Franklyn, Milt

Posted in WB Cartoon Companion on March 5, 2004

    For many years, Franklyn was the assistant to musical direcor Carl Stalling, arranging the scores that Stalling wrote. Based on the recent releases of compact disks in The Carl Stalling Project series, Franklyn seems to have conducted many of the recording sessions with the musicians of the Warner Brothers Orchestra. Franklyn received some solo credits starting in the mid-1950s, Bugs and Thugs (Freleng, 1954) being an early example. Through the mid-to-late 1950s, Stalling and Franklyn shared the musical direction credit on a number of occasions, Franklyn occasionally receiving arrangement credit. When Stalling retired, Franklyn succeeded him as musical director, his first solo efforts appearing in 1958.

    Most critics agree that Franklyn was Stalling’s logical successor. While his scores are not generally as witty as Stalling’s, they are quite well crafted. The author takes the position that his best work was for What’s Opera, Doc? (Jones, 1958) and High Note (Jones, 1960). Richard Stone, the current musical director for “WB” animation, has made deliberate efforts to recapture the Stalling/Franklyn style.

    Franklyn died unexpectedly in 1962. His successor, Bill Lava, did not prove to be nearly as imaginative. Examine The Jet Cage (Freleng, 1962) in which one half the score was overseen by Franklyn, the other half by Lava.

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