Tuesday, April 21, 2009


So, today the Freakazoid Season 2 DVD is released!!!!!

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.

Thanks, Richard. 


  1. Having had the honor of sitting in one of the scoring sessions ("Bingo" from A!'s 3rd season), I will concur that it was a very special place and something immensely cool about being in that studio.

    Richard Stone was the heart that made Animaniacs and Freakazoid works so wonderfully.

  2. Just posting this here for Troy to see because I don't know where else he'd want me to post it.

    It sounds like Joe says, "I'm a Former under secretary for the airforce." and goes on about being a bureaucrat.

  3. Takineko,

    I shall have Troy confirm this.


  4. Hurray! Thankies!

    ~watches more Freakazoid~

  5. Tenacity award goes to Takineko - for hitting me up on Facebook, YouTube, Multiple Blogs, Text Message, Sky Writing, and Smoke Signal. Takineko is everywhere, well done! Check your Facebook for details...


  6. Haha, you're one to talk Troy! You keep popping up on every site I join! I was dissapointed with myself for not entering the other contest. I honestly couldn't think of anything good for it though.

  7. Happy Freak-A-Day!

    Great piece, Paul! Who did the singing on the “Bonjour Lobey” Demo track? It wasn’t really David Warner, was it?

    With this release, we can now say that FREAKAZOID! outlasted the WB Network!

    Be proud… and hope that a certain Mr. Kellner walks through his local Best Buy this week!

  8. Joe,

    That was Richard Stone.

    Glad you liked.


  9. I don't know about you, Bryan, but every time I see "Bingo", the music seems so much clearer to me than the music of any other episode. It must be a phenomenon of having heard it live.

    As for Freakazoid, I remember getting an email (or was it IM?) from Tom Minton the night that the theme was recorded. He was there because the theme to his new show, The Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries, was recorded that same night. However, he was gushing over how good the Freakazoid theme was and how Richard Stone really had outdone himself.

    Although it meant not hanging around with Paul and John and everyone outside the studio after that "Bingo" scoring session, during which I'm told Paul and John were most entertaining, I am quite glad that I had stayed in the studio to chat with Richard.

    At that time, the second "Carl Stalling Project" CD had just been released. I surmised that one day there should be a Richard Stone Project. He seemed awfully flattered by the idea.

    I also asked him about a cue, and his answer was still rather vague -- saying something like it was Steve Bernstein's idea or an inside joke between them. Maybe Steve or Julie can expand on this: On the few occasions that a character was smashed against the windshield of a car, the same little piece of music played -- notes that are similar to the opening bars of the chorus of "Under the Bamboo Tree"... but aren't. Where did that piece of music come from and why was it used as the "windshield cue"?

  10. Oh yeah, and when Linda and I take a trip to Southern California like she wants to do sometime in the next couple years, we definitely should find this magical Barone's place and have a pizza in Freak's honor.

  11. Keeper,

    It's a deal. We should have a Freakazoid party at Barones.

    Who's in?


  12. Paul,

    Who could possibly be out?


  13. I had fun watching my DVD set yesterday. Paul, you were rocking those high tops, but not as much as John was rocking that hawaiian shirt. True story.

    And it's nice to know that Tom loves us. He REALLY loves us.

  14. I've wanted a Richard Stone Project CD for years. When I want to listen to music, I don't look for music CDs, I get out my Freakazoid and Pinky and the Brain DVD sets.

  15. A Freakazoid party, huh? And Valerie's in? You know what this means, right?

    That's right.

    We get to entertain her with our double-jointed fingers!

  16. Since Paul hasn't mentioned it yet, I wanted to give a heads-up that Jim Hill Media has an interview with Paul that published Tuesday to coincide with the F! S2 release. The URL is insanely long though:

    Back on topic, I really enjoyed reading this piece on Richard Stone, Paul.

    I wish Warners had offered some soundtrack-only options on the F1, A!, and P&TB releases like they did for select scenes on one of the Justice League DVDs.

    And I would gladly give up my entire collection of fish heads to own a collection of Richard Stone orchestrations.

    I also wanted to express my disappointment that Wal-Mart is not offering F! S2. I went to buy a copy tonight and saw the new TTA release available, but no sign of Freak. I asked a WMT associate to check to see if somehow maybe they just hadn't been stocked, and when it came up on the computer it said in allcaps: "NOT IN STORES -- Online only."

    Looks like Target will be getting my business on this one.

    And what's even more disappointing is that Walmart's refusal to carry F! S2 is that it will dramatically affect the overall sales and possibly affect other future silver age WBA releases, like getting the rest of Animaniacs released.

  17. I also had to ask my local Wal-Mart associate to check for an F! S2 DVD. He went to check in the back but didn't return. He might be dead back there. If we order from Amazon, we won't have blood on our hands.

  18. Ewww.. Keeper.. I hope to never meet you in real life. I mean I love ya and all but, no. Just no.