These jingles (actually, theme songs - jingles have lyrics) were composed for Springs Ensemble Theatre’s 2012 production of Darcy Hogan’s “The Land Southward.” The play’s subject is the effects of nuclear tests in Nevada on the area downwind in Utah, and among several digressions are an educational film featuring Adam the Atom and a high-stakes game show, “You Bet Your Lives,” which these two little tunes introduce.
Composing a theme song is actually quite challenging: Though tiny, it must not be be a fragment, but a complete composition with beginning, middle and end. As I crammed in every cheesy cliché and over-the-top orchestral flourish I could think of, I wondered if the composers of the actual great theme songs of the 1950s felt as ironic about their creations as I did about these.
When I played these for some students at the Colorado Springs Conservatory, one of them said of the first tune - without being told what its subject was - that it sounded like music from an educational film. I regard this as one of the highest compliments I have ever received.