NEEDLE DROP NOTES
November 28, 2016 posted by James Parten

More Fleischer Needle Drop – and Terrytoon Notes

UnknownYet another Fleischer cartoon using a “needle-drop”. It’s a Screen Song, Just A Gigolo, and its opening scenes (set in a cabaret) use a sped-up version of The Scat Song by Baron Lee and his Blue Rhythm Band.

And here’s an interesting speculation.

It is entirely possible that we’ve narrowed it down to two of several issues. Only on the Melotone and Perfect issues is “The Scat Song” coupled with “Heat Waves”, which appeared in Betty Boop’s Penthouse.

Now, we’ve seen it happen that Fleischer’s cats used both sides of a given record–the Edidie Peabody items, and the coupling by Red Pepper Sam. If this here is another such case, it signifies a “waste not want not” attitude–why send some inbetweener up to Harlem to get records that they already have?


Found another one, and it uses another Billy Costello item for a brief needle-drop.

It’s Boo Boo Theme Song, and it uses (at 2:31) the Red Pepper Sam version of “Dinah”–at least one chorus of it.

The print that is on YT–a beat-up old NTA print (above)–is shorn of the section featuring The Funnyboners. Part of that section is on YT as well–but not all of it, and not the transitions from cartoon to live-action.

“Dinah” was the original flip side of “Nobody’s Sweetheart”, which was used in Betty Boop, M.D.


Terrytoon Notes

roy-halee-labelMusings on Roy Halee
I am a little bit familiar with the career of Roy Halee.

The earliest evidence of him I know is on a 1941 album of cowboy songs by Texas Jim Robertson, a NYC-based cowboy singer. Most of this artist’s discs appeared on Bluebird, but this album was done for Victor.

On this album, Robertson is aided and abetted by a male quartet. The two tenors in this quartet are Roy Halee and Walter Scanlan–the latter a veteran of the recording scene who goes back to 1909, when he first recorded under his real name of Walter Van Brunt.

Further, Halee was the singing voice of Mighty Mouse, and thus possessed a sterling tenor voice. I find it a little hard to believe that he would risk his tenor voice by doing Heckle & Jeckle later on – especially the Durante-rough voice of Heckle. (The British-inflected tones of Jeckle would be less of a strain on Halee’s pipes, if it is he.)

The only voices credited on two Terrytoon LPs I have are Tom Morrison and Roy Halee. Morrison’s natural voice was baritone, as heard narrating many “Mighty Mouse” cartoons. (He did MM’s speaking voice in commercials for Colgate Dental Cream and in the opening of “Mighty Mouse Playhouse” – though on MMP, that voice sounds more like a tenor, although not like Halee’s singing voice.)

I am not so sure about Halee doing Heckle or Jeckle in the theatrical shorts (with the exception of 1960s cartoons like Sappy New Year and Messed-Up Movie Makers). My misgivings are not based on the sounds heard, but rather on what strikes me as common sense.

Roy Halee was a rich-voiced tenor, and just the right voice for the singing of Mighty Mouse. It strikes me that Halee would have been proud of his tenor voice, and would not want to risk it doing the roughhouse cadences of Heckle. As a singer myself, I can understand this attitude.


The Terrytoons Closing Door Logo

Terrytoons-closing-door-logo

Which reminds me. . . I’ve been looking on a site called closinglogos.com. They’re a wiki dealing with studio logos.

Their post for Terrytoons is not really complete. They do bring up the “dressing room door” logo found on Terrytoons series of the 1950’s and 1960’s–but they don’t mention that was also used on the syndicated “Farmer Al Falfa Show”.

Further, they don’t mention that, when the logo was first used, its soundtrack was a slamming door, and a descending blast on a penny-whistle. This was used on “MIghty Mouse Playhouse” until the end of 1959, when somebody decided to yank a lick from the soundtrack of an existing cartoon, and put it over the slamming door.

