January 16, 2020 posted by Steve Stanchfield

Top 10 Best Musical Scores In A Cartoon Short

School is just ramping up here while the Rainbow Parade project is ramping down. I’m busy reworking some sections of ‘Grandfather’s Clock’ as well as starting to get all the bonus features organized and new things in place.

It’s awards season..but, sadly, cartoon composers never did get very much in the way of awards, but many of them really should have!

After listening to so many of the Sharples scores from the Rainbow Parades in the past weeks, I thought it might be fun to list some of my favorite scores from classic animated shorts, and see what yours are as well. A great cartoon *and* a great score is a lovely combination when all the pieces come together well. Sometimes, the not-so-good scores weigh down a cartoon that’s working pretty well.

Here are my nominees from the past for best musical scores in a cartoon. Interestingly, they’re all pretty fun cartoons at least, and most are classics.

1) The Old Mill (1937) Leigh Harline was a genius. I think this short has, hands down, the best musical score of any of the Disney shorts. It’s beautifully organized and works wonderfully with the animation.

2) Feed the Kitty (1952) Is there a bad Carl Stalling score on *any* of the Warner’s shorts? As is usual, Stallings score contains wonderful accented musical stances for each sequence of this great cartoon. I’m nominating this one because of the scores’ charm and inventiveness in instrumentation. One of my favorite moments has is a music box version of ‘Oh You Beautiful Doll’, just right for the sequence.

3) Kitty Foiled (1948) There are plenty of amazing Scott Bradley scores, so picking one is honestly difficult. This one is an excellent example of both the energy and how complicated his fast scores were.

4) The Snowman (1946) It’s especially hard to pick a Philip Scheib score above any of the others, but I especially like the Snowman’s song in this short, as hokey as it is. Obviously this snowman isn’t aware of Eshbaugh’s crazy creation if you’re judging by these lyrics.

5) Bottles (1936) With this short, two Bradley scores enter my top 10. Wonderfully realized and spooky score for this odd and beautiful classic from Harman/Ising

6) We’re on Our Way to Rio (1944) Winston Sharples’ score for this early color Popeye cartoon always makes me happy in both its wonderful energy and sparkle.

7) Rooty Toot Toot (1951) Phil Moore’s score gets third billing in this classic short, and very deservedly so. It’s complex and subtle, matching action and mood with each setting wonderfully. I believe that Moore is playing the piano on this score as well.

8) Face Like a Frog (1987)
Danny Elfman’s score for this fun Sally Cruikshank short is like riding though a musical funhouse. While not part of the ‘golden age’ of animation, it’s a great little score and works so well with the bizarre animated images in this film.

9) A Dream Walking (1934) Sammy Timberg’s music is perfect in the early Fleischer shorts. There is perfection in this gem of a score, with both subtle and gritty moments.

10) Let’s Go! (1937)
I really like Joe DeNat’s scores from the late 30s, and this little musical score has wonderful elements throughout.

Now, it’s your turn. What are some of your nominees for ‘best’ scores? Have a great week everyone!


  • Every time I watch Gerald McBoing Boing I get mesmerized by the amazing score by Gail Kubik.

  • Just to be clear, you’re talking about scores composed specifically for cartoons, is that right? And therefore, cartoons like “Minnie the Moocher” and “The Old Man of the Mountain” don’t count? Because if they do, you’re going to wind up with a very different list. I don’t think I can pick a Top 10, because as soon as I did I’d think of another ten equally deserving; but here are a few nominees:

    Leigh Harline’s score to “The Old Mill” is indeed a masterpiece, but I really like his score to “Water Babies”. It perfectly captures the dreamlike innocence of the imagery in the cartoon.

    Carl Stalling wrote some fine scores for the Ub Iwerks ComiColor cartoons — “Jack Frost” and “Balloon Land” are standouts — but I’d like to nominate “Dick Whittington’s Cat” (1936). It might not be a great cartoon (it’s hard to feel sympathy for a protagonist whom absolutely everybody wants to kill), but the opening foxtrot is a charming piece of music, and the hot jazz number in the scene where the cat’s nine lives battle the army of rats really sizzles.

