George Duning

George Duning

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Wed 10/14/2020 12:25 PM

George Duning created some of the most wonderful melodies that sweep you up into a wonderful feeling of beauty and joy! He created some of the best dance music like in the movie Picnic and Strangers When We Meet. His rich light and jazzy style definitely make you want to get out on the dance floor. His music sets the mood of the time he wrote it...when class was everything. The man was a real class act himself. I would like to know why there is not a full soundtrack to Strangers When We Meet. The party scene music is very reminiscent of Picnic. Is there a reason it never was made into a soundtrack?

Tim <no email>
, , USA

Wed 4/29/2020 12:00 AM

What a marvelous site. I love to scout old movie locations and this site has wonderful in depth information on some of my favorite movies. George Duning was a monstrous talent that I somehow overlooked. His contribution to music and film cannot be overstated. Wow! I am stoked! Thank you so much. There is one correction I noticed. I seem to recall that it was James Wong Howe that did the cinematography on "PICNIC" not Haskell Wexler.

But with all the great info and pics I barely noticed. Thanks again for a great site about a great man. Sincerely RonnieBoy Edwards.

Ronald K Edwards <cosamqc@comcast.net>
Santa Rosa, CA, United States

Thu 3/26/2020 4:19 PM

Does anyone have any idea of the theme music from "Drive a Crooked Road" (1954), is available on a recording, or sheet music?

phillyrich Richard phillyrich <post_rich@yahoo.com> Philadelphia, PA, USA

Mon 7/22/2019 10:45 AM

I worked with George's nephew Bill at his law office in Lebanon, Ohio.  Bill educated me about George and his prolific musical career.  Certainly George lived a life of great accomplishment and all the Duning family can be proud of his legacy.  Not many people on earth can say that they have received five Oscar nominations!

CHRISTOPHER him WATKINS <cwatk86423@aol.com> Mason, Ohio, United States

Tue 10/30/2018 2:53 AM

The biography errs by omitting to list George's third daughter, Lorna Duning (5-15-42 to 7-20-97).  Born in Los Angeles and died in La Jolla.  Was married to James T. McComsey for 33 years, 1964-1997.   See Lorna Duning at CALIFORNIABIRTHINDEX.ORG

Thomas McArdle <thomasfmcardle@gmail.com> San Diego, CA, USA

EDITOR: Thank you Thomas! After almost 10 years of hosting this website, you are the first person to point out that George had a third daughter, Lorna! I didn't know! She is now recognized on numerous pages on this website. And now, consequently, her name and image is all over the Internet. She is now NOT forgotten!

4/6/2018 6:03 PM

I recently found out my condo in La Jolla, Ca was the final home of George Duning and his wife.  The neighbors recalled beautiful sounds of his piano playing being heard throughout the courtyard. Im really enjoying researching this talented man, and realizing how much of his work I was already a fan of.  I plan to frame an original camera negative from "that touch of mink' and display it in his honor :)

karen lindsay <karenlindsay25@hotmail.com>
la jolla, ca, USA

Thu 11/23/2017 4:51 PM

WHY does everyone seem to forget George Duning's most attractive score to the movie STRANGERS WHEN WE MEET? This film was made between October and December of 1959 and features some of Duning's most appealing music! Add to that the fact that STRANGERS is one of my all-time favorite movies and you have an incredible demand for the complete score to be finally released. I love this music so much I even designed a soundtrack album cover for it, JUST BECAUSE it needs to be released! PLEASE do what you can to find the score (perhaps available through the George Duning estate) and release it for a thirsty public consumption!

Bruce H Garthe <lilbrucems44@att.net>
Dallas, TX, United States

Sun 4/23/2017 10:46 PM

Picnic is one of my favorite movies and I must have watched it over 10 times. After finding your site a couple of years back, I've been wanting to visit the shooting locations. During the last two days I finally made the drive and went to all 5 towns and did my own "Then and Now" photo shoot. While in Hutchinson, I took pictures of the grain towers as well as the Baker Hotel (now Plaza Tower Apartments)  I even sought out the Catholic Church (Saint Teresa) that Kim Novak used to pray at when they were there. I believe the windows at the Plaza Apartments are still the original ones. I kept staring at the twelfth floor windows and imagining when William Holden pulled that stunt on the director and hung outside the window with one hand while holding his drink in the other. I think that is a cool piece of movie trivia.

