Music From Warner Bros. Cartoons 1936-1958 (1990)
More From Warner Bros. Cartoons 1939-1957 (1995)
Bugs Bunny On Broadway (1998)

Music From Warner Bros. Cartoons 1936-1958 (1990)
More Music From Warner Bros. Cartoons 1939-1957
The Music That Subliminally Warped An Entire Generation of Kids

American kids of the 50s & 60s could hardly be expected to comprehend the musical chaos underscoring the talking ducks, wily rodents and dimwitted dogs that populated the world of Warner Bros. cartoons. If you’re of a certain age, Saturday mornings provided a steady, subliminal diet of mis-shaped modern composition and avant-garde orchestral music, courtesy of Warner’s house composer, Carl Stalling. Stalling’s genius was how he mixed his sometimes wildly careening orchestrations with recognizable classical cues and lighthearted adaptions of Americana song (e.g. “How Dry I Am”), creating a mashed-up pastiche of song & sound. All you need to do is listen – without the visuals – to hear how truly revolutionary Stalling’s work was; the plucked cellos that accompanied tiptoeing characters, the mad flurry of strings & woodwinds that signaled a frenzied dash and the sudden, violent outbursts of brass and percussion, now synonymous with a mallet in the face. Operatic show tunes, Parisian fanfares and hairpin tempo changes were all part of these live, real-time studio recordings. Without realizing it, we were all experiments in Warner’s own “Ludivico Technique” (HERE) – spellbound by the violent imagery while Stalling’s beautiful dissonance entered our brains via the soundtrack. No one’s been quite the same since. Is it possible that Stalling’s work subliminally introduced radical musical experimentation to the 1960s? Maybe. Guys like Frank Zappa and John Zorn have always admitted the direct lineage from Stalling’s work to their own. 50 to 70 years later, Stalling’s inventions are still profoundly subversive. Below, you can hear the 1955 Road Runner soundtrack, “Guided Muscle,” from Vol. 2. The great Hal Willner produces. Both CDs, Music From… (HERE) and More Music From… (HERE) are at Amazon.

Bonus: Thanks to Dinosaur Gardens for posting a rare Carl Stalling bonus track, “Stupor Duck,” which appeared only on the cassette version of the original 1990 release. Hear it above, get it in Comments.

Double Bonus:
Bugs Bunny On Broadway (1998)
Long-Haired Hare

Studio recordings of material that would appear on Broadway in the early ’90s. Most of these scores are newly recorded, spiced up with some familiar cartoon songs and original 50s dialog to give the entire program a big cartoony production (as if the music alone couldn’t). Milt Franklyn, who (righteously) succeeded Carl Stalling as Warner’s house composer, gets some due here alongside Carl’s work. The modern studio quality shines, though Hal Willner’s not on board this time. @Amazon, HERE.

Track Listings in Comments


  • 1
    November 13, 2007 - 13:41 | Permalink

    Welcome back!

    Uh … you're not very tan, are you?

  • 2
    Capt. Willard
    November 13, 2007 - 14:03 | Permalink

    Uh… not at all.
    Just had to rustle me up some varmits.

  • 3
    November 13, 2007 - 15:34 | Permalink

    Coooool, thanks!

  • 4
    November 13, 2007 - 18:52 | Permalink

    nicety nice. thanks man…!

  • 5
    November 13, 2007 - 21:47 | Permalink

    Greatness. Thanks

  • 6
    November 14, 2007 - 05:38 | Permalink

    I have both of them, and thanks to Carl Stalling, I also discovered Raymond Scott who's music inspired Carl's own playful themes. I miss them both & wish they were still around.


  • 7
    Capt. Willard
    November 14, 2007 - 05:53 | Permalink

    Hey D,
    Good to hear from you. Yeah… for those interested, there are a couple of Scott compositions on Volume 1 ("Powerhouse" and "Dinner With A Pack of Hungry Cannibals"). What was cool about Scott and his band was that, as cartoony as his material was, his was a real, performing big band. He didn't write for cartoons, but his music just seemed to fit – not only Warner's toons, but other toons as well.

  • 8
    November 15, 2007 - 03:14 | Permalink

    This might be the coolest blog I've ever stumbled across. Digging the Carl Stallings, which I had taped years ago when one did that… I'll have to unearth my R. Scott, his Soothing Sounds for Babies got me through many a naked lunch…


  • 9
    December 14, 2007 - 01:56 | Permalink

    Great post, great commentary. So now I understand (partially) why I was glued to the TV as a kid (and I ignore it now) – I'd rather be seeking out fabulous music like this. THANKS.

