Just in the last few minutes, I found out that actor David McCallum who had played the eccentric but super-sharp Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard on the original "NCIS" passed away at the age of 90 earlier today. I haven't watched the show in many years but when I was living in Japan, I did catch a lot of its episodes on cable TV. Although Ducky had his own moments of anger, he was usually the most level-headed and reassuring of the investigative team.
However, being a baby from the 1960s, I first knew McCallum as stoic but baby-faced super-agent Illya Kuryakin in "The Man from UNCLE" assisting his senior partner, suave Napoleon Solo, as played by the late Robert Vaughan. "NCIS" had some fun with the Mallard/Kuryakin thing a couple of times. In the 1970s, I also remember McCallum playing the title character in the updated television version of "The Invisible Man" which only lasted a few months, I believe.
Ironically, earlier in the morning, NHK reported that the last surviving member of the vocal quartet Dark Ducks（ダークダックス）, Hajime Tohyama（遠山一）, had passed away a few days ago at the age of 93. Members Tohru Sasaki（佐々木行）and Tetsu Kisou（喜早哲）died in 2016 while Hiromu Takamizawa（高見澤宏）left this mortal coil in 2011.
In tribute then, I wanted to post a Dark Ducks song tonight and what I have here is "Giniro no Michi" (The Silver Road), an October 1966 kayo kyoku of optimism and going forward. Written by Shigeru Tsukada（塚田茂）and composed by Hiroshi Miyagawa（宮川泰）, it was used as the theme song for the NHK musical-variety show "Yume wo Anata ni"（夢をあなたに...Dreams For You）. Speaking of the national broadcaster, Dark Ducks were able to get onto the Kohaku Utagassen to perform the song.
According to the article for the song on J-Wiki, the legendary composer noted that "Giniro no Michi" had been inspired by a memory from his childhood when his father, who had been a civil engineer, was involved in the construction of a special track for the Konomai Gold Mine in Hokkaido. Young Miyagawa noticed that puddles by the track glistened in the moonlight which convinced him of the existence of a silver road.
As was often the case back then, songs often had multiple singers and/or bands competing to be the first to record them. "Giniro no Michi" was no different, and though Dark Ducks had been the first act to show the song on television, female duo The Peanuts（ザ・ピーナッツ）beat them (though not by much) in terms of the release date of the single record which was also early October 1966, although their version was actually the B-side to "Roma no Ame"（ローマの雨...The Rain in Rome）. Compared to the folksy country twang of the Ducks' version, The Peanuts' take on "Giniro no Michi" starts out sounding like hippie-ish Sunshine Pop before gradually turning into a bold jazzy number.
Some 30 years following the final closure of the Konomai Mine, a stone memorial plaque with the lyrics of "Giniro no Michi" was established in 2003 in the area of the mine near Monbetsu Station. In any case, my condolences go to both the families, friends and fans of David McCallum and Hajime Tohyama.