Most people probably know today’s song as “I’m Bringing Home A Baby Bumblebee” but the song’s actual name is “The Arkansas Traveler.” It was the Arkansas state song from 1949 to 1963 and it was composed by Col. Sanford C. Faulkner back in the 1800s. The official lyrics were written by committee 1949. The song was also frequently used in cartoons from the 30’s and 40’s. This video is a beautiful interpretation by Grammy Award winning guitarist Chet Atkins.
I spent about 97.23% of my childhood outside but I didn’t get my first bee sting until I was an adult. I was on a date. There was cleavage and perfume. I’m no Jane Russell but I have never felt the need to embellish the goods I was given either. I guess when you’re a bee though, the term “false advertising” has a totally different meaning. This particular bee expressed his distaste at my “deception” in a very rude way! Here’s a fun fact that I learned that day, a paste of meat tenderizer and water will take the sting right out of the er… sting. I also learned if you get stung in the right place and in the right company, you get a willing, nay, eager assistant in your time of distress. Who says first aid can’t be fun?
Once again it’s time for cartoon music appreciation! “Hearts And Flowers” was composed by Theodore M Tobani in 1893. Unremarkable and largely forgotten lyrics about the lovely Marguerite were added in 1899 by Mary D. Brine. The song was often used as musical accompaniment to the dramatic scenes in silent films but we probably all remember it as the Looney Tunes “go to” song for melodramatic moments. Here’s a 1908 recording of the song performed by the Victor Orchestra.
I chose this particular song when I was watching the episode of “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” where Buffy is dealing with the death of her mother. I swear every time I see that episode I bawl like a… um… like a really sad bawling thing that’s not a baby because that’s too cliché. There’s not much music in the episode but the song they play when Buffy is talking with Angel about her fear of the future sounds a lot like “Hearts And Flowers.” I’m an unapologetically sappy and soft hearted movie weeper but even I’m preprogrammed to laugh or at least roll my eyes at any scene that has “Hearts And Flowers” playing in the background. Somehow, though, Joss Whedon made even this anthem to melodrama (or a song remarkably like it) work exactly as it was originally intended! Yay Joss and yay “Hearts And Flowers!”
PS For any Buffy fans that may be reading this, I liked Angel but I actually think Spike was a MUCH more interesting character!
It’s cartoon music appreciation time again! The song “Powerhouse” was penned by Raymond Scott in 1937 and it was released as a single the same year. At the time it wasn’t nearly as popular as some of Raymond Scott’s other songs, but its use in cartoons has made it his most popular tune today. “Powerhouse” consists of two seperate themes, “Powerhouse A” which was frequently used in cartoon chase scenes and “Powerhouse B” which was frequently used in assembly line or industrial scenes. I counted more than 40 cartoons which used one or both parts of the song but the first use was in “Porky Pig’s Feat.” Here’s The Raymond Scott Quintette performing the number on “Your Show Of Shows” in 1955.
Raymond Scott was a musician, a composer, a band leader, and an inventor. In short, the man was a genius. He was also, by all accounts, a bit of an ass. We’ve discussed genius + addiction and genius + madness before on this blog but one trend I’ve noticed but never mentioned is a lot of these guys were also royal bastards! Obviously being a jerk goes hand in hand with addiction and sometimes with mental illness too but geez, didn’t anyone ever get addicted to happy pills or laughing gas?