Robert Drasnin

Robert Drasnin (November 17, 1927 – May 13, 2015) was an American composer and clarinet player.

Robert Drasnin was born on November 17, 1927 in Charleston, West Virginia. At an early age Drasnin was interested in the Clarinet so he took lessons but when his family moved to Los Angeles he wasn't to start until 1938. He attended Franklin Avenue Grammar School in East Hollywood and then Thomas Starr King Junior High and eventually Los Angeles High School in which he joined the American Federation of Musicians. Drasnin joined the United States Army after graduation and served during the Korean War.[1]

Dionysus Records announced that Robert Drasnin died on May 13, 2015.


Robert Drasnin spent the vast majority of his career in music composing for films and television shows. He composed or supervised scores for well over 100 films and TV shows.

In 1955 Drasnin scored the film One Way Ticket To Hell, and his other film scores included Ride in the Whirlwind (1966), Picture Mommy Dead (1966), The Kremlin Letter (1970), Dr. Cook's Garden (1971), A Taste of Evil (1971), The Candy Snatchers (1973) and Crisis in Mid-Air (1979). Drasnin also scored incidental music for such notable TV shows as The Twilight Zone, Mission: Impossible, Wild, Wild West, Hawaii Five-0, Time Tunnel, Lost In Space, Mannix, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Voyage To The Bottom of the Sea.

Robert Drasnin served as music supervisor for such TV shows as Gunsmoke, Wagon Train, The Twilight Zone and a host of made for TV movies.

In 1959 Robert Drasnin received his M.A. in Music from U.C.L.A in Los Angeles. That same year, while working at Tops Records, Drasnin was approached by David Pell, the head of the label, to create an Exotica album. Pell wanted a record that would cash in on the popularity of the Exotica genre made popular by Martin Denny and Arthur Lyman. Drasnin created 12 original compositions and would spend the later part of 1959 recording the record. Among the musical personnel was a young pianist by the name of John Williams who would later go on to score such notable films as Star Wars and Jaws. The LP was released on Tops/Mayfair records in both mono and stereo versions. The cover artwork for the LP featured a photo of a woman in a leopard print bikini dancing as two loin cloth-clad men play bongos in a dark jungle-like setting, bathed in red light. The original cover art was not used in the two different compact disc reissues of the album.

In 1977 he became Director of Music for the CBS Network.

In 2002, three selections from the 1959 Voodoo album were used in the soundtrack for the documentary film Cinemania: "Desire", "Jardine de la Noche" and "Chant of the Moon".

In 2005 Robert Drasnin was invited to perform at The Hukilau—a 3-day Hawaiian/Tiki festival in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. A 16-piece orchestra was assembled for the performance. The show consisted of selections from his 1959 album Voodoo as well as new Exotica-styled music that he composed after Voodoo. These new pieces would form the basis of the Voodoo II album, released in 2007.

In 2007 Robert Drasnin recorded and released Voodoo II, a follow-up album to his 1959 recording Voodoo. The initial recording was made in February, 2007, at Pierce College in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, California. The orchestra was recorded live to multi-track digital hard disc using Digital Performer recording software and Mark of the Unicorn (MOTU) digital interfaces. The CD was produced by Skip Heller and released on Dionysus records in June 2007. Immediately following the release of Voodoo II, Robert Drasnin again performed at the Florida, Hukilau event with a 16-piece orchestra. The 2007 performance comprised compositions from both the Voodoo and Voodoo II releases.

Personal life

Robert Drasnin was married to the former Marlene Waters from 1956 up until his death of complications from a fall in Tarzana, California. They had three children: Morgen, Jennifer, and a son Michael.


Albums as a composer

Albums as a musician

See also

Television Scores (partial)

"Episode(s)" denotes the listing may be incomplete.

Year Title Info On CD?
1962 The Twilight Zone Episode:
"The Hunt"
Airdate: January 26, 1962
1963 Great Adventure Episode(s):
"President Vanishes"
1965-66 The Wild Wild West "The Night of the Deadly Bed" (season 1)
"The Night The Wizard Shook The Earth" (season 1)
"Night of the Casual Killer" (season 1)
"The Night of the Man-Eating House" (season 2)
1967 I SPY "The Seventh Captain" NO
1967 Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea "The Wax Men" NO
1967 Custer Episode(s):
1969 Desperate Mission NO
1974 Joe Forrester Episode(s):
1976 Serpico Episode(s):
1977 CHiPs All episodes (season 1):
"Taking Its Toll""
"Name Your Price"
Music re-used in two other Season 1 episodes.


  1. "Robert Drasnin, 'Twilight Zone' Composer, Dies at 87". Variety. May 15, 2015. Retrieved May 16, 2015.
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