Tony  <Sporlein@hotmail.com>
Greenwood Village , Co, USA

Sun 4/16/2017 1:02 PM

I have loved picnic since I first saw it as a kid. That began my love of Kim Novak and William Holden movies. I think hands down the dance scene in picnic is the most romantic scene in any movie. The characters were so real and the hometown charm has made it my favorite movie of all time. I know every line. I still watch it three or four times a year. The younger generation doesn't know what they're missing.

Jo Dzierski <vincentd7@verizon.net>
bridgeville, pa, USA

Thu 8/25/2016 8:24 PM

Thanks for your indepth coverage of my most favorite movie in the world. The first time I saw it was in the backseat of my parents old Buick at the drive-in. I was only about 3 years old, my sister was 5 years old. Since then, we've watched this movie about a gazillion times. When we watch the movie together, we recite the lines even before they say them in the movie. They just don't make movies like this anymore...

Bobo <no email>
Troy, IL, USA

Thu 3/19/2015 4:28 PM

Although Duning began his arranging career with Kay Kyser's band (a group that was particularly corny) he ended up writing some very hip, and modern music for film and TV. His score for Star Trek episode Metamorphosis is actually reminiscent of Gill Evans' writing for large jazz ensembles. Duning was the oldest of the composers who wrote for Trek but, in many ways, he was the most modern. It's really too bad that he didn't do any big features in the 1970s and '80s.

Andy Farber <afarber@juilliard.edu>
Croton-On-Hudson, NY, USA

Tue 3/17/2015 4:13 AM

I think his score for Star Trek's 'Metamorphosis' is outstanding and would have graced E.T. It's haunting and memorable. Great site for a great composer.

Donald <ewaf1958@hotmail.co.uk>
London, , UK

Thu 7/17/2014 6:09 AM

Do I remember George well. My parents lived right next to the Dunings for years in La Canada, CA. As a kid I took care of the pool and landscaping when they were on vacation. And I remember hearing, sometimes all night long, George playing piano in his studio next to the pool. I remember when he would take me into his studio and tell me what he did. I liked George a lot.

Doug Verlander <dover46327@sbcglobal.net>
Hammond, IN, USA

EDITOR: Read Doug's whole story in the "Tidbits" section: http://www.georgeduning.com/TIDBITS.html

Fri 6/20/2014 1:21 PM

My book, KAY KYSER-THE OL' PROFESSOR OF SWING! AMERICA'S FORGOTTEN SUPERSTAR includes many great anecdotes about Duning. I corresponded with him in the early 90s. Very nice man. The book is the FIRST full length biography on Kay Kyser. 341 pages, lots of rare photos, interviews w/ bandmembers, color copies of sheet music and KK film lobbycards. Full KK discography. At Amazon or kaykyserbook.com also a great KK Facebook page under the book's title. cmon chillen- Yess' dance!

Steven Beasley <kyserbookinfo@yahoo.com>
Northridge, CA, USA

Mon 11/18/2013 7:31 PM

I stumbled across this site and am so glad i did... I was looking up information on Big Valley as i also LOVED that show growing up. The music was spectacular. I had no idea who George Duning was, although, i would see his name in the credits for the music. Boy, do i know now! What an amazing talent he was - am so glad i ran across the site so full of all his accomplishments. Now i can follow up and watch some of those other shows he was a part of and let others know as well.

Amber Henry <olde_tyme@hotmail.com>
Wasilla, AK, USA

Wed 9/4/2013 6:37 PM

I want to know if a complete '3:10 To Yuma' will be released in the future. i am also hoping 'The Eddy Duchin Story' will come out some day. thanks for any information.

raphael platner <sloan41@hotmail.com>
toronto, ontario, canada

Wed 8/21/2013 5:02 PM

Speaking of George Duning's soundtrack music that SHOULD HAVE BEEN ISSUED, has everyone forgotten his excellent score in STRANGERS WHEN WE MEET? I loved this movie's soundtrack so much I even designed a soundtrack album cover! This is one score that RCA/COLUMBIA failed miserably to release at the time (1960). LONG LIVE STRANGERS WHEN WE MEET! Do the original masters still exist?