    My Scott Bradley nominee is “Heavenly Puss” (1949). In 1990 I took part in a concert at the University of Arkansas whose program consisted entirely of music by native Arkansans; and in the middle of the concert they wheeled out a video monitor and showed this Tom and Jerry cartoon as an example by Russellville-born Bradley. From my vantage point on the stage I could not see the cartoon, but I could hear the music perfectly clearly through the PA; and listening to it in that setting gave me a deep appreciation of the artistry in that score.

    My Scheib nominee is “The Crackpot King” (1946). I admit “Sweet Suzette” is no “Krakatoa Katie”, but the cartoon as a whole is a delightful little operetta like something out of Lehar.

    You have written that Gene Rodemich is probably the most underappreciated cartoon composer of all time, and the fact that he didn’t make your Top 10 proves this. I nominate his score to “Joint Wipers” (1932). The opening two-step, leading into a lyrical melody and them a ragtime tune, is a perfect little musical sequence, and the wild galop that accompanies the flooding of the apartment building is terrific fun. Kind of makes you glad to be a plumber….

    My nominee for all-time best musical score to a cartoon short goes to Sammy Timberg, Bob Rothberg and Sammy Lerner for “Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor” (1936). This is true operatic scoring, worthy of Tchaikovsky or Rimsky-Korsakov, and Gus Wicke’s aria (“Who’s the most remarkable, extraordinary fellow?”) is a tour de force.

    It’s getting late, but I’ll be back tomorrow if I think of any more.

    • They had “A Dream Walking” and “Rio” so the criteria can be a bit loose.

  • Some Mickey Mouse shorts:
    “Building a Building” (1933)
    “Puppy Love” (1933)
    “Thru the Mirror” (1936)
    “The Simple Things” (1953)

    Some Donald Duck shorts:
    “Donald’s Lucky Day” (1939)
    “Mr. Duck Steps Out” (1940)
    “Donald’s Dilemma” (1947)
    “Trick or Treat” (1952)
    “The Litterbug” (1961)

    Each features a memorable tune that plays in one’s head long after viewing the cartoon.
    “Meet Mother Magoo” (1956)
    “Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol” (1962)
    “Ann-Margrock Presents” (Flintstones, 1963)
    “Christmas Flintstone” (1964)

    The last 3 are television, but they feature some memorable songs rendered in animation.

  • Here’s 10 of my favorites in chronological order:
    “Grandfather’s Clock” (1934, Van Beuren)
    “Mr. Duck Steps Out” (1940, Walt Disney)
    “Snow Time for Comedy” (1941, Warner Brothers)
    “The Snowman” (1944, Hans Fisherkoesen)
    “The ABC’s of the “Automobile Engine” (1948, Sound Masters)
    “Fast And Furry-ous” (1949, Warner Brothers)
    “Beep! Beep!” (1952, Warner Brothers)
    “The Two Mouseketeers” (1952, MGM)
    “The Rhapsody Of Steel” (1959, John Sutherland)
    “The Substitute” (1961, Zagreb Film)

  • I think one cartoon that Stalling carried was the Snafu short “Pay Day.” In that cartoon, except for the very end, there’s no dialogue, meaning Stalling’s score is front and center. There’s some terrific quotes (a unique usage of “Begin the Beguine” in a WB-produced short), a great use of “Am I Blue?” and some wonderful atmosphere-setting music for the Middle East, the Caribbean and the far North. It’s one of Freleng’s best efforts, but in this case, Stalling’s contribution is absolutely vital to putting the jokes over.

  • “Three Little Bops” has probably my favorite music score of any short, animated or live-action. Like Paul Groh, I want to at least mention the Fleischer collaborations with musicians such as Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong, and Don Redman, even if they may be bending the rules of the list a bit. Others that come to mind, without any guarantee they’d make my top ten if I rewatched all the cartoons I’d need to in order to make this list accurate: “Tom Turk and His Harmonica Humdingers” (which, again, may be bending the rules of the list); “Peace on Earth”; “Book Revue”; “Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs”.

  • Some random thoughts on cartoon scores that I feel are underrated:

    Most people dislike Bill Lava’s scores for the late Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies, but his work on the early Pink Panther shorts is pretty good, especially the first one, “The Pink Phink”. It helps that he had Mancini’s iconic theme to work from. Walter Greene’s arrangements of said theme are also superb, and hold up better than most other “canned” music of the time. Favorite Pink Panther score, however, is the jazz-infused Doug Goodwin score for “Extinct Pink”, which he later used as incidental music for the Ant and the Aardvark shorts.

