Bob Howe - My Musical Life

Chapter Eleven – 2000 and onwards

Still to come: 2000 and onwards – Awards, radio, the story continues…


Getting Hal movie poster


In 2001 I was contacted by the Music Supervisor of a forthcoming American action/comedy movie entitled ‘Getting Hal’. This feature was being directed by Tony Markes and in a flashback scene one of the actors was shown with a girl resembling ‘Heidi’ in a skiing chalet, followed by a tumble down the snowy slopes. Directors will often ‘cut’ a scene with what is known as a ‘temp track’, a piece of music that fits the scene but will theoretically be replaced later. In practice though, this temporary music gets so ingrained in the director’s subconscious, that it becomes the only music that will ultimately do the job. In this case, the film’s Music Supervisor (similar to an A&R – Artists & Repertoire – manager) contacted me to explain that the director had used Frank Ifield’s recording of ‘She Taught Me To Yodel’ for this particular scene.  After contacting EMI, the owner of the recording, they learned that the ‘synchronization license’ needed to use the original version was beyond their budget. They asked if I could contact Frank to see if there was another version and it transpired that the only other recording Frank had made was on his ‘Live In Japan’ LP, and was long out of print. That would have been the end of the story, except I was familiar with a practice commonly used (especially in the advertising jingle business) and I offered them an alternative. A conference call was arranged with the director in Hollywood and the Music Supervisor in Malibu and I explained, “I am currently producing recordings for Australia’s premier male yodeler and we could not only produce a ‘cover version’ that sounds like Frank’s recording, but I could also engineer an edit that fits the scene exactly!” They seemed delighted with this idea, we negotiated a fee to be paid on the movie’s release, and they arranged to send me the edited footage of the scene so I could see and hear how the music needed to fit the action. With yodeler Wayne Horsburgh at the microphone, I soon had a finished recording to send off to Hollywood and wait for the movie to be released. 

CD coverI was aware that ‘Getting Hal’ was the first film to be cast and financed through internet and it was publicised at the 54th Cannes Film Festival Day in 2001 by media appearance by the director and actors. In fact it was the result of the notorious ‘Who Wants to Be a Movie Star?’ project, in which the film was financed by auctioning off executive producer credits and most acting parts online and it transpired that the Screen Actors Guild was none too happy about this! ‘Getting Hal’ was screened at the 2003 Santa Monica Film Festival, but unfortunately never appeared to receive a commercial or even DVD release. There ends the tale, with no Oscar red carpet in sight! The recording we made went unused until I remixed it for Wayne’s 2012 CD release ‘Yodels and Love Songs’ which became a successful album for him.


Still to come: 2000 and onwards – Awards, radio, the story continues… 







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