Project Moon Base/Open Secret/Herschel Burke Gilbert

June 8, 2011

There are ‘B’ movies that are actually quite good, some that have a moment or two worth seeing, some that are on just to pass the time, and then you’ve got Project Moon Base. Other than the music I encourage you to read the liner notes by David Schecter and he’ll relate to you all about this film as I’m going to only concentrate on the well above average score from the pen of Herschel Burke Gilbert, a television composer of over 2000 episodes of various programs.

Gilbert got his start by orchestrating for some top name films such as It’s A Wonderful Life and Duel In The Sun as well as thirty plus movies all in the ‘B’ category. Two of these films were Project Moon Base, and Open Secret. The Gilbert score features the Theremin played by Dr. Samuel Hoffman, an expert of the eerie instrument, and the choice for science fiction films in the fifties. Working with an extremely low budget and a sparse orchestra Gilbert did well with what he had and produced a good score. The anemic string section consisted of one amplified violin, viola, cello, and bass to save money. The brass section consisted of three French horns, no trumpets or trombones. The Theremin provided the outer space motif along with the organ playing of Chauncey Haines. If you’re mildly interested in the Theremin at all this soundtrack is for you. I was very impressed with Gilbert.

Open Secret (1948) starred John “All the Kings Men” Ireland and Jane “Cat People” Randolph in a film that deals with anti-Semitism in a small town. A murder noir ‘B’ film that is available for a low cost from Alpha Video (4362D) http://www.oldies.com/product-view/4362D.html. While not the best quality it is well worth watching. Many of the cues ended up in Mutel and some of them can be heard in the Adventures of Superman television series of the 1950’s. You won’t hear a memorable theme but you will hear some excellent underscore ranging from tension, swing band, funeral, romance, and action. This is certainly not what you would categorize as filler material, the case in many ‘B’ movies. There is certainly a lot more substance to it and the music is a pleasant listening experience.

Liner notes from David are always a treat to read and he always manages to come up with some obscure information that only a true soundtrack collector would appreciate. The transfer of the material is likely incredible considering the source material but it is a mono recording and your golden ears will not be overwhelmed. All in all this is a nice addition to the MMM catalog. I’ve included an audio clip of the main title for your listening pleasure. project moon base.

1.

Main Title (01:15)

2.

Forward (01:25)

3.

Bellhop Masquerade, Pt. 1 (00:36)

4.

Bellhop Masquerade, Pt. 2 (02:41)

5.

Earthport (00:44)

6.

Farewell Earth

7.

Mexico to Spaceport (02:53)

8.

Mexico Bridge (00:18)

9.

Magellan Takeoff (02:57)

10.

Dr. Wernher’s Lesson (00:18)

11.

Wernher Attacks (03:59)

12.

Moon Landing (00:54)

13.

Magellan on Moon (01:35)

14.

Wernher’s Reprieve (02:54)

15.

Wernher’s Death (03:21)

16.

Moon Base (00:29)

17.

Drones (03:46)

18.

Marriage Ceremony (02:00)

19.

The Kiss (00:24)

20.

The End (00:18)

21.

End Cast (00:33)
Tracks 1-21 – from

 Project Moon Base
Total Album Time: 32:07

22.

Main Title (03:30)

23.

Pamphlets (01:46)

24.

Douglas and Elm (01:49)

25.

The Kiss (00:41)

26.

Morgue (01:51)

27.

Funeral (01:19)

28.

Empty Drawer (01:42)

29.

Jews Everywhere (01:07)

30.

Kid Scene (01:43)

31.

The Slap (01:52)

32.

Mrs. Locke (01:35)

33.

Sad Story (01:43)

34.

Retrospect and Fight (02:12)

35.

Paul Knocked Out (00:15)

36.

Nancy Jumps (00:30)

37.

Saloon Jump (02:56)

38.

Vote and Fight (02:49)

39.

Phillips Shot (01:20)

40.

End Title (01:37)

Total Album Time: 32:19
Bonus Tracks:

41.

My Despair (00:31)

42.

Please Don’t Kill Me (00:32)

43.

Stan Jump (take two) (01:08)

44.

Nasty Children (00:11)

45.

Foxtrot (fast) (02:10)

46.

Vote and Fight (second version) (02:33)

47.

Fox Trot End Title (00:54)
Tracks 22-47 – from

 Open Secret

Total Duration: 01:13:36

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One Response to “Project Moon Base/Open Secret/Herschel Burke Gilbert”

  1. Alan Rogers Says:

    I had forgotten about this release. I am a big fan of the theremin and I may pick this up in my next online store order.


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