Sunday, April 10, 2011

Bugs Bunny at the Symphony

Bugs Bunny at the Symphony brought a full house to the Sony Centre in Toronto.

Lots of kids in the audience - including one that made the entire theatre laugh when they heard her infectious squeal.  The musicians were from my home town, Kitchener-Waterloo, and the Hollywood musical director praised their world-class calibre. 

Back in the day, Carl Stalling adapted the classical masterpieces of composers like Wagner, Strauss, Grieg, and Lizt to the frantic antics of Merry Melodies.  He popularized tunes that entertained kids and adults alike for decades.  The music may have been chosen for the cartoons because it was royalty free, but using it in that way has ended up making "classical" music accessible to millions.

In the 1920's through to the 1950's, Warner Brothers had an orchestra they employed to score major motion pictures, like the Jazz Singer.  Sometimes, there was a half-hour  left at the end of a day, and instead of sending the orchestra home, Stalling would rush over to take advantage of the time fragments left.  Conductor George Daugherty joked it probably added to the already frenzied pace of the music.  So many notes!

click here to watch clip
In "What's Opera Doc?",  animation director Chuck Jones and musical director Milt Franklyn manage to fit 9+ hours of Wagner into less than 9 minutes of screen time (The Flying Dutchman, Die Walkure, Siegfried, Gotterdammerung, Rienzi and Tannhausser).

Now picture two middle-aged men, pot bellies touching in studio, singing the love song, "Brunhilde".  That would be Mel Blanc as Bugs and Arthur Q. Bryan as Elmer Fudd.  The way Daugherty described this, it sounded more hilarious than the final animation.

There is real genius behind the appearances of Bugs, Porky, Daffy and others (remember the singing frog?  Sam Horn Leghorne? Pepis Lepui?).  I wonder if the animators, musicians and voices had as much fun creating these works as we do watching them? 

If you want more, here is some early Bugs and Elmer Fudd

1 comment:

Annika said...

I admire the way you get "out and about"..You don't wait for it to happen.. you make it happen. Good for you!