  • 10
    December 26, 2007 - 15:49 | Permalink

    Thanks a million for these! I can definitely hear how Zorn was influenced by Stalling's cartoon scores – just listen to Naked City or his Cat o'Nine Tails string quartet.

  • 11
    February 2, 2009 - 12:19 | Permalink

    Great blog, great post. Thanks

  • 12
    Capt. Willard
    February 2, 2009 - 13:10 | Permalink

    Thanks for commenting.

  • 13
    February 5, 2009 - 10:11 | Permalink

    Every week a jem and now this Willard it pays to get out of the boat…tthee that's all folks!

  • 14
    Johnny Vandal
    February 13, 2009 - 04:43 | Permalink

    Great stuff— besides enjoying Stalling's music, I'm also a big fan of Hal Wilner's. If you ever get your hands on his production of various artists doing Thelonious Monk tunes please post it (I think it's called That's the Way I Feel Now). Anyhow, thanks again for the music!

  • 15
    February 22, 2009 - 14:25 | Permalink

    All set now- Thanks very much!!

  • 16
    February 22, 2009 - 16:55 | Permalink

    I was one of those kids glued to the TV on Saturday morning and grew up to become a devoted Zappa fan, now I know why. Funny I'd never made the connection before hearing this without the visuals. Thanks, your blog is as eclectic as I could hope for.


  • 17
    DJ Useo
    September 22, 2009 - 00:07 | Permalink

    Totally mad & totally great,Thanks!

  • 18
    Capt. Willard
    November 13, 2009 - 06:35 | Permalink

    Find it all HERE

    Putty Tat Trouble Pt. 6
    Hillbilly Hare
    Early WB Scores – The Depression Era (1936-1941)
    The Good Egg
    Various Cues From Bugs Bunny Films (1943-1956)
    There They Go Go Go
    Stalling Self-Parody – Music From Porky's Preview
    Anxiety Montage
    The War Years
    Medley – Dinner Music For A Pack Of Hungry Cannibals
    In Session (1951-1956)
    Speedy Gonzalez Meets Two Crows From Tacos
    Powerhouse And Other Cuts From The Early 50's
    Porky In Wackyland – Dough For The Do Do
    To Itch His Own

    Zoom And Bored
    Stage Fright
    The High And The Flighty
    Bad Swiss Band
    Marching Pink Elephants
    The Slap Hoppy Mouse
    Orchestra Gag
    Variation On Grandfather's Clock
    Variation On Chinatown My Chinatown
    Variation On Lucky Day
    Wind-Up Doll
    Guided Muscle
    Fall And Splat-SFX
    Ghost Wanted
    The Unexpected Pest
    Drunk La Cucaracha
    Flea-Ridden Sheep Dog
    Golf Cue
    Barbary Coast Bunny
    Satan's Waitin' [Excerpt]
    Rubber Dog
    Pappy's Puppy
    Variations On La Danza
    Variations On Johann Strauss
    Mouse-Taken Identity
    Variations On Mexican Hat Dance
    Frazzled Coyote

    This Is A Life?
    High Note
    What's Up Doc?
    Baton Bunny
    Jumpin' Jupiter
    The Rabbit of Seville
    Act II Entr'Acte
    A Corny Concerto
    Long-Haired Hare
    What's Opera Doc?
    Merrie Melodies Closing Theme "That's All Folks"

  • 19
    Art Ducko
    November 16, 2009 - 09:44 | Permalink

    Sufferin' succotash!

  • 20
    November 17, 2009 - 00:52 | Permalink

    Excellent. Thanks! I got to see this show in Milwaukee with the MSO and it was great. I feel sorry for kids these days because they are missing out on the Classics. Too bad they didn't include 'One Froggy Evening' in this set.

  • 21
    November 17, 2009 - 12:11 | Permalink

    The two Stalling CDs are mind blowing.

  • 22
    Capt. Willard
    November 22, 2009 - 21:32 | Permalink

    I actually used to record this stuff from a TV when I was a teenager. When I first read about V.1 being released, I put down what I was reading, mid-paragraph, and high tailed it to a record store to get it. Didn't even think for one second. Like some sort of instinctual reflex action.

  • 23
    March 29, 2010 - 15:50 | Permalink

    OMG, Willard, this is brilliant! Thank you!!


  • 24
    November 15, 2011 - 08:46 | Permalink

    Thanks Cap!!!

  • 25
    April 8, 2013 - 23:20 | Permalink

    Brain ticklin’ fun… huh?

  • 26
    September 16, 2014 - 18:27 | Permalink

    Very nice, Capt. Willard! Thank you!

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