Like something straight out of the opening credits to North by Northwest, this, the original cover to Henry Mancini’s 1959 The Music From “Peter Gunn” aptly packages the swiftly-infused late 50’s power jazz within. Spy Hunter has nothing on Peter Gunn, clearly, and this original sleeve runs high-speed laps around its reissue, which was (im)perfectly showcased here. Word on the street (via Internet Ave) is that John Williams was part of Henry Mancini’s orchestra during this time, so hit your local brick and mortar first thing tomorrow and track this down this jazzy jamboree.
I imagine, that for many TV watching thrill-seekers in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Peter Gunn Theme is synonymous with well, the show Peter Gunn. The award winning Peter Gunn Theme (1 Emmy, 2 Grammys) was composed by the late, great Henry Mancini, and has been heard by just about every living soul the world over. I’d heard this so called Peter Gunn Theme, quite literally, countless times as a snot nosed kid, but had no idea who Henry Mancini was, and until just recently, had never heard of a suave, cool jazz-listening PI by the name of Peter Gunn. Hang in there… I’ll try to make this quick.
The year was 1987, and our local grocery store offered 2-day video game rentals. This was a fairly new addition to the existing VHS rental market, and served as an 8-bit lifesaver for many of my adolescent days. I saved up my weekly allowance and would bike down to the Piggly Wiggly grocery store (the village consisted of 1200 people, so you can imagine the trip didn’t take very long), and peruse the Nintendo Entertainment System new game releases. I’d always been a fan of spies (not entirely sure why), so the new release, Spy Hunter, caught my eye… and my $2. I waited in line to pay for my new 48-hour obsession, and without even looking at the MAD Magazines, I biked home as quickly as I could to see how many spies I could successfully hunt down.
If you’ve never played either the 1983 arcade or the 1987 NES version of Spy Hunter, its theme… the Spy Hunter Theme, apparently, goes by another, more popular name… the Peter Gunn Theme. I’ve grown to love Mancini, and although I’ve never seen a lick of Peter Gunn’s spy hunting abilities, I’m interested in checking it out. That being said, the Peter Gunn Theme will always and forever be known, at least for those of us who grew up in the 80s, as the Spy Hunter Theme. Watch out for those armored cars, kids, and don’t forget to return your rented cartridges. Late fees are a bitch!