Scott Bradley

Scott Bradley

Birth
Russellville, Pope County, Arkansas, USA
Death 27 Apr 1977 (aged 85)
Chatsworth, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Chatsworth, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Section G
Memorial ID 92271317 · View Source
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Composer. He and Carl W. Stalling are the most celebrated creators of cartoon music during Hollywood's classic era. As music director of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's animation studio from 1937 to 1957, he helped Hanna-Barbera's "Tom and Jerry" series win seven Academy Awards and added immeasurably to the crazed inspirations of filmmaker Tex Avery. The Arkansas-born Bradley began his career performing with and later conducting theatre orchestras in Houston, Texas. He studied organ and harmony with Horton Corbett, the choir director of Houston's Christ Church Cathedral, but was self-taught in composition and orchestration. (Years later, when he was already established in Hollywood, he studied privately with Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco). In 1926 he moved to Los Angeles to conduct musical programs over KHJ Radio, an activity that led to his growing involvement in animation at the start of the talkie era. Following employment as a staff musician for Walt Disney (1929) and the Ub Iwerks studio (1930 to 1934), he became music director for Harman-Ising Productions, which released its cartoons through MGM. When MGM started its own animation unit in 1937 it hired away most of Harman-Ising's talent pool, including Bradley. He would score some 250 cartoons for Metro over the next 20 years, highlighting the antics of Tom and Jerry, Droopy, Barney Bear and Screwy Squirrel, and the one-shot gag films that were Avery's specialty. During the 1930s he also gained attention as a "serious" composer with his tone poems "The Valley of the White Poppies" (1931) and "The Headless Horseman" (1932), and the oratorio "Thanatopsis" (1934); one Los Angeles critic favorably compared the latter to Honegger's "King David". But his biggest concert hall success was "Cartoonia" (1938), premiered in San Francisco by Pierre Monteux. A four-movement suite based on themes from his MGM work, it asserted Bradley's belief that scoring animation was an art form of great potential. He articulated this view in the article "Cartoon Music of the Future" (1941), though it took some time for him to develop his dynamic signature style. It was not until the mid-1940s that he really hit his stride, inspired by the new challenges of working with Avery and the Hanna-Barbera team. He persuaded producer Fred Quimby to allow him to experiment, and as the MGM cartoons grew wilder and more violent Bradley's music went brilliantly nuts. Instantly recognizable are his swirling prestissimo accompaniments to chase scenes; the dissonant brass "stings" emphasizing a character's shocked reactions; and the snappy little jazz motifs that whip the action along. His use of jazz was delightfully hot-blooded, heard at its raucous best in his arrangements of Louis Jordan's hit "Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby" for "Solid Serenade" (1946) and the standard "Tiger Rag" for "Dixieland Droopy" (1954). Tex Avery seems to have brought out the musical iconoclast in him. For Screwy Squirrel he came up with a theme for slide whistle and kooky percussion, while in the climactic chase of "King-Size Canary" (1947) he managed to tear through seven well-known tunes (including "Dixie", "La Marseillaise", and "The Irish Washerwoman") in 16 seconds. The "Tom and Jerry" shorts, which had little or no dialogue, gave Bradley more scope for his ideas. Beginning with "Puttin' on the Dog" (1944) he applied the serial techniques of Arnold Schoenberg, a first in Hollywood film scoring. "I hope Dr. Schoenberg will forgive me for using his system to produce funny music, but even the boys in the orchestra laughed when we were recording it", he remarked. In "Love That Pup" (1949) Bradley introduced the familiar theme music that would open nearly all subsequent MGM "Tom and Jerry" cartoons, including those produced by Gene Deitch (1961 to 1962) and Chuck Jones (1963 to 1967). MGM ceased in-house cartoon production in 1957 and Bradley retired. For decades afterwards his name was known primarily to film buffs, aided by Leonard Maltin's praise of his achievements in his book on American animation, "Of Mice and Magic" (1980). Lack of published scores and the fragmentary nature of Bradley's music make it a challenge to present outside the films themselves, one that has not been tackled until recently. A limited edition CD, "Tom and Jerry and Tex Avery Too!" (2006), brought together 25 complete Bradley soundtracks from the 1950s, taken from the original masters. The 2013 world premiere of "Tom and Jerry at MGM" - a six-minute orchestral suite of Bradley cues reconstructed by Peter Morris and John Wilson - was a hit at a BBC Proms concert in London, England.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards


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Gravesite Details Damaged headstone with Masonic emblem

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: bookworm98
  • Added: 20 Jun 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 92271317
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Scott Bradley (26 Nov 1891–27 Apr 1977), Find A Grave Memorial no. 92271317, citing Oakwood Memorial Park, Chatsworth, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .