Wonderland, Niles & Film Classic score identified

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Richard Finegan

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Wonderland, Niles & Film Classic score identified

PostWed Nov 07, 2012 11:57 pm

jeffm wrote:...that loop of 20's jazz records Home Movie Wonderland and Niles Cinema Products both used to use on their silent comedies...
Does anyone have discography info on what records were used to concoct this very overly familiar track? All best wishes.


I and several others I know have also wondered for years (make that decades!) about that music score and have been determined to track down a listing of the records used to compile it. Over the years I have heard it called the Wonderland score, the "Meadowlark" score (after one of the tunes had been identified as the 1926 song of that name), and even "Old Faithful". But as nobody has ever found a list of the records used left by the person responsible for the score (reportedly Charlie Tarbox of Film Classic Exchange) it has been left up to diligent record collectors and researchers to identify each selection one by one whenever we'd hear one of the tunes elsewhere or on a record in our collections.

I was able to relatively easily identify the five tunes (of the total of nine in the score) that were taken from popular American dance band records (by such bands as George Olsen, Nat Shilkret and Paul Whiteman) but for decades the remaining four tracks had apparently stumped everyone. I concluded after a while that the remaining unidentifiable selections had to be by foreign bands, probably British or maybe German, and at least three of the tracks sure sounded like they were by the same band, clearly one that had a piano as the lead instrument.
But finally in the last few years continued research has identified all nine tracks.

So, here they are, in the most-often heard order (although I've sometimes heard the score with some of the selections deleted or in a different order):
1. "Fascinatin' Vamp" by Nat Shilkret and The Victor Orchestra.
2. "Kleine Sonja" by The Herbert Kuster Piano Orchestra.
3. "Where'd You Get Those Eyes" by George Olsen and His Music.
4. "Jockey" by The Herbert Kuster Piano Orchestra.
5. "Just a Little Thing Called Rhythm" by George Olsen and His Music.
6. "Schattenspiele" ("Shadowsplay") by The Herbert Kuster Piano Orchestra.
7. "Meadowlark" by George Olsen and His Music.
8. "Dancing Shadows" by Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra.
9. "Monkey Tricks" by The Herbert Kuster Piano Orchestra.

Notes:
Tracks 3, 5, and 7 are actually vocal recordings with their vocals edited out.
Track 8 features humming which apparently wasn't considered worth editing out. The humming is by The Rhythm Boys, including Bing Crosby.
Track 9 is actually still a speculation as to the identity of the performer. A recording of the tune by a different artist has been found, so we know its title, but although a recording of it by Herbert Kuster has not yet been located, it appears (and sounds) most likely to be the work of Mr. Kuster.

Discography details:
"Fascinatin' Vamp" from Victor 78 #21431 (released in England on HMV #B-5514). Recorded April 28, 1928.
"Kleine Sonja" originally from German Polydor label, released in England on Decca 78 #F-5738. Recorded - 1935.
"Where'd You Get Those Eyes" from Victor 78 #20112-B. Recorded July 16, 1926.
"Jockey" (same details as for "Kleine Sonja").
"Just a Little Thing Called Rhythm" from Victor 78 #19834-A. Recorded October 30, 1925.
"Schattenspiele" - original label and date unknown as of now.
"Meadowlark" from Victor 78 #20352-A. Recorded November 22, 1926.
"Dancing Shadows" from Victor 78 #21431 (released in England on HMV #B-5511). Recorded April 22, 1928.
"Monkey Tricks" possibly from 1939, and possibly coupled with "Schattenspiele" on a 78 by Herbert Kuster.

Among the other collectors and researchers who helped immeasurably in the search for the titles of these tunes, credit must go to Randy Skretvedt, Mike Thomas and John Leifert.
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Christopher Jacobs

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Re: Wonderland, Niles & Film Classic score identified

PostThu Nov 08, 2012 12:51 am

I split this post off into its own topic, as it may warrent its own separate discussion. Also, I never considered it one of the "worst scores for silents" except when used on certain films. It generally worked quite well as a generic silent comedy score and although it eventually became maddeningly repetitive on film after film, it usually served its purpose (when the alternative was the noise of sprocket holes on a silent print) and certainly has a nostalgic feeling about it today.
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Richard M Roberts

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Re: Wonderland, Niles & Film Classic score identified

PostThu Nov 08, 2012 1:51 pm

This is far from late breaking news. Randy Skretvedt broke this to the General Collecting Population more than two years ago, as well as putting out an MP3 file of all the tunes in complete and restored form. I discussed this and played a number of the tunes on Rob Bambergers HOT JAZZ SATURDAY NIGHT back in July 2010 when we were promoting Slapsticon.


