Twilight Zone. Dr. Who

TO: internet:harp-l@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
SUBJ: Twilight Zone, Dr Who

Someone commented last week about Twilight Zone episondes with

LA-based sessions harmonica ace Tommy Morgan penned the scores
for several original TZ eposides under the name "Tom Morgan."
Some used harmonica, some didn't. I've seen the Andy Devine
episode mentioned, which is great. Another I saw had a fight
scene where every time one guy took a swing at his opponent, you'd
hear a -ZIP- made by a fast chromatic scale on a polyphonia-type
instrument. This is a specialty instrument where each hole - blow
or draw or both - is tunes a semitone higher than the last, so
you can play a chromatic scale just by blowing across the holes.

If some video archive-minded harmonica player could get a list of
TZ episodes, with score credits, they might be able to dig out
several other harmonica-using episodes from the ones Morgan
scored. Of course, other composers might have used harmonica too,
but maybe not in such hip ways.

On Friday night, I saw a 1988 Dr. Who episode title "The Happiness
patrol"that featured a blues harp player as a character in the

The Seventh Doctor (the Doctor is a Time Lord who periodically
regenerates into a new, progressively younger body; he usually
has a female sidekick) and Ace, the teenage incendiary bomb
enthusiast, materialize on an earth colony ruled by the maniacal
Helen A., who desperately wants everyone to be HAPPY at all
costs, and pumps muzak everywhere. Anyone caught expressing a sad
thought is immediately branded a killjoy and arrested by the
Happiness Patrol, a gang of miniskirted, bazooka-wielding, white
pancake-makeup wearing barbie dolls. Punishment appears to be
death by firing squad, but the squad backs off at the last
minute, and the momentarily relieved victim is instead drowned in
strawberry syrup (Fondant Surprise). No, I'm not making this up.

The Doctor meets up with Earl Sigma (off-planet visitors are
sur-tggged with Sigma, a Greek letter contrasting with the
regular latin alphabetical sur-letters of regular residents).
Earl is a tall, nattily-attired young black man in a broad brimmed
fedora, a psychology student stranded on the planet and playing
harp on the street. He plays mean second-position single-note
blues licks, but when the Happiness Patrol comes along, he segues
immediately into sunny, chordal straight-harp ditties. He's given
to saying things like, "Sounds like schizophrenic obsession to
me," then playing a blues lick. His harp comes in useful when the
Doctor wants a hanging glob of crystallized syrup in an
underground tunnel to crash down on a pursuer, and enlists Earl's
harmonica to play a note at the glob's resonant frequency.

The actor playing Earl was named Richard something (Smith? it was
late, and no, the VCR wasn't running) but he was not actually
playing; no credit was given for the harmonica player.

Winslow Yerxa
Harmonica Information Press

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