Life is full of surprises. When I bought Leonard Maltin’s Of Mice and Magic and then happened upon a copy of Friedwald and Beck’s The Warner Brothers Cartoons, I had no idea anyone else had the same interest in who made those funny old cartoons. And when the internet piped itself (at first from a BBS at 300 baud) into the Yowp residence, I discovered there are people—lots of them, it turns out—who have an interest in commercial and industrial film music from the 1950s into the ‘60s.
The library music industry exploded with television. Most producers couldn’t afford to hire composers or union musicians. So they turned to less expensive stock music libraries. Anyone could use them who paid the fee. That’s why you can hear the same stock music in old cartoons, commercials and sitcoms.
One of the biggest libraries in North America was the Capitol Hi-Q library. It was divided into five categories—“D” for “dramatic,” “L” for “light”, “M” for “melodic,” “S” for “short” and “X” for “extra,” where cues were placed that didn’t fit anywhere else, eg. international, ethnic and Christmas music. Capitol got cues from other libraries for Hi-Q, so you’ll find stuff from the C & B, Sam Fox, EMI Photoplay and even KPM libraries. New music was added. Some was subtracted, so cues that were in one year were replaced with different ones in future releases.
You’ve read the names of some the composers on this blog—Bill Loose, John Seely (who had written for Sam Fox), Phil Green (EMI), Harry Bluestone and Emil Cadkin (C and B), Geordie Hormel (Zephyr) and Spencer Moore. Later entries were co-written by Loose, Cadkin and Jack Cookerly (OK). There are ‘D’ series cues from others—Jack Meakin, Joseph Cacciola and even Nelson Riddle. And there are a variety of composers who wrote for Sam Fox (Cacciola included) whose cues can be heard.
But there’s one composer—well known at the time—who never received a stick of credit because of the common practice of the day of someone slapping their name on someone else’s music—by legal or illegal means. Such a thing happened with the Hi-Q library. So let’s give you some history, thanks again to a surprise on the internet.
Paul Mandell wrote an insightful chapter on the history of stock music for the book ‘Performing Arts: Broadcasting,’ published by the U.S. Library of Congress in 2002. It’s available in snippets on Google Books. I won’t put the whole thing here, but I’ve snipped together the snippets about the topic at hand.
The Capitol Hi-Q Library
Long before Capitol records moved into its spaceage tower off Hollywood and Vine, it serviced radio stations through its broadcast division with transcriptions of rights-free music recorded in Europe. The service went out of business in 1951.
In 1952, production chief Ken Nelson and library manager John Seely created the Capitol Q Series by leasing the Mutel library from David Chudnow and distributing it on 175 double-sided 78 rpm vinyl records. Q supplied music for radio shows Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar, True Detectives, and bumper music for television station breaks. Contractually, however, Capitol was forbidden to track Q as background music for television.
In 1955, Capitol decided to create its own music library and approached Nelson Riddle to write it. Riddle was busy with his groundbreaking arrangements for Frank Sinatra, so Capitol hired Bill Loose, a pop composer-arranger with a good melodic sense. In January 1956, Loose turned in an astounding 5,500 pages of sheet music. The sessions were recorded by Phil Green's orchestra in London and brought back to Hollywood. John Seely cataloged it by mood and packaged it on 110 reels of quarter-inch tape and fifty-five corresponding audition discs. The twenty-two-hour package was christened Capitol Hi-Q, a reference to the new buzz on high fidelity. The entire library was made licensable to film and television producers for as little as 350 dollars.
A major part of Hi-Q was Theme Craft, a name invented by Seely to house powerful mood music by David Rose. “Bill Loose and I paid Rose a bunch of cash,” said Seely. “He had to sell it rights-free and composer-free. It was all on reels of quarter-inch tape. We spent 100 dollars a minute for it. Everybody thought we were crazy, but I insisted that it was worth it. Then Bill agreed to write as much as David did and we put our names on the entire package.”
Rose’s music packed a wallop. TC 2 (“Heavy Chase”) was an ear-splitting horror theme with cascading trombones and sizzling clusters. His “Dreaming Ghost” and “Sparkling Ghost” cues (TC 16-24) with ethereal strings, gossamer harps, and otherworldly woodwinds were used for underwater tension in Sea Hunt.
