Showing posts with label Avengers TV series. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Avengers TV series. Show all posts

So Long, Laurie Johnson - Composer of 'The Avengers' Theme and More

Sad news: British composer Laurie Johnson, who penned the theme to the cult TV spy show "The Avengers" and other programs, is dead at age 96.

From Variety:

Johnson was among the last of the prominent English film composers active during the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s. He scored “Dr. Strangelove” for Stanley Kubrick in 1964, along with such features as “Tiger Bay” (1959), the Werner von Braun biopic “I Aim at the Stars” (1960) and sci-fi and fantasy films “First Men in the Moon” (1964) and “Captain Kronos, Vampire Hunter” (1972).

But it was his music for “The Avengers,” the lighthearted and stylish teaming of troubleshooters John Steed and Emma Peel, winningly played by Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg, that gave him star status. Johnson came aboard for the fourth season of the British-made series, which aired in America starting in 1966.

He remained with the series after Rigg’s departure and the arrival of Linda Thorson as Tara King in the series’ sixth season. Johnson scored virtually every episode, “an unheard-of extravagance,” he once said. “Sometimes there would be as much as 30 minutes of music to be recorded and synchronized every week. Over the whole series I must have composed around 50 hours of music.”

When the same production team launched “The New Avengers” in 1976, with the returning Macnee teaming with Gareth Hunt and Joanna Lumley for fresh adventures, Johnson reprised the opening bars of the original “Avengers” theme but segued into an entirely new piece for the series. This series aired in a late-night time slot in America in 1978.

Here's a look/listen to his best-known tune:

Remembering Patrick Macnee: Hear a BBC Radio documentary on "The Avengers"

BBC Radio 3 is representing documentary on 1960s spy TV series "The Avengers" in remembrance of actor Patrick Macnee (a.k.a. John Steed), who died this week:
Matthew Sweet dons his kinky boots to investigate the phenomenon of The Avengers, 50 years after its first transmission. As well as its regular cavalcade of cyborgs, spies and megalomaniacs, The Avengers seemed to present the world of British television with a new action figure - the liberated single female who, week after week, proved to be deadlier than the male. But how progressive was its sexual politics ? Was Diana Rigg in her all leather cat suit a male fantasy or a feminist icon and did Honor Blackman always play second fiddle to Patrick Macnee ?
Matthew has assembled a crack team of thinkers to ponder these mind-bending questions - teenage fans Bea Campbell and Sarah Dunant, historian Dominic Sandbrook and one of the masterminds of The Avengers, the screenwriter Brian Clemens.
Stream it here.

So long, Patrick Macnee

The star of the 1960s spy series "The Avengers" has died at age 93, the BBC reports.

Take a look back at our "Avengers" posts here.

Pop focus: Emma Peel and the Avengers

Right around the time Marvel Comics' Avengers and Black Widow appeared, there was a different Avengers and a different karate-kicking heroine on TV.

Emma Peel, memorably played by Diana Rigg, made her debut on the show in 1965 -- the same year it started to air in the U.S. after a few years already airing on British television.

Before Emma, the sidekick (and she did kick) to suave secret agent John Steed (Patrick Macnee) was Dr. Cathy Gale (played by Honor Blackman, later of "Goldfinger").

But the Emma Peel era tends to be the favorite of many "Avengers" fans. She was sexy, tough, smart, independent and funny. Plus, those catsuits.

The Emma Peel episodes have recently re-appeared on a revamped, reasonably priced DVD set after being out of print, and available only at high prices, for several years.

I also recently came across a batch of lesser-seen pics from that era of the show. Here's a look: