Cover Image

Larger ImageView Larger


Tunes for 'Toons

Music and the Hollywood Cartoon

Daniel Ira Goldmark (Author)


Other Formats Available:
In the first in-depth examination of music written for Hollywood animated cartoons of the 1930s through the 1950s, Daniel Goldmark provides a brilliant account of the enormous creative effort that went into setting cartoons to music and shows how this effort shaped the characters and stories that have become embedded in American culture. Focusing on classical music, opera, and jazz, Goldmark considers the genre and compositional style of cartoons produced by major Hollywood animation studios, including Warner Bros., MGM, Lantz, and the Fleischers. Tunes for 'Toons discusses several well-known cartoons in detail, including What's Opera, Doc?, the 1957 Warner Bros. parody of Wagner and opera that is one of the most popular cartoons ever created.

Goldmark pays particular attention to the work of Carl Stalling and Scott Bradley, arguably the two most influential composers of music for theatrical cartoons. Though their musical backgrounds and approaches to scoring differed greatly, Stalling and Bradley together established a unique sound for animated comedies that has not changed in more than seventy years. Using a rich range of sources including cue sheets, scores, informal interviews, and articles from hard-to-find journals, the author evaluates how music works in an animated universe. Reminding readers of the larger context in which films are produced and viewed, this book looks at how studios employed culturally charged music to inspire their stories and explores the degree to which composers integrated stylistic elements of jazz and the classics into their scores.
List of Illustrations and Tables
List of Music Examples

Introduction. Why Cartoon Music?
1. Carl Stalling and Popular Music in the Warner Bros. Cartoons
2. “You Really Do Beat the Shit out of That Cat”: Scott Bradley’s (Violent) Music for MGM
3. Jungle Jive: Animation, Jazz Music, and Swing Culture
4. Corny Concertos and Silly Symphonies: Classical Music and Cartoons
5. What’s Opera, Doc? and Cartoon Opera
A Brief Conclusion

Appendix 1: Carl Stalling Documents
Appendix 2: Scott Bradley Documents
Daniel Goldmark is Associate Professor of Music at Case Western Reserve University and the author of Tunes for ‘Toons: Music and the Hollywood Cartoon (UC Press).
“An in depth voyage through the history of cartoons and their accompanying melodies from the 1930s to the 1950s. ... Goldmark delivers a much-needed historical context as he looks at the impact of music on character, story and the general mood of classical animated works. ... Goldmark’s tome reveals that this inextricable link between the two mediums has always existed, both elements essential in creating the unforgettable effects we cherish.”—Animation Mag
“Goldmark’s research is impeccable.”—Christianity Today/ Books & Culture
“Tunes for Toons is a watershed look at the use of music in animation. . . . The book is neither an over-arching history nor a rote catalogue of songs; rather, it is a well-researched and insightful look at some of the key players, musical genres and overall musicality of the early animated cartoon. . . . The overall addition of sound certainly pushed animation into a new level of artistry, so it is surprising that up until now there really hasn't been a definitive volume on the subject. Tunes for Toons more than makes up for any lost time.”—Fps: Frames Per Second Magazine
“Highly entertaining.”—Hollywood Reporter
“Like all good criticism it made me think about subjects I thought I already knew inside and out, and it taught me things I didn’t know. . . . He backs up his ideas with exhaustive research, and has done yeoman service for all animation buffs by examining Stalling and Bradley’s papers, notes, and cue sheets for primary information. Tunes for ‘Toons makes an important contribution to our understanding of cartoons from the golden age of animation.”—Http://
“[A] readable and illuminating survey.”—Wall Street Journal
"A major contribution to the emerging literature on American animation. In its exploration of animation music, it is without peer. Engagingly written, this is the only book-length study available on the topic, and it offers an important new view on animated film."—Mark Langer, Carleton University

"A foundational work in animation and film music studies, and is likely to be inspirational for additional work in both fields."—Jeff Smith, author of The Sounds of Commerce

"Never facilely reductive, Goldmark's analyses of Carl Stalling's well-known populist propensity for non-stop musical quotation and Scott Bradley's brilliant but borderline condescending aspirations to 'elevate' the form are complex and multilayered. As a bonus, Daniel Goldmark complements his scholarly referencing of relevant secondary source material with refreshing (and, these days, quite rare!) forays into original research, unearthing surprising, never-before-seen archival elements."—Greg Ford, Executive Producer, "The Carl Stalling Project"

"Daniel Goldmark has written a remarkable account of the history of animation music. His new book Tunes For 'Toons is a 'must read' for both the animation neophyte and the die-hard fan. The section on legendary composer Carl Stalling is worth the price of admission by itself."—Alf Clausen, Composer, "The Simpsons"

"Great book. It answers numerous who, what, and why questions about cartoon music."—Mark Mothersbaugh, film composer

Honorable Mention, The Woody Guthrie Award, International Association for the Study of Popular Music-US Branch(IASPM-US)

Special Jury Prize of the George Freedley Memorial Award, Theatre Library Association

Join UC Press

Members receive 20-40% discounts on book purchases. Find out more