Even after 15 years.

Well, I did at last meet Jerry Goldsmith in person. And when I mentioned having sent him the HARM'S WAY LP (and why), he said, "Oh. So that's where that record came from." It would have been great if he'd been kidding me. He wasn't.

I wasn't bitter about being forgotten. After all, I realized it didn't change the satisfaction I had enjoyed for all those years from the gesture I had been able to make. Also, years earlier I had even given the friend whose LP was diverted to Goldsmith a copy of the 1977 Japanese HARM'S WAY reissue, finally telling him what happened to the one he almost had -- so we all could be happy. Hey, it HAD been 15 years!

This month it's 20 years since I finally met Jerry Goldsmith. Now that I'm only five years younger than he was at the time, I know I'd better wait to see if I still remember this story five years from now.

Thanks to Intrada, I'll be able to spend those five years enjoying maybe the greatest edition of that IN HARM'S WAY album we'll ever get!

But I'm sorry I can't mail one to Mr. Goldsmith.


Last edited by Steven Lloyd on Sat Jun 13, 2009 8:15 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2009 11:07 pm 
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A wonderful story, Mr Lloyd. Thanks for sharing it with us! :)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2009 1:31 am 
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Many thanks for sharing, Steven. :)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2009 1:38 am 
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Location: Hertfordshire, England
Lovely post. Perhaps you can post your interview with Mr Goldsmith.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2009 3:54 am 
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Location: Right underneath that cloud that looks like a rabbit... no, wait, it looks more like a cow now...
Great story; I can relate to that story very, very much. Thanks for sharing it here.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2009 8:53 am 
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A great story, Stephen! Thanks!
This was quite an experience.
:D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 8:15 am 
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Terrific story Steven! I remember when we met at that concert. If you're interested I have a picture of us with Jerry Goldsmith from the rehearsal. I can send it to you if you want. Let me know!


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 Post subject: Outtakes
PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 2:17 pm 
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Thanks, Paul! You have a PM.

Meeting Paul at the 1989 Michigan concert wasn't the only detail I removed for length from my original post. But here are more deleted points, offered as "supplemental features" (in case anyone wonders why I never managed to meet Goldsmith years earlier, despite his invitation).

Two months after the interview, in May 1974, I phoned to tell Goldsmith I had been selected for a studio internship and would be in Burbank, CA, for the summer. He congratulated me, asked when I would arrive, then told me to call him the day I reached California. He stressed that and even repeated it.

*June '74: When I landed in California, a college friend (whom I hadn't seen for two years) and his girlfriend met me at the airport and drove me to my arranged housing. But instead of unpacking and calling Goldsmith as he had told me to do, I let that couple take me for an afternoon of sightseeing (it was a film student's first-ever trip to California), followed by dinner (I was hungry) and my first viewing of CHINATOWN (which had just been released). By then it was so late, I figured I'd make the phone call the next day.

But when I called him the next evening (after my first day at work), Goldsmith said he was flying the next day to London, where for several weeks he'd be scoring a new film with Sean Connery -- RANSOM. (Should have phoned when I arrived!) No meeting.

*August '74: Trying not to be a nuisance, I waited to call Goldsmith until the day after his scheduled return -- and he was already out screening a new film. Though he returned my call that evening, I told him I was flying back to school the next day. At least he told me he was taking the new project, THE REINCARNATION OF PETER PROUD (which he said was "pretty good"). But no meeting.

*January '75: I went back to Los Angeles for a quick, weeklong trip. Forgot to bring Goldsmith's phone number. No meeting.

*November '78: Back to California for a job interview and a fast visit with friends. When one of them took me to the 20th Century-Fox commisary for lunch, I impulsively wanted to stop by the Music Department to ask whether Goldsmith happened to be around. I was told he was in England, working on a picture called ALIEN. No meeting; and I never tried to contact him again until his Michigan concert 11 years later.

Now back to IN HARM'S WAY. Has anyone else ever noticed that after Otto Preminger went independent, he never hired any composer twice -- not Bernstein, Tiomkin, Spolianski, Fielding, Gold, nor Goldsmith -- or that no matter which distributor released the film, his soundtrack albums were always on RCA?


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 Post subject: Re: A collector, Jerry Goldsmith, and IN HARM'S WAY
PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 10:24 am 
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Steven Lloyd wrote:
This month it's 20 years since I finally met Jerry Goldsmith. Now that I'm only five years younger than he was at the time, I know I'd better wait to see if I still remember this story five years from now.

Thanks to Intrada, I'll be able to spend those five years enjoying maybe the greatest edition of that IN HARM'S WAY album we'll ever get!


Today, since I stumbled across this old thread while searching for something else, I'll confirm for posterity that I'm now three years older than Mr. Goldsmith was when he hadn't remembered me; yet those memories are in fact still happily intact for me. And it turned out that Doug Fake was later to give us a still greater edition of IN HARM'S WAY!


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 Post subject: Re: A collector, Jerry Goldsmith, and IN HARM'S WAY
PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2017 12:39 am 
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I finally caught up with your fabulous post, Steven. It's a gem! I suppose it's no secret that In Harm's Way was back then and remains to this day my nostalgic favorite Goldsmith album of all time. Finding the long-missing unmixed session masters of all the cues Goldsmith had pulled out of the rolls for possible inclusion on his forthcoming RCA album, only to discover those precious few previously unreleased cues, will always be a landmark event in my work here. Work? Seems more like pure pleasure, not work. Anyway, given your passion for the album and your exciting "gift" to Jerry, I guess we're sharing some sort of six degrees of separation scenario... or something like that. Brothers as it were on an incredible film score!
--Doug


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 Post subject: Re: A collector, Jerry Goldsmith, and IN HARM'S WAY
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 1:04 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2005 11:37 pm
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Quote:
Enthusiasm is no substitute for professionalism (...)


Ah, now I finally know why I'll never be successful in life. Thanks bunches, Mr Lloyd...

;)

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 Post subject: Re: A collector, Jerry Goldsmith, and IN HARM'S WAY
PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 7:14 pm 
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Location: Chicago, IL
Christian Kühn wrote:
Quote:
Enthusiasm is no substitute for professionalism (...)


Ah, now I finally know why I'll never be successful in life. Thanks bunches, Mr Lloyd...

;)


Hey, Christian ... between "enthusiasm" and "professionalism," chronologically, come "experience" and "confidence." So I'd bet you still have plenty of time in which to satisfy yourself!

And Doug, perhaps you and I are kind of "brothers-in-arms" aboard the Old Swayback. (For one thing, I think that not many people appreciate the full visual and dramatic power of IN HARM'S WAY by having seen it only on TV monitors.) Yet through Intrada, you've been offering treasures to our entire soundtrack community for decades -- which matters to many more people than my anecdotal memory of a single vinyl record changing hands more than 40 years ago.

In fact, thanks to you I think I'll listen to your exciting gift of the cue "Silver Sea" tonight before bed. (Naahh -- I know I won't stop there!)


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