Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Music of DC Comics: 75th Anniversary Collection

Just read about this over at the DC Universe Blog: The Source.

On September 28, DC Comics will be releasing a CD featuring the music from several of their cartoons, TV shows and movies. 21 of the 31 tracks are previously unavailable. I love theme music, especially superhero theme music. I'm really looking forward to buying this. Maybe if it sells well enough, they will consider making a volume 2 with all of the music they didn't put on this CD. It is available for pre-order on Amazon.com.

Here's the track list --

1. Superman March - Sammy Timberg (1941)
-Previously unavailable. Digitally remastered. From the Academy Award Nominated cartoon series “Superman” produced by Max Fleischer. This was the first Superman cartoon.

2. Theme From Superman (Album Version) - John Williams (1978)
- From the live-action film “Superman.” Digitally remastered.

3. The New Adventures of Superman - John Gart (1966)
- Previously unavailable. Digitally remastered. From the Filmation cartoon “The New Adventures of Superman.”

4. Lois and Clark / The New Adventures of Superman - Jay Gruska (1993)
- From the live-action TV Series “Lois and Clark”. Digitally remastered.

5. The Adventures of Superboy - John Gart(1966)
- Previously unavailable. Digitally remastered. From the Filmation cartoon “The Adventures of Superboy.”

6. Superboy - Kevin Kiner (1988)
- Previously unavailable. Digitally remastered. From the live-action TV series “Superboy.”

7. Smallville Season 8 (End Title) - Louis Febre (2008)
- Previously unavailable. Digitally remastered. From the live-action TV series “Smallville.”

8. Batman: The Electrical Brain - Lee Zahler (1943)
- Previously unavailable. Digitally remastered. From the live-action serial “The Batman.” This was the first filmed appearance of Batman.

9. The Batman Theme (Album Version) - Danny Elfman (1989)
- From the live-action film “Batman”. Digitally remastered.

10. The Adventures of Batman - John Gart (1967)
- Previously unavailable. Digitally remastered. From the filmation cartoon “The Adventures of Batman.”

11. Batman TV Series Theme - Neal Hefti (1966)
-From the live-action TV series “Batman”. Digitally remastered.

12. Batman: The Brave and the Bold - Andy Sturmer (2008)
-From the cartoon “Batman: The Brave and the Bold”. Digitally remastered.

13. Batman Beyond - Kristopher Lee (1999)
-From the cartoon “Batman Beyond”. Digitally remastered.

14. Molossus from Batman Begins - Hans Zimmer & James Newton Howard (2005)
-From the live-action film “Batman Begins”. Digitally remastered.

15. Justice League of America - John Gart (1967)
- Previously unavailable. Digitally remastered. From the Filmation cartoon “Justice League of America.”

16. Super Friends - Hoyt Curtin (1973)
- Previously unavailable. Digitally remastered. From the Hanna-Barbera cartoon “SuperFriends.”

17. The All New Super Friends Hour - Hoyt Curtin (1977)
- Previously unavailable. Digitally remastered. From the Hanna-Barbera cartoon “The All-New SuperFriends Hour.”

18. Justice League Unlimited - Michael McCuistion (2004)
- Previously unavailable. Digitally remastered. From the cartoon “Justice League Unlimited.”

19. Legends of the Superheroes - Fred Wener (1979)
- Previously unavailable. Digitally remastered. From the live-action TV special “Legends of the Superheroes.”

20. The Teen Titans - John Gart (1967)
- Previously unavailable. Digitally remastered. From the Filmation cartoon “The Teen Titans.”

21. Aquaman - John Gart (1967)
- Previously unavailable. Digitally remastered. From the Filmation cartoon “Aquaman.”

22. Swamp Thing - Christopher Stone (1991)
- Previously unavailable. Digitally remastered. From the live-action TV show “Swamp Thing: The Series.”

23. Shazam! - Norman Prescott & Yvette Blais (1974)
- Previously unavailable. Digitally remastered. From the live-action TV series “Shazam!”

24. The Flash - John Gart (1967)
- Previously unavailable. Digitally remastered. From the Filmation cartoon “The Flash.”

25. Green Lantern - John Gart (1967)
- Previously unavailable. Digitally remastered. From the Filmation cartoon “Green Lantern.”