    Pat Irwin’ s clever scores for “Rocko’s Modern Life” stand as some of the most unique cartoon music of the ’90s. It really fit the quirky tone of the show.

    George Bruns’ chase music from the sci-fi pulp parody in the opening segment of the Disneyland episode “Mars and Beyond”. A wonderful pastiche of 1950s B-movie music.

    Michael Giacchino really nailed the sound of the vintage Goofy shorts for “How to Hook Up Your Home Theater”. Extra Points for incorporating music from “How to Play Football”.

    • Lava’s scores n the final days of the original Warner’s studio really rose and fell based off b the material — if he had a weak cartoon to work with the score wasn’t going to hide that. “Woolen Under Where” was probably his best effort in the 1962-64 period.

    • I’ll take any of “The Ant and The Aardvark” scores! With playes such as Ray Brown (Bass), Pete Candoli (Trumpet), Jimmy Rowles (Piano), Billy Byers (Trombone), Shelly Manne (Drums), and Tommy Tedesco (Banjo), how can you go wrong? (A few core Henry Mancini players here including the rhythm section of Rowles, Brown, and Manne along with Candoli).

    • I think there are two reasons why Bill Lava’s scores for The Pink Panther are more enjoyable than most of his work for 1962-1964 Looney Tunes: One, he had the advantage of that Henry Mancini song to weave in-between the gags, and two, it didn’t have the baggage of “I’m replacing classic cartoon composers with my more modern style” that Looney Tunes had.

      That said, when it comes to his work on 1962-1964 Looney Tunes, there are a few scores I genuinely enjoy: The aforementioned Woolen Under Where, as well as The Unmentionables, Banty Raids, Good Noose, and Senorella the Glass Huarache.

  • I still remember “A hick, a slick, and a chick” from late 1940s Warner Brothers.

    • That one is one of Arthur Davis’ best. Great voices from Mel Blanc, Bea Benaderet, and Stan Freberg, Carl Stalling’s music in this one is lively and energetic, not to mention some great animation, especially from Emery Hawkins and Bill Melendez.

  • Flintstones scores would include, “Impractical Joker”, with its constant use of Hoyt Curtin electric guitar suspense themes (the part where, first, Betty Rubble is helping Barney sew up a payback practical joke, suddenly freaks and asks Wilma, “Was that a police siren?”, when nothing was even HEARD, then Fred doing it… then the “one time only” crime noir cool jazz underscore (never heard elsewhere to my knowledge!) when the mysterious burglar at the gulch, where Fred planned to bury the “instant money” machine that was central to the cointer-prank, has both Fred AND Barney (after Fred finds out that it was a PRANK) before the happy O. Henry ending (it was all a surprise party), and the standard music used in chase scenes, and some other songs – which brings me to 1965’s final season opener, “No Biz Like Show Biz”, the one where (albiet still babies) Pebbles and Bamm Bamm sing 1954’s “Open up your heart and let the sun shine in”, become celebs and such with another happy O.,Henry surprise that I won’t even reveal.

    The various pre-Curtin stock cues I like..

    But theatrical short next..
    reversing the situation of stock cues, here’s the Winston Sharples/Paramount shorts whose cues wound up in later works (New York ones, at least):


    Fit to be Toyed
    Scouting for Trouble
    Robin Robinhood
    Puss ‘n’Boos
    From Mad to Worse
    Which is Which
    Owly to bed
    Fiddle Faddle
    Planet Mouse-Ola
    Be Mice to Cats
    Out of this whirl
    Felineous Assault
    Child Sockology
    Swimmer Take All

    …Among many largely-post 1955 others. By 1958, even the theatricals started reusing them..

    The usual…that OPERA, DOC short, though its already a classic 19th century Wagner tune that I’d rather hear by itslef…

    A Hick, A Slick, and a Chick
    Page Miss Glory
    Rabbit of Seville
    Long Haired Hare
    The Cat Came Back
    I Love to Singa
    Shuffle off to Buffalo
    Feed the Kitty
    Porky’s Baseball Broadcast
    Hare-um Scare-um

    Mouse in Manhattan (with that definitite “Manhattan Serenade”)
    The Little Goldfish (with that “Whispering” ripp off and same surprise ending as that Flintstones “Sunsine” episode and, out of the same year as rthe goldfish short, 1939, a certain MGM film with a scarecrow, Judy Garland,etc. Come to TINK OF, it, a LOT of those Harman-Ising/MGM’s with cute animals used that trope!)
    Many Droopy shorts


    Three Little Pigs
    Toot Whistle Plunk and Book
    Pigs is Pigs
    Adventures in Music

    and the features
    (just to name the ones with songs)..

