Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Fun Facts: Cartoons and Classical Music

Yesterday marked the day that Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville recorded himself singing Au Clair de la Lune on a phonautogram in 1860. This is the earliest known recording of a human voice and the earliest known recording of music.

Camille Saint-Saens ripped the first few notes of Au Clair de la Lune for The Fossils part of The Carnival of the Animals.

Saint-Saens was worried that The Carnival of the Animals was likely to harm his reputation as a serious composer because it was too frivolous and would only allow one movement, Le Cygne (The Swan), to be published while he was alive.

Saint-Saens allowed for its publication after his death. The first performance was February 26, 1922, 2 months after his death.

Chuck Jones directed an abridged version of The Carnival of the Animals, featuring Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, which featured 10 of the 14 movements.

The first incarnation of Bugs Bunny was "Happy Rabbit", who appeared in Porky's Hare Hunt in 1938. The first cartoon to feature Bugs as we know him now was in 1940 in A Wild Hare, which also featured Elmer Fudd in one of his first cartoons.

Elmer Fudd is commonly accepted as evolving from the character Egghead, who starred in Daffy Duck & Egghead, which was Daffy Duck's second cartoon appearance after Porky's Duck Hunt. Daffy Duck & Egghead is essentially just Porky's Duck Hunt with Egghead instead of Porky.

Daffy and Porky starred in numerous parodies including Robin Hood Daffy (Robin Hood), The Great Piggy Bank Robbery (Dick Tracy), and Duck Dodgers in the 24th & 1/2 century (Buck Rogers).

Arguably the best cartoon ever created (definitely Daffy's best) is Duck Amuck. It was voted second best behind What's Opera, Doc, but I find that ruling questionable.

What's Opera, Doc features music from Richard Wagner's operas, most notably the Ride of the Valkyries, the beginning of Act III of Die Valkure.

One of Wagner's earliest champions in France was Camielle Saint-Saens, who taught his pieces during his tenure at the Ecole Niedermeyer.

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