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“Just sit right down, and you’ll hear a tale…”

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Gilligan’s Island theme composer George Wyle dies at 87:

    Wyle also wrote the Christmas classic “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and more than 400 other songs.

    He died Friday of leukemia at the Encino-Tarzana Regional Medical Center in Tarzana, his son Jerry Weissman said.

    “The Ballad of Gilligan’s Island,” which Wyle wrote with the show’s creator and producer Sherwood Schwartz, became one of the most popular television theme songs. The show debuted on CBS in 1964 and ran until 1967, but its reruns remained popular for years.

    ….Wyle was born Bernard Weissman in New York City and began playing piano professionally at clubs in New York’s Catskill Mountains. He moved to Los Angeles in 1946 to write and conduct music for the “Alan Young Radio Show.”

    In Los Angeles, he worked as choral director for television shows such as “The Dinah Shore Show,” “The Jerry Lewis Show” and “The Andy Williams Show.” He also handled music for specials by magician David Copperfield, Carol Channing, and for the People’s Choice Awards presentations. [AP]

Besides being ridiculously catchy, the Gilligan theme also gave the show a mythical subtext by virtue of its “sea chanty” form: pretentious but true.

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