Theme Craft cues by Bill Loose caught on as signature themes. A light comedy piece with a xylophone “nose twitch” became the theme for Dennis the Menace. TC 430 (“Happy Day”) became the theme for The Donna Reed Show. Loose’s cowriter Jack Cookerly recalled, “We wrote a bunch of cues we jokingly called ‘Music to Wash Windows By.’ We called them ‘domestics’ and the industry really ate them up! The Donna Reed people picked that particular theme; it wasn't written for the series at all! Irving Friedman of Screen Gems made the deal to restrict its use. It could be tracked into an industrial film, but not for broadcast.”
Capitol became the largest distributor of canned television music in America. A 1965 memo to Hi-Q subscribers listed twenty-two supplementary libraries with over two hundred hours of music. There were packages by Fred Steiner, Mahlon Merrick, Jack Meakin, Phil Green, Nick Carras, and outer space music by Ib Glindemann. Also distributed were the KPM, TRF, Synchro, and Omar libraries, Les Baxter’s pop themes and Latin rhythms, and the C-B library written by Emil Cadkin and Harry Bluestone. Producers no longer had to woo independent packagers—they got their music from Capitol and reported the usage on forms supplied with the tape reels.
Some hotshots of Capitol were able to grab performance royalties by bankrolling music packages. George Hormel, a pianist related to the Hormel meatpacking empire, laid claim to Hi-Q music which he financed but did not write. Spencer Moore was another. Composer Nick Carras recalled the scene: “Moore made his money by bringing his investors to Capitol and putting his name on our music. It got to be kind of a joke! We were young and green. I didn’t even know what a cue sheet was! Often you’d see cues listing Spencer Moore and George Hormel as authors in the Hi-Q catalog. Some people in the business might say ‘That looks legitimate.’ It all depended what side of the fence you were on.”
One thing omitted in Mandell’s chapter can be found in a Billboard magazine story, dated November 19, 1955:
Capitol this week acquired a library of music cues from composer-conductor Henry Russell for film use in television. Capitol continues to expand its cue library, one of the largest serving the needs of industrial and TV film producers.
Russell’s stock music ended up on a number of late 1950s TV shows and the Warner’s cartoon Hip Hip Hurry. But I have yet to come across his name in my admittedly-incomplete search of the Hi-Q library. It could be his cues were later replaced with newer material, which happened to a number of the reels/discs, including material by Gene Poddany.
Now, let’s get to the music. Click on the title to play.
The first batch of cues is from reels L-1 and 2. ‘TC’ stands for ‘Theme Craft.’ It would appear these are among the cues ghost-written by David Rose. ‘Pixie Comedy,’ the two ‘Zany Comedy’ cues and ‘Eccentric Comedy’ should instantly bring to mind the early antics of Yogi Bear. ‘Light Movement’ is a great Western cue that will make you think of Quick Draw McGraw. And ‘Rural’ should be recognisable as the theme to the Knockout Mouse cartoon in the Pixie and Dixie short Cousin Tex. Devoted reader Errol points out that Red Skelton used that one his TV show; his musical director was David Rose.
TC-200 WISTFUL COMEDY
TC-203 WISTFUL COMEDY
TC-204A WISTFUL COMEDY
TC-308 WISTFUL COMEDY
TC-201 PIXIE COMEDY
TC-202 ECCENTRIC COMEDY
TC-303 ZANY COMEDY
TC-301 ZANY WALTZ
TC-300 ECCENTRIC COMEDY
TC-205 LIGHT MOVEMENT
Next are Theme Craft cues written by Loose and Seely. ‘Fox Trot’ was used on Ruff and Reddy. ‘Domestic’ is also known as ‘Shining Day’, ‘Light Movement’ is also ‘Holly Day’ and ‘Light Activity’ (TC-437) has the alternate name of ‘Shopping Day.’ There are on reel L-40 along with the Donna Reed theme.
They’re followed by three of the ‘Domestics’ that Jack Cookerly (who is still alive, I understand) mentioned in the history above. ‘C’ is for ‘Capitol’ and these were penned by Bill Loose for reels L-7 and 8.