26. Green Lantern First Flight - Robert J Kral (2009)
-From the animated movie “Green Lantern: First Flight.” Digitally remastered.

27. The Atom - John Gart (1967)
- Previously unavailable. Digitally remastered. From the Filmation cartoon “The Atom.”

28. Hawkman - John Gart (1967)
- Previously unavailable. Digitally remastered. From the Filmation cartoon “Hawkman.”

29. Plastic Man Comedy Adventure Show - Dean Elliott (1979)
- Previously unavailable. Digitally remastered. From the Ruby-Spears cartoon “The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show.”

30. Wonder Woman The Animated Movie End Title - Christopher Drake (2009)
-From the animated movie “Wonder Woman.” Digitally remastered.

31. Wonder Woman - Charles Fox & Norman Gimbel (1976)
-From the live-action TV series “Wonder Woman.” Digitally remastered.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Geauga Lake Park

Geauga Lake Park was a Northeast Ohio institution from 1888 until 2007. I can't tell you how many times I went there growing up. Little did I know that 2006 would be my last trip to the park. After the 2007 season, the park was dismantled and all of the rides were either demolished or auctioned off. Geauga Lake's Wildwater Kingdom is still there, but it's not the same without all of the rides, theaters and games.

Below are some photos I took on my last visit to Geauga Lake Park in 2006. The map comes from the wonderful site Geauga Lake: Today & Forever. I recommend checking out the site to see lots of old photos and park maps.

You can also read more on Wikipedia.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Guest Post: The Best Animated TV Shows of the 70s

I'm proud to present, for the first time ever, a guest post on The Wonderful Wonderblog. See my comments at the bottom of this post.


Often referred to as the decade of disco, the 1970s were a phenomenal and memorable set of years still widely referenced in today's culture. In addition to bell bottoms, platform shoes, Afro puffs, and white disco suits, the 70s are also renowned for their classic entertainment. Animated television was one form of this entertainment. Before 3D, high def, and blue ray, there was pure, old-fashioned animated TV that brought the quality entertainment its viewers so desired. Join us on a trip down memory lane as we revisit ten of the best animated television shows to air during the 70s!

1. Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids: (First aired 1972, ran until 1985) "Hey hey hey! It's Faaatttt Albert!" This was the beloved expression of the characters on Fat Albert--an animated series that was created, produced, and at times voiced by comedian Bill Cosby. The show was based on remembrances of Cosby's childhood gang and focused on the lovable and oversized character Albert. Often featuring an educational lesson and a rock song performed by the characters, Cosby's upbeat kids had an impact on children across America, regardless of race. In 2004, the animated series was released as a film adaptation, but of course nothing tops the original.

2. Schoolhouse Rock!: (First aired 1973, ran until 1999) Remember how in grade school your teacher would turn certain lessons into a song to help you remember it better? Well that's exactly how the widely popular show Schoolhouse Rock! got its start. The show began after David Mcall noticed that his son was having trouble remembering his multiplication tables but knew the lyrics to several rock songs. Each episode was an animated musical and educational short film that covered topics such as grammar, science, economics, and math. Schoolhouse Rock! was short but sweet and adorned by kids and parents everywhere. It'll definitely go down as one of the classics. Rock on dudes!

3. Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!: (First aired 1969, ran until 1972) Who can forget America's favorite Scooby-snack loving, easily frightened, affectionate Great Dane dog and his four fun-loving mystery-solving pals? Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! was the first incarnation of the long-running Saturday morning cartoon Scooby-Doo. Each episode involved Scooby and his four teenage pals, affectionately called "the gang," solving a super-natural mystery. Scooby and Shaggy were the somewhat clumsy, "fraidy cats" of the group, while Daphne was the damsel in distress, and Fred and Velma were usually the brains of the operation. These five personalities were combined to create a show that, despite its antiquity, is still being embraced today.

4. Josie and the Pussy Cats: (First aired 1970, ran until 1972) Before Hannah Montana and the Cheetah Girls, there was Josie and the Pussy Cats--an animated series that featured an all-girl pop music band that toured the world getting swept up by delectable adventures along the way. The show became famous for its music and the girls' leopard-print leotards complete with tails and ears. The original show only ran for 16 episodes before it was transformed into the amusing spin-off Josie and the Pussy Cats in Outer Space. Even after its final airing, the spunk and charisma of Josie and her team continued to influence animated series for years to come. Hooray for girl power!

5. Star Trek: The Animated Series: (First aired 1973, ran until 1974) Geeks, hold on to your seats as we take a brief journey into what some might call the biggest asset known to geek-kind. After Star Trek: The Original Series but before Star Trek: The Next Generation, there was Star Trek: The Animated Series, sometimes referred to as The Animated Adventures of Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek. Star Trek: The Animated Series was an animated science fiction television series set in the titular Star Trek Universe following the original series of the 1960s. The animated episodes were largely modeled after the original show, with a bit more flexibility in introducing new characters and technologies. (Because let's face it--it's easier to draw a Klingon-speaking, non-humanoid alien than it is to actually build one.) The series went on to receive critical acclaim and a Daytime Emmy Award.

6. Jabberjaw: (First aired 1976, ran until 1978) As part of the overall shark mania of the 1970s and shortly after the then-recent film Jaws, Hanna-Barbara Inc. released Jabberjaw--a Saturday morning animated series about a 15-foot talking great white shark. Jabberjaw was the drummer for a rock group made up of four teenagers who all lived in an underwater civilization in the year 2076. As Jabberjaw and his rock band buddies traveled to different underwater cities, they would encounter and attempt to conquer diabolic villains with plans to take over the undersea world. The format and writing for Jabberjaw was similar to that for Scooby-Doo and Josie and Pussycats, but for a time when people were scared out their minds of sharks, you've got to admit it was pretty cool to create one that was heroic and loveable.

7. Super Friends: (First aired 1973, ran until 1986) The Super Friends were an animated group of superhero comrades. The show was based on the Justice League of America--a fictional superhero team that appeared in then-recent comic books. During its 13 year span, the show existed under several different titles, all involving some combination including the words 'super' and "friends.' Plotlines for the show focused on the often far-fetched schemes of mad scientists and aliens, who were eventually revealed to be well-intentioned but pursuing their goals through unlawful means. Typically, each episode would end with the Super Friends convincing the antagonsits to adopt more reasonable methods. The Super Friends and the Justice League of America were merely the animated embodiment of the "justice for all" atmosphere that cloaked the nation at that time.

8. Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels: (First aired 1977, ran until 1980) This series can be accurately described as a cartoon take off of Charlie's Angels. After being set free by the Teen Angels from a block of glacier ice, Captain Caveman emerged as the world's first superhero. Along with the three Teen Angels, the Captain solves crimes with his super strength and an endless assortment of gadgets that he keeps hidden in his caveman fur. Even after the Captain's own superhero days had ceased, he continued to make appearances in other shows and was featured in The Flintstone Comedy Show, the Flintstone Kids, Robot Chicken, and a few others. Who says our Stone Age brethren can't make it in the modern day?

9. The Funky Phantom: (First aired 1971, ran until 1972) The 70s were all about getting down at the disco and keeping it fresh, so it only makes sense that the Phantom had to be funky too. Attempting to find shelter from a rain storm, three teens take refuge in an abandoned house. While there, they discover the ghost of an old coward who had hidden in his clock from British soldiers during the Revolutionary War. Not to worry, however, because this ghost was far from frightening and soon became the gang's favorite "Funky Phantom!"

10. Groovie Goolies: (First aired 1970, ran until 1972) Groovie Goolies was an animated spinoff of Sabrina The Teenage Witch (the original comic book series, not the one with Melissa Joan Hart). Keeping with their name and the atmosphere of the time, the Groovie Goolies were indeed quite groovy. The show actually produced a hit song for Richard Mondo called "Chick a Boom." The Goolies themselves were a group of hip monsters who sang a pop song during each episode. What you might not have guessed from their name, however, is that the Goolies were drawn to be funny and not scary.

Brittany Johnson is a writer for Guide to Online Schools.


A great big thank you to Brittany Johnson for the guest post. Well, What do you think? I think this is a pretty good list. It would be tough for me to choose just 10. My list would definately include Fat Albert, Schoolhouse Rock, Super Friends and Groovie Goolies. I also really like Hong Kong Phooey, Grape Ape, Tarzan and the Super 7, Battle of the Planets and The Godzilla Power Hour. What are your favorite 70s 'toons?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Jack Horkheimer, R.I.P.

From Examiner.com --

“Keep looking up!” With that memorable phrase, Jack Horkheimer would close yet another addition of his 5 minute program on mostly naked-eye observational astronomy that would air on PBS stations all over the nation. Now, the “Star Gazer” who helped bring the heavens to millions all over the country, and Earth, has died at the age of 72.

Horkheimer's death on Friday was confirmed via a spokesman for the Miami Museum of Science and Space Transit Planetarium. Horkheimer had been director of the Planetarium for over 35 years. However, it was the 5 minute “Stargazer” mini-program that brought Horkheimer worldwide fame.

“Star Gazer” began as “Star Hustler” in 1976 in the Miami market. The show would run for almost 10 years before it went national in 1985. The show then began to be aired internationally in 1989. The name of the show was changed to “Star Gazer” in 1997 because Internet searchers would often come up with results for the adult magazine when looking for information on the show.

In the early years, PBS stations would often sign-off for a period of time overnight. It was at this last window of airtime that Horkheimer's show was aired. Now, with 24-hour broadcasting on PBS, “Star Gazer” was often slotted in between shows in the evening. However, despite the name and time changes, the show's focus remained the same for nearly 35 years in that it spotlighted observational astronomical events for the week, with a bit of fun facts thrown in for good measure.

With Horkheimer's death, astronomy has probably lost its most famous ambassador since when Carl Sagan died in 1996. Besides the loss of the iconic TV personality, the status of the show is now uncertain. Even if it continues, it just won't be the same without Jack at the helm. However, there will always be other great astronomical resources out there providing plenty of reasons to “keep looking up!”

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Another LOST Autograph

I just bought two more packs of LOST Archives trading cards and pulled a "limited" autograph of Tania Raymonde as Alex Rousseau. In my opinion, she had the most shocking death scene of all time on LOST.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Where Have I Been?

Sorry I haven't been blogging much lately. I didn't have an internet connection for almost a week! Man that really sucked. I was going through withdrawals. It's taken me three days just to catch up on everything. Plus I've been working a lot of overtime and I'm just really tired. I've also started to gather stuff for this years Countdown to Halloween. I hope I'll be able to make a post-a-day for October (we'll see).

But, now I'm back. I have a few blog posts I'm working on and hope to have them up in the very near future.

Until then, enjoy this photo of a zebra I took at an animal park a few years ago.

The Star Costumes Horror Scholarship

Star Costumes is awarding $1,000 to a student studying to work in the horror film industry. Click on the link below for full details.

The Star Costumes Horror Scholarship

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Lorene Yarnell, R.I.P.

From The New York Times --

Lorene Yarnell, who with Robert Shields formed the mime-and-dance comedy team Shields and Yarnell, a familiar presence on television in the 1970s, died on July 29 after suffering a brain aneurysm at her home in Sandefjord, Norway. She was 66.

The death was confirmed by Mr. Shields’s wife, Jennifer.

With Mr. Shields, her husband at the time, Ms. Yarnell starred in the variety show “Shields and Yarnell,” broadcast on CBS in 1977 and 1978. She had originally trained as a dancer, he as a mime; after meeting in the early 1970s, each learned the other’s art. Together they developed a style that was an amalgam of the two.

The result charmed many viewers, though not everyone. Reviewing the first episode of “Shields and Yarnell” in The Washington Post, Tom Shales wrote, “The premiere last week broke the scoop that even the Captain and Tennille can be out-cutesie-wootsie’d.”

In 1981 Mr. Shields and Ms. Yarnell starred in “Broadway Follies,” a musical revue at the Nederlander Theater in New York. The show received poor notices and closed after one performance.

Ms. Yarnell’s other credits include the robot Dot Matrix (with a voice supplied by Joan Rivers) in “Spaceballs,” Mel Brooks’s 1987 film comedy.

Ms. Yarnell was born in Inglewood, Calif., on March 21, 1944. After she married Mr. Shields in 1972 — the ceremony was performed in mime — the couple worked as street performers in San Francisco before breaking into television as a duo.

Mr. Shields and Ms. Yarnell divorced in the mid-1980s. Survivors include her fourth husband, Bjorn Jansson, and a brother, Richard, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Autographed Arzt

I went to my local comic shop today and bought five more packs of LOST Archives trading cards. I pulled an autograph of Daniel Roebuck as Dr. Leslie Arzt.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Step Out: Walk to Fight Diabetes 2010

Hey Everybody,

On October 3, 2010 I will be joining more than 100,000 fellow walkers from across the country in this year’s Step Out: Walk to Fight Diabetes to raise money for the American Diabetes Association.

I will be gathering donations and walking to help stop diabetes.

I've been participating in this walk for almost 15 years now. I missed it last year, but in 2008 I raised $230. My goal this year is $300.

I am asking for your help. By making a donation on my behalf, you will be helping the American Diabetes Association provide community-based education programs, protect the rights of people with diabetes and fund critical research for a cure.

Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. The cause of diabetes continues to be a mystery, although both genetics and environmental factors appear to play roles. There are 23.6 million Americans living with diabetes, a disease that is outpacing heart disease, cancer and AIDS. If current trends continue, one in three children born in the year 2000 will develop diabetes in their lifetime.

I believe that my participation in this year’s Step Out: Walk to Fight Diabetes can and will make a difference. Step Out: Walk to Fight Diabetes is one of the American Diabetes Association’s biggest fundraisers. With the help of people like you, the American Diabetes Association can raise over $20 million to help stop diabetes.

Please help me reach my goal by supporting me for this year’s Step Out: Walk to Fight Diabetes. All donations, big or small, are greatly appreciated. Please go to my Web Page at http://main.diabetes.org/goto/erickbognar, to make a secure, 100% tax deductible donation.

Together we can stop diabetes. One step at a time.

Thank you.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

StarCrash Coming To DVD

I remember seeing this when it came out. Of course I loved it when I was a kid. I wonder how it holds up today.

Here's the press release from Shout! Factory --

Crashing Home Entertainment Shelves Nationwide September 14, 2010 From Shout! Factory

One of the most eagerly awaited inter-galactic science-fiction adventures, released by Roger Corman’s New World Pictures, will finally be made available for the first time to the home entertainment shelves as StarCrash, directed by Luigi Cozzi, will debut September 14, 2010 on 2-Disc Special Edition Blu-ray and DVD from Shout! Factory, in association with New Horizons Picture Corporation. An adventure like no other, the StarCrash 2-Disc Special Edition contains anamorphic widescreen presentation of the movie with DTS HD 5.1 surround sound (Blu-ray), a reversible cover featuring vintage art for original movie posters and a payload of bonus content including all-new interviews and commentaries with cast and crew, rare behind-the-scenes footage and much more! A must-have for loyal fans of Roger Corman and Luigi Cozzi, science fiction enthusiasts and collectors, StarCrash 2-Disc Special Edition Blu-ray and DVD mark the latest installments from the popular ROGER CORMAN’S CULT CLASSICS home entertainment series from Shout! Factory. Each Special Edition Blu-ray and DVD is sold separately. Blu-ray is priced to own at $26.97; and DVD is available at $19.93.

Produced in Italy in the wake of Star Wars’ phenomenal success, StarCrash (also known as The Adventures of Stella Star in overseas territories) became an international blockbuster in its own right. This 1979 film became one of New World Pictures’ biggest box-office hits. Critics might have laughed, by so did audiences, who grooved to its campy humor, wildly imaginative special effects (some of them quite good!) and non-stop adventure. Where Star Wars dared not go, StarCrash went -- at warp speed!

The lasting peace of the galaxy is threatened by the diabolical and relentless Count Zarth Arn (cult icon Joe Spinell, Rocky, The Godfather and The Godfather - Part II), who is determined to take the universe for himself and make each planet his plaything, each inhabitant his slave. There is no question that the Count is evil, given his propensity for cackling at every opportunity.

Can anyone save the universe from this megalomaniacal madman? Indeed there is, and she’s quite a beauty.

Brave, bikini-clad star warrior Stella Star (Caroline Munro, The Spy Who Loved Me, At the Earth’s Core) and her co-pilot Akton (child evangelist-turned-actor Marjoe Gortner, Food of the Gods, Mausoleum) are pressed into service to thwart the evil Zarth Arn’s plot. If they succeed, galactic peace will be achieved. If they fail, the universe will fall into decay and destruction at the hands of its sadistic new overlord.

Have no fear, because Stella Star is here!

