Earle Harry Hagen was a composer who created music for more than 3,000 TV show episodes and TV movies. Born in Chicago, Illinois, as a boy his family moved to Los Angeles, California, where he learned to play the trombone. He left home to join traveling big bands at age 16, and played with Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman and Ray Noble. While with Noble he wrote "Harlem Nocturne" in 1939, later used as the theme to TV's Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer. He went to work for CBS in 1940 as a staff musician, but then enlisted in the military in 1941. Hagen was an orchestrator and arranger for motion picture studio 20th Century Fox in the 1940s and early 1950s, and worked on films like Call Me Madam, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Carousel. He began writing for television when he left Fox in 1952 and scored Make Room for Daddy. He is remembered for co-writing and whistling "The Fishin' Hole", the melody of the main theme to The Andy Griffith Show. Other television theme songs that Hagen composed were for My Sister Eileen, The Dick Van Dyke Show and Gomer Pyle - USMC. His most ambitious work was for I Spy. Sheldon Leonard, the producer and creator, bucked the trend for television shows and decided to create original soundtracks for each episode, and Hagen made liberal use of world music in his soundtracks, for which he won an Emmy in 1968.
Hagen continued to compose scores for shows such as That Girl, Tim Conway's Western comedy Rango, The Mod Squad, Planet of the Apes (episodes "The Legacy", "Tomorrow's Tide" and "The Surgeon"), Eight Is Enough and The Dukes of Hazzard, and was quoted as saying about composing for television, "It was hard work with long hours and endless deadlines; but being able to write something one day and hear it a few days later appealed to me". Hagen died of natural causes in Rancho Mirage.
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- The Best of All Worlds fan site
- In Memorium - Earle Hagen, by Alan Maxwell - 'Simian Scrolls' #15 (2008)