What's Opera, Doc?
July 2, 2009 8:34 AM   Subscribe

I should also have included Bugs Bunny on Broadway (with a few overlaps).
posted by litterateur at 8:36 AM on July 2, 2009

The writer of this list could have provoked a lot of people by not putting the top two where they are. By including "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" and "Kill the Wabbit" at the top, this list automatically wins.
posted by sjuhawk31 at 8:41 AM on July 2, 2009 [2 favorites]

(Sorry, Mom. You were a huge musical influence, but not quite as much as Bugs Bunny!)

I've never had the heart to tell my parents (a music major and a music minor) that the same is true of me. Also, the beeeewooooop + Merrie Melodies theme song ARE classical music!

Definitely have to watch these with the kids. Fun cartoons and music history all rolled into one.
posted by DU at 8:43 AM on July 2, 2009

Oh man, I forgot about the Tex Avery Barber of Seville one! My absolute favorite as a kid. He totally hammers that poor guy. And the bunnies.
posted by DU at 8:46 AM on July 2, 2009

I loves me some Looney Tunes, but is it Cracked Top Ten List Day on MetaFilter, or what?

More meat, please.
posted by rokusan at 8:52 AM on July 2, 2009

I love The Band Concert. It's a perfet mix of aural and visual humour. I must've seen it a million times as a kid, but had forgotten about it until now.

I wonder if things like this are still being made and broadcast to kids?
posted by slimepuppy at 8:59 AM on July 2, 2009

Oh, the merry go round broke down
As we went 'round and 'round
Each time 'twould miss we'd steal a kiss
While the merry-go-round went
Um-pah-pah, um-pah-pah
Um-pah, um-pah, um-pah-pah
posted by hifiparasol at 9:04 AM on July 2, 2009 [3 favorites]

god I miss looney tunes. just miss the hell out of it.
posted by shmegegge at 9:11 AM on July 2, 2009

And now presenting the kiiiing of cartoooons!
posted by hissing sissing at 9:11 AM on July 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

Related: Long-Haired Hare.
posted by hifiparasol at 9:13 AM on July 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'd like to remind everyone of the usually-invisible Raymond Scott, maker of music that is now part of so many "classic" cartoon scores, also heard in Ren and Stimpy and other shows. Less work with string sections, and more weird electronics.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:25 AM on July 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

I can't hear the Hungarian Dances without remembering that awesome three little pigs cartoon. Best three little pigs ever still has to be this one, though it's not classical.
posted by Go Banana at 9:47 AM on July 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

I've always been partial to the use of Liszt's Hungarian Rhaposody No. 2 in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?"
posted by Johnny Assay at 9:51 AM on July 2, 2009

You’ll never listen to “Flight of the Valkyries” again without hearing Elmer sing, “Kill the wabbit, kill the wabbit, kill the wabbit!”

This is so true.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:51 AM on July 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

Mm, I grew up with Bruno Bozzetto's 'Allegro Non Troppo' as the standard. And as much as I like Tex Avery's work. There is a difference.

I mean, Ravel's 'Bolero' was used as quite effectively in it.
posted by ijsbrand at 10:10 AM on July 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

Cartoons such as these were overwhelmingly my introduction to, and the seat of my love for, classical music. As well as my predisposition to dropping anvils on people. How come they don't get that six-inch phallic bump on their heads when I bonk them?
posted by jabberjaw at 10:12 AM on July 2, 2009

by the way, this is daffy duck, in his first every appearance, singing his own version of "merry go round broke down."
posted by shmegegge at 10:19 AM on July 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

How come they don't get that six-inch phallic bump on their heads when I bonk them?

