Sad News

17 views
Skip to first unread message

GJ Toon

unread,
Mar 10, 2001, 5:17:56 AM3/10/01
to
Richard Stone has died. I'll miss working with him, knowing him and listening
to his music which was enormously important to the success of Animaniacs, Pinky
& The Brain and other WBA shows. It really is the end of an era.

Gordon Bressack

Femajoe

unread,
Mar 10, 2001, 10:09:09 PM3/10/01
to

Oh my God.

I didn't even know the gentleman and I already miss him.

-Joanna
(I feel like I should say more, but I just can't think...I'm not good at this
sort of thing).

Greg

unread,
Mar 10, 2001, 11:28:11 PM3/10/01
to
in article 20010310220909...@ng-cs1.aol.com, someone named
Femajoe at fem...@aol.com wrote on 3/10/01 10:09 PM:

Hard to believe he's gone. He was an extremely talented person--he'll be
sorely missed. My heartfelt sympathies to his friends and family.

-Greg (who is also no good at this sort of thing).

WakkosChick

unread,
Mar 11, 2001, 9:27:31 AM3/11/01
to
Jo wrote:

>I'm not good at this sort of thing

Me neither. :(

For some reason it really hit me when I read it. (Maybe in some small way it
was appropriate I was listening to an Animaniacs song at the time). Richard
will certainly be missed, his contribution to the music world was nothing short
of incredible.

Jen xxx

Pinky: I like it even better than that commercial where they have all those
bland people with big, strange hair.
Brain: I've told you before, Pinky. That *isn't* a commercial! That's CNN!

Jay Maynard

unread,
Mar 14, 2001, 12:48:19 PM3/14/01
to

To a very real extent, Richard was responsible for the underlying feel of
the WBA shows. The scoring was very well done, and managed to be rich and
expressive without being overpowering. Those of us who saw the scoring
session at Animania IV could get quite an idea of what Bingo was about even
before the dialogue was added.

Perhaps his best work for Animaniacs was The Animaniacs Suite...the music
alone is enough to get me teary-eyed at the end.

I hope to, someday, see more works set in the Animaniacs universe...but,
without Richard Stone, that job will get a lot harder. Finding someonhe who
wouldn't be the moral equivalent of Bill Lava following Carl Stallings is
going to be quite a feat.

I doubt the folks at KWB appreciated just what they had in WBA as a whole,
and Richard Stone in particular. Even if they don't, though, he was not
totally unappreciated, and will not be forgotten.

Goodbye, Richard. We'll miss you.

chance wolf

unread,
Mar 16, 2001, 2:01:43 AM3/16/01
to

"Jay Maynard" <jmay...@thebrain.conmicro.cx> wrote in message
news:F50C6546108337BA.651CA1EA...@lp.airnews.net...

I caught Gordon's post over on rec.arts.animation and it honestly bummed me
out for a couple of days - partly for the fact of Richard's death - but also
because his passing woke me up to the fact that really, there is nothing
like ANIMX to hold my interest in cartoondom to the level it was when I was
a regular here in 1994-98, and I find that sorry fact a sort of obituary in
itself.

WBA unappreciated? Sure. They had an *incredible* array of talent working
on the same show under the same roof at the same time - a feat unequalled,
IMO, since the days of Clampett, Jones, McKimson and the rest of the
old-timers, and it seems to be the way of things that talent in WB animation
only achieves the recognition it deserves decades after the fact, and
typically after everyone's dispersed to the four winds and corporate
short-sightedness sends tumbleweeds blowing down the rows of staffers' desks
which once held talent worthy of Peabodys and Emmys. That, to put it
bluntly, is crap.

Nowadays, I get a pretty close first-hand look at what goes on in the
live-action end of all things Warners', and some of the corporate types
profiled by WBA acquaintances and net-folks like Sean C. now step from the
shadows of "Two-Tone" stereotypery and into the brave, new world of
unwelcome, unexpected reality. More's the pity, really, because while these
folks and their Gucci-soled clones seem to self-replicate at an alarming
rate, irreplacable people like Richard pass on, and many others who had a
strong voice on ANIMX now find themselves part of the choir on something
less.....worthy.

I'll have to catch up with friends on the other side of the ramparts - it's
been awhile - but now I hear Killer "I hate your show" Kellner now has his
wonky sights set firmly on CN. Wobetide whoever thought *that* was a good
idea, but I guess I shouldn't really be surprised given the 'Magic 8-ball'
school-of-executivedom being practised throughout the Warner empire on
several fronts.

chance (who still watches the tapes of PATB and ANIMX passed on by Plato at
an Animania too-long ago, and lurks occasionally in the hopes of spying the
rare Really Cranky Dragon, Jennnnnette Owen, or YAWYS Pt.
XXXVIII)

Kane Leung

unread,
Mar 18, 2001, 10:49:26 PM3/18/01
to
I share the same sentiments as you, Mr. Maynard ...

He'll be missed indeed ...

-- Kane
-----
Quoting from the March 15th edition of the LA Times, section B
(Metro), page B8, Obituaries ...

