Oct 16, 2015

The Angelheaded Hipster: Craig Hundley

If you saw the Star Trek episode "And the Children Shall Lead" (1967),  in which an alien "angel"  brainwashes a group of children into taking control of the Enterprise, you remember Craig  Hundley.  He's the tall, lanky redhead in the weird striped smock -- about a foot taller than the others, way too old to play their "chasing each other" game, looking heavily embarrassed.

No wonder -- the others were between 7 and 10 years old, and Craig was 13,

Craig was a busy child and teen actor through the 1960s. He played Captain Kirk's nephew in another Star Trek episode, and he appeared on Ben Casey, Dragnet, The Virginian, Green Acres, Adam-12, and Kojak.  Several of his characters were "oddballs," outcasts, or residents of an underworld easily queered. He plays a mischievous young warlock on Bewitched, and one of the boys who convinces Greg to start smoking on The Brady Bunch.

He's hard to track down, since he went by Chris Hundley as a kid, Craig Hundley as a teenager, and Craig Huxley as an adult

At age 14,  he started a jazz band, the Craig Hundley Trio, with his friends, J. J. Wiggins (now jazz musician Hassan Shakur) and Gary Chase (now a composer and orchestrator for film).

Their Arrival of a Young Giant (1969) portrays them as cute, hip, and well-scrubbed. The back cover even includes their ages and weights, to emphasize their physicality, presumably to a teen audience.  But the music inside:  Chopin, Bach, and instrumental versions of the Beatles, Frank Sinatra, and "The Jet Song" from West Side Story, plus Craig's own composition, "Arrival."  Not the usual teen idol fare.

Craig Hundley Plays with the Big Boys (1970), contains  Beethoven and Burt Bacharach.  Old standards for the adult crowd.

Next came an all-Gershwin album.

Jazz musicians are not known for being gay-friendly.  But none of the lyrics of the original songs Craig chose are heterosexist.  In fact, none mention girls at all. Some, such as "The Jet Song" and "The Midnight World," acknowledge a world of men.

He gave up jazz in the early 1980s to concentrate on synethesizer and electronic music, for which he has invented a number of instruments, including the Blaster Beam.  He has produced over 20 albums, including instrumentals for Roberta Flack, Quincy Jones, and Neil Diamond.  But he remains close to Hollywood, composing the music for Forbidden World (1982), Crime of Innocence (1985),  Rock Hudson (1990), and Walker - Texas Ranger (1993-2001), and the soundtracks for the first two Star Trek movies.

No word on whether he is interested in men, women, both, or neither.

See also: Star Trek