You're bonking them wrong.
posted by rokusan at 10:50 AM on July 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

Related: Long-Haired Hare.
posted by hifiparasol at 9:13 AM on July 2

Yes! Quite possibly my favorite ever Bugs Bunny cartoon.
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:54 AM on July 2, 2009

It's only cartoon in spirit, but The Marx Brothers' A Night At The Opera never ceases to make me laugh. I think it's remarkable how that scene and the Bugs Bunny opera parodies manage to hack away at the snobbery that's calcified around the institution while tapping into the energy and exuberance in the music. I'd go so far to say that opera companies could do themselves a favor by throwing a big red stick of TNT into a few productions and exploding them for their own good.
posted by Thin Lizzy at 10:54 AM on July 2, 2009 [2 favorites]

We flew across the country a couple of weeks ago, and I used that as an excuse to introduce our son, age 8, to the Looney Toons canon. The first Bugs Bunny disc included both Long Haired Hare and The Rabbit of Seville, and he was absolutely in stitches, laughing so loudly that people from other seats were craning their heads to see what he was watching. I can't explain how gratifying that was, seeing him literally doubled over with laughter at the same classic cartoons that busted me up as a kid. Watching these cartoon again for the first time in years, I gotta say: they hold up really, really well.

Highly recommended for all current and former 8 year olds.
posted by mosk at 11:03 AM on July 2, 2009 [4 favorites]

All great stuff. I was falling into a narcoleptic stupor after too much Chinese buffet lunch and this perked me right up. I noticed Warner Bros. used the After the Storm bit of the William Tell Overture quite often, usually when the sun was coming up. For years I thought that was "music cartoons used to tell you it was morning" rather than part of something else.

[I was just watching the rest of that performance of William Tell, the orchestra looks like they are having a blast when the Lone Ranger stuff kicks in, and it's great watching the audiences umbrellas move up and down in time to the music.]
posted by marxchivist at 11:09 AM on July 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

Fourteen kinds of awesome. Thanks for this great link! The Band Concert alone is worth the price of admission. Reminds me how great Disney was for that period in the 30s.

(But yes, Allegro non Troppo. Ahhhhh!)
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 11:32 AM on July 2, 2009

I'd never actually seen "What's Opera Doc." I can now die contented.
posted by Hactar at 11:33 AM on July 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

"Oh Brunhilde, you're so wovely..."
"Yes I know it, I can't help it..."

Genius. Pure genius.

And props to the magnificent Carl Stalling for his wonderful work on this and so many other WB cartoons.

"He is most closely associated with the Looney Tunes shorts produced by Warner Bros., where he worked, averaging one complete score each week, for twenty-two years."

One score per week. For twenty-two years.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 11:52 AM on July 2, 2009

Best use of classic [sic] music in classic cartoons in a sick classic: Road Runner in The Shining.
posted by crapmatic at 11:52 AM on July 2, 2009

Holy shit, that was Milt Franklyn on What's Opera, Doc. Serves me right for not previewing the damn cartoon. Still, kudos to Stalling anyway...
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 11:54 AM on July 2, 2009

I'd just dropped in here to say:

"Kill de wabbit! Kill de wabbit! Kill de waaaaaahbit!!"

As someone who has taught "classical" (Western) music history at the post-secondary level, I'm well aware of how many of us have had our first and most lasting encounter with "classical music" through these cartoons.

Actually, I"m planning on using "What's Opera, Doc?" and the Marx's Bros. "A night at the Opera" during one week of my upcoming "Nightlives" class (i.e., music + nighttime). Yay!
posted by LMGM at 12:22 PM on July 2, 2009

Yeah, these are great and all, but not comparable in my mind to Ren and Stimpy. You could do a piece on 10 best uses of classical music in that show alone.

Hell, you could do it for most single episodes of that show.
posted by 7segment at 1:26 PM on July 2, 2009

Water Water Every Hare was always my favourite, featuring Chopin's "Raindrop" Prelude in D flat Major op. 28, No. 15. I think there are other bits of Chopin in this one as well.
posted by emeiji at 1:41 PM on July 2, 2009

Thank you, marxchivist! I was intending to post asking about that piece – "music cartoons used to tell you it was morning", brilliant.
posted by zadcat at 3:08 PM on July 2, 2009

I remember my jr. high school music teacher praising Warner Bros. cartoons. She claimed that Americans have a broad knowledge of classical music simply from watching those cartoons (I'm not sure what context she was talking about...compared with other countries' kids? Previous generations?) Of course, listening to a piece and knowing its name and composer are two different things, but my teacher didn't seem too bothered about that.
posted by zardoz at 11:44 PM on July 2, 2009

Yay! That was a delightful excursion.
posted by Eideteker at 7:00 AM on July 4, 2009

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