Since it was invented in the late 1930s, television has become one of the most important form of media. It can transmit large quantity of information, for both entertainment and educational purpose, directly to a number of people at the same time. Many movies can now be watched at home and lots of TV series was created to keep up with audiences' demand. When a TV series or movie gain popularity, it is inevitable for its music to be widely recognized. And since TV series and movies are like fads, that their influence normally gone when the series/films come to an end. And the songs' popularity gone with them as well - and give birth to one-hit wonders. These are artists and songs that gained their reputation from the success of movies or TV programmes - and they could never repeat that success ever again.
Carol Reed's 1949 'The Third Man' was a spy film with a Cold War scene plot. Not only it won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography. The film was also famous for its score. "The Third Man Theme", composed by Anton Karas, became an international smash hit which topped the chart in both side of the Atlantic in 1950. It was Karas' world debut as well as his only chart hit.
Hans Christian Anderson was a successful musical film from the 1952. It starred Danny Kaye as a romantic fictional Danish story-teller. Out of all its soundtracks, one of them actually became a hit outside the screen. The duet "NO Two People" by Doris Day and an American actor Donald O'Connor became a no.25 hit in 1952. It was O'Connor's only hit song in his entire career.
1954's 'Medic' was the first TV series that focused heavily on medial procedures. Its theme by Victor Young also gained popularity, and later was added lyric and renamed to "Blue Star". Felicia Sanders recorded her version of the song and soon became a top30 hit of that year. She never had another hit on any chart again until she died of cancer in 1975.
Elmer Bernstein was a renowned film score composer whose works was internationally well-known. However, he only conqured music chart once. The title theme from 1955 film 'The Man with the Golden Arm' earned him an Academy Awards nominee for Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture, and became no.16 hit on Billboard chart.
Picnic was one of the most successful films of the late 1950s. This romantic film won 2 Academy Awards for Best Art-Direction-Set Decoration and Best Film Editing. In 1956, a composer Morris Stoloff mixed the film's score with the standard "Moonglow". It became a big hit in US and earned Stoloff a moment of fame. It was his only chart success till he passed away in 1980.
An American composer George Cates was probably best known through his works with Lawrence Welk during the 1950s and 1960s. In 1956, he recorded the standard medley of "Moonglow" and "Theme from 'Picnic'". It became a smash hit and shot to no.4 hit on Pop chart the same year. It remains his only pop chart hit in his entire career.
Dick Hyman was an American jazz pianist/keyboardist who had produced music for more than 50 years. In 1956, he and his band recorded their version of theme from 'Three Penny Opera', a German musical opera and the 1931's film with the same name. "Moritat (A Theme from "The Three Penny Opera")" became a Top10 hit on Billboard Pop chart and their only chart success.
Richard Hayman was a well-known music director for many artists, including Pat Boon, the Osmonds, and Kenny Rogers. He also recorded several broadway and film scores. One of them was a theme from 'The Three Penny Opera', which earned him a no.11 spot on Billboard chart in 1956. It was his only Top40 hit in his career till his retire in 1990s.
Michael Todd's 'Around the World In 80 Days' was undoubtly one of the most successful film of the late 50s. This Jules Verne adaptation film became a big hit and won 5 Oscars. Its theme, composed by Victor Young, also won Best Music Award and became Top20 hit on Pop chart in 1957. It was Young's biggest and only pop chart hit until he died in 1956 at the age of 56.
The 1958's The Blob was probably the first sci-fi horror film that presented this gooey monster. Aside from the film, its soundtrack also gained some notoriety of its own. The movie's intro song "The Blob" by the Five Blob (who else?), became a fluke Top40 hit that same year. They never recorded anything after that.