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Leroy Anderson – Syncopated clock

An evening pause: A very well known piece of music from one of the most popular composers of the post-World War II era that you’ve probably never heard of, Leroy Anderson.

Any New Yorker who grew up in the 1960s will immediately recognize it as the theme music used for CBS’s afternoon and late night movie presentations, where they would squeeze two hour movies into 90 minutes slots that were really only about 60 minutes after commercials. (My first impressions as a child of many of Hollywood’s great movies was noticeably distorted because of this.)

Hat tip Diane Zimmerman.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


  • wayne

    Jools Holland and the Playboys (2001)
    ‘Highwire’ Edwin Astley (1922-1998)
    (->2nd theme to Danger Man TV series)

    “…….A messy job? Well that’s when they usually call on me or someone like me. Oh yes, my name is Drake, John Drake.”)

  • George C

    Leroy Anderson is well known in the Boston music scene, and of course to anyone who follows the Boston Pops. Yes, ok, a bit provincial we are; and outside of Boston, the Pops is mostly seen on PBS. On the other hand this is the second Leroy Anderson piece posted recently on Behindtheblack. Next time post the more jazzy Pops players doing Leroy.

  • Skunk Bucket

    I’ve lived in flyover country my whole life, but I’ve heard this piece many times and in many different contexts. To me, it’s in the same category as the tune on Jeopardy! that they play while the contestants fill out their answers (questions?) for the final round. Fun to see a live performance of it!

  • “I’ve lived in flyover country my whole life. . .”

    When someone asks if I’ve lived here my whole life, I answer ‘Not yet!’.

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