It’s Jerry Goldsmith’s birthday and it reminded me of a story. I never met him, but I was in the same room with him – briefly. In 1985 I was new to LA and wanted to get to know the scoring rooms. I had been working at Group IV mostly because (1) Dennis Sands worked there and (2) Alan Silvestri worked there and (3) they had an EMT 250 which was and still is my favorite natural-sounding “linear” reverb. And as famous as they were for film soundtracks, lots of jazz records had been tracked and mixed there. It was a versatile room with a great location and impeccable facilities. So I was happy.

Then I read an article or ran into somebody and decided I wanted to look at the scoring stage at Paramount. I called the studio manager and set up a tour.

Driving through the Melrose gate onto the Paramount lot is a big deal. At least it was for me. I couldn’t find a picture of the gate that wasn’t copyrighted so I didn’t steal one and put it here. But you can find it easy enough. Or watch the end of Blazing Saddles when Cleavon Little rides his horse through it chasing Harvey Korman.

Back to the tour. I got a short tour of the whole lot – there’s a tour anyone can take and I highly recommend the VIP option. I think my guide thought the scoring room would be empty by the time we got there but it wasn’t. There were two people working in the control room and no one in the giant studio. The two people in the control room were Jerry Goldsmith and Michael Boddicker. Jerry was guiding Michael as he programmed his synthesizer rack.

They might have been working on Hoosiers – the timing is about right for that. Maybe even some demos before he actually got the gig. I just remember thinking wow – here’s Jerry at the height of his game in one of the finest scoring rooms on the planet and he’s not conducting a score for 120 players – he’s programming a synth.

So we poked our heads in, long enough to get that “you’re bothering us” look from Jerry and Michael – then ducked out again.

I think I did a few sessions there over the next several years, but I never really warmed up to the place. And now it’s gone. Torn down in 2008 as part of the Post Production Village project.

Happy birthday, Jerry.

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