Bruce Garthe <lilbrucems44@att.net>
Dallas, TX, USA

Wed 8/7/2013 12:35 PM

Mr. Duning was the one of the soundtrack composers who deserves(ed) more attention. He wrote some beautiful music...truly stunning. His work for Irwin Allen was just brilliant and it could teach many modern-day film/tv music composers a thing or two about theme and melody. His work for Star Trek was also just amazing. The true unsung hero of Hollywood music...Vale George Duning.

Tom Barton <no email>
Meobourne, , Australia

Mon 6/3/2013 7:22 AM

This is one of most thorough and fascinating web sites I have seen – Congratulations. I came here looking for a phantom that I have pursued since 1956 - who played the incredible piano solo on Moonglow and theme from Picnic - I have been told with some authority that it was Stan Wrightsman and that this web site would confirm that - I haven't gone through everything on the site yet but I find no mention of Wrightsman only George Van Eps - I am willing and grateful to believe that it was Wrightsman except he played on the George Cates version (not in my opinion as good as Morris Stoloff's version) and as a piano player I sense stylistic differences between the two versions - but never the less George Duning contribution to music has been enormous - movie music today is greatly inferior to the work done in then past and I thank people like George Duning for the joy it has brought me.

jim partridge <jpartrid@mts.net>
winnipeg, Mb, CANADA

Thu 5/9/2013 12:11 PM

I just discovered this website -- it's wonderful! I have been a fan and admirer of George Duning's music for film and TV for a very long time, and in fact wrote a piece for TCM's Movie Morlocks blog five years ago about his wonderful career.

Here's the link: http://moviemorlocks.com/2008/04/25/george-duning-a-great-film-composer/

I'm always hoping more of his scores will show up! Thank you for making this great website honoring this terrific artist!

Lisa Mateas <shop@mateas.com>
OIsprey, FL, USA

Thu 3/14/2013 8:49 PM

Picnic is a film I never grow tired viewing; in fact, I enjoy it more each time I see it. I practically have every scene memorized and can recite every line because I have seen it so often. It is, in my opinion, one of the very few movies that brings all film elements together with equal force to create a masterpiece - the story, the time, the cast, the locations, and the unbelievable music (Thank You George Duning). Movies are meant to entertain and fantasize; a lot of times the improbable. The collective execution and feel of this movie will leave a lasting impression on me forever.

In Picnic, I think Rosalind Russell defines it best just before the big dance scene, when she says, "Land, I love this music." George Duning - thank you for your everlasting legacy and god do I love this movie!

Mike Weldon <mikeweldon8393@att.net>
, , USA

Mon 7/30/2012 3:16 PM

The music of George Duning is simply beautiful. The World of Suzie Wong and Then Came Bronson are my favorites.

James Jones <jjones1340@starpower.net>
Washington, DC, USA

Wed 7/18/2012 2:11 PM

George Duning's music is some of the most beautiful music I have heard in my life. The emotions and heartfelt orchestrations he brings out in you are unlike most any other composers. "The Empath" is an absolutely beautiful score. He was a very innovative and unique composer. I will love his creations for the rest of my life. He was truly one of a kind, a "GEM."

Jon Remy <jonremy2000@yahoo.com>
Dallas, TX, USA

Fri 6/1/2012 4:11 PM

As a child, I was a huge fan of The Big Valley. Actually, I still am! I watched this show every week and when the last cymbal crashed on the theme song, I knew it was my bedtime! If my parents asked me to go to bed before the end of the theme song, I would cry!

I truly love this theme song and it captures the heart of the old, wild west and what to me is the 'feel' of the mid-1800s. Every time I hear the Big Valley Theme, it warms me and takes me back to my care-free childhood days.

I consider Mr. Duning a great musical genius! I wished I could have thanked him for this great song! It still lifts my heart when I hear it!

Melody <mjdm62@gmail.com>
Collinsville, IL, USA

Tue 1/17/2012 11:23 AM

I Have The Record The Devil At 4 O'Clock By George Duning. I Like His Music. I Had The Naked City Record Before I Started 8th Grade In 79-80 School Year. I Like To Buy The Record The Naked City.

