Will Schaefer, who wrote ``Jeannie'' and ``Flintstones'' music, dead
By DINESH RAMDE
Associated Press Writer
July 4, 2007, 9:39 PM CDT
MILWAUKEE -- Will H. Schaefer, a Kenosha-born composer who wrote
background music for "I Dream of Jeannie" and "The Flintstones,"
died of cancer, a family friend said. He was 78.
Schaefer died Saturday in a nursing home in the Palm Springs,
Calif., suburb of Cathedral City, Danny Flahive said Wednesday.
"We lost a biggie," Flahive said, referring to the music
industry. "He was brilliant. Even toward the end of his life, he was
writing for a 100-piece orchestra of the Budapest symphony."
Schaefer, of Rancho Mirage, Calif., may not have been a household
name but his work touched countless fans of television and Disney.
He wrote scores -- background music but not the theme songs -- for
such TV shows as "The Flying Nun," "Hogan's Heroes," "The Jetsons"
and "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson."
He also composed and recorded music for more than 700 commercials,
including for Ford, Chevrolet and Pillsbury.
"I think people overlook people like Will," Flahive said. "He just
didn't get his due credit."
Schaefer did receive professional accolades, including winning three
Clio Awards for his work on commercials. He was also nominated for
an Emmy for his score to the Walt Disney TV movie "The Skytrap," and
for a Pulitzer Prize for his concert piece "The Sound of America,"
commissioned for the 1976 bicentennial celebration.
"He always joked that it was nice to be nominated but it would have
been great to win," Flahive said.
During the Korean War, Schaefer was the arranger and assistant
conductor with The U.S. Fifth Army Band stationed at Fort Sheridan,
Ill., where he wrote music for "Radio Free Europe" and "The Voice of
One of his proudest contributions was his work with Disney's "It's a
Small World." His challenge was to adapt the catchy tune, giving it
the international flavor of whichever country's room the ride had
Schaefer returned periodically to Kenosha, where he spent his youth.
Last year he served as a guest conductor for the Kenosha Pops
Concert Band. He appeared on the Music Of The Stars both in person
and on the telephone many times over the past five years, and also
on the Lenny Palmer Show once.
He died three hours before his band was to perform a Fourth of July
concert in Rancho Mirage, Calif., but the show went on.
"The audience gave standing ovations after everything he arranged,"
Schaefer divorced in 1984 after a 20-year marriage. He had no
Flahive said a memorial service would be held in November, probably
around Veteran's Day, at which musicians would deliver eulogies and
perform Schaefer's greatest works.
Before he died, Schaefer wrote a bit of a eulogy for himself.
"He leaves this world with a wide smile on his face because he
accomplished in life the musical tasks he first set out to do in his
early teens," he wrote.
Copyright © 2007, The Associated Press