A Musical Note: Donna Diana Overture

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve posted links to various musical numbers which have particular importance to me.  

Old as I am, I was not a part of the true “Radio Era”, but my parents were, and whenever we took long car trips they would manage to find repeats of classic radio programs.  I loved them all, and still do.  Mostly because even now, in the days of CGI movies, the graphics I saw in my mind when I listened to radio drama and adventure were better than any I’ve seen on the screen.

One of my favorite shows had two names.  It was sometimes called “The Challenge of the Yukon”, and sometimes known as “Sergeant Preston of the Mounties”.  Whichever name it went by, I loved the show.

I also loved the theme music.

Now, for a bit of a history lesson.  Fran Striker, the creator of The Lone Ranger, The Green Hornet, and Sergeant Preston, was a driven man.  His intention was to make as much money as he could, and spend the least.  For this reason he only chose music in the Public Domain for the themes for his characters.  The William Tell Overture for The Lone Ranger.  Flight of the Bumblebee for the Green Hornet, and for Challenge of the Yukon (Sergeant Preston), it was the Donna Diana Overture, or rather a recurring theme from that piece.

 Listen to this wonderful piece of music—truly music to write to.  In fact as I write this it is playing at a strong volume.  Even if you have never heard a “Challenge of the Yukon” radio show, I’m guessing you’ll figure out which theme is used.Then, if you’re interested in listening to the other two themes Fran Striker purloined, try these:The Lone Ranger (The William Tell Overture)The Green Hornet (Flight of the Bumblebee)


13 responses to “A Musical Note: Donna Diana Overture

  1. Have you ever heard of the Susannah series?

    I think there were 4 books: Susannah . . . Susannah and the Mounties . . . Susannah in the Yukon . . . Susannah Rides Again.

    They were written when my mother was a young reader. Shirley Temple may have played the role of Susannah in one or two of her films. I can’t recall.

    Anyway, this piece reminded me of her.

  2. Thank so much for this RikScott: I never have listened to the radio show, that I can remember, but the theme sounded familiar. An operatic overture, eh! Maybe theme and variations, but my know-how is not sharp. But loved the humor in the piece. Hey! No lyrics to look up!

    • I just have one difficulty: What are they doing confusing a bumblebee with a green hornet! Oh! dear! I’m perplexed again!

    • Lyris are REALLY simple. Hmmm hmm hmmmmmm hmm hmmm hmmmmmm.

      • Except for the bumblebee and the hornet. Then I think it’s more like, buzzbuzzbuzzbuzzbuzz. Played the flight on the piano as a teenager. Wasn’t very good. I should keep to the Hmmming.

    • Checked it out. They are all ‘Overtures’. Contrasting theme and sub-theme, generally. Like a main plot and a sub-plot in fiction. The Sonata Form is like the classic building to climax- (Aristotle’s way to write), with development of initial theme and then a denouement like in a play or story. Studying the structures of music offers a writer lots of scope on how to plan a work!

  3. Been there – played that. Long ago..In an orchestra far away….

    Mozart is supposed to be good to study by. Mozart for the Mind. A wholes series of studies done on the subject claim that test scores, especially math related, are better if you listen to Mozart first. Does something to the neural pathways.

    • That is very cool, Carolyn. I actually and actively searched for years to find the name of the music that was used for Challenge of the Yukon. These days it’s an easy find. That you performed it in the past amazes me. I’m quite impressed.

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