Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A few Alan Dunn architectural cartoons from 'The Last Lath' (circa 1937 - 1947)

Boy howdy, short of having someone explain why a joke is funny, there's nothing more entertaining than heavily dated old magazine cartoons in need of contextual footnotes...

Fortunately (or hopefully), the esoteric charm of this batch of panels may transcend their bygone topicality.

Cartoonist Alan Dunn (1900 – 1974) may still hold the record as the New Yorker's most prolific illustrator, responsible for 1906 cartoons and 9 covers during his tenure there, from 1926 - 1973.

Capitalizing on his background in design, Dunn also contributed many cartoons to Architectural Record, beginning in 1936.

A collection of those cartoons, 'The Last Lath' was first published in 1947.
In addition to lampooning the modern design trends and technologies of the 1930s and '40s, much of the humor centers around the terminology used by contractors and architects of the day, as well as realities like WWII-era material shortages and the post-war
housing boom.

- - Oh, and they're cool, too.

Probably there are very similar gag cartoons around today, just with more up-to-date buzzwords...

For a bit more about Alan Dunn, see also:

- A brief bio about Dunn and his wife, fellow New Yorker cartoonist, Mary Petty.

- Other Alan Dunn book covers displayed at Christopher Wheeler's Cartoon(ist) Gallery.

(click on images to enlarge in a new window)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Arnold Stang, 1918 - 2009

Upon the recent news of his death at age 91, a moment please to celebrate the life and career of character actor and voice artist Arnold Stang.

A small round-up of links from the web:

- A New York Times obituary.

- A wonderful, rambling profile posted in 2007 at WFMU's Beware of the Blog.

- A remembrance, showbiz anecdotes and an old 'Herman and Katnip' cartoon at
Mark Evanier's News From Me.

- Click over to Flickr for
LORAC!'s Arnold Stang photoset.
Publicity shots, advertising, record covers, etc. A great collection.

- Mr. Stang's screen credits listed at IMDb.

- An entry at TV Party includes a RealPlayer clip from an unsold late-'50s TV pilot for 'The Arnold Stang Show'.

- The 1960 kiddie record 'Arnold Stang's Waggish Tales' found him telling the tales of Peter and The Wolf and Ferdinand the Bull with orchestral accompaniment.

As of this writing, the LP may be heard via
Do You Speak English ?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Hoyt Curtin Rocks: A few old Flintstones music cues

When re-watching vintage 1960s episodes of 'The Flintstones', a heaping portion of the cozy,
comfort-food nostalgia it kindles comes from the familiar background music heard throughout the run of the series.
As with so much of the TV I was glued to in my youth, the soundtrack to the show has been part of the soundtrack to my life.

Hoyt Curtin had been Hanna-Barbera's primary composer and arranger, responsible not only for the Flintstones underscore and its immortal theme song, but for the music heard in almost all of the animation studio's many productions, from their origins in the mid-1950s until Curtin's retirement
in the '80s.

For a while, much of Curtin's H-B music was commercially available on various cartoon music CDs released by the Rhino label, but sadly and shockingly it looks like they've all lapsed out of print.

From one of those discs, the background music cues posted below all go back to the original Flintstones series.
As a finicky nerd, it had bothered me that Rhino had chosen to tack each of these brief themes onto the end of the 'primary' songs-from-the-series tracks, as sort of unlisted 'mystery bonus fun'.

- - So, for the sake of my own dork-tastic needs (and maybe even yours) I futzed with them, to bring some focus to just those Curtin instrumentals.

All of the listed titles are ones I made up, just as a referential aid for the different files, previously unnamed on the Rhino releases.

- If you have knowledge of any 'real' titles for these cuts, or have more info to share about Hoyt Curtin's cartoon music, please feel free to leave a comment on this post.


(click for audio)

1. Reedy Saunter (1:22)
2. Quarry (0:30)
3. Short Chirpy Bridge (0:09)
4. Mischief March (0:23)
5. 'Oh Brother' Punchline (0:09)
6. Jaunty Stroll (0:55)
7. Harried Exit (0:11)
8. Brassy Exit Fanfare (0:10)
9. No Brakes! (1:00)
10. Bouncy Exit (0:18)
11. Driving Into Bedrock (0:41)
12. Stumbling Xylophone (0:27)
13. Morning After Pomp (0:32)
14. Walking Dino, Fred Follows (1:04)
15. Military Maneuvers (0:30)
16. Quizzical Exit Fanfare (0:07)

(click for audio)

- - OR click here to grab all 16 tracks in one 11.8 Mb zipfile.

- For a bit more of old Hanna-Barbera cartoon music by Hoyt Curtin, you might try here, or at a post about 'Jonny Quest' music at If I Only Had...

- And while listening to Flintstones music, you could do far worse than to peruse the dozens of fascinating Bedrock screen captures and other edifying wonders on display over at John K Stuff.

Freshly-stirred links