One More Time: Three Little Bops

Sometimes comments about Rifftides pieces show up considerably after publication. We just got one from reader Dave Mackey about an animated cartoon we linked to on April 30, 2007. Bless the readers. We wouldn’t have known about the cartoon if a reader hadn’t sent an alert in the first place. The paragraph immediately below is the original item. It is followed by the Looney Tunes itself, now embedded in the blog. And THAT is followed by Mr. Mackey’s comment. It’s a great reason to rerun a minor masterpiece.

Rifftides reader Bruce Tater came across a classic Warner Bros. cartoon from the Looney Tunes series. He called our attention to Three Little Bops, a perfectly preserved piece of 1950s hipness. Stan Freeburg is the narrator. Shorty Rogers did the music. Notice the stylized drawings of the nightclub audience. Don’t miss Shorty’s little sui generis muted solo near the end.


It’s likely those nightclub denizens were drawn by assistant animator Bob Matz; most of the heavy lifting was done by Gerry Chiniquy, who was simply one of the most brilliant animators in the Friz Freleng unit and deserved this showcase.

Now, a music question: anyone know who else played on the session? The music was recorded on the Warner Bros. soundstage by the regular crew that recorded the cartoon scores. The bare music score exists and was released on one of the recent Looney Tunes DVD’s, and it’s slated by Milt Franklyn, who was one of the studio’s two musical directors (the other being the legendary Carl Stalling).

Dave Mackey

If you know the other musicians, please let us in on it by way of a comment

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  1. John Pickworth says

    Three Bops:
    Piano:Pete Jolly
    Sax:Art Pepper
    Guitar:Barney Kessel
    Drums:Shelly Manne
    (This list is much like the one in Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, but Wikipedia identifies the bassist as Joe Mondragon and the guitarist as Adam Rosen. I can find no evidence of a guitarist by that name in Los Angeles in the 1950s. In his short bursts of improvisation in the cartoon, the guitarist certainly sounds like Kessel. Art Pepper played alto saxophone and, occasionally, tenor. The sax in the cartoon is a baritone, an instrument Pepper rarely, if ever, played. That doesn’t mean he didn’t play it on this occasion. — DR)

  2. Mel Narunsky says

    The answer should be interesting.
    David Meeker did not include this item in his exhaustive Jazz And Blues Filmography (latest edition), which otherwise includes a plethora of musical shorts, as well as feature films, which had soundtracks by jazz musicians.

  3. Larry Kart says

    My guess would be Jimmy Giuffre. He was member of the Giants at that time (or about that time) and had experience playing in a neo-R&B manner.