Films: Art and Anoraks: Number 1

Michael Fishberg collects, and deals in, film soundtracks under the trading title of `Hits You Missed: Collectable Popular Music and Soundtracks'

"A lot of people collect film soundtracks, casually and as dealers. And, of course, there's been a revival of interest since the Titanic soundtrack went to number one. There are fairs, meetings, groups and dedicated Internet sites, the most popular of which is filmscoremonthly. com. Film Score Monthly is also a magazine, published by Lukas Kendall, for anoraks like me. It has a circulation of some 6,000 monthly.

It recently had a reader poll of the Favourite Soundtracks of All Time. Ben-Hur came first, with The Empire Strikes Back second and Vertigo third.

Jerry Goldsmith (Star Trek: The Motion Picture) was the Favourite Composer of All Time and Danny Elfman (Batman) was the Favourite Composer of the Nineties, so far.

The poll also had statistical data on collectors themselves. Eight per cent of the 127 fans who answered the questionnaire were in their teens; 25 per cent in their twenties; 23 per cent in their thirties; 27 per cent in their forties; 14 per cent in their fifties and 3 per cent in their sixties.

Soundtrack collection size was also interesting. Collection size was: less than 100 (13 per cent). Between 100 and 299 (31 per cent); between 300 and 699 (26 per cent); between 700 and 1,499 (20 per cent) and 1,500 and over (10 per cent). The smallest collection was 13, the biggest 8,000.

My own interest dates back to 1957, when I was 11. I was taken to see Danny Kaye in The Court Jester. I was so thrilled by the musical numbers that I begged my parents to buy me the LP, which was on sale in the lobby of the cinema in Leicester Square. It was the first LP in our family. I eventually played the record through to the other side - on both sides!

Thereafter, I started to really listen and got to notice who had written the movie's music. Bernard Herrmann, who worked a lot with Hitchcock (North By Northwest, Psycho) was an early name. And did you know Dimitri Tiomkin's score for High Noon is said to have saved the film after a disastrous preview?

None of my friends, who were into rock 'n' roll, could understand my passion. Even though I was too young to see an "X" certificate film like Blackboard Jungle, I could hear the music and Rock Around The Clock let me at least do that.

I suppose that there are only two to three hundred really serious collectors in the world. The most fanatical are the Japanese. They will pay over pounds 2,000 for a copy of Roy Budd's Get Carter.

You know when you've arrived on the scene when other collectors ask your opinion... I am happy to share my knowledge in the belief that if you help get people what they want, eventually you'll get what you want.

But The Court Jester is not for sale!"

Michael Fishberg's website is (http://www.superfish.demon.co.uk/Hits)

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