Richard Stone, an Emmy-winning composer of cartoon music for such
Warner Bros. series as "Animaniacs" and "Pinky & the Brain," died of
pancreatic cancer Friday at his West Hills home. He was 47.
Stone was widely considered the modern-day successor of Carl
Stalling, the legendary composer who wrote hundreds of wacky musical
scores for such Warner Bros. classics as "Looney Tunes" and "Merrie
Melodies" from the late 1930s to the 1950s. Stone helped to revive the
Stalling tradition of using a full orchestra, synchronizing the music
to characters' movements and employing musical effects to convey the
Warner brand of cartoon humor--witty without being cute.
He even composed on the same studio Steinway and conducted on the
same stage that Stalling used.
"I always try to keep the Stalling language going," he once told
Daily Variety. "If something falls without a piano glissando, it
doesn't fall.
"We still use the xylophone for an eye blink and we still play
'The Lady in Red' when a character wears a red dress. We do this to
honor Carl Stalling, but also to keep conversant with the Warner Bros.
tradition."
Stone grew up in Philadelphia watching "Looney Tunes" cartoons.
He was exposed to music through his father, who played the piano, and
his maternal grandfather, a music critic for the Philadelphia
Inquirer.
Stone studied cello and music theory at the Curtis Institute and
Indiana University. After moving to California in 1980, he worked as a
music editor for Maurice Jarre and other composers, then scored
several movies, including the cult classics "Sundown: The Vampire in
Retreat" and "Pumpkinhead."
Although faithful to the Stalling legacy, Stone's cartoon music
incorporated other styles, including rock 'n' roll, jazz, country and
show tunes. Since 1994, he had won seven Emmys: two for the theme
songs of "Animaniacs" and "Freakazoid," and five for music direction
and composition on "Animaniacs" and "Histeria!"
He also wrote the themes for "Pinky & the Brain," "Taz-Mania,"
"Road Rovers" and "The Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries."
He is survived by two sons, Richard and Michael; a brother,
David, of Burbank; a sister, Bonnie Sunstein, of Iowa City, Iowa; and
his mother, Janet, of Jenkintown, Pa.
Donations may be made to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network,
P.O. Box 1010, Torrance, CA 90505.

Plato

unread,
Mar 21, 2001, 2:58:58 PM3/21/01
to

That is very sad. The music adds another dimension to 2-D pictures, and
Mr. Stone thrived on the frantic work that left others exhausted. You
can tell he loved his work. And we loved it too.

From the Film Score Monthly Journal (August 1999):
---

One of the regular contributors to Tiny Toons was composer Richard
Stone. "It became very clear that Richard was very different from the
other people working on the show," Doug Frank [executive VP of music]
recalls. "Far more dedicated, just had a different handle on thing, an
understanding that was superior to the other composers and orchestra-
tions that worked on the show. He started to get the call more than
anyone else, and I remember having lunch with him and asking him what he
wanted to do when he grew up. And he told me that if he was so busy
doing animation for television that he had time for nothing else, then
he would be the happiest composer in the world... at which point I
warned him to be careful what he wished for. And basically that's
exactly what happened."

After hiring Stone to work on Tiny Toons, [Bruce] Broughton discovered
that Stone had also researched Stalling well before his tenure on Tiny
Toons. "I had been a fan of the old Warner Bros. cartoons since I was a
kid and I remember sitting on the floor and watching a Daffy Duck
cartoon and really getting the music," Stone says. "I remembered Carl
Stalling's name throughout my life, and then tried to study some of his
music when I was in music school, which was very difficult because there
were no film music departments. You couldn't study film music, let
alone cartoon music. So when Tiny Toons was getting started I was in
the right place in the right time and had this passion for Carl
Stalling."

Stone admits that writing in the Stalling style came easily to him. "I
had spent so much time watching Carl Stalling cartoons, and the way the
cartoon was written and animated it just cried for certain things. If a
character was peeking around the corner, for instance, it cried out for
a little glissando on a viola, and if the character was significantly
blinking a xylophone would come in. If a boulder fell on something,
there was a piano glissando. Because the animators and writers and
Warner Bros. at the time put great value on having their product have
the look and feel of the old cartoons, I had a feeling of how to score
it also. I was very nervous at the time and had no idea what it was
going to sound like, but it came out well."

Stone, who had impressed both Frank and Broughton during his tenure on
Tiny Toons, became the chief player after Broughton elected to get out
of the animation grind. "I wound up scoring quite a few episodes of
Tiny Toons," Stone recalls, "and then while Toons was being phased out I
was asked to be the supervising composer on Animaniacs, followed by
Pinky and the Brain, Freakazoid, and now a show called Histeria. I was
actually musical director of everything at Warners except for the shows
Shirley [Walker] was supervising. At one point we were involved with
six different series so I obviously couldn't do everything alone, so
I've been working with a wonderful group of people including Steve and
Julie Bernstein, Gordon Goodwin, Tim Kelly, and Carl Johnson."

Stone is equally philosophical, particularly when given that, unlike
Shirley Walker, he will be at least temporarily out of a job after
Histeria finishes its final recording sessions. "Animaniacs wrapped up
its last show, Pinky and the Brain has wrapped -- it's the end of an era
again," he sighs. "We've been privileged to be a part of the resur-
rection of this style, and it's been unbelievable that we've been able
to work with a full orchestra every week for the past eight or nine
years, which is unheard of in animation, let alone television in
general. There've been maybe two or three prime-time shows that have
had acoustic scores in the last few years, and we've been lucky to be
able to have worked with the greatest musicians in the world. I have no
complaints whatsoever."

---
- David "Goodbye, Richard" Green

Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages