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Albert Glasser Biography

  • Profession: Composer (Music Score), Musical Direction/Supervision
  • Born: Jan 25, 1916
  • Died: Jan 1, 0001

Albert Glasser (sometimes referred to in credits as Al Glasser) is best known as a film composer for his science fiction and horror scores, done principally during the mid- and late '50s in association with director/producer Bert I. Gordon. His career as a composer was concentrated in the years 1944-1962, and he flourished in the production environment of the post-World War II B-movie. As a composer and conductor who was capable of working quickly and competently, he was a low-budget producer's dream, capable of grinding out 25-35 minutes of music to accompany a short feature in less than two weeks, and getting it recorded in a single three-hour session -- although, conversely, most of his music seldom rose above the level of competent. As the author of 135 credited scores (plus another 35 that he did without his name attached) plus a considerable amount of television work in a period of under 30 years, little more could be expected. Glasser began his career in Hollywood at Warner Bros., as a copyist in the music department in 1935, and he had contact with the likes of Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Max Steiner. He began his own composition career in 1944 with the PRC-produced chiller The Monster Maker. During the postwar period, he not only wrote scores but was engaged to arrange other composers' work, most notably Ferde Grofe, with whom Glasser worked on Rocketship X-M and I Shot Jesse James, both done for producer Robert L. Lippert -- I Shot Jesse James was also notable as the first film directed by Samuel Fuller. His work scoring two low-budget Cisco Kid movies proved so effective that his music was licensed for the television series that followed, which proved most enduring; as one of the earliest television programs shot in color, those episodes, using Glasser's music, were rerun into the 1960s and beyond. He moved into bigger film productions in the early '50s, working in various genres, but it was in science fiction that Glasser made his biggest mark, through producer/director Bert I. Gordon. Starting with Gordon's The Cyclops in early 1956, Glasser wrote loud, savage, pounding scores depicting struggles against giants, monsters, and mutants in movies that were among the most fondly remembered horror/sci-fi films of the era: The Amazing Colossal Man, The Beginning of the End, Earth Vs. the Spider, Attack of the Puppet People, and War of the Colossal Beast. His music for The Indestructible Man and The Monster From Green Hell, both dating from this period, also fit into this body of work. A lot of his most distinctive writing was for brass instruments, but he was also effective in composing for the strings and he also occasionally utilized unusual instruments such as the theremin. Although he could write in a lyrical or sentimental vein, even in these settings, it was his bold, pounding music passages that stood out, which led one of the characters of television's Mystery Science Theater 3000 to refer to Albert Glasser as "the man who holds you down and pummels you with music." His film career slowed considerably in the 1960s, although he continued to work as an arranger for composers such as Grofe, a capacity in which he'd also served for figures such as Dimitri Tiomkin, Johnny Greene, and [[Performer~P75975~Paul Whiteman~paulwhiteman]]. In 1978, Starlog Records released the album The Fantastic Film World of Albert Glasser, containing excerpts of some of his best-known scores from the late '40s through the early '60s. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi

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