Happy 75th birthday to Raymond Scott's POWERHOUSE!

From the Raymond Scott blog, "Exactly 75 years ago today, Raymond Scott recorded his iconic hit tune, 'Powerhouse.' On the same date, following 8 months of rehearsals with his Quintette at CBS, he also recorded 'Twilight In Turkey,' 'Minuet In Jazz,' and 'The Toy Trumpet' — not bad for a day's work. He didn't realize it at the time, but these compositions would jump-start his stellar career, and accidentally inspire cartoon antics for future generations. To celebrate the milestone, check-out this collection of 75 YouTube clips of Scott's classic 'Powerhouse,' here and see details about our year-long 75th anniversary events schedule here.


    1. Hmm; this is kinda weird… You can see that same action at 3:15 in Puss N’ Booty, except it’s in B&W (and notably so; it’s the last B&W from Warner Bros.) Dunno what the color version is. (Oh yeh—the cat is “Rudolph”)

      1. From http://RaymondScott.com/#913/custom_plain :
        Q: Is Raymond Scott’s tune, “Powerhouse,” or others he wrote in the public domain?A: No. All Raymond Scott compositions are still under copyright protection. Under current copyright law, titles copyrighted before 1978 are protected for a period of 95 years from the date of first copyright. “Powerhouse” dates from 1937, and will not enter the public domain until 2033. Scott’s earliest copyrighted title (“You’re My Lucky Charm”) dates from 1933, and many of his electronic recordings from the 1950s through the early-’80s were copyrighted after his death in 1994.

        1. It’s funny how the song has had a huge cultural impact on baby boomers, GenXers, and younger types almost entirely though Carl Stalling’s constant revisiting of the Powerhouse well.

          I was surprised myself at the longevity of music copyright from the Looney Tunes era.  I work on a Warner Bros television show, and at one point we were looking to license a cartoon that would be playing on a TV screen in a scene with a father and daughter watching it.  Turned out we never actually saw the front of the screen, so we only needed to license the audio.  Initially we figured we’d just license some old Looney Tune, rather than a more modern Scooby Doo (largely because Frank Welker’s voice does not come cheap), but even with the score for Rabbit of Seville being largely composed by the long-dead Gioachino Rossini, the license fee for Stalling’s arrangement alone turned out to be prohibitively expensive… even for Warner Bros Television!

          Stalling’s estate does okay off that arrangement, I’d guess, and so does Raymond Scott’s.  We ended up paying off Frank Welker after all.

  1. This is one of those bits of culture, like the “I [Heart] NY” logo, that’s so much a part of our media landscape that it’s sometimes hard to remember that some human being actually at one point said, “Aha!” and created it.

    1. The Rush song that lifts Raymond Scott’s music is discussed in the YouTube comments for the video above.

  2. Raymond Scott, like Bob Moog and others after him, was an absolute mad genius beyond his compositions. He invented numerous electronic instruments, synthesizers, and sequencers, and created processes for recording that hadn’t yet crossed anyone’s mind. He’s definitely best known for “Powerhouse” via the WB cartoons, but he’s really someone worth spending more time reading about, if you’re into that sort of gorgeous muck.

  3. The Dance Orchestra playing Scott’s Dinner Music for a Pack of  Hungry Cannibals at Concordia University in Montreal:

    There used to be a YouTube video of the original cartoon, but I can’t find it.  Picture a bunch of cannibals dancing around a big cast iron pot.

  4. I can’t find that his music was actually use in any cartoons, but I’m a fan of Speedy West as well: http://www.rdio.com/#/artist/Speedy_West/album/Steel_Guitar/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speedy_West Pedal Steel player who played comic-cartoony western swing. It’s like the “booing” sound at the beginning of Looney Tunes took on a whole musical life. Anyway, I thought he was used in cartoons, but I couldn’t find anything. Still good!

  5. I got Don Byron’s album Bug Music entirely for this song. Of course the whole album is songs found frequently in old cartoons

  6. Another tidbit: Raymond Scott’s “Twilight in Turkey” formed the basis for Professor Elemental’s “Fighting Trousers”.

    (Took some doing to make that connection!)

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