The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror & Dr. Samuel Hoffman

Posted: 9/2/2013 10:27:05 PM

From: Los Angeles

Joined: 10/6/2007

Today (Sunday), I did my fourth recording session for "The Simpsons," specifically The Simpsons' annual “Treehouse of Horror” Halloween show. The scheduled air date is October 8 but "check your local listings."

(The Simpsons, now in its 25th season, is the the longest-running scripted series in television history.)

This session, as with two of the previous Simpsons shows I worked on, was recorded at the Newman Scoring Stage at 20th Century Fox, Culver City. The Newman stage has been home to many, many film and television recording sessions over the years. See Hollywood's Historic Newman Scoring Stage for a brief history of the stage, and Newman Scoring Stage at IMDB for a list of recent productions.

During one of the breaks, I went out to the Green Room to get something to drink and nibble on. As I walked down the hallway I gazed at a row of photos lining the walls of some of the Hollywood Greats who had recorded at the Newman stage. There was Julie Andrews, Barbra Streisand, Shirley Temple and many others, including Dr. Samuel Hoffman -- the legendary thereminist who played for many films from the mid 1940s to the mid 1960s including "Spellbound," "The Lost Weekend" and "The Day the Earth Stood Still."

While I was impressed to see the photos of the many great performers, I have to say I got a bit of a tingle down my neck and spine when I saw the photo of Dr. Hoffman. To think ... the score for "The Day the Earth Stood Still" was recorded on this very stage where I was yesterday!


Here are a few photos from the recording session.

Posted: 9/3/2013 10:56:05 AM

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

Those who have seen Steven Martin's documentary film, ELECTRONIC ODYSSEY will recall the interview with the late L.A. thereminist and violinist, Paul "close enough for jazz" Schure.  He explains that two theremins were used in THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL - one was played by Paul and the other by Dr. Hoffman - and they were played at the same time so we know there were two theremins in the studio for the session (see below: a recording of the "out-takes"). The instrument you see in the photo is the second RCA used on the soundtrack. 


There are two photos side-by-side on CRL's website (the Samuel Hoffman page) of the session for THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL:


(scroll down to 1951) 


The photo on the right is a picture of Hoffman playing the "other" RCA, but the one on the left, from the same recording session (notice that Dr. H. is dressed identically for both pix) definitely shows him playing his single-unit instrument (notice the hardware on the side of the cabinet and the brass scuff guard at the bottom). 


The big question is: Where is the second RCA now? Who did it belong to? Paul Shure died in 2010, so he is unable to help solve this mystery. Shure says in ELECTRONIC ODYSSEY that when he was asked to play the second theremin for the soundtrack recording in 1951, he told Bernard Herrmann that if they could find a theremin for him to play, HE'D PLAY IT.


Here is the recording of the out-takes from the TDTESS session with Bernard Herrmann, Samuel Hoffman and Paul Shure.

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