RICHARD M ROBERTS
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Rodney

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Re: Wonderland, Niles & Film Classic score identified

PostThu Nov 08, 2012 3:14 pm

But I'm still glad, since the topic came up here, that it was posted here as well.
Rodney Sauer
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Richard Finegan

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Re: Wonderland, Niles & Film Classic score identified

PostThu Nov 08, 2012 10:56 pm

Richard M Roberts wrote:This is far from late breaking news...

RICHARD M ROBERTS


I never said, thought or meant to imply that it is. Just answering Jeff's question (even if in my occasional "more-than-he-ever-wanted-to-know" fashion) and adding some new info of my own to what may already have been out there.
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Richard M Roberts

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Re: Wonderland, Niles & Film Classic score identified

PostThu Nov 08, 2012 11:39 pm

Richard Finegan wrote:
Richard M Roberts wrote:This is far from late breaking news...

RICHARD M ROBERTS


I never said, thought or meant to imply that it is. Just answering Jeff's question (even if in my occasional "more-than-he-ever-wanted-to-know" fashion) and adding some new info of my own to what may already have been out there.



Well, thats nice of you Finegan, but you can remove any question of who put the score together, it was definitely Charlie Tarbox at Film Classics Exchange, because he told me himself that he did it back in the late 40's, actually recording the discs to film soundtrack and editing them from there (and he actually put together about 40 minutes of soundtrack and several more variations in various lengths he could fit to about anything, but it's that first 20 minutes that everyone heard on endless two-reel comedy scores).

And if anyone wants to hear the tunes, here they are. There used to be a file with the complete recordings on line, but it has apparently vanished. These are the Tarbox versions:

http://67.210.127.4/TRACK1.mp3" target="_blank
"Fascinatin' Vamp" - Nat Shilkret & Victor Orchestra , Victor 21431

http://67.210.127.4/TRACK3.mp3" target="_blank
George Olsen, "Where'd You Get Those Eyes." Victor, 1926.
The vocal has been cut out. It would have started at 1:32.

http://67.210.127.4/TRACK5.mp3" target="_blank
George Olsen. Victor. "Just a Little Thing Called Rhythm."
The vocal is cut out at 1:30.

http://67.210.127.4/TRACK7.mp3" target="_blank
"Meadowlark." George Olsen, on Victor, 1926

http://67.210.127.4/TRACK8.mp3" target="_blank
"Dancing Shadows", band is Paul Whiteman. The sax solo
is by Frank Trumbauer. Bing Crosby is one of the gentlemen humming.

http://67.210.127.4/TRACK2.mp3" target="_blank
"Kleine Sonja" by Herbert Küster Piano Orchestra.

http://67.210.127.4/TRACK4.mp3" target="_blank
"Jockey" by Herbert Küster Piano Orchestra.

http://67.210.127.4/TRACK6.mp3" target="_blank
"Shadowsplay"/"Schattenspiele," by Herbert Küster Piano Orchestra.

http://67.210.127.4/TRACK9.mp3" target="_blank
"Monkey Tricks," most likely by Herbert Kuster, but might be the Barnabas von Geczy Orchestra.


Enjoy all, these are tunes that warm a Film Collector Heart.


RICHARD M ROBERTS
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William D. Ferry

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Re: Wonderland, Niles & Film Classic score identified

PostSat Nov 10, 2012 12:27 pm

Bless your hearts, everyone! :D
Yours for bigger and better silents,

William D. Ferry
(Blackhawk Customer #0191462)
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Ian Elliot

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Re: Wonderland, Niles & Film Classic score identified

PostMon Nov 12, 2012 6:19 pm

Thank you for posting all this information. For those as geeky as I am, who'll need to hear the abridged tunes with vocals intact, you can do so here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5P4kI9wQl4" target="_blank

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMiR8IO3ZZU" target="_blank

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URNUUOrh8Kc" target="_blank
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Richard Finegan

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Re: Wonderland, Niles & Film Classic score identified

PostTue Nov 20, 2012 3:21 am

Continuing my ongoing research into these records used in this compilaton, I have just found out more info on the selection "Schattenspiele" ("Shadowsplay") by Herbert Kuster and His Piano Orchestra.