    Just off the top of my head..

  • Popeye’s “Ancient Fistory”.

  • This is a great topic Steve. You selected many of my favorites above – here are a few more that deserve mention:

    1. SUPERMAN (1941) – the first Fleischer Superman cartoon has one of the most thrilling scores ever composed. And memorable. I think about some of the music cues regularly almost every day – especially when I’m rushing around L.A.

    2. Timberg’s Fleischer scores in general – particularly in the black and white Popeyes. AXE ME ANOTHER (among many others) making use of Paramount’s pop tunes as background commentary as cleverly as Stalling and Bradley did at their respective studios. The track on PIPEYE, PUPEYE, POOPEYE AND PEEPEYE (1942) is particularly energetic.

    3. Mention must be made of Scott Bradley’s incredible work on the Avery and Hanna Barbera cartoons. His deft melding of “Sing Before Breakfast”, “All God Chillun Got Rhythm”, “The Worry Song”, “The Trolley Song”, “Running Wild”, “We’re Off The See The Wizard” in appropriate places make those cartoons for me. All that said MOUSE IN MANHATTAN (1945) is certainly one of his masterpieces.

    4. There’s no way to pick just one great Stalling score – so I’ll pick a cartoon I love: Clampett’s BOOK REVUE (1946). Just listen to the background score on this one sometime… incredible.

  • Great, well curated post.

  • 1. The Mascot (1933) Great Weill-esque score to one of Ladislaw Starevitch’s stop-motion masterworks.
    2. Donald’s Better Self (1938) One of my favorite short’s of all time has a charming Oliver Wallace score.
    3. Tulips Shall Grow (1942) Perhaps my favorite Pupptoon which was Gerorge Pal’s wartime parable about the Nazi Occupation of Holland. Eddison von Ottenfeld’s score begins cheerful then quickly turns and sinister and mechanical as the Screwball Army invades Jan and Janette’s idyllic tulip gardens.
    4. The Lady Says No (1946) In this, the only surviving example of Frank Tashlin’s Daffy Dittys, Paul Smith’s tragically humorous tale of Pepito’s pursuit of a contrary young temptress gives us a glimpse of the technical brilliance of this lost chapter in puppet animation 🙁

  • If we’re including television cartoons, then mention should be made of the Hanna-Barbera action/adventure series of the sixties: Jonny Quest, Space Ghost, and The Herculoids. That music is on a par with the best Hollywood film scoring.

    The show with the best music ever written for television is, by acclamation, LOST IN SPACE. Sure, it’s not animated… but it is pretty cartoony….

    Anything goes now! I nominate Calloway, Armstrong, Redman, and Rubinoff… and “Swing, You Sinners!”

  • There’s no mention of the great Darrell Calker yet who really helped the Lantz cartoons with his music. As Thad and Bob Jaques said recently on Cartoon Logic, Lantz could’ve ended up on the TerryToons route with cheap music as well as cheap cartoons (“Does anyone really remember a Terrytoons score?”) but Calker provided memorable, sometimes powerful scores for Lantz’s cartoons that at least provided Lantz with good music when the cartoons themselves were sometimes forgettable.

    My top 10 Calker scores…..

    1) Woody Woodpecker
    2) The Screwdriver
    3) Man’s Best Friend
    4) Under the Spreading Blacksmith Shop
    5) Boogie Woogie Sioux
    6) The Barber of Seville
    7) Fish Fry
    8) Well Oiled
    9) Wet Blanket Policy
    10) Rah Rah Ruckus*
    BONUS: Syncopated Sioux (No music credit but I’m pretty sure this is Calker. It has his fingerprints all over it. And it sounds more upbeat than Frank Marsales’ generally more conservative style. If only more evidence were available…. If it IS definitely Calker, it’s wedged in as number 11.)

