In tracing the history and development of this project, I am reminded that it spans close to twenty-five years, and involves many, many people— so many that I'm certain I will forget to thank or acknowledge someone (who I hope will forgive my poor memory).
My piano teacher, the late Blanche Nissim, convinced me it was not enough to just hear the Mozart that inspired this study, but to play it in the hopes of beginning to fully understand it. Ron Perry helped further this affection for music with a great deal of encouragement during high school.
I was a new music major at the University of California, Riverside, when I first realized my affinity for and interest in cartoon music; the faculty of the Department of Music encouraged me to continue asking questions. They included Barbara Bennett, who generously hosted in her home my first attempt at empirical research: a gathering of music students playing “name that tune” with cartoon soundtracks. Edward Clinkscale first planted the seed of the notion that music history might be a rewarding field. Philip Brett and Byron Adams gave me a remarkable amount of guidance and support at a time when I found “musicology” an unfamiliar term; these three men ultimately inspired me to become a musicologist myself.
While at UCR I took a class taught by a visiting professor, Irene Alm, a UCLA graduate student. On hearing of my proposed project, she insisted I contact her UCLA colleague Jim Westby, who guided me through many of the thorny issues I first faced with my research, and has remained a good friend and an unrelenting critic.
(p.xvi) I could not have made a better decision than choosing to pursue graduate work at UCLA, where the faculty and my colleagues shared my excitement about new and interesting topics. David Ake was the first graduate student I met on my arrival, and my respect for him as a colleague and my affection for him as a friend continues to grow. Within my first quarter of graduate school I gave my first “real” paper on cartoon music at a meeting of the Royal Music Association at Royal Holloway, University of London, where I met a future colleague and close friend, Mai Kawabata. Durrell Bowman was my Simpsons co-conspirator; I could always count on him and Louis Niebur to join me for a meal or a drink when we had to stop work. Charles Garrett came to the program just as I began to slip into the haze of late-night writing, but fortunately I got to know him well enough to find in him a stimulating colleague with an especially fine wit.
While the entire faculty of the Department of Musicology saw my work at one time or another, Robert Walser, Mitchell Morris, and in particular Susan McClary helped me see this project to its completion. Susan taught me how to formulate questions that I could often barely articulate, and then showed me how to tear those questions apart to develop new ones. Her love for teaching and her unmatched abilities as a writer and editor made her the ideal mentor, both then and now.
Other friends and colleagues in academia have encouraged me by vet-ting drafts and providing useful feedback. Jeff Smith and Tim Anderson, from the world of film and media studies, have been wonderful advocates for my work. Neil Lerner has been encouraging me and my research practically from the day this project began. Marty Marks's scholarship in film music gives me a goal for which I can continue to strive. And Claudia Gorbman's remarkable grasp of issues regarding film and music continues to inspire me.
The animation community (that part consisting of animation historians in particular) is remarkably small and close-knit, and I feel especially fortunate to count many of these people as friends. They have supported my work and this project for many years.
My first contact with the archival side of Warner Bros. cartoons came through the very helpful folks at the USC Cinema-Television Library, including over the years Stuart Ng, Bill Whittington, Noelle Carter, Leith Adams (at the Warner Bros. Corporate Archive), and the ever-present and indomitable Ned Comstock.
Jerry Beck's love for animation is infectious. He has provided me with introductions to dozens of people, has made himself available for questions (p.xvii) and requests, and has supported this work without fail. Michael Barrier, Greg Ford, and Mark Kausler have been generous to a fault in sharing their time and considerable resources with me. The knowledge possessed by these three about popular culture and specifically about animation always keeps me on my toes.
Alf Clausen, Steve and Julie Bernstein, and the late Richard Stone shared their experiences as cartoon composers with me. I was thrilled to find in Rich Stone someone who obsessed on Carl Stalling as much as I, and was glad to have the chance to get to know him before his much too early death in 2001.
