[Dixielandjazz] Re: Dixieland Droopy (was Dixieland song from cartoon)

Bill Haesler bhaesler at bigpond.net.au
Wed Oct 19 02:30:10 PDT 2005

Dear Mr Hartman,
As no DJMLers have taken up your query dated 10 Oct 2005 regarding
'Dixieland Droopy' (one of my all-time favourite Tex Avery cartoons)
herewith, a little late, is what I have.
I well remember when this 1954 cartoon was shown in the newsreel-only
theatrettes in Melbourne, Australia and we young jazz enthusiasts sat though
each session just to see it, over and over.
Synopsis: Droopy finds a jazz record, is thrown out of home for playing it,
then discovers the 'Musical Fleas featuring [trumpet player] Pee-Wee Runt
and his All-Flea Dixieland Band' in a circus. For this cartoon Droopy was
cast as jazz enthusiast John Pettibone.
The music was organised by Scott Bradley and the two tunes featured were
"Tiger Rag" and "You Wonderful You", composed in 1950 by Harry Warren with
lyrics by Jack Brooks and Saul Chaplin. This song was featured in 'Summer
Stock' (Judy Garland's last film for MGM) for Gene Kelly's solo dance
routine using a newspaper and a squeaky floorboard.
So far as the actual jazz music for 'Dixieland Droopy' is concerned, we
would need look at the jazzmen who were working in the MGM studios in 1954.
(A long-overdue subject for a book which has to be written, by someone on
the spot, before all the leads dry up.)
I would certainly be considering musicians like Dick Cathcart, c; Moe
Schneider, tb; Matty Matlock, cl; Eddie Miller, ts; Ray Sherman, p; Dick Van
Eps, g; Jud de Naut, sb; Nick Fatool, d;  or even the Pee Wee Hunt team
Andy Bartha, c; Pee Wee Hunt, tb; Clarence Hutchinrider, cl, Joe Hall, p;
Kass Malone, sb; Glenn Walker, d.
The 8 minute cartoon 'Dixieland Droopy' is currently available on DVD -
'Here Comes Droopy'.
As if that is not enough, this what I found on Scott Bradley:
*Scott Bradley (1891-1977)
      Scott Bradley was born in Russellville, Arkansas 26 November 1891 in
Arkansas. He died at the age of 85 in Chatsworth, California on 27th April
     In 1934, MGM decided to join the growing cartoon business but weren't
prepared to form their own unit and bought in cartoons from the Hugh
Harman/Rudolf Ising company. Scott Bradley worked for Harman-Ising (a
deliberate pun), having previously been at Disney, with Carl Stalling who
later went to Warner Brothers and worked on most of the Looney Tunes and
Merrie Melodies cartoons.
     When MGM decided to create their own in-house cartoon unit in 1938,
they employed most of the Harman-Ising team and Bradley became a full time
MGM employee.
     Cartoon music in the mid 1930s generally comprised popular songs linked
with musical effects supporting the action. It wasn't until the late 30s
that the music started to tell the story more than the sound effects did.
Roy Prendergast in his book 'Film Music, a Neglected Art' (1992) relates how
Bradley, dissatisfied with this simple collage of popular tunes, approached
Fred Quimby and suggested that he develop a new style of musical writing
that closely mimicked what was on screen. Quimby agreed asked Bradley to
compose some music prior to the animation, instead of afterwards, as was
     Bradley did so and by the early 1950s, his music was so well developed
that he could write large sections of a cartoon without any conventional
music, simply weaving together his collection of musical metaphors.
     Bradley was a talented composer able to parody and adapt other works as
well. A good example is in 'Cat Concerto' (1947), where he re-scores Liszt's
2nd Hungarian Rhapsody for Tom who plays a rather haughty concert pianist.
The early cadenza, when Jerry is rolled up and down inside the piano shows
Bradley's own crazy humour and the repeated note when Jerry is bounced up
and down several times is not as in Liszt's original. Bradley put in extra
notes to get the full comedy from the scene.
     It is testament to Bradley's work that he was with Tom and Jerry from
the first cartoon up to the end of the Hanna-Barbera studio period. When MGM
decided not to make any more cartoons, Bradley retired.
[Based on information from Peter Morris lecturer in Film Music at the
University of Surrey, England.]
Kind regards,
A general PS: When pianist David Boeddinghaus stayed with us many years ago
he told me that he was working on a CD involving the restoration of cartoon
music from the Hollywood studios in the 30s. Does anyone on the DJML know
whether this project was completed?


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