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Who the hell is Alexander Courage?

You know his work, unless you're an avid luddite or Amish; or perhaps you're a grooving with a pict in a cave.

Most folks will hear a couple of notes and shout out, "That's the original Star Trek theme!" Well, the gent who wrote that iconic piece of music is Alexander "Sandy" Courage.

Courage was born on December 10, 1919, in Philadelphia. He moved to New Jersey when he was a young lad, and ended up graduating from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. When WWII started up, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1941.

After the war, he used his music background to land a job on CBS radio shows. As he built his skills, he branched out to other arenas, finally becoming an orchestrator and arranger at MGM Studios. Some of his movie credits include My Fair Lady, Hello, Dolly!, Gigi and Fiddler on the Roof. That's quite an impressive list for any composer.

In the 1960s, he began to compose music for hit TV shows, including The Waltons, and even did series work on two of my fave shows from back in the black-and-white TV days: Lost in Space and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.

As a series composer, he cranked out music for individual episodes, and didn't have a chance to create series themes until Star Trek and Judd For the Defense.

Years later, Courage noted that he did not like Science Fiction, even though he was forever tied to the genre. There are two interesting notes of trivia tied to the theme. First, the signature whooshing sound is actually Alexander making a noise with his mouth. The second one is that Gene Roddenberry wrote some lyrics to the theme song, which were never used (but it did qualify Gene's estate to receive half of all the royalties for the tune).

He won an emmy for his work on Julie Andrews' Christmas special in 1987, and shared an Academy Award nomination for his work with Lionel Newman for scores on Doctor Doolittle.

Alexander Courage passed away on May 15th, 2008, at the ripe old age of 88.


C-Dawg says re Alexander Courage: You may know this already, but in case you want to mention it: the name of the Star Trek theme (or, at least, the name of the lyrics for it), is "Remember Me".

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