    Dizzy Kitty
    Chew Chew Baby
    The Poet and Peasant
    Bathing Buddies
    Scrappy Birthday
    Fish and Chips
    The Case of the Maltese Chicken
    *Yes, I know this is a Beary Family cartoon but I love its’ score. And it proves my point about Lantz having good music even when the cartoons themselves weren’t great.

  • Disney. “In The Bag” 1956.

  • My vote goes to Carl Stalling’s score for PORKY PIG’S FEAT. Already Frank Tashlin’s most perfect cartoon, Stalling enhances it with nary a wasted note. Even other composers’ music like “Blues in the night” and “Powerhouse” suit the action to a T.

    • I almost forgot JOE GLOW THE FIREFLY. Tops on my “get it on DVD” list for Stalling’s robust score alone.

  • Phil Scheib was a very talented musician whose cookie-cutter scores for Terrytoons masked that talent. His scores in the Gene Deitch Terrytoons – especially “Juggler of Our Lady” – are more subtle.

    Ernie Pintoff’s uncredited score for “Flebus” is perfect for the cartoon.

    I’m surprised no one mentioned “Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs.”

    • Jody Morgan mentioned “Coal Black”, above.

  • Neat selection including some I had never seen. Thanks.

  • A Disney short that hasn’t been mentioned that has unique music in my opinion would be “Hawaiian Holidays” (1937) not only for the great ukulele music but the underscores that play during Pluto’s encounter with a crab.

    For a more abstract piece, I enjoy the jazz score for Art Clokey’s experimental clay short, “Gumbasia”(1953). It really contemplates the film.

  • Scott Bradley “Mouse in Manhattan”.

  • Some nods should also go out to the arrangers of the scores.

  • Ooh, I didn’t really do proper homework for this, but I enjoyed others’ choices, here.

    Yes, I am reminded again and again of how terrific “GUMBASIA”, the debut Art Clokey film, really is and I wish I could hunt down that piece so I can hear it in its uncut entirety. So for that reason it remains at teh top of my list.

    Then there is “DANCE OF THE WEED”, the cartoon that inspired my email address. Whenever it came on TV, even in grainy black and white, its imagery was hypnotizing to a little kid like me, and that was partially due to the music being so perfect. Here’s hoping that cartoon is neatly restored and released on both DVD and blu-ray real soon.

    I’m not quite sure whether or not this is Carl Stalling, but “DOUBLE OR MUTTON”, one of the WOLF AND SHEEPDOG cartoons contains such a wonderful atmospheric scores. In fact, there is a section there where most of the orchestra holds one ominous note while one instrument orchestrates the wolf’s skulking around. I’d wanted to have that score alone on DVD or blu-ray, apart from its cartoon soundtrack just to separate it from the sound effects and dialogue. I’d been told that it exists, partially, on one of the CARL STALLING PROJECT disks, so I’ll do the search, but in its entirety, it is so enjoyable.

    Carl Stalling’s score to “JUMPIN’ JUPITOR” which is also on the disk without its sound effects and dialogue. It was also part of the “BUGS BUNNY ON BROADWAY” show; such a thrill to hear it live!

    Just about any of those very, very early scores for Hanna-Barbera cartoons like the first season of “THE HUCKLEBERRY HOUND SHOW”; just listen to the way the Capital music cues, as they have been called, are used in that one PIXIE AND DIXIE cartoon in which Dixie longs to fly, and does…and we know that these scores were used elsewhere, even becoming TV themes for shows like “THE DONNA REED SHOW”. Some might consider these to be just piecemeal scores, but some of ’em are marvelous.

    We hear pieces of music so often in cartoons, but I have to say that the f inest uses of the familiar piece that goes by the name of “The Poet and the Peasant” came with a POPEYE cartoon called “SPINACH OVERTURES” and an even odder use, as part of the chaos throughout the very rare BOSKO cartoon from MGM’s HAPPY HARMONIES, “CIRCUS DAZE”. I think it was because of that cartoon that the piece is etched in my memory forever!

