That’s All Folks
Cartoon Songs From Merrie Melodies + Looney Tunes
The musical well of Warner Brothers cartoons continues to yield wine of the finest vintage. Perhaps we’re still too close to their creation for these short films to be given the full artistic consideration they deserve, but I’m positive time will tell and they’ll be given their full due alongside daVinci and Picasso, as works whose inventiveness defined not only a new category of art, but did so with vision and quality.
Pretty fancy for people getting blasted in the face with shotguns and having anvils dropped on their head, eh, doc? Seriously, in the last ten years or so, we’ve seen the release of Carl Stalling’s scores (two CDs), a very well-done collection of Raymond Scott’s music (on which the Stalling scores were based on), and now this, a two-disc set of some of the most recognizable singing in cartoon history. Of course it has “Kill the Wabbit, Kill the Wabbit,” from an opera written originally by some German guy but immortalized by Elmer Fudd’s voice. In fact, it has the complete soundtrack of What’s Opera, Doc?, the ‘toon where that moment came from. And “Bugs Bunny’s Greatest Hits” is exactly that — some of the most memorable numbers from that cwazy wabbit, blended into a near-12-minute medley that starts with the signature “What’s Up Doc?,” wanders through “Oh Sussanah” and “Peer into the Knothole of Grandpa’s Wooden Leg” before winding down with Bugs callin’ the square-dancing cues.
Wait. There’s more. So much more. The complete soundtrack of the swingin’ Three Little Bops, a collection of Daffy Duck and Porky Pig duets, the complete soundtrack for Back Alley Oproar, and generally more musical mayhem than should be allowed. If you grew up with Bugs Bunny and Company, listening to these discs will fling you into the past as powerfully as any hypothetical time machine. And even if you’re not the type to immediately recognize the red and orange bullseye, you should consider the luxurious packaging (the discs nestle inside the covers of a jewel-case sized hardback book, with 100 full-color pages) and cel-like slipcover. Not enough? Try fascinating liner notes tracing the origin of cartoons all the way back to Kansas City, which gave us Disney, Iwerks, Freleng, and Ising — arguably the forefathers of cartooning. This is undeniably one of the finest historical retrospectives I’ve seen to date — concise yet complete, educational without being pedantic and most of all, fun and merry. If you need a good laugh, this is your ticket.