An extremely prolific composer of more than 100 film scores, Elmer Bernstein was a child prodigy, performing professionally as a dancer and actor and winning several prizes for his painting before gravitating by his own choice to music. Henriette Michelsen, a Juilliard teacher who gave him a scholarship and would guide him in his career as a pianist, had the 12 year-old prodigy play some of his improvisations for Aaron Copland, who in turn selected Israel Citkowski to help further the boy's music education. Bernstein began his concert career in 1939, touring as both a pianist and conductor, only to have it interrupted by World War II. By the time he left the armed services, he had composed the scores for more than 80 radio shows for the Armed Forces Radio Network but returned to the concert stage as a civilian until given the opportunity to write the scores for two programs for United Nations Radio in 1949. These broadcasts caught the attention of Columbia Pictures' vice president Sid Buchman who brought Bernstein to Hollywood to score "Saturday's Hero" (1950).