The Zula Patrol

Posted: 3/12/2009 2:01:55 AM

From: Los Angeles

Joined: 10/6/2007

Back in 2004, I did a theremin gig for an animated children's series called "The Zula Patrol."

A group of animated aliens travel the galaxies to learn new and exciting things about science and space exploration. The series, targeted to pre-kindergarteners through third-graders, delivers astronomy-based science education as well as character-building lessons.

The Zula Patrol is stationed in the far reaches of outer space on the bright orange planet Zula. The group is always on the lookout for the villain Dark Truder. Dark Truder is incessantly masterminding plots to foil the Zula Patrol and frustrate their efforts to make the galaxy a better place in which to live. Perched on top of Dark Truder's shiny, bald head is his talking toupee TRAXIE. As Truder's conscience, she is always a bit leery of his nefarious plots.

The recording session, done in Hollywood, was a lot of fun. The theremin parts were definitely high-camp but gently so. Of course, I provided musical motifs for the villain, Dark Truder!

I had forgotten all about this show until I was channel surfing the other night and saw that it is now being carried on The Qubo Channel. There are 52 episodes in the series, and Dark Truder appears in most of them.

I wrote to the show's producer and found that in addition to Qubo, where it's running every day, it is also airing on Telemundo (Spanish speaking network) Sunday mornings at 8:30 a.m., NBC Saturday mornings at 10:30 a.m., Ion Media Networks Thursday afternoons at 3:30 p.m., and American Public Television ("check your local listings).

There are a bunch of Zula Patrol videos on YouTube. I've found the following where you can hear my playing (and there are probably more): () () () ()

Posted: 3/12/2009 11:28:33 AM


Joined: 4/14/2008

The links provided, only link back to the forum post. :( After copying the text, then pasting it into a browser, I got to see some of the show. I have seen this on tv, while flipping thru channels.

The theremin sounds nice. Lots of warble and drama. Not even sure I would know how to get this kind of eerie sound, as I try very hard to play traditional pieces without glissing between notes as much as possible (like Bach's Wachet auf).

So my questions are, what machine did you use? (I like the tone.) And 2, what technique did you use for the extreme vibrato?

Thanks for sharing your work with us. :)
Posted: 3/13/2009 3:11:17 AM

From: Los Angeles

Joined: 10/6/2007

The score's composer specifically wanted "50s sci-fi theremin" which called for lots of gliss and vibrato. This was NOT "Wachet Auf!" I used my Moog Ethervox, miked (the way an acoustic instrument would be) in a large recording studio in Hollywood. The end result was very sweet and warm -- too bad you can't really hear it in the crummy YouTube videos.
Posted: 3/13/2009 9:01:55 PM

From: Asheville, NC

Joined: 1/25/2008

I love it!

I've never seen this show before but my two year old son was in my lap when we watched the clip and got pretty mad when it was over (I think he likes it). Any cartoon involving astronomy and theremins is great in my book! I'll have to keep an eye out for it.

On a side note, I know most "real" thereminists are down on the spooky sci-fi aspect of the instument but you have to give props to the producers of that show for hiring a real thereminst when they could have done a similar sound with a computer and 99.99% of the people wouldn't have known the difference.

Besides, without 50's science fiction, how else would we explain to people what the hell instrument it is we're always going on about? ;)

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