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Fred Seibert's Blog


The Hanna-Barbera Pic-A-Nic Basket of Cartoon Classics.

November 1st, 2008

Hanna-Barbera Pic-a-Nic Box

Anyone who knows me is aware of my music habit, and close readers of this blog will pick up on my affection for cartoon music in particular.

So it was extremely gratifying when my friend, Rhino Records founder Richard Foos, agreed to indulge me in the 1990’s with a (now out-of-print) four CD boxed set of Hanna-Barbera Cartoons themes, underscores, sound effects, and other audio ephemera and artifacts of our historic studio. It was compiled and produced with passion and knowledge by cartoon writer/producer Earl Kress.

I’ve posted before about my worship and respect for the under appreciated HB music director and composer Hoyt Curtin but I’ve finally gotten around to scanning the great booklet Earl put together for the set. It not only includes a listing of all the sound in the box, but has great essays by Bill Hanna, Joe Barbera, David Burd, Bill Burnett, and Barry Hansen (Dr. Demento). Plus Marty Pekar conducted an interview about the studio’s unique sound effects library with Joe, Bill, Greg Watson, and Pat Foley. (As we get around to it, you can look at separate transcripts of the essays here.)

For a quick preview, here’s a Quick Draw McGraw track from the box set, composed, arranged and conducted by Hoyt:

Hoyt Curtain & The Hanna-Barbera Studio Big Band >Quick Draw McGraw (Underscore & Syndicated End Titles)

Cartoon Music Week.

October 20th, 2008

The Carl Stalling ProjectQuick Draw McGrawTom & Jerry & Tex Avery Too!The Three LIttle PigsTerry S. Taylor's Imaginarium

Last week was a Cartoon Music Week over on my music blog. I tried to survey a bunch of approaches to the classic styles; maybe someday soon I’ll try a more contemporary take. Given your predilections I figure you might like it.

Meet the Composer: Mike Reagan

May 13th, 2008

MIke Reagan

Mike Reagan, aside from his various film (Oliver Stone’s Any Given Sunday or Elmo in Grouchland), TV, and videogame projects, has been our honored composer on Ape Escape Cartoons and the 52 episodes of Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!. He came by the studio the other day and was telling me about the trés cool set up he’s put together for the music on Ape, and rather than my explaining it to you, I thought I’d let Mike do the honors himself:

I am having a BUH-LAST writing the music for Ape Escape! Working with Kevin Kolde and Karl Torge has really challenged me in the best way possible - really getting to stretch my muscles in this series. Their knowledge of music is pretty wide - we’re just a bunch of big kids doing what makes us laugh - it’s just fantastic. They introduced me to the world of Hoyt Curtin, Les Baxter, Bert Kaempfert and so many other great composers - music I’ve heard all my life, just hadn’t taken the time to really crawl inside it.

Each episode is pretty fast paced, with many twists and turns - so there’s just a ton of music to write. Everything from themes to accentuate the stupidity of some characters, to writing music in the style of Bernhard Kaun for the Frankenstein monster episode or 50’s style montages… the list goes on and on. Glad you liked the Frankenstein episode!

MIke Reagan

To quickly access each theme, I’ve created a system using pictures on a USB device that’s essentially 128 buttons that you can assign to just about anything. So, I basically save markers in Logic for each theme, then assign a series of key commands to a single button to grab what I’m hearing in my head and paste it at the right spot. After 18 episodes I’ve got over 40 buttons programmed right now, but there’s room for 128. I’m going to do the same thing for Wubbzy - get another box of 128 buttons and start organizing themes in the same way. For the pictures, I search through the Ape Escape quicktime movies and capture the screen shot that’s most appropriate for each theme. Specter, Jimmy, Nathalie, Monkeys, and Professor are the main themes, so there’s different (and multiple) pictures for them, but there are also montages, falls, stings, sinister themes, location based music like Paris, Hospital waiting room, Vegas, etc… that get pictures on their buttons, too. For instance, there’s a Paris love theme that has a picture of the Iefell Tower, and the barnyard / Turkey in the Straw tunes have pictures of a chicken.

MIke Reagan

It’s so much faster associating a piece of music with a thumbnail picture as opposed to remembering a marker number or a folder path… this keeps the creativity at the forefront, and the math and memorization on another planet.

To quote Napoleon Dynamite’s brother Kip:
“…I still love Technology, always and forever”

A trick question.

August 15th, 2006

huck1.jpg

I’ve always loved cartoon music and when more and more public information starting coming out about it during the 80s, I started forming my own theories about it all. Here’s the result of my survey of Hanna-Barbera’s Hoyt Curtin.

A trick question:

NAME THREE COMPOSERS WHO DEFINED CARTOON MUSIC?

(Hint: You can’t. There are only two.)

Ask any reasonably well-informed movie buff who the major film composers are and you’re likely to get a pretty long list of names. You’ll hear Mancini, Williams, Barry, Goldsmith, Bernstein, Steiner, Hermann…

But cartoons? Even the most obsessed cartoon-o-phile comes up short…

(Read more here.)

Meet the composer: Guy Moon.

September 29th, 2005

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I’ve been a huge fan of the cartoon music ever since I was a kid and realized there was a difference between Looney Tunes and Hanna-Barbera. I had an essay written once about the greatness of HB’s Hoyt Curtin (there was already plenty on Carl Stalling), and when I started making cartoons I vowed to pay special attention to the scoring, since I felt it was an essential ‘character’ in a film. So, every once in a while I’d like to pay homage to the great contemporary composers who work on Frederator cartoons.

Guy Moon has produced more scores for us than any other composer; we met through Bodie Chandler, Hanna-Barbera’s music director, a great champion of new artists. Starting with The Addams Family, Guy went on to really prove his chops on the deceptively challenging What A Cartoon! shorts, which led to Cow & Chicken and Johnny Bravo. When we moved over to Nickelodeon Guy would hold the record for the most scores for Oh Yeah! Cartoons, and those in turn led to the lead chair on The Fairly Oddparents and ChalkZone, in addition to one of our movies, The Electric Piper. And Guy’s been no slouch working on other shows and films either. Whew!

Growing up in Wisconsin, going to college in Arizona (loving Chick Corea’s Return to Forever), Guy and his family live in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley.

Thanks Guy, for all your great work.