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Great America "TM Productions"

General discussion about Marriott's GREAT AMERICA

Great America "TM Productions"

Postby aejanis » Mon Oct 03, 2005 10:57 am

Tom Merriman from TM Productions made / wrote a ton of the Marriott's Great America music and song materials.

There was a time about 18 months ago when I was in contact with a guy that had some of the archives from TM Productions. He had located some works that were produced for Marriott, and they were all 8 track pre-mixdown! Unfortuantely we lost contact (he stopped returning/replying to my email message) and I was never able to get any copies of the material he had located in his collection like he had promised he could provide.

People that listened to AM1000 when it was WCFL, and even today listen to WLS-AM 890 here in Chicago are familiar with the works of TM Productions. They were primarily a Radio Ad/Jingle company. WLS still uses their TM Productions jingles even today "WLS....CHICAGO!". [I have samples of WLS and WCFL if anyone is interested in that stuff as well]

Here is a sample track that I have from TM Productions. I don't know what it was used for @ the Parks, if at all (could have been a demo from TM for all I know). Listen to this track several times in a row (pay attention to the words)....the detail in the lyrics are amazing. The detail of the names of the themed areas....the Brightest start in the USA is Great America (the star in their logo). The marketing folks for Marriott really knew how to pull everything together!

The first 2 mins of the track are not very exciting (well as far as Great America material goes), at the 2:00 mark it gets real good!

I am going to continue to attempt to make contact in an effort to acquire more of the items that were produced by TM for Marriott, but I don't know how much luck I will have.

I hope I am not crossing a legal line posting this, and if that turns out to be the case the link will stop working ;) :roll:

http://www.edwardsproductions.com/MGAbugs.mp3
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Postby steven » Mon Oct 03, 2005 3:45 pm

Thanks for the information on TM Productions. I only learned about TM Productions recently when someone emailed me and told me that TM Productions did a lot of the MGA jingles, including the famous "Country of Fun" jingle used in the ads when the parks opened. Many people may not realize that there were so many variations done of the "Country of Fun" jingle alone. I know of at least:
-- the original version
-- an extended original version with "the food is great" substituting for "the shows are great"
-- two different shows versions (television vs. radio)
-- a rock'n'roll version
-- others???

Thanks, too, for sharing that sample. There are more variations of that song, too. When I first heard this music, I was puzzled about it because I could not remember ever hearing it used with the parks in any way. I later found out that this music was used for the MGA preview centers. It may have been used for something else, too. Anyway, my understanding was that the preview centers were traveling exhibits that included the park model and other displays that went around to shopping malls and other venues in the parks' market areas to stimulate interest in the parks prior to the opening season. I really like this tune. It's very catchy.

Thanks again for your informative and entertaining post!!!

Steven
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Postby that_guy » Mon Oct 03, 2005 6:07 pm

Thank You som much! Please share anything you happen to find out, what a great soundtrack :)
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Postby ewilson » Mon Oct 03, 2005 7:19 pm

I recognize this music very well. I danced to it as Foghorn in "Bugs Bunny's County Jamboree". This is the year the character show was on the stage at the old pavillion instead of Theatre Royale. I was told all the music for this show had come from "Bugs Bunny's Birthday Celabration" (or something like that) which I thought was written by Gene Patrick. This section may not have been from that show though as it always seemed to be a little different in tone than the rest of the show like it was recorded at a different time.
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Postby brdwyguy » Tue Oct 04, 2005 5:08 pm

i always wondered what happened to that song!

The Great America Singers danced to that song for a special evening
parade in March of 76 - it was the official opening of the park - in Santa Clara
remember Clint Eastwood, Merv Griffin, Roy Rogers/Dales Evans being there amongst others.

thanks a million

Joey D
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(one of the orginal Great America Singers 76 - 78)
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Postby dwolo » Wed Oct 05, 2005 10:16 am

I danced to that track in 1978 at Proctor and Gamble's headquarters in Cincinnati Ohio. We were doing a presentation for the execs to get them to sponsor a new theater in the park. Halfway through it, the slide projectors went down, and I had to work with nothing but a blank screen. Needless to say, they weren't that impressed and they didn't sponsor a new theater. But I got to see Cincinnati!
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Postby keoMGA78 » Mon Oct 10, 2005 9:01 am

I remember singing a version of that song either in the studio or at an industrial for MGA around 1983? I know the lyrics were changed in the phrase "in the Yukon, catch a polar bear" to something like "in the Yukon, go there if you dare".

PC corrections!
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Re: Great America "TM Productions"

Postby TServo2049 » Sat Nov 02, 2013 10:32 am

I'm exhuming this 8-year-old thread to make some corrections about TM.

I was the one who mistakenly assumed they were responsible for the "Country of Fun" jingle. As far as I can tell, they mostly weren't - that was probably done by a major ad agency, and written and recorded in New York. I say TM "mostly" wasn't responsible for them because there is one version that was done at TM in Dallas - the "Showtime of Fun" radio spot featured on this site, the one with the male/female duet (Dallas vocalist Trella Hart, and - I think - Tom Merriman himself).

I don't believe TM was responsible for any of the other ad campaigns, they were also probably done in NY or Chicago (famed NY jingle singer Florence Warner is heard on the "It's a Great Day" main commercial). The "What a Day" ad with music intercut with different sounds does have a part in the middle that might be TM - "Happy people are what you see, cause they're right where they love to be" and the following "What a day" - but then it goes back to music/vocals recorded in NY or Chicago or wherever.

On the other hand, just from listening I can tell that Tom Merriman and TM were heavily involved in the music heard in the parks. Merriman and Gene Patrick were long-time colleagues, going back to when Patrick worked for Six Flags Over Texas (for example, there's a 1967 promotional record for SFOT with a theme song written by Merriman). And Merriman and Patrick continued to collaborate after Great America - after Merriman sold TM, the two of them formed a company (with someone named Don Turner) called Merriman-Patrick-Turner.

I don't know how big of a role Merriman and TM played in writing and arranging, and how much of that work Gene Patrick did himself. But I am virtually certain that all the pre-recorded stuff Patrick did for MGA was produced, performed and recorded at TM. The Carousel Song, the Merry Mardi Gras Parade, the Demon song and queue audio, all the Looney Tunes shows, and so on. I recognize the singers, the styles of vocal harmony and instrumentation, etc. - they're identical to TM's radio/TV jingles from the same period.
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Re: Great America "TM Productions"

Postby steven » Thu Nov 14, 2013 10:04 pm

Thanks for this interesting update! I'm not sure why it got held in moderation. Sorry for that delay.

Speaking of the Carousel Song, I've heard an alternate version of it with a different singer. It's good. But I prefer the one we all know and love. :-)

I wish we could find good copies of all the "country of fun" jingles.

Thanks again.

Steven
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Re: Great America "TM Productions"

Postby TServo2049 » Fri Nov 15, 2013 11:14 am

Glad to be of help.

Sadly, much of the story behind the production of this music is likely lost forever, since neither Gene Patrick nor Tom Merriman is with us anymore.

Fortunately, I am in contact with a couple people who actually worked at TM at the time, one of whom did work on the MGA stuff, so I do have more info I could share (after asking their permission, of course).

-Jeffrey
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Re: Great America "TM Productions"

Postby steven » Tue Dec 03, 2013 10:58 pm

Thank you, Jeffrey. Sorry again for the delay. I tried to get you out of moderation. I'm not sure why your posts are being held in moderation now. :-(

I hope you'll be able to share more info on the MGA music from TM. I wish that we'd been in touch with Gene and Tom about all of this and more.

Thanks again!

Best regards,
Steven
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