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Pierre's Tuesday Blog

ITYWLTMT’s Klassical Music Kartoons

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I don’t know about your childhood, but mine involved (probably too much) television, and especially cartoons. Before the advent of specialty cable channels like Cartoon Network, TeleToon, YTV and Nickelodeon, mainstream networks used to provide a wide range of cartoon programming on Saturdays.

Related threads:
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Music that reminds you of your childhood

Those of us in Montreal who were fortunate enough to get US television networks over Cablevision (as it was known in those days) in the 1960’s and 70’s, CBS’ affiliate WCAX in Burlington, VT used to have all-cartoon programming (and the odd live-action show) running on Saturday morinings starting with the Bugs Bunny and Road Runner Show at 8 AM ad ending at 2 PM (the last offering being the CBS Children’s Film Festival hosted by Kukla, Fran and Ollie). There also was a “bonus” hour of cartoons from 9 to 10 AM on Sundays (before Face the Nation) which for the longest time was home to Tom and Jerry.

Also, the French-language station (CFTM-TV, votre canal 10) had Les p’**** bonhommes every morning at 7:30, which showed its fair share of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies – mostly those that required no dubbing, or just had laughably bad dubbing.

It should come as no surprise that cartoons leveraged classical music as background scoring, and had a few shorts that featured, revolved around or outright mocked the classics and opera. I have vivid memories of those, and they probably were my first exposure to classical music.

By happenstance, I stumbled across an article entitled 10 Best Uses Of Classical Music In Classic Cartoons

The link provides embedded video clips of each of the selectons, and includes the likes of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” from the original (1940) Fantasia. I came up with my own set of eight (which overlaps somewhat that set of 10), and compiled them on the ITYWLTMT YouTube Channel.

YouTube Playlist link:

I provide a detailed list below, which also includes inks to the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) for plot summaries, and production details. In two cases, I provide alternate (better quality) links than the YouTube clips I have compiled – as I wasn’t able to link (or embed) non-YouTube clips onto my YouTube channel.

Not surprising, Bugs Bunny is featured in four of my selections (most notably, The Rabbit of Seville). Except for Long-Haired Hare (and its nod to Stokowski “Leopold!” sequence), we recognize traditional foe/hunters Elmer Fudd and Porky Pig, in the usual “wabbit hunt” scenario that probably covers 80% of all the Bugs Bunny shorts.

Tom and Jerry come in second place with two (brilliant) selections, one of which (The Cat Concerto) won the Academy Award for Short Subjects-Cartoons in 1946.

The black bird that “jumps to the tune of Fingal’s Cave” is one of those Merie Melody shorts that I probably saw on a weekday getting ready for school on French TV.

A fun twist to a children’s tale is Pigs in a Polka, a rendering of the classic "The Three Little Pigs", which is another brilliant Friz Freling Merrie Melodies short – Freling, Chuck Jones and, to a lesser extent, Tex Avery probably are responsible for most of the Bugs Bunny shorts.

I had lots of fun putting together this week’s post! Please share these with your kids. The only parental guidance here is to expect “mild cartoon violence”, hunters with guns and poor aim, Elmer Fudd gets a vigourous shave, and Giovanni Jones breaks a banjo, a harp and ties Bugs Bunny’s head to a tree with his long ears.

(Please share your other cartoon favourites with us by posting comments below or on our YouTube Channel. In your suggestions, please stay clear of cartoon anthologies like "Fantasia" and "Allegro non troppo")

(Note: musical selections are adapted for length, comedic effect, action and musical forces available)

Selection #1: Inki and the Minah Bird (1943)
IMDb Link:
  • Felix MENDELSSOHN: Die Hebriden (The Hebrides) Overture, Op. 26 ["Die Fingalshöhle" (Fingal's Cave)]

Selection #2: A Corny Concerto (1943)
IMDb Link:
  • Johann STRAUSS II: G'schichten aus dem Wienerwald (Tales from the Vienna Woods), op. 325
  • Johann STRAUSS II: An der schönen blauen Donau (At the Beautiful Blue Danube), Op. 314

Selection #3: Tom and Jerry in the Hollywood Bowl (1950)
IMDb Link:
  • Franz LISZT: Les préludes, S.97
  • Johann STRAUSS II: Overture to Die Fledermaus (The bat) (1874)

Selection #4: Rabbit of Seville (1950)
IMDb Link:
Better Quality version:
  • Gioachino ROSSINI: Overture to Il barbiere di Siviglia, ossia L'inutile precauzione (The Barber of Seville, or The Useless Precaution) (1816)

Selection #5: Pigs in a Polka (1943)
IMDb Link:
  • Johannes BRAHMS: Selections (Nos. 5, 7, 6 and 17) from Ungarische Tänze (Hungarian Dances), WoO 1

Selection #6: What's Opera, Doc? (1957)
IMDb Link:
  • Richard WAGNER: Selections from Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung), WWV 86
  • Richard WAGNER: Selections from Tannhäuser und der Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg (Tannhäuser and the Singers' Contest at Wartburg), WWV 70
  • Richard WAGNER: Selections from Der Fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman), WWV.63

Selection #7: The Cat Concerto (1947)
IMDb Link:
  • Franz LISZT: Hungarian Rhapsody in C-sharp minor, S.244, no. 2

Selection #8: Long-Haired Hare (1949)
IMDb Link:
Better Quality version:
  • Gioachino ROSSINI: "Largo al factotum" (Make way for the factotum) from [I]Il barbiere di Siviglia[/I
  • Gaetano DONIZETTI: "Chi mi frena in tal momento" (Who restrains me at this moment), sextet from Lucia di Lammermoor (1835)
  • Richard WAGNER: Prelude from Act III of Lohengrin WWV 75
  • Franz von SUPPE: Overture from Die schöne Galathee (The Beautiful Galatea) (1863)

    (Note: This last video was just removed from YouTube - you must use the "better quality" link to enjoy this classic cartoon!)

June 17th 2011, "I Think You Will Love This Music Too" will be adding a new montage on "Father's Day" to its Pod-O-Matic Podcast. Read more June 17th on the ITYWLTMT Blogspot blog.

Updated Jul-18-2011 at 12:52 by itywltmt (Removed warning, added french link)

Classical Music , Visual Arts , Recorded Music