I love cartoon music, both thematic and incidental. And I'm not talking about the garbage that passes for cartoon music nowadays, except for maybe a select few. I'm talking about the classic stuff from about the mid-70's backwards.
As a child of the 70's, I grew up watching the ever popular, ever omnipotent, the holy grail of animated cartooning, The Warner Brothers Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies. Everything else was a distant second. How distant, you may ask?
Go on, ask
"G, how distant?"
Well, I'm glad you asked. My list in no particular order of importance:
1} The classic Popeye cartoons from the 30's through the early 40's. The version from the 60's don't even make it out rookie league ball (for those who are not from the States, I would equate it with probably 3rd division football).
2} Classic MGM, including Tom & Jerry.
3} Pink Panther et al.
4} Fat Albert.
5} Fractured Fairy Tales (including Rocky & Bullwinkle, Mr. Peabody, etc.)
6} Mighty Mouse (the original, not the remake by John K of Ren & Stimpy fame)
The only post mid-70's cartoon that would even make the cut are as follows:
1} Rocko's Modern Life (theme was done by the B-52's)
2} First version of Ren & Stimpy.
3} The Klasky-Csupo empire (Rugrats, etc), music done by Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo.
4} Tiny Toon Adventures.
5} Police Academy, the series (short lived, theme was done by Heavy D and the Boyz who did the music for "In Living Colour").
Beyond that, absolutely nothing else makes the cut. And I mean nothing.
Anyways, like I'm want to do from time to time, I make distinctions in various things, this time as it applies to cartoon music. I've always been partial to the cartoons that used orchestras to create the music (Carl Stalling is God) and I think it's because that early on, I was exposed to classical music. Not from the Warner Brothers extensive use of it, but from having to play a good quantity of it during my formative years*.
*I played clarinet and marched in a marching band. There will be absolutely no discussion on this point. None. Nada. Zip. Zilcho.
Anyways, the reason for the title of the post, is quite simple. Whenever I get into a decent frame of mind at work (which is infrequent at best), I love whistling different parts of the theme to the Pink Panther cartoons. The Pink Panther cartoons, which were produced by, among others, Isadore Freling and Chuck Jones, matched up quite well with some of the better MGM stuff. They were really in a league by themselves, due to (in my opinion) the continental flare that was Europe in the mid-60's, and with Henry Mancini doing the theme and incidental music, the cartoon was absolutely perfect. The man was a master of using just a few instruments to convey the proper emotional depth at the precise point needed.
To be more specific, I always start off with the opening notes of the theme's simple triangle staccato beat. It's virtually impossible to describe in print, but that opening triangle has become the most identifiable part of the cartoon. No matter what else that may come after that, its that hook that will get you to stop and take a peek at the telly.
When I'm whistling that theme, there is absolutely nothing that will be able to touch me and ruin my day.
Cartoon music. It's da bomb.