    Almost any bits of scoring used for the often overlooked “COURAGEOUS CAT AND MINUTE MOUSE” cartoons from Sam Singer Productions and Bob Kane, poking fun at his own creation, “BATMAN”. I guess these would also come under the banner of Capital music cues? I don’t know and I’d appreciate anyone else chiming in here. I only wish that, throughout this lenghty bit of commenting, I could provide audio of some of my favorites, but a favorite comes at the beginning of the second “COURAGEOUS CAT” cartoon to feature the shoo shoo fly as the nemesis; the cartoon in question can be found as one of the cartoons on disk four of the complete collection set from A&E Home Video. Most of these jazzy scores are also used in noirish TV shows, like early episodes of “THE UNTOUCHABLES”, even though they don’t really identify the era that the show is supposed to represent. They remind me of a similarly favorite bit of instrumental music that became a “hit” on radio, the theme to “ROUTE 66”. Someone should release some of these on CD in a collection and call it COURAGEOUS CAT COOL!

    I have to echo other posters, here, for choosing the score to “MOUSE IN MANHATTAN”, a nice marriage of audio and visual. If it is true that Fred Quimby was constantly nudging Hugh Harman to add funny stuff to his cartoons, this cartoon should have been shown to him as example, but hey, I always thought that Harman did all right for himself, even if Quimby didn’t think so.

    Hugh Harman’s “THE OLD MILL POND” and “SWING WEDDING”, perhaps the closest that Hugh and Rudy came to jazz influenced animation at MGM. One really needs to check out the artists caricatured here to understand both cartoons.

    For an even better understanding of what I mean, perhaps a good example goes back to Harman and Ising’s “YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING”, a raucous cartoon whose title track keeps the cartoon going and erupting in some surreal imagery.

    The BETTY BOOP version of “SNOW WHITE”, not to take anything away from Walt Disney, but to hear the true jazz that I talked about above, one needs to listen to Cab Calloway having fun providing a song, here. He must have been looking at a storyboard while performing the song, or he just allowed much in his performance for the Fleischers to animate to!

    “CONVICT CONCERTO”, a cartoon that was brought to my attention on the internet recently as it was sited as having Hugh Harman’s animation or influence in there somewhere, even though it was a Walter Lantz WOODY WOODPECKER cartoon. I used to have this score, recorded from TV, on reel to reel tape years ago, and I loved it, along with other Lantz cartoons. This is a delightful entry that now can be found on the first disk of the second volume of the WOODY WOODPECKER AND FRIENDS series. Here’s hoping that, someday, there will be another one, focusing more on the one shot titles and remaining toons from the 1930’s and 1940’s that are also amazing.

    I wish I could immediately think of more, but there is nearly a festival’s worth of music that I dare any orchestra to play for me live! There should be more shows like “BUGS BUNNY ON BROADWAY”, just to honor those who perform animation cartoon scores for the golden age and the early days of TV. One does not realize how much any of these can become ear worms long after you listen to the cartoons. Although I’ve pointed out some Carl Stalling and Scott Bradley moments, here, there are many more, like the fight music throughout “ABDUL THE BULBUL AMEER” or the scores to all the LITTLE INKI cartoons or “HOLIDAY FOR SHOESTRINGS” or “PIGS IN A POLKA”. You know I could go on if I wanted to sit down here and open up all the disks I have, including laserdisks, to find other examples, and it wasn’t just Stalling either. I like those scores to all or most of the 1930’s LOONEY TUNES and MERRIE MELODIES before Carl Stalling even came into the picture. “BUDDY’S LOST WORLD” has some ominous moments and, on the other end, “BUDDY STEPS OUT” has some sweet bits of scoring, while I like the creative hilarity of “NELLIE’S FOLLY” and I’m glad it made it to the final GOLDEN COLLECTION set and one of the PLATINUM COLLECTION sets as well, complete with session takes.

    Oh, and one more thing: For creative uses of score samples, I give those involved with “THE BEANY AND CECIL SHOW” a lot of credit! Everything appears throughout that series, from 78 RPM ditties to notable classical pieces. I’d mentioned this before, but there is an incredible redition of Rossini’s “Storm” music used in one of those cartoons where Dishonest John is whirling up a storm to make Cecil seasick (“(gulp) Would someone stop tilting the TV tube!”). I wonder how much Bob Clampett liked novelty tunes of teh 1930’s and that is why you get the occasional old jazz tune underneath certain dialogue, although I wish that Bob could have gotten the right to use more samples, although certain public domain tunes often got used with different lyrics to suit the cartoon or introduce a major recurring character. All in all, it made that show so much more enjoyable.