Delbert \"Dellie Goose"\ Hutchinson <DELLIEGOOS@AOL.COM>
Tacoma , Washington, USA

Tue 8/16/2011 12:56 PM

For the past couple of months I have been writing and presenting a weekly radio show in Scotland (LEITH FM 98.8) called "Magnificent Movie Music", in which I have been highlighting the music and careers of some of the great film composers - past and present. I must confess that although I did know who George Duning was, as well as being familiar with many of the films he scored, I was totally taken aback by the power and beauty to his score from the 1955 release "Picnic", which I recently purchased.

It is simply superb, and must rank as one of the finest dramatic scores of the 1950's. And I can assure everyone who is an admirer of Mr Duning, that I plan to play some of his music very soon on my programme. With the fervent hope of making the local radio listeners, fully aware of his marvellous and unique musical gifts.

Lawrence Lettice

LAWRENCE LETTICE <lawrencelettice@blueyonder.co.uk>

Mon 7/18/2011 3:13 PM

I love Mr. Duning's music. I am sorry that a CD of the soundtrack of "Strangers When We Meet" - 1960 - is not available. A year or two ago I emailed a record company (Harkit, I believe, which released Bell Book & Candle and Houseboat) and asked if one would ever be available and the response was negative. The soundtrack is beautiful and one of my very favorites. He really knew how to capture the the mood. I have the Picnic soundtrack which is wonderful!

Nancy <geejijoe@roadrunner.com>
, ca, USA

Sun 2/27/2011 8:49 AM

George Duning is the film composer for the film Jeanne Eagels starring the lovely Kim Novak in the title role alongside Jeff Chandler.

The film & the soundtrack of Jeanne Eagels is great and the finale when Jeanne passed away and thousands of people packed the theatre & the final song'i'll Take Romance'with Jeanne singing.

Once again to the film composer George Duning for the great film of Jeanne Eagels & the outstanding performances by Jeff Chandler & the lovely Kim Novak is Jeanne Eagels.

Terry Christie
A Great Kim Novak fan
from Sunderland Tyne & Wear England

Terry Christie <terry.christie64@yahoo.co.uk>
Sunderland Tyne & Wear, , England

Tue 2/22/2011 3:28 PM

I'm absolutely thrilled that this web site exists! "Picnic" holds many warm memories for my high school friends and myself. We saw it when it first came out in our hometown theater. Personally, I liked the title music best. And I detect a bittersweet motif from your "Full of Life" score in the home scenes at the start of "Picnic". Seems to me that the chase scene music has been used in other productions, and rightly so. It's excellent. I also read Josh Logan's autobiography account of the making the film. Summing up, your wonderful music attests to my belief that music is one of God's greatest gifts. With just a handful of notes put in a certain order, music can uplift our souls. Thank you, so very much!

Hal Evans <charlieheinz66@yahoo.com>
Minneapolis, MN, USA

Fri 10/8/2010 5:06 PM

Loved his score to the eddy duchin story. Hope its released on cd soon. Thank you.

Raphael Platner <sloan41@hotmail.com>
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Wed 9/15/2010 1:54 PM

I enjoyed the amount of details and links listed about the movie Picnic movie. I was able to visit the physical sites where this movie took place utilizing Google street view.

Thank you.


Stefano Hurtado <vivaquito@yahoo.com>
Berkeley, CA, USA

Mon 7/19/2010 7:54 PM

We just ran Lady And The Bandit, and I haven't been able to get the principal theme out of my head. The film may have been minor, but Louis Hayward, John Williams and Tom Tully, along with Mr. Duning and quite a few other people, performed pretty well. Would like to see and hear it remastered.

And, this is a wonderful addition to the internet.


Bary Lane <barrylane@sympatico.ca>
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Thu 8/20/2009 8:50 PM
Thank you so much for your site! George Duning was one of the most gifted (and underrated!) film composers of Hollywood's Golden Age. It's so wonderful to see him getting recognition through your website!

Mary-Catherine <mary-cath@rogers.com>
, , Canada
Fri 6/12/2009 4:23 AM
Great website! I have been a George Duning enthusiast for several decades. SALOME is a personal favourite. First purchased this on a 45 rpm extended play. Mention of the studios worked for might be helpful to labels considering future releases. (I hope). I will look forward to your ongoing efforts.

Bob Bowd <>
Newmarket, ON, Canada