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!