Merrie Melodies (cartoons, from Warner Brothers)

    (Theatrical cartoons since 1931;
     Packages syndicated to TV since 1950s)

    [Originally theatrical cartoons produced by Leon Schlesinger
     beginning in 1931, the cartoons aired on various Children's TV
     series ever since.
     Although most people remember the signature THEME as being
     "Merrily We Roll Along" (adapted from the nursery tune of the
     same name) it is not as well known that there were two other 
     compositions used for "Merrie Melodies" Main Titles previously.
     By 1937, both cartoon series "Merrie Melodies" and "Looney Tunes" 
     (which see) had adapted their final, most familiar signature
     tunes that would be associated with them for decades.]

Theme 1 (circa 1931 - 1934): "Get Happy"

    [This cheerful little earful of a tune was Arlen
     and Koehler's first breakthrough hit. It evolved from a
     little "pickup" vamp introduction Arlen ad-libbed when he
     substituted as a rehearsal pianist for a Vincent Youmans 
     With the encouragement of friends, he developed the fragment
     into a full melody; Then composer Harry Warren introduced 
     Arlen to Ted Koehler who wrote a lyric for the tune and the
     song was complete. But it had no attachment to a show yet.
     The boys were in their mid 20's, and eager to place songs.
     They got a break when singing star Ruth Selwyn hired them
     to provide several songs for her new revue on Broadway.
     "Get Happy" found a place in Selwyn's 1930 revue called  
     "The Nine-Fifteen Review." Although the show itself failed, 
     "Get Happy" emerged as a hit - and Harold Arlen referred
     to it ever after as that "noisy song." It helped them get
     more work as writers of syncopated "rhythm songs" in the
     early days of their career.
     So it was natural for "Merrie Melodies" cartoons to adapt 
     this jazzy new song as their signature the following year.]

     Composers: music by Harold Arlen (ASCAP)
                        [professional name of Hyman Arluck], and
                lyric by Theodore K. ("Ted") Koehler (ASCAP)

     1978 Publisher: Remick Music Corp. (ASCAP)
     2005 Publishers: Remick Music Corp. (ASCAP)
                         c/o Warner Bros. Inc.
                         of Los Angeles, CA; and
                      S. A. Music Co. (ASCAP)
                         of Smithtown, NY
     Composition Date: 1930.

     Copyright Date:
     Renewal   Date:

Theme 2 (circa 1934 - 1937): "I Think You're Ducky"

    [Tobias was a co-writer of the final signature THEME
     "Merrily We Roll Along", which see below; It is not known if
     this song was connected to a film or cartoon, but given the
     publishers Bourne & Remick, as well as the writers involved,
     that seems quite likely...]

     Composers/Adapters: Charles Tobias (ASCAP)
                         Gerald Marks (ASCAP), and
                         Sidney Clare (ASCAP)

     1978 Publishers: Bourne Co. (ASCAP), and
                      Remick Music Corp. (ASCAP)
     2005 Publishers: Bourne Co. (ASCAP)
                         of New York, NY; and
                      Remick Music Corp. (ASCAP)
                         c/o Warner Bros. Inc.
                         of Los Angeles, CA

     Copyright Date:
     Renewal   Date:

Main Theme (circa 1937): "Merrily We Roll Along"

    [aka: "Merrie Melodies (Open/Closing Theme)";
     aka: "That's All, Folks";
     The title of this song matches a George S. Kaufman - Moss Hart play
     which premiered on Broadway on September 9th, 1934. Although this
     song is apparently not related, it was published in February of
     the following there may have been a indirect cultural 
     The Kaufman and Hart play was a somewhat serious look backward 
     at the careers of several creative people, reflecting on their
     idealistic youths and ironic ways their lives turned out - and had 
     some unflattering parallels with several famous careers of the
     1930s including that of Dorothy Parker and George Gershwin who
     were not amused; The play did not have a long run on Broadway.
     (In 1981 Stephen Sondheim wrote a kind of musical descendant to
     the Kaufman - Hart, play treating the subject in a more successful 
     manner, using the same title.)
     This song and the Broadway play were apparently not consciously
     connected; Co-writer Eddie Cantor (who was known as "old banjo 
     eyes") was a big radio and film star who had a comedy series on
     NBC; Perhaps something about the title of the play inspired
     the madcap composition of this tune adapted from the melody of
     the well-known nursery rhyme tune.
     The 1953 film "The Eddie Cantor Story" featured this song for which
     Eddie Cantor is given credit as a co-writer (although the amount 
     of his creative contribution is unknown; it was common practice 
     in those days for some stars to demand a piece of royalty action 
     when they promoted a song -- all part of show business of the time.)
     The imaginative arrangement as a cartoon signature by Warner Bros.
     staff arranger Carl W. Stalling (together with the Looney Tunes
     signature) are a high standard by which cartoon signature THEMEs
     are judged, even today.]

    [based loosely on the Nursery Tune "Merrily We Roll Along"]

     Composers/Adapters: Charles Tobias (ASCAP),
                         Murray Mencher (ASCAP), and
                         Eddie Cantor (ASCAP)
                        [professional name of Isidore Iskowitz]

     1978 Publisher:  [T. B.] Harms, Inc. (ASCAP)
     2000 Publishers: [T. B.] Harms, Inc. (ASCAP)
                         c/o Warner Bros. Inc.
                         of Los Angeles, CA;
                      Ched Music Corp. (ASCAP),
                         of Naples, FL; and
                      Eddie Cantor Music (ASCAP),
                         of New York, NY

     Published Copyright Date: Feb. 14, 1935; EP 46 607.
     Published Renewal   Date: Feb. 14, 1962; R 290 953.
     Unpublished Revised Version: Nov. 19, 1956; Eu 457 377.

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