A different lick was lifted for the 1960-61 season of “The Heckle and Jeckle Cartoon Show”. Later, a third lick was used for “Mighty Mouse Playhouse”.

For “The Deputy Dawg Show”, a special lick was created for the same basic footage, done by the four-piece combo that provided the music for all “Deputy Dawg” cartoons.

The door-slam logo was used on “MMP” until the end of the 1965-66 season. It also appeared on the H&J series on CBS that same season, with the pennywhistle. And, if memory serves, the pennywhistle returned for the 1971-72 H&J run on NBC.

9 Comments

  • I love Messed-Up Movie Makers – especially when the director of the movie was standing next to a sluggish action star “Rock Fink” (both the director and Rock Fink were voiced by Dayton Allen), stepping on his foot and telling him “Look alive Fink!” And the scene where of Rock Fink trying to rescue a damsel in distress (who was shrieking like a siren) and Heckle (or is it Jeckle?) interfering by dropping a anvil on top of him. Good stuff.

  • Roy Halee also produced some excellent albums by Simon and Garfunkel as well

    • That was Halee’s son.

    • Yowp, that was not surprising about Roy Halee being the Terrytoon voice’s son. If you think about it..One of many Halee produced Simon and Garfunkel songs showed them to be a mischievous Heckle and Jeckle like dynamic duo, the Bob Dylan spoof “A Simply Desultory Philippic”!

  • Most cartoon spiders have fewer than eight legs (if you count arms and legs as being basically the same appendages) and as an amateur entomologist this has always bugged me, though excusable I suppose as a cost-cutting measure.

    Now, in “Boo Boo Theme Song” we find one with nine: six legs, three arms. Will no one stand up for anatomical accuracy? Gimme a break!

  • Thanks for clearing up for me why the background music sounded different on the BETTY BOOP cartoon/bouncing ball sing-along of “Just a Gigolo; originally, it sounded to me like someone had gone in and tampered with the cartoon, implanting a soundtrack where there wasn’t supposed to be any. Glad we have historical accuracy, finally. Loved teh Red Pepper Sam section.

  • Hey James:

    Have you checked the 1932 Screen Song School Days (video here)? The opening segment of this one also uses higher-pitched/sped-up music. I don’t know if it’s a needle drop but thought I’d mention it in case it is. Like Just a Gigolo, this cartoon was made by James Culhane’s crew (though William Henning and David Tendlar received the screen credits on this one; I’m currently not certain if Culhane was involved with it and uncredited due to his departure or if it was started after he left).

    • Yes, that is a needle drop in “School Days’. It’s a sped-up version of “Business in F” by Gene’s Merrymakers.

      “Gene’s Merrymakers” was a pseudonym for the band of Gene Kardos,who is represented in other needle-drops, as we have seen. The vocal (by Chick Bullock) was edited out for this purpose.

      The piece was written by Archie Bleyer, who was known at the time as a writer of “stock” arrangements for dance bands. His orchestra made several recordings during the 1934-35 period.
      In the middle 1940’s,he became orchestra leader for Arthur Godfrey’s radio and television shows, as well as on Godfrey’s Columbia records, such as “Too Fat Polka”.
      Bleyer founded Cadence records in 1953, and had success producing hits for Julius la Rosa, the Chordettes , Bill Hayes, Marion Marlowe, Andy Williams, the Everly Brothers, Eddie Hodges and Lenny Welch.
      On the advice of his teenage daughters, he approved the release of “Rumble” by Link Wray–often described as “the first recorded Heavy Metal”.
      And his label released the famous album “The First Family”, which clogs junk piles to this day, and which made a star out of Vaughn Meader with his lifelike impression of then-President John F. Kennedy.

  • Oh yeah, the infamous “Closing logo group” that began on Yahoo…. I was a part of that for a while.
    I wonder which recording of the Mighty Mouse theme was used by Andy Kaufman in his early “Foreign Man” schtick?

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