Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Raise the Curtin Tonight

Just a reminder you can hear about Hoyt Curtin and other cartoon composers on Stu’s Show today at 4 p.m. Pacific time. Stu Shostak’s guests are Jerry Beck, who knows more about cartoons than probably anyone, and Greg Ehrbar, who has an amazing breadth of knowledge about music and animation (especially kids’ records). Both are friendly and love sharing what they’ve learned with fans. If you have time to listen, I’m sure you’ll learn something and have fun.

The only unfortunate thing is they’ll never cover all the ground they’ll want to. They could spend three hours on Carl Stalling alone and not get to everything. But Stu has promised an awful lot of work has gone into the show (finding Winston Sharples music in the clear seems to have been a challenge), so it’ll be worth your time to listen.

Click right here to go to Stu’s site.

On the subject of Curtin, an excellent piece about his work on The Jetsons was written several years ago in the book Music in Science Fiction Television. But authors Rebecca Coyle and Alex Mesker postulated that Curtin’s jazzy/big band scores were directly linked from MGM’s Scott Bradley through MGM director Bill Hanna, and I don’t know whether that’s true. It reminds me of one those “cartoon connections” that fanbois use and invent their own facts, eg: A) June Foray voiced Warners cartoons, B) That’s a woman’s voice in that Warner’s cartoon so C) It must be June Foray—even though it’s actually Marian Richman. Bradley used music appropriate to the raucousness and chases of the Tom and Jerry series; in the 1940s, that would have meant loud, big band orchestral horns (and that was only one of his many musical tricks). There’s no evidence I’ve seen that Hanna told Curtin to use that kind of music for the far more sedate Flintstones (or bland Loopy De Loop). Curtin himself once said Hanna’s directive, at least for the Ruff and Reddy series, was “Go write a tune and send it to us as fast as you can.” The decision seems to have been left up to Curtin about the type of music and arrangements to employ. But a Bradley connection is an interesting theory.

And here are a few more unreleased Curtin cues from 1960 you may recognise.

CUE 1-9

CUE 1-11

CUE 1-16

CUE 1-35

CUE 1-47


  1. Hoyt Stoddard Curtin:
    May his memory be eternal!

  2. Hoyt Curtin's music is very infectious.

    "one of his many musical tricks". Don't think that is a very respectful thing to say about the genius that was Scott Bradley.

    1. How so? In any case, it seems pretty clear to me that no disrespect was intended; quite the contrary, actually.

  3. That is interesting. I've never heard that before myself, and it doesn't make much sense to me. I've never associated Curtin's music with Bradley's or vice versa.

  4. Cue 1-47 is a surefire tear-jerker.