Director Troy and his merry band have lovingly added all sorts of yummy things for your viewing pleasure. One of my biggest fears had always been that if they ever did release a Freakazoid DVD, it would be done by somebody who could care less. Nope. Freakazoid was cared for very nicely by Troy. We shall have to honor him with another Barones Pizza. (The official pizza of the Freakazoid show. Just so you know.)
On the the season 2 DVD you'll find a special, little something about the man whose caricature you see above.
Richard Stone. I miss him. A lot. Richard passed away in 2001 from pancreatic cancer.
I think it's safe to say that Freakazoid, Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain would never have been as good without him. Richard Stone was our ace-in-the-hole. He could take something good and make it great. He was something of a magician. The Great Stonini.
Richard was our lead composer on Freakazoid. Joining him were the brilliant Steve and Julie Bernstein. I'm telling ya...we were blessed.
For me, the best part of putting a show together happened at the end. After it was written, recorded, boarded, animated, editing...there was the scoring session. Folks, it was cool.
There was never any reason for us to really be at those sessions. We just wanted to be. We wanted to sit on that comfy couch in the recording booth and watch those 40 or so musicians make some of the most amazing music on the same recording stage Carl Stalling used for the classic Looney Tunes. Did I mention it was cool? Cuz it was.
Now, I can speak with some authority about this. That ain't the way it's done any more. Music for most TV shows is done at a keyboard connected to a computer. It sounds okay. Sometimes. But when you watch your Freakazoid DVD, know that there were 40 or so musicians being conducted...with a real baton and everything. I mentioned it was cool...right?
And these musicians weren't just any musicians. These particular musicians were (still are) the go-to guys for most big-time movie scores. Some are even in the LA Philharmonic. My point: these guys had all the work they could handle. But they loved working with Stonini. He (and Steve and Julie) would write them complicated, fun, manic stuff to play. He made 'em work hard. And they loved it.
I have three favorite Freakazoid scores. All three are in Season Two; Dexter's Date, Hero Boy and Normadeus. Normadeus is perhaps the most amazing. We knew that was probably the last time music would ever be put to a Freakazoid episode. And Richard Stone decided to mark the occasion with as many musicians as he could. 50 if I remember. We had harps! Harps I tell ya! And since we were doing a parody of Amadeus, there would be plenty of Mozart.
So, here's the way a scoring session went:
The musicians would arrive in the morning and unload all their instruments. They'd all chat a while and then sit down. They didn't rehearse. They'd be handed their music. The particular scene we were doing would be projected on a huge screen above them, Richard would raise his baton and suddenly there was music. It usually took about half a day for each episode.
After Richard was satisfied they had gotten it, he'd ask for it to be played back. And this...this always amazed me. These hard working musicians wouldn't just sit on the stage and wait. Many of them would rush into the control room to see the scene. They'd laugh and pat each other on the back and watch the show. They were into it. These musicians who had seen it all and done it all were into this strange, little cartoon. Cool.
Anyway, if you get the DVD, take the time to listen to the music. The wonderful, silly, perfectly Freakazoid music.