THUNDERBEAN THURSDAY
July 25, 2013 posted by Steve Stanchfield

“Along Came A Duck” (Music Track Only)

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Winston Sharples wrote some of the best scores of the 1930′s for the Van Beuren Rainbow Parade cartoons. They had an interesting cartoon-related after life beyond the actual films they were made for, being sold as stock music for various silent films, both live action and animation- most notably the Stuart productions releases of Fleischer’s Koko the Clown cartoons, and the Guaranteed Pictures releases of the silent Van Beuren/ Terry Aesop’s Fables. These tracks will likely forever be associated with these earlier films.

Many of the themes of these cartoons must have been ingrained into the long term memories of the kids in the 50′s and 60′s that heard this stock music over and over. I wonder if latent memories could be brought to the surface by playing a piece of Merry Kittens or Along Came a Duck. I’ve talked to many cartoon folks that love these tracks with the silent cartoons- they’re fun and set a good music mood for the pictures they were never intended to be with.

When I started working on the Thunderbean Rainbow Parade set, one of the things I wanted to do was to assemble at least one soundtrack as just music only as an alternative track for the bonus features. I did so for Along Came a Duck, using six or seven silent cartoons that used music from this film. I was able to get almost the whole score, and left the version with sound effects and voices where I was unable to (I did locate one small piece near the end of the film on someone else’s dvd release of some silent cartoons, but he refused to let me use that five second piece of music). It’s interesting to see how much the score adds to a film when just hearing the music. I think some of the genius of Sharples is lost with the addition of the other soundtrack elements at times. I’d love to get the whole music library of these and do this for all the films. On the DVD I did include a few other clips with just music as well.

Enjoy.

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5 Comments

  • The (lovely) main musical theme was also present in Toonerville Trolley, and there’s no doubt that Sharples had pulled this from a drawer full of all-purpose musical cues he’d composed beforehand – a common practice among cartoon music score composers!

  • Love that track! And, yes, it’s Farmer Alfalfa I think of when I hear it!

  • Oh man, this is sick. I love it!

  • Sharples was the king of animation musical ‘hooks’ — I was about five years too young to be part of the silent cartoon era on television, but even then, Sharples’ 1950s stock music cues were used by Paramount and just about every other New York-based TV animation studio in the early 1960s (the only shame is while Winston’s 30s and 50s bits found homes on other cartoons, his 1940s work for Famous Studios was never reused anywhere, to the best of my knowledge).

  • Sharples was always looking for ways to repurpose his music. Most famous of these was his “Scroll Productions” library, with Sharples working in tandem with producer Hal Seeger. The Scroll library consisted of cues from Paramount cartoons of the 50′s and early 60′s and showed up on projects like Felix The Cat, King Leonardo, Tennessee Tuxedo, Milton The Monster, Snuffy Smith, Beetle Bailey, and the TV Popeyes that Paramount produced. Even later Seeger made use of more current Sharples scores (1966-1967) for the later episodes of Batfink.

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