Sunday, May 3, 2009

Phil Green’s Music for Quick Draw and Augie

NOTE: The music in this post is not public domain. One can find the same audition-quality versions on the rights-holder’s web site. Yowp.

Everyone knows who Hoyt Curtin is. “Yeah, Yowp,” you’re saying. “He’s the guy that wrote all the music for Hanna-Barbera. You know, like that Flintstones song: ‘Let’s ride with the family down the street. Through the, um, something-or-other.’ There are CDs of the stuff out there.”

Does anyone know who Phil Green is?

He wrote a bunch of music in Hanna-Barbera cartoons, too. But there aren’t CDs of the stuff out there. Until maybe now.

When H-B Enterprises began to develop its first show, Ruff and Reddy in 1957, it did what many TV producers of the late ‘50s did. Instead of hiring a composer, it used music from stock libraries because that was cheaper. There were several libraries around at the time, and one of them was the Capitol Hi-Q library.

Not all the music in the library was composed specifically for it. Capitol either bought or leased library music from other companies. One of them was EMI—which might have been expected given the relationship between the two companies. EMI’s production library was called ‘Photoplay’ and the music was composed by one Harry Philip Green. Read Phil’s biography here. The music was designed solely for background use and not for at-home listening, so that’s why it—and other production libraries—are not commercially available like the latest überhyped pop junk.

For some reason, Hanna and Barbera didn’t use the Green cues in the Ruff and Reddy cartoons, nor in the first season of The Huckleberry Hound Show with one exception. Several cartoons opened, such as High-Fly Guy and Tricky Trapper, with a rolling bass drum and horns. In the Hi-Q library, it was known as “EM-147 Documentary Main Title.” But a year later in 1959 when they were developing a second half-hour show, Quick Draw McGraw, Green’s music started showing up (on both the Quick Draw and Huck shows)—most of it originally from Photoplay’s Q-2 ‘Comedy Cartoon’ set of discs.

A chap who has been mentioned on these cyber-pages before by the name of Earl Kress managed to help get several of those tunes released on Rhino’s Pic-A-Nic Basket of Cartoon Classics in 1996. Personally, I was delighted to hear these for the first time and to learn a little about them. Alas, since then, trying to get music clearance for all the pre-Curtin background melodies in the Huck and Quick Draw series has proven to be impossible; it’s one of the reasons the Quick Draw cartoons are not available on DVD where they belong.

However, I have been alerted by faithful reader—and Hi Q obsesso—Steve Carras that some of these Capitol/Photoplay Q-2 cues are, in audition quality, on-line.

For reasons I’ll never understand, companies re-name old production music when it’s re-released; Capitol did it to all the Photoplay stuff, too. So, as a public service, I am going to link to the music, and list the original Photoplay name. Click on the song name and listen (The “GR” is some kind of numerical code used by EMI):


GR-80 FRED KARNO’S ARMY
GR-84 THE BRAVEST WOODEN SOLDIER
GR-258 THE TIN DRAGOONS
GR-253 TOYLAND PARADE
GR-259 AND THEY ALL LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER
GR-254 CLOCKWORK CLOWNS
GR-93 DRESSED TO KILL
GR-74 POPCORN
GR-64 WINDLASS AND CAPSTAN
GR-456 DOCTOR QUACK
GR-453 THE ARTFUL DODGER
GR-87 SKELETON IN THE CUPBOARD
GR-90 THE CHEEKY CHAPPIE
GR-255 PUPPETRY COMEDY
GR 256 TOYLAND BURGLAR
GR-472 HICKSVILLE
GR-99 THE DIDDLECOMB HUNT
GR-96 BY JIMINY! IT’S JUMBO
GR-77 CUSTARD PIE CAPERS
GR-65 BUSH BABY
GR-63 THE GIRAFFE
GR-459 DAWN IN BIRDLAND
GR-257 BEDTIME STORY

Now, this isn’t the only material of Green’s that was used in Quick Draw, Augie or Snooper—the wonderful overture to what’s generally dubbed ‘Big City Suite 2’ isn’t here—but this is a pretty good sampling.

