Thursday, 10 November 2011

120 Years Ago Today

It’s a birthday today. You could have learned to have played the organ from him, like someone did in this newspaper ad from March 12, 1929.

He was with the Kansas City Conservatory of Music and travelled to Iola, Kansas on October 27, 1913 to play at the Conservatory opening there (and made a return engagement in December). ‘A Cup of Coffee, a Sandwich and You’ wasn’t in his repertoire yet.

What? You missed the name? Try the last entry on this snippet from 1900 U.S. Census. Click to enlarge.

Yes, Carl W. Stalling would be 120 today.

Stalling’s place in cartoon history should have been cemented by his work on the first Mickey Mouse sound cartoons and Disney’s Silly Symphonys. But it’s been completely overshadowed by his huge body of work at Warner Bros. beginning in 1936 and the influence it had over cartoon scoring at almost every west coast studio. If it weren’t for Stalling, we’d still have cartoons with woodblock clicks when characters walk and the same underscore that only speeds up when characters start running (the type of stuff Norman Spencer hacked out on bar sheets before Stalling replaced him). And if it weren’t for Stalling, would any of us know Raymond Scott?

You’ve seen this before, but why not watch it again? And appreciate what Carl Stalling brought to cartoons. My thanks to Devon Baxter for the link.

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