Other people in animation who contributed to this project include Leonard Maltin, Mark Langer, Ray Pointer, Will Ryan, Linda Simensky, Steve Schneider, Keith Scott, David Gerstein, J. B. Kaufman, Rob Clampett, and Howard Green. Chuck Jones gracefully granted me several interviews in the early 1990s.
I also received encouragement, help, or inspiration in various ways from Yuval Taylor, Chris Ware, Irwin Chusid, Robb Armstrong, Richard Leppert, Ivan Raykoff, Gordon Haramaki, Rudy Behlmer, Meg Wilson, Phil Brophy, Todd Doogan, and Neal Flum.
My time as a librarian and archivist at Spümcø animation gave me an invaluable chance to work in the animation industry and meet dozens of creative folks who simply love cartoons. I learned a great deal from working with John Kricfalusi, who has a passion for classic cartoons unmatched by anyone I've ever met, while Vincent Waller became a wonderful mentor for many years.
For all but four months of my time in graduate school I had the in-credibly good fortune to work, first freelance and eventually full-time, at Rhino Entertainment in West Los Angeles. Besides being a truly “great place to work,” it enabled me to meet many talented writers, artists, and self-professed music geeks. My coworkers in editorial taught me a completely new approach to writing (and critiquing writing) about music, and have permanently changed my approach to writing and teaching for the better. They include Julee Stover, Vanessa Atkins, and Steven Chean. Among other Rhinos (and friends) who helped this project in its development are Rick Brodey, Dee Murphy, Bob Carlton, and Thane Tierney. Thane in particular has been utterly selfless, spending hours discussing everything from cartoons to folk rock, and made the ultimate commitment by reading this book in manuscript and deftly guiding me through some tricky issues.
I did not know what to expect when I moved to Tuscaloosa to take a (p.xviii) job at the University of Alabama. I certainly had no idea I would meet such welcoming, stimulating, and simply wonderful colleagues in the School of Music and throughout the university. Jerry Rosiek, Jeremy Butler, Kurtis Schaeffer, Joshua Rothman, Jessica Lacher-Feldman, Utz McKnight, and Harry Price are all, in part, responsible for helping me craft this book in its final stages. Special thanks are owed to Jerry Rosiek and the entire Interdisciplinary and Interpretive Research Writing Group, who make editing one's own work invigorating and enjoyable. The community at Alabama that welcomed us in has made the experience so positive that I still can't convince my friends around the country that such an environment exists anywhere.
A minigrant from UC Riverside helped fund my initial research on classical music in cartoons, while a generous travel grant from the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming allowed me to spend several days looking through Carl Stalling's music library, as well as other useful documents.
Of course, I must thank my exceedingly patient editor, Mary Francis, as well as the anonymous readers of this manuscript for their many useful and insightful observations and suggestions.
My family has known about my idée fixe for years and have unstintingly encouraged my studies. My grandparents urged me my entire life to “keep my head on my shoulders”; I'm sorry they can't see this. My parents supported this project quite literally from its moment of inception— the day I asked for piano lessons. They and my brother have provided moral, financial, spiritual, and comestible sustenance. My extended family—the Collinses, the Prystowskys, and the Mileses—have all played a part in this, most of all by supporting my life with Cyleste Collins, my dear friend and now my dear spouse.
Before we met, Cyleste had only seen The Simpsons a few times—now she gets the jokes faster than I do. She has been subjected to more information about cartoons than anyone would ever imagine. She has read far too many versions of this manuscript and has always been able to help me see things differently. Her support, patience, and love make this book what it is.
And just as I began to dig in to this project in earnest, we had an addition to our family unit—Maggie, a twenty-one-pound so-called Wheaton Terrier Mix. Amazingly, she has been content to just hang out under the desk in my office (at home, school, or work) while I hack away at my prose. Maggie's unabashed affection gives both Cyleste and me perspective on our busy lives.