You can make a difference...

The March Of Time (news documentary)

    (ABC Primetime, 1951 - 1952, "The March Of Time Through The Years";
      Syndicated, 1965 - 1966, "Time-Life Specials: The March Of Time")

    [Time Magazine began a series of news broadcasts on CBS radio
     and theatrical newsreels with this title from 1931 - 1945;
     It was one of the first big media cross-promotion ideas...
     and was a smashing success; The newsreels were seen on
     early TV as "shorts" and later in episodes that were
     longer, but they didn't become a staple of network TV;

     Its most well-known narrator, Westbrook Van Voorhis, 
     was famous for his dramatic delivery, "Time Marches On!"
     heard on both radio and in the theatrical newsreels; Mr.
     Van Voorhis was a classic newsreel announcer known for
     a melodramatic "voice of doom" style imitated by others;
     Although he was not the first narrator, he was the one
     most people associate with the series.
     
     The radio series was a dramatization of news events in
     a format similar to radio drama, interspersed with the
     facts of the newsworthy story read by Van Voorhis. The
     newsreels shown on TV were more like theatrical newsreels
     seen regularly through the 1940s;

     The original 1931 radio THEME was the Chorus section
     (following the Verse) of "The March Of Time", a sprightly
     march composed by Harold Arlen for the 1930 Broadway
     musical revue called "Earl Carroll Vanities", which just
     happened to have the same name as the Time magazine
     series; Whether the march triggered the idea for the
     radio series (which debuted a year after the "Vanities")
     or not, this march was a suitable THEME for the series;
     
     In contrast with crime show marches such as the "Love
     For Three Oranges" used on "The F.B.I. in Peace & War",
     and imitators that followed it for other crime shows,
     this march was more like the British newsreel marches,
     almost sporty in style, and played at a fast tempo.
     
     Arlen received royalties of $125 per year for the first
     couple of years from the radio usage; Then when Time, Inc.
     began making theatrical newsreels someone was commissioned
     to "change a few notes" and create a "soundalike" march
     THEME signature;
     
     Arlen considered suing for copyright infringement, but
     since he was collecting a lot of money from his popular
     songs, he vetoed the idea of a protracted dispute and
     spending a portion of the fortune he amassed on legal
     fees necessary to battle media giant Time, Incorporated.
     
     The 2nd march THEME was thought to have been written by 
     Donald David Voorhees -- who was orchestra conductor
     of the radio show after Howard Barlow; Voorhees was 
     also a writer himself. (He wrote the "Bell Waltz" 
     THEME for the "Telephone Hour" series on radio, also 
     used on the TV version of the show.)
     
     It's interesting that three compositions were written
     during the 1930's & 1940's with a similar concept to
     Arlen's song, by major songwriters of the period...
     
     another "March of Time" by Louis Alter & Howard Johnson
         for the 1933 film "Broadway To Hollywood";
     "Time Marches On" from the 1936 musical "Ziegfeld Follies"
         with music by Vernon Duke, lyric by Ira Gershwin;
     "Time Marches On" a 1945 swing tune with music by Matt 
         Malneck and lyric by Johnny Mercer.

     Later a couple of custom THEMEs were commissioned
     for a weekly series on ABC, and a series of
     retrospective specials in 1965 - 1966;

     Some theatrical newsreel shorts were broadcast on early
     television before a version was made expressly for the
     longer television length of 30 minutes; this version --
     called "The March Of Time Through The Years" -- was a
     package that re-edited the old newsreels, interspersed
     with some newer material of contemporary events;
     
     It was hosted during its first season by newscaster 
     John Daly and then the original "voice of doom" host, 
     Westbrook Van Voorhis himself for the second 1952 season
     which was cut short when the series was cancelled;

     In 1965, a series of retrospective specials were created
     by David L. Wolper productions under the title "Time-Life
     Specials: The March Of Time", narrated by veteran radio/TV 
     actor William Conrad]


Theme 1 (1931 - 1939): "The March Of Time, from the revue, 'The Earl Carroll Vanities of 1930'"

[It is not known if the TV theme credited Harold Arlen or
     whether they used the soundalike written later]

     Composers: music by Harold Arlen (ASCAP)
               [professional name of Hyman Arluck], and
                lyric by Theodore K. ("Ted") Koehler (ASCAP)

     1978 Publisher: Robbins Music Co. (ASCAP)

     2001 Publisher: EMI-Robbins Catalog, Inc. (ASCAP)
                        c/o EMI Music Publishing
                        of New York, NY

     Copyright Date:
     Renewal   Date:

     Recordings:


Theme 2 (1941 - 1945) [title under investigation, probably]: "March Of Time (Signature)"

     Composer: possibly by Donald David Voorhees (ASCAP)

     1978 Publisher: [not listed in the 1978 ASCAP Index of
                      performed compositions]

     2001 Publisher: [not listed in the 2001 ASCAP ACE database]

     Copyright Date:
     Renewal   Date:

     Recordings:


Theme 3 (1951 - 1952): "March Of Time (Main and End)"

    [above is the title as listed in ASCAP under the titles
     composed by William G. Loose; the BMI title is actually
    "Time Marches On" (Legal Title) listed under compositions
     credited to Loose's colleague, Harry Bluestone...

     Also Sam Fox Music lists the title "March of The Years"
     which is not credited to either writer; Production
     music by Bill Loose and Harry Bluestone was at one point
     published by Sam Fox Music...]

     Composers: William G. ("Bill") Loose (ASCAP/BMI) and
                Harry Bluestone (ASCAP/BMI)

     1978 Publisher: [not listed in the ASCAP Index of
                      Performed Compositions]

     2001 Publisher: Carbert Music, Inc. (BMI)
                        c/o Blue River Music Co.

     2002 Publishers: [for current Title, Publisher and Licensing
                       information regarding this THEME...
                       contact Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI)]

     Copyright Date:
     Renewal   Date:

     Recordings:


Theme 4 (1965 - 1966 Time-Life Specials): "The March Of Time Theme"

     Composer: Elmer Bernstein (ASCAP/BMI)

     1978 Publisher: United Artists Music Co. (BMI)

     2001 Publisher: EMI-Unart Catalog, Inc. (BMI)
                        c/o EMI Music Publishing
                        of New York, NY

     Copyright Date:
     Renewal   Date:

     Recordings:


You too can get involved...  

Return to the 1950s TV Series Title Page


Copyright 1960 - 2014 by The Media Management Group. All Rights Reserved