Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Hey There, It’s Doug Goodwin

Hoyt Curtin is, arguably, the best-known name in television cartoon music. His theme songs have been instantly recognisable to several generations. Through the first half of the 1960s, he thoughtfully composed some marvellously appropriate cues for Hanna-Barbera’s half-hour shows—light, spacey sounding keyboard melodies for The Jetsons, roaring trombones and urgent strings for Jonny Quest, grunting bassoons for The Flintstones and jaunty jazz piano and clarinet underscores for Top Cat. But when it came to the studio’s first full-length feature, you won’t find Curtin’s name in the credits.

Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear had its world premiere in a drive-in in Salt Lake City on June 3, 1964, after a media preview on May 30, 1964 in West Yellowstone, Montana. Okay, the premiere also happened at a regular, screen-on-the-inside theatre, too. The cartoon featured background music credited to Marty Paich. There were also several songs. Not a note was by Curtin. All were composed by Ray Gilbert and relative newcomer Doug Goodwin.

The two of them had penned some music in 1958 but the movie was really Goodwin’s big break. He has a core of fans from his later work on DePatie-Freleng cartoons—Hoot Kloot, The Ant and the Aardvark, Misterjaw, Here Comes the Grump and Pink Panther shorts and specials, to name some. But Joe Barbera plucked him out of obscurity.

Here’s a wire service article, dated October 24, 1963, when the Yogi Bear movie was still using its working title. It’s the only story of any length I’ve been able to find about Charles Douglas Goodwin.


Doug Goodwin Combining Carpentry, Song Composing
By JOSEPH FINNIGAN

HOLLYWOOD (UPI) — Doug Goodwin is Hollywood’s musical carpenter, a talented young composer who pounds nails by day and a piano by night.
The music composing business in Hollywood is a tough profession to crack. New comers wait years before they get a break. Some would-be lyricists live a precarious financial existence.
Goodwin is a practical man as well as a talented musician. He wouldn't sit by life’s side-lines waiting for his ship to come in, a vessel that never docks for thousands of Hollywood hopefuls.
“I’ve been a carpenter for nine years,” said Goodwin during dinner in the Woodland Hills home where he lives with his wife and two children.
Composes At Home
Goodwin, who now has his own house remodeling business, composes music at home when his day’s work is done.
For years he pounded on Hollywood doors which are familiar to all musicians trying to make the grade here. Almost always, he was turned away. No newcomers were needed, he was told.
Doug's musical future is looking better these days. He has sold one song to “The Flintstones” television show [The Littlest Lamb in the Ann Margrock episode] and collaborated on tunes for “Whistle Your Way Back Home,” a “Yogi Bear” animated film.
In the movie, Doug collaborated with Ray Gilbert, an established filmland songwriter.
Joe Barbera, of Hanna-Barbera Productions which filmed the television show and movie, considers Goodwin a fortunate discovery for his firm,
“We’re going to use him more often,” said Barbera. “He plays beautifully and can put over a song. He and Ray Gilbert did five songs together.”
Practices Trade
The initial break for Hollywood talent doesn't always insure a bright and profitable future. Goodwin is aware of that fact. He still practices the carpenter’s trade while waiting for another assignment.
“I don’t want to be in the construction business all my life,” Doug says. “I want to write music. I hope that after the picture comes out somebody will be interested in Doug Goodwin the composer.”
During a visit to the Goodwin home we heard some of Doug’s music. It’s refreshing to hear new tunes by a composer who hasn’t bogged down in the morass of rock ‘n roll. One of his tunes is a love song called “On The Ninth of December I Met You.”
“This isn’t my song,” he says, as he described the melody in terms of a love struck youngster. “Visualize a man sitting someplace, and he says ‘of the days I remember, the ninth of December.’ It’s a thought, a feeling for romance. This man just met a girl.”
And Hollywood has finally gotten around to meeting Doug Goodwin.

A jaunt through newspapers over the first few months of release shows the movie relegated to double-bills (one theatre showed it with the 1951 Raymond Burr stinker Bride of the Gorilla), competing against family fare like Disney’s Thomasina and a Flipper movie, both of which had bigger ads in the entertainment section. Goodwin, though, started getting steady work with cartoon studios. Hanna-Barbera used him again in The Man Called Flintstone (1966) and he added songs to Tony Benedict’s Santa and the Three Bears (1970). Okay, he also composed cues for Super President and Bailey’s Comets, but not all cartoons can be winners.

Happily, Doug and his wife Joyce are still around and enjoying life in Calabasas, California, where Doug wrote the town song. You can check out his web site HERE. You’ll find he’s the man who wrote a song titled Is Chinese Food In The Stars Tonight? Even Hoyt Curtin couldn’t say that.

11 comments:

  1. Someday I'll put up an interview I did with Mr. Goodwin. Really nice man.

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  2. There actually was limited use of stock Curtin cues in HEY THERE, especially towards the climax on the high-rise building skeleton. But obviously Curtin composed no original score for the feature.

    Goodwin also sang several of the themes he composed for several DFE TV series. Likewise it sounds like him singing "High Spy Guy", the first number in A MAN CALLED FLINTSTONE.

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  3. Goodwin's "St. Louie" number for "Hey There, Yogi Bear" (reportedly sung by Jonah and the Wailers) is probably the closest in style to the upbeat type of scores he'd do for D-FE in the late 1960s and early 70s. Combined with the animation of the Ed Benedict-style bear quartet (the leader's face looks like it was borrowed from Butch in the MGM CinemaScope Droopys), it definitely is one of the highlights of the film, even if the title character is nowhere to be seen.

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  4. "Hey There"'s songs and score sure don't sound like anything that he';d for DFE...and J.Lee, maybe the title character Yogi isn't to be found in the number that you mention-----but at least that's a good example of the older style HB drawing before the 70s style creeps into the film with that train security guard or conductor that you've mentioned before. In addition to Goodwin and Gilber and score by Paitch, and some archival stuff culled from Curtin, there also is another newcomer, a young David Gates who'd written for a gal group The Murmaids (sic) "Popsicles and iciles", a late 63 #1, and who'd make a lot of bread on the side, if you'll pardon the musical group PUN, for Elektra Records in the 70s with his own group.

    Steve C.

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  5. J.Lee, methinks you'd mbetter recheck your link, it leads to a nonexistant page alert.

    :) Steve

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  6. First remember seeing his name in DFE productions like Bear Who Slept Through Christmas (fly Bear Air!), Houndcats, Ant & Aardvark, Grump, Barkleys etc as well as the HB stuff. Somewhere online there's a site with the sheet music for "St. Louie" complete with extra verses not used. Someone posted the now out of print Grasshoppers album associated with Dr Doolittle, nice kiddie fare like "Doggone Dog". I like both the jazz/ragtime stuff he does as well as rock/pop

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  7. Off-topic, but does anybody know if Doug Goodwin is still with us?

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  8. Ian, what does the last paragraph of the post say?

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  9. Doug Goodwin speaks http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CivAoPskFEk

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  10. I would love to sing "Ven-e, Ven-o, Ven-a" as an audition piece. Can anyone please offer any advice as to where I can purchase a copy of the sheet music?

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