The film’s zesty, star-studded cast also includes People’s Choice Award winner David Hasselhoff (Knight Rider, Baywatch) in one of his first big-screen roles, noted screen tough guy Robert Tessier (The Longest Yard, The Cannonball Run) and legendary two-time Emmy® and Tony® Award winner, and Academy Award® nominee Christopher Plummer (The Last Station, Murder by Decree, The Sound of Music) as The Emperor.

StarCrash was written and directed by fan favorite Luigi Cozzi (AKA Lewis Coates), whose other cult masterworks include Alien Contamination (an “homage” to Alien) and the unforgettable Lou Ferrigno vehicle Hercules (an “homage” to Conan the Barbarian). The film also boasts a rousing score by five-time Academy Award® winner John Barry (Dances With Wolves, Out of Africa, 10 James Bond films).

Alas, StarCrash would prove to be the only big-screen Stella Star adventure ... but as its worldwide legion of fans will attest, it was one to remember!

New Anamorphic Widescreen Transfer (1.85:1) and DTS HD 5.1 Surround Sound (Blu-ray), Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound (DVD)
Disc One:
•Interview with writer/director Luigi Cozzi
•StarCrash: the music of John Barry, a detailed analysis of the score by Mars of Deadhouse Music
•2 feature-length commentaries by StarCrash historian Stephen Romano:
Commentary 1: the history of StarCrash, the making of the film and its importance in 1970s fantastic cinema.
Commentary 2: StarCrash scene-by-scene: production trivia, anecdotes and critical analysis.
•Behind-the-scenes image gallery, featuring storyboards, art, and rare, never-before-seen photos!
•Promotional art gallery, featuring photos, posters, lobby cards and early poster designs by Drew Struzan
•Fan art gallery, featuring an exclusive look at the all-new, sexy Stella Star art from fantasy illustrator Robin Greenville Evans
•Theatrical trailer with commentary by Eli Roth from Trailersfromhell.com and an all-new exclusive trailer commentary by filmmaker/editor Joe Dante!
•TV spots and radio Spots

•Interview with actress Caroline Munro (60 min.)
•17 Deleted and alternate scenes
•The complete, original StarCrash screenplay, illustrated with original storyboards and early, full-color concept art
•Exclusive 20-minute behind-the-scenes footage reel, with commentary
•The making of the special effects of StarCrash by Armando Valcauda with exclusive, never-before-seen special-effects footage

Monday, August 02, 2010

Mitch Miller, R.I.P.

Wow! I didn't realize he was still around. R.I.P. Mitch.

From The Washington Post --

Mitch Miller, a musician and record-company executive who became one of the 20th century's most influential forces in popular music as the producer who launched the recording careers of singers Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney, Johnny Mathis and Patti Page, died July 31 at a hospital in New York. He was 99.

Mr. Miller was a talented conductor and oboist who became a recording star in the 1950s and 1960s, with dozens of defiantly backward-looking "sing-along" albums that sold millions of copies. As the host of a popular television show in the early 1960s, "Sing Along With Mitch," he has been credited by some with being the inventor of karaoke.

He made his greatest mark as a behind-the-scenes producer for the Mercury and Columbia record companies from the late 1940s to the 1960s, helping create the sound of popular music between World War II and the Beatles-led British Invasion.

With a deep antipathy for to rock-and-roll -- he turned down Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly for contracts with Columbia -- Mr. Miller preferred an older style of pop music based on jazz and the classics.

For years, it wasn't unusual for half the country's top 10 Top Ten hits to have come from Mr. Miller's studio, including Page's "Tennessee Waltz," Frankie Laine's "Mule Train," Doris Day's "Secret Love" and Johnnie Ray's "Cry."

He brought country music into the pop mainstream, with new recordings of Hank Williams's "Cold, Cold Heart" and "Jambalaya" by Bennett and Jo Stafford, respectively. He refashioned classical music and international folk tunes into pop hits, expanded the studio practice of overdubbing and helped make so-called novelty tunes, with nonsensical lyrics and tricky musical effects, a pop-music staple. (His 1952 recording of 13-year-old Jimmy Boyd singing "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus," for example, sold 2 million copies.)

When he became Columbia's head of the popular music in 1950, the label was fourth in record sales. Sales jumped 60.percent within 18 months, and Mr. Miller's golden touch made Columbia the most important pop music label of the era.