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Old 04-04-2003, 11:07 AM
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Classic Cartoon Sound Effects: How Were They Made?

A Google Search turns up only commerical sites where you can buy sound effects CDs.

I want to know how the sounds were made. You know the ones I mean. They were in every classic cartoon from the 30s up through the 80s and some are still used today. The thing is, these effects originated before synthesizers and most electric/electronic instruments. And most of them are unique sounds that I've never heard anywhere other than in cartoons. So what mechanical methods were used to create each individual effect?

Ideally someone could point me to a website with WAV files of the effects and a descriptions of how they were created. Thanks!
Old 04-04-2003, 11:49 AM
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What you are asking about is commonly called a "Foley Table." Named after legendary sound effects artist Jack Foley, it is pictured in the first link. This method still persists to this day in live drama and film productions. Some sounds cannot be convincingly synthesized.
Old 04-04-2003, 11:52 AM
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Quite a few of them can be made on standard orchestral instruments. "Wile E. Coyote falling off a cliff" is the only thing I know how to play on my fiddle yet, for instance. I think the "tip-toeing away" noise is played on a xylophone or glockenspiel. Many others were created by foley artists working with various physical objects in the Warner Brothers (for instance) soundstages. This site is about sound effects for radio dramas, but it should have some information that'd be useful to you. It doesn't cover some of the loopier noises used in sound effects, but gives you a general idea of how sound effects are made.
Old 04-04-2003, 11:54 AM
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Here are some free downloads. Click on the Foley category.
Old 04-04-2003, 11:56 AM
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Thanks, but the Foley type of practical effects isn't really what I was talking about. I'm looking for more of the conceptual effects prevalent in cartoons to suggest actions like running place until traction is achieved at which point the character would tear loose at a high rate of speed. Get it?
Old 04-04-2003, 01:27 PM
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I'm still looking for how to make that "headshake" sound from the Warner Brothers cartoons, myself.
Old 04-04-2003, 01:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Rib Eye
Thanks, but the Foley type of practical effects isn't really what I was talking about. I'm looking for more of the conceptual effects prevalent in cartoons to suggest actions like running place until traction is achieved at which point the character would tear loose at a high rate of speed. Get it?
That slipping sound was probably made using shoe soles on sand paper. Unless you are referring to those sounds made with musical instruments like racinchikki mentioned they were done on a Foley Table.
Old 04-04-2003, 01:46 PM
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I think that "running in place" sound, do you mean the one that sounds almost like some sort of pots and pans rattling (that's the best way I can think to describe it). I would say probably even back then methods were used to record sounds and then loop and change their speeds. I would say the sound you're talking about (if I'm thinking of the right thing) was probably made by some method of playing a pattern on bongo-type and/or steel drum-type percussion instruments, and then probably increasing the speed and looping the sound. For a lot of the sounds you can't readily identify, think about this technique. Dramatically slowing down or speeding up a sound or sound sequence can have major effect on it's timbre, pitch, etc., and can have very interesting (or funny) results.
Old 04-04-2003, 01:55 PM
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troub- I think you are on to something there. I can imagine the one sound I referred to being made by a tape of bongos being speeded up.
Old 04-04-2003, 02:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Olentzero
I'm still looking for how to make that "headshake" sound from the Warner Brothers cartoons, myself.
I don't know how they actually did it in the cartoons, but take your forefinger and cross your throat. Then as you rub your forefinger up and down your throat, say "yadda-dee-yadda-dee-yadda-dee-yadda-dee"
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Old 04-04-2003, 02:25 PM
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What about the "huge chunk of flesh being bitten out of the cat's ass by the dog" noise? How do they make that one?
Old 04-04-2003, 03:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Zenster
Here are some free downloads. Click on the Foley category.
I never knew lightsticks had any particular sound...
Old 04-04-2003, 09:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by gotpasswords
I never knew lightsticks had any particular sound...
Only when you crunch-start them.
Old 04-04-2003, 09:17 PM
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PS: As I said, if they ain't done on a Foley table, they're probably done with musical instruments (or voices).

If it is the bongo drum-roll sound of pattering feet seeking traction, that one is most likely at regular speed (a la Flintstones).

Several years back the San Francisco symphony participated in a tribute to Warner Brothers cartoons by playing in accompaniment to the projected animation sequences. The orchestral musicians were stunned to find out how exceedingly difficult it was to provide the exact synchronization required to accomplish the musical sound effects. The timing was in the range of milliseconds.

Few people appreciate what is involved with a true "studio orchestra." The original Star Trek series' music was provided by a studio orchestra. The musicians read preliminary scores that direct the compositional content of the music. When the recording begins, the entire orchestra is watching a projection of the visual content as they play their instruments. The skill needed to alter tempo and amplitude in coordination with the visual imagery is nothing short of phenomenal. Such musicians have my deepest respect.
Old 04-04-2003, 09:44 PM
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Rib Eye--most of those sound effects were foleyed, as well. The great sound effects man, Tregowyth "Treg" Brown, created most of the great cartoon sounds out of things lying around the studio. Chuck Jones said the man could work wonders with a simple balloon. Brown's actual title was film editor; his sound effects were created, then stored on the sound track of film stock. So creative was his work, the liner notes on the CD "The Carl Stalling Project" suggest crediting him as a guest soloist.

The running in place sound is generally created by slapping some padded mitts against a surface; you'd have to experiment with the surface to get a sound you like (N.B.--the bongo sound is purely a Hanna-Barbara sound).
Old 04-04-2003, 11:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by kaylasdad99
What about the "huge chunk of flesh being bitten out of the cat's ass by the dog" noise? How do they make that one?
They get a dog to bite a huge chunk of flesh out of a cats ass.

Some things just can't be dupilcated.


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Old 04-05-2003, 02:46 PM
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Not exactly on topic but it's interesting to know that the classic godzilla roar was made with a cello.
Old 11-25-2010, 05:01 PM
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What about the sound of a zombie munching on brains? How is that sound created?
Old 11-25-2010, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Blake View Post
What about the sound of a zombie munching on brains? How is that sound created?
First, you put the raw sound thru a 7-year time warp...
Old 11-25-2010, 07:54 PM
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The Master speaks on Foley artists -- which answers more of the OP's question than he apparently thinks it does.
Old 11-25-2010, 07:59 PM
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The fire that killed Bambi's mom was a paper bag. Those early Foley guys were extremely creative and used all sorts of everyday materials that you wouldn't expect.
Old 11-25-2010, 08:02 PM
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Bob Clampett said that he himself did the BEE-YOOP sound he used with the iris closing using his own mouth. Probably a few sounds were done by mouth.


Some sounds were done in surprising ways -- I'm still amazed that Godzilla's roar was done by moving a gloved hand over a rosined bowstring. Some things don't sound the way you think they should.
Old 11-25-2010, 08:10 PM
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The OP was actually logged on during the summer...
Old 11-25-2010, 08:46 PM
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Closed thread raised by a spammer.
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