It was probably recorded about June 1936 and, like some of the other Kuster records, released originally on the German Polydor label (looking something like this label):



It was then released in England on British Decca 78 #F 6007 later in 1936.
Still not sure if the selection "Monkey Tricks" (if by Kuster) was the other side of the record.
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andybenz

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Re: Wonderland, Niles & Film Classic score identified

PostSat Dec 22, 2012 5:53 am

Just found this shellac record offered for sale in Germany:
Küster, Herbert -Klavier-Orchester: Kletteraffe (F)/ Schattenspiele ! (F) Berlin 1935 Grammophon-Matrizen Decca F6007
The German title "Kletteraffe" can be translated as "Monkey tricks" so this was indeed on the flip side of the record.
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Richard Finegan

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Re: Wonderland, Niles & Film Classic score identified

PostSat Dec 22, 2012 2:38 pm

andybenz wrote:Küster, Herbert -Klavier-Orchester: Kletteraffe (F)/ Schattenspiele ! (F) Berlin 1935 Grammophon-Matrizen Decca F6007
The German title "Kletteraffe" can be translated as "Monkey tricks" so this was indeed on the flip side of the record.


Thank you!
Important final puzzle piece in place at last!
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Richard Finegan

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Re: Wonderland, Niles & Film Classic score identified

PostTue Jan 01, 2013 4:48 am

The selection "Dancing Shadows" was written and first recorded by Ernie Golden and his Hotel McAlpin Orchestra. He recorded and released two versions on two different labels:
On Edison 78 #52138-R, recorded Nov. 1, 1927.
And
On Brunswick 78 #3732, recorded Nov. 25, 1927.

The Edison 78 label features some amusingly informal wording in its credits:
Attachments
Golden, Ernie - Dancing Shadows - Edison 52138.jpg
Golden, Ernie - Dancing Shadows - Edison 52138.jpg (55.95 KiB) Viewed 12636 times
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Gagman 66

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Re: Wonderland, Niles & Film Classic score identified

PostSat Jan 05, 2013 8:44 pm

Richard,

:) Wow! Thanks for all the great tunes. DANCING WITH SHADOWS as I have noted in the past here, was used by Vince Giordano in his score to SHERLOCK JUNIOR. The rest of these are new to me except for WHERE'D YOU GET THOSE EYES, which I have heard in many versions and is a big personal favorite.
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Andrew Greene

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Re: Wonderland, Niles & Film Classic score identified

PostSun Jan 06, 2013 11:15 am

deleted.
Last edited by Andrew Greene on Sat Jul 13, 2013 6:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Andrew Greene
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Randy Skretvedt

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Re: Wonderland, Niles & Film Classic score identified

PostMon Mar 18, 2013 7:28 pm

Here's a link to the file for the "Tarbox Generic Comedy" tracks. The first group is from a 16mm print, and then they're transferred from complete and usually better-sounding 78s.

https://www.box.com/shared/iv4atokt0n

All the best--
Randy Skretvedt
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jeffm

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Re: Wonderland, Niles & Film Classic score identified

PostWed Jul 10, 2013 12:06 pm

Sounds like I sure started something, intentionally or not! Many thanks to all of you for the definitive info! Mr. Jacobs is right that the "Wonderland" score is very good for the right films. "Metropolis," however, ain't one of them! I've suffered thru a Goodtimes VHS tape of that classic which looked like it was transferred from an 8mm dupe, and had a ten-minute loop of the Wonderland music on repeat the whole time.

I've also heard another portion of stock music on Wonderland and/or Niles prints that includes a 20's sounding chamber-size group playing "The Blue Danube," a schmaltzy big band version of "Tara's Theme" from GWTW, heavy on the slide trombone; and what are definitely segments of Winston Sharples' scores from the Van Beuren Rainbow Parade cartoons, re-used on the Guaranteed Pictures/Stuart Productions TV prints of Paul Terry's silent Fables.

This track is not nearly as common, but it's around; I'll put my trust in your detective skills to solve this too. Thanks again, and all best as always.
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Re: Wonderland, Niles & Film Classic score identified

PostThu Jul 11, 2013 8:35 am

Possibly my bad above; I may have meant "Tales of the Vienna Woods" as the waltz. (Gotta break out either my print of "Corny Concerto" or that old Mantovani LP of Strauss waltzes I have stuffed away somewhere...
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Keith Paynter

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Re: Wonderland, Niles & Film Classic score identified

PostThu Feb 13, 2014 9:54 pm

Sorry to resurrect this thread, but thanks to those who were able to track these down...I can finally put names to these tracks that accompanied Niles prints of titles like "Sundown Limited", "Cops", and "The Garage"!
No, YOU'RE The Phantom!
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Bill Sprague

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Re: Wonderland, Niles & Film Classic score identified

PostMon Mar 02, 2015 7:08 pm

Thanks for sharing the music that will be in my memory forever.

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