Musical Score By: Pete Rugolo
Distributed by: Silva Screen Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
From the year 1963 to 1967, America watched as Richard Kimble (David Janssen) struggled to clear his name and prove his innocence in the senseless murder of his wife. On the run after the death row prison train de-rails and crashes, Dr. Kimble began a cross-country journey in search of the one man who can shed light on his wife’s murder - the one-armed man (Bill Raisch). Hot on his trail was Stafford Police Lieutenant Phillip Gerard (Barry Morse). Would the good doctor ever manage to hunt down the one-armed man and clear his name before the authorities capture him?
The soundtrack of The Fugitive television series was created by Italian composer Pete Rugolo. Born in Sicily, Rugolo emigrated with his family to America in 1920. He began his musical career following in his father’s footsteps by learning the baritone horn, but soon Rugolo took on other instruments, most notably the French horn and the piano. After completing a bachelor’s degree from San Francisco State College and studying composition at Mills College, Rugolo was hired as an arranger and composer by guitarist and bandleader Johnny Richards. After World War II, he worked with Stan Kenton, leader of one of the most progressive bands of the time. By the 50s, Rugolo was creating arrangements for pop vocalists like Peggy Lee and June Christy and working on musicals at MGM. In the 60s and 70s, Rugolo began composing music for numerous television series, including Leave It to Beaver, The Challengers and Family.
Creation of The Fugitive Soundtrack in the 60s relied on Rugolo composing numerous tracks of music that would fit virtually any scene that came up in the series. Tender moments were portrayed by sweet strings. Moments in which action or shocking revelations took place were given the brass treatment, heavy on the fanfare as was the norm of the time period. Dark and ominous music was reserved for scenes in which Dr. Kimble’s enemies appeared. Rugolo threaded a great deal of jazz throughout the soundtrack, offering it his signature touch as one of the great jazz composer of his time.
I noticed that a great many compositions on The Fugitive Soundtrack seemed extremely familiar to me despite the fact that I had never watched the series. After doing some research, I learned that a great many musical scores and cues were recycled for other television series. Being a great fan of those old Quinn Martin Productions, I have heard many of Rugolo’s musical cues before in series like Barnaby Jones and Streets of San Francisco. Listening to this soundtrack brought back many pleasant memories. I did have to laugh, though, when I heard Brass Interlude which is basically a collection of those brass-filled moments just before the show would break for commercial. Too funny!
I had a great deal of fun listening to The Fugitive Soundtrack, now available from Silva Screen Records. Anyone with nostalgia for the television shows of old…any Quinn Martin fan…is going to love this soundtrack filled with memories of watching with baited breath during each episode as Dr. Kimble came closer and closer to finding the true murderer of his wife and bringing them to justice.