And, no, this isn’t intended to be a full history of all the music on the early Hanna-Barbera cartoons before Curtin wrote his own (somewhat inferior) tracking library. We’ll try to get around to discussing that in a future post.

13 comments:

  1. YouTube reg:Ruff and Reddy. YouTube did have a lotm of those, and they DID have some of the Pihllip Green cues, interesting. "And they lived happily.." is used, to my surprise on a Yogi, form 1959: "The Nowhere Bear", likewsie the related "Overture" on Pixie and Dixie's [AND Mr.Jinks's] "A Wise Quack" [with a certain whiny little duck...!]

    Yet I had THOUGHT that Phillp Green wrote the overture used in Huckleberry's "Wee Willie" [and in the small Interldue Films's live short narrated by E.E.Horton of "Fractured Fairy Tales" [and earlier many glamorous Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers movies], "One Got Fat", at the open..yet you've mentioned on a forum that it's Goerge Homrel's "ZR 45 METROPOLITTAN".

    Steve J.Carras, longtime early day/old school HB fnatantic.:)

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  2. Steve, "The Nowhere Bear" is from the second season of Huck (Oct. 31, 1959) and "A Wise Quack" is from the third season (Oct. 23, 1960). So that's why you'll hear Green's music on them.

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  3. Ah. Good point, but don't forget it was eventually used also in "Ruff & Reddy" [as I found tyhrough watching YouTube, as you also saw it on..]

    Steve J.Carras

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  4. BTW On PLAY PRODUCTION MUSIC: CARLIN SERIES: CAR 402 is another PHILLIP GREEN cue, used only on "Yogi":'s "Space Bear", with has a [Jack Shaindlin?] Quick Draw chase cue, the one where the martian guys analyse Yogi's pictures. SJC. BTW How come it mentions Quick Draw, and Augie, but not Snoop and Blab in your entry title? :)

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  5. Some Phil Green cues also showed up in some National Screen Service animated drive-in concession spots which show up on a lot of old drive-in intermission compilations.

    I just heard another Phil Green cue on a local mattress store spot...no idea where they obtained legal right to use it, since it isn't in the Carlin Archive Series...

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  6. I doubt Carlin has the legal right to all of Green's material. I'd bet EMI may be still have it. There's just so much of his music around; I have a pile of Green library stuff not available on-line. I'd sure like to get dubs from some of the original Photoplay discs to get a better idea what he titled his cues, especially Q2-007 and Q6-006 because I suspect some of it (especially the latter) was in cartoons.

    Studios could still be using an old Capitol Media Music disc with his stuff on it.

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  7. > (The “GR” is some kind of numerical code used by EMI)

    GR = Green?

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  8. A little over a year ago, you wrote, thus:

    NOTE: The music in this post is not public domain. One can find the same audition-quality versions on the rights-holder’s web site. Yowp.

    Could you at least post the address of same? Thanks... especially for all the H-B memories.

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  9. Furrb, Mr. Carras mentioned the site above. It is Play Production Music.

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  10. SJC, what's the name of the [Jack Shaindlin?] Quick Draw chase cue on PLAY PRODUCTION MUSIC?

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  11. Sorry, Makebelieve, [btw I love that name], but NONE of Jack Shaindlin's music is in PLAY PRODUCTION MUSIC site. APM.com has them in CINEMUSIC, but those chase cues were never in there.

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  12. Of course, after H-B dumped the stock music in favor of Hoyt Curtin (and his initially Bill Lava-like music), they didn't always use Curtin during those golden years. With a few exceptions (like "Wacky Races" and "The Secret Squirrel Show,") from 1965 to 1971, Ted Nichols was the main composer for H-B. He scored the final Flintstones episodes, AND he's the man responsible for the infamous background music from "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?"
    Of course, after Hoyt Curtin retired around 1989-1990, H-B's music began to change. By 1994 it was pretty much the same Carl Stalling imitation music we heard on "Animaniacs" and most 1993-2004 Looney Tunes revival productions. It was always stopping and starting.

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  13. Worth of note is that one of Hoyt Curtin's most memorable Hanna-Barbera music cues was the jingle he wrote for Hanna-Barbera's classic "swirling star" logo in 1979.

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