Earle Harry Hagen

Earle Harry Hagen

American composer
Date of Birth: 09.06.1919
Country: USA

  1. Biography of Earl Hagen
  2. Early Life and Career
  3. Work and Success
  4. Major Achievement and Legacy

Biography of Earl Hagen

Earl Hagen was an American composer and author of music for numerous films and television projects. He is best known as one of the creators of "The Fishin' Hole," the theme song from "The Andy Griffith Show." He also composed the classic instrumental composition "Harlem Nocturne," the main theme of the series "Mike Hammer," and co-wrote the theme song for the comedic western film "Rango" with Tim Conway.

Earle Harry Hagen

Early Life and Career

Earl was born in Chicago, Illinois and moved to Los Angeles, California with his family as a child. It was there that he learned to play the trombone and completed his schooling. After graduating, Hagen left home and began traveling across the country with various musical groups. He had the opportunity to work with Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, and Ray Noble. It was during his collaboration with Noble in 1939 that he wrote "Harlem Nocturne," a composition dedicated to the work of Duke Ellington and Johnny Hodges. This song was later covered by Earl Bostik, Herbie Fields, Randy Brooks, Sam Taylor, "The Viscounts," and "The Lounge Lizards." As mentioned earlier, it was also used as the theme song for the television series based on Mickey Spillane's "Mike Hammer" novels.

Work and Success

In the 1930s, Hagen began teaching trombone to earn some extra income. In 1940, he secured a position as a staff musician on the CBS network. However, in 1941, he was drafted into the army. During the 1940s, Hagen worked as an orchestrator and arranger on a number of film projects for 20th Century Fox, including "Call Me Madam," "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," and "Carousel." After leaving the studio in 1952, he started composing music for television, working with Herbert Spencer at the time. It was during the production of Danny Thomas's series "Make Room for Daddy" that Hagen met television producer Sheldon Leonard.

Major Achievement and Legacy

Hagen's most ambitious project was his work on the show "I Spy," which earned him an Emmy award in 1968. Sheldon Leonard, the producer and creator of "I Spy," insisted on using new melodies for each episode's soundtrack. Since each episode was filmed in a different location, Hagen was able to draw on the musical heritage of the world in all its genres and styles. However, most of his compositions for the project were performed in the typical jazz style of the West Coast. Earl Hagen passed away from natural causes in May 2008 in Rancho Mirage, California.