TC-304A FOX TROT
TC-436 DOMESTIC (SHINING DAY)
TC-437 LIGHT ACTIVITY (SHOPPING DAY)
TC-432 LIGHT MOVEMENT (HOLLY DAY)
C-3 DOMESTIC CHILDREN
C-6 DOMESTIC CHILDREN
C-14 DOMESTIC LIGHT
Finally, there are odds and ends from different reels. The first three are Sam Fox cues. SF-10 may also be known as ‘Ski Galop’ or ‘Skiing Galop’ (I’m still trying to confirm the first word) and is by Lou De Francesco, an Italian whose work on films went back to 1923 with Victor Herbert. Wish him a happy 121st birthday on Boxing Day. He scored the Movietone Adventures for 20th Century Fox in the mid-40s. SF-14 is by David Buttolph, a chorister and operatic who played in Europe in the 1920s, returned to New York to work in radio before going to Hollywood in 1933 to score for movies. Finally, there’s the old chestnet ‘Winter Tales’ by Alphons Czibulka. It was later arranged as ‘Hearts and Flowers’ by Theo Tobani, showing that borrowing music and slapping your name on it isn’t a 20th century concept. The solo stand-up piano version is by Victor Lamont, who did the same kind of tinkly arrangements on other 19th century melodies for Sam Fox. This can be found on Huckleberry Hound Meets Wee Willie.
TC-22 is one of a number of cues with “Ghost” names in reel L-39. With irony, let us note it was ghost-written for Loose and Seely by David Rose.
C-19 by Bill Loose (all cues labelled ‘C’ were composed by him) came from reel L-9 and is one of a number of similar sounding cues. It opens Huckleberry Hound’s Cop and Saucer.
The last four were also composed by Rose for the Hi-Q ‘D’ series, which is famous among some collectors as the home of the soundtrack for ‘Night of the Living Dead’ (1969). The first three are from reel D-20, the last from D-8. TC-215A was on Ruff and Reddy only. Finally, TC-221A can be heard on Yogi’s High Fly Guy. There are cues without the ‘A’; are all slower-tempo versions.
SF-10 LIGHT MOVEMENT (SKIING GALOP?)
SF-14 THE COCKEYED COLONEL
SF-? WINTER TALES
TC-22 SUBLIME GHOST
C-19 LIGHT ACTIVITY
TC-221A HEAVY AGITATO
Eventually, out of necessity, Hi-Q had to evolve in the 1960s, simply because of the state of the music business in general. The sound was changing in the world of pop music, thanks to the end of big bands and the rise of rock. The Hi-Q music sounded old fashioned. New, less orchestrated music was added (under various pseudonyms) by Ib Glindemann and Ole Georg, who took over from Bill Loose at Capitol in 1964. Eventually, Capitol divested itself of all the pre-Georg era music and the library became known today as ‘Ole Georg Music’. And television changed, too. Producers had the money or inclination to hire composers for programme-specific themes and/or bumpers. Hanna-Barbera was among them, asking Hoyt Curtin to write his own library of incidental music; first for Loopy De Loop in 1959, then The Flintstones (1960), the Snagglepuss and Yakky Doodle elements of the Yogi show (first aired in 1961) and then for all remaining new cartoons.
One final note: Capitol distributed music that was not in Hi-Q but used in Hanna-Barbera cartoons. Most of it is Jack Shaindlin’s material in the Langlois Filmusic Library. Raoul Kraushaar clipped together old movie music for his Omar Library; Huck and Yogi used at least one cue from that service and my wild guess it’s the creepy one with the wah-wah muted trumpets that was in at least one TV show that credited Kraushaar for its music. The ASCAP database says there was a Clarence Wheeler cue called ‘Woodwind Capers’ used in Huck and Yogi cartoons which I can’t track down. And a Vancouver native named Edgar Eugene “Eddie” Lund wrote a pile of Polynesian/Hawaiian cues for a library that ASCAP says were in Snooper and Blabber, likely for Hula-Hula Hullabaloo (1960).
Some of Hoyt Curtin’s work is really great, but Snooper, Quick Draw and the others seem to be missing something when you hear the generic Curtin cues instead of the Hi-Q work of Bill Loose, Phil Green—and the man who sold away the rights to his music, David Rose.