Scott, Raymond

Posted in WB Cartoon Companion on March 22, 2004

(né Harry Warnow, 1908-1994)

    Innovative, even avant-garde bandleader of the 1930s who later became the orchestra leader on the Your Hit Parade program sponsored by Lucky Strike. In personal appearences by Scott in the 1930s with his group, the Quintette, he was billed as “the foremost composer of modern music”. Scott was not only a meticulous craftsman but a pioneer in electronically synthesised music. He is probably most widely remembered as the composer of “Powerhouse”.

    Although Scott was never credited in a Warner Brothers cartoon, his compositions are intimately associated with them. Warner Brothers acquired the catalogue of his songs in 1943, and for the next fifteen years, Carl Stalling used the songs liberally to add spice to the scores. Curiously, it does not appear that Scott was aware of Stalling’s use of the songs, let alone the ironic yet vital role that such use would play in preserving his legacy, long after his Quintette had faded from prominence.

    According to the Raymond Scott Archive, 14 different Scott songs were used 133 times in 117 Warner-released cartoons between 1943 and 1962, including the Private Snafu shorts. I do not claim to list all appearances of Scott’s compositions here, or even all of the songs, such as the relatively obscure compositions like “Egyptian Barn Dance” and “Singing Down the Road”. I am rather going to note certain individual songs and point out what I consider some outstanding examples of their use as follows:

        “Powerhouse: ‘A’ theme”
            Opening credits and first few seconds of The Mouse-Merized Cat (McKimson, 1946)
            Spaceship-tunneling sequence in Jumpin’ Jupiter (Jones, 1955)

        “Powerhouse: ‘B’ theme”
            Sequence with the hens on the conveyor belt in The Swooner Crooner (Tashlin, 1944)
            Sequence where Daffy and Porky are trapped on the conveyor belt in Baby Bottleneck (Clampett, 1946)
            Sequence where Wellington the cat is attempting to frame Roscoe the dog by planting paw prints all over the living room in Hiss and Make Up (Freleng, 1943)
            Entrance of the bulldog in Early to Bet (McKimson, 1951)

        “Twilight in Turkey”
            Jack-wabbit and the Beanstalk (Freleng, 1943) during the later scene where the Giant is chasing Bugs toward the beanstalk

        “In an 18th Century Drawing Room”
            Opening scenes with the butler in The Aristo-cat (Jones, 1943)
            Scene where the Wolf is putting on a ewe disguise in I Got Plenty of Mutton (Tashlin, 1944)

        “The Toy Trumpet”
            Credit sequence of Rebel Rabbit (McKimson, 1949)
            The march of the mother duck and her brood in Booby Hatched (Tashlin, 1944)

        “Huckleberry Duck”
            Opening sequence where the Wolf is drawing water in I Got Plenty of Mutton (Tashlin, 1944)
            Also used in Meatless Flyday (Frleng, 1944)

        “The Penguin”
            Wackicki Wabbit (Jones, 1943) during the scene with the kettle

        “Dinner Music for a Pack of Hungry Cannibals”
            Sequence in which Bugs initiates a nightmare for Elmer Fudd in The Big Snooze (Clampett, 1946)

        “Boy Scout in Switzerland”
            Sequence in which the bulldog and the lanky brown pooch are experiencing problems using a fence door in Behind the Meat Ball (Tashlin, 1945)

    I strongly recommend consulting The Raymond Scott Archives for more complete information on Scott, compiled by a loyal member of his clique, Irwin Chusid, to whom I tip my hat.

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