    Oh, there are many, many more, but that will do for now; good night all!

    • Unfortunately the cost of the “Bugs Bunny on Broadway” package is prohibitively expensive for all but the wealthiest symphony orchestras, and the contract comes with so many stipulations that the return from the show simply isn’t worth all the trouble. In my experience as an orchestral librarian, Hollywood gave me nothing but grief; they have no idea of what is involved in putting together an orchestra concert, and they demand exorbitant amounts of money for parts that are often illegible, disorganised, and full of mistakes. My former orchestra once did a concert of cartoon music in collaboration with cartoon composers Steve and Julie Bernstein, animation historian Daniel Goldmark, and voice actor Rob Paulsen (all of whom were wonderful), and it was actually cheaper to have our in-house arranger make arrangements of The Pink Panther, Woody Woodpecker, etc., than to hire them from the Hollywood music publishers. (We had to tread some fine legal lines there.) It was a good concert, but it took several years to plan and coordinate, and it will not be repeated.

      Believe me, most orchestras would be thrilled if MGM, Warners, etc. dug into their music archives and used modern typesetting software to produce score and parts to their classic cartoons in playable condition, and then made them available for hire at reasonable rates. But there doesn’t appear to be any likelihood of this ever happening.

    • “Double or Mutton” was composed by Milt Franklyn. Speaking of, here are my favorite scores of his:
      -The Hole Idea (1955)
      -Red Riding Hoodwinked (1955)
      -One Froggy Evening (1955) – of course
      -Tweet and Sour (1956)
      -The Honey-Mousers (1956)
      -Birds Anonymous (1957)
      -Rabbit Romeo (1957)
      -Hare-way to the Stars (1958)
      -From Hare to Heir (1960)
      -Hyde and Go Tweet (1960)
      -Mice Follies (1960)
      -Person to Bunny (1960)
      -Dog Gone People (1960)
      -D’Fightin’ Ones (1961)
      -The Mouse on 57th Street (1961)
      -Daffy’s Inn Trouble (1961)
      -The Last Hungry Cat (1961)
      -Zoom at the Top (1962)
      -Adventures of the Road Runner pilot (1962)

    • How could I forget High Note (1960)? That’s another Franklyn fave.

  • A lot of the *later* Betty Boop cartoons have some super catchy underrated soundtrack. I’d bring up “You’re Not Built That Way” or “Pudgy and the Lost Kitten”

  • Little Audrey “The Case of the Cock-Eyed Canary (1952)

    Casper “Frightday the 13th” (1953)

    Both had some cues which became part of the Winston Sharples stock music package.

  • No love for for the early Charlie Brown specials?

  • Here are a few of my favorite cartoon scores:

    Sammy Timberg’s score for CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. I love how he scores the title song and Grampy’s theme music throughout the cartoon.

    Buddy Baker’s score for WINNIE THE POOH AND TIGGER TOO.

    Carl Stalling’s scores for the Comi Color cartoons THE THREE BEARS and JACK FROST. As for his Looney Tunes scores, I can’t pick one favorite because they’re all great. But here’s a few of my favorites….ROBINSON CRUSOE JR. and YOU OUGHT TO BE IN PICTURES.

    George Bruns’ scores from NOAH’S ARK and GOLAITH II.

  • Great topic. When you watched the same cartoons over and on TV in the 60’s, eventually you couldn’t help but notice the scores that stood out. That didn’t happen again for me until Samurai Jack on television. Someone has put all of Venable’s music for the first four seasons up on YouTube:

  • Sorry for coming late to the conversation. This post reminded me of legendary studio musician Earl Palmer’s opinion of playing cartoon scores as stated in this quote from an interview he gave:

    RF: Do I dare ask you the highlights of your career?

    “EP: …Another was doing a film call—some cartoon music which is very, very difficult music because it is all written, and because of the changes of tempos and changes of instruments. Doing one of those the first time and doing it exactly right was another feeling of great accomplishment because it was something I hadn’t done before. It gave me a chance to prove myself to a number of people who were on that date and who I had never worked with.”

  • Carl Stalling and Milt Franklyn’s scores in WB toons.
    Scott Bradley’s scores in MGM toons
    Ben Locket’s in The Amazing World of Gumball.

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