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Disclaimer#1: All images, characters and likeness are (C)1990/1991 Walt Disney Company and are being used without permission. The web master has made sure that no money was made in the creation of this page and all material is being used with the upmost affection and respect to the Walt Disney Company and the TaleSpin team.
Disclaimer#2: The views expressed in this editorial are the opinions of the creator of this webpage. Some viewers of this webpage may not share the same views expressed here or on other editorials on this webpage. Thank you very much for viewing.
Christopher L. Stone: The Biggest Unsung Hero In TaleSpin
The Importance Of Music In An Animated Series
1st Update (05/22/2014): Page Reformatted and edited. Credits and Links updated.
Music is prehaps the most important thing in a production. Proof: I remember on the Blizzard of 1992 where Moncton, New Brunswick got more than 160 cm of snow; I rented the Super Nintendo and rented Final Fantasy II (The heavily edited version of Final Fantasy IV) for it and within the first two minutes I fell in love for the game. When I played Final Fantasy on the NES in 1990; I thought it was horrible. The game was slow and it looked like a Dargon Warrior clone (at least in the overworld). Number II (IV) was bliss; and if anything there was one reason behind why I still play that game to this day. It was Final Fantasy II's music (composed by Japan's #1 music composer: Nobuo Uematsu) that got to me; it sounded like an orchestra inside my television. The beautiful harp and piano music near the end moved me to a point where I would crank up the volume of my television to listen it. Next was Final Fantasy VI; which moved me even further. The last battles leading up to General Kefka was beautiful; with the greatest piece of all time in that game being the second battle with the final stage of the death and rebirth bosses of Kefka (the last boss before Kefka) which sounded like ture opera (which was present in this game as an event. This game is one of the top ten games of all time). Although I don't like Final Fantasy VII for the PSX; I did like the Aris Heartbreak piece (when she was killed by Sephiroth and the second battle with Jenova) which I sometimes hear everytime I read High Flight's "Tail Winds" story. (In my mind of course.) and then Safer-Sephiroth boss battle where there is singing by a choir shouting "Sephiroth! Sephiroth!". Japanese music is simply bliss; TV shows are laiden with excellent musical pieces (Sailor Moon; Dragon Ball Z) and even the poor pieces are pretty when compared to. North American. I hate to say this but when it comes to North American music; it seems that producers put almost no importance on that element at all. They don't feel that music is all that important. I think that completely opposite. It was the music of those productions above that made me stay and watch or play the rest of the series or game. Music is designed to set the mood of a production and in certain situations adds drama that dialogue alone cannot achieve. Without good music; a production can be very flat; even worse if the dialogue is very bad. Disney is still the best when it comes to music underscore (even though they have had their fair share of bad ones themselves.). Tale Spin had maybe the best underscore in the history of Disney and two men should be thanked for creating the most blissful (that's usually reserved for Japanese productions) music ever: Christopher L. Stone who composed and conducted the actual music and Jymn Magon for having the foresight to see Christopher's talent. However; I don't think TaleSpinners should be surprised at all about this. Jymn Magon did compose a half-descent piece in 1979 when he was working for Walt Disney Records. And remember that Tale Spin does have sturcture elements borrowed from the Japanese OAV (Original Animation Video) movie Castle In The Sky. (The flying sequences come to mind.) Why not have a orchestra for Tale Spin? That's where Christopher L. Stone comes into play. He is turely the North American version of Nobuo Uematsu. For your viewing pleasure; here is the most compiled list of credits over his life.
In 1965 Christopher Stone was the youngest member of ASCAP, having written the score for three motion pictures by the age of 12. He then studied with Nadia Boulanger in Paris and completed his education in Vienna, Austria. Having written more than 2000 scores, for seven consecutive years Chris was the winner of the ASCAP award for "Most Performed Television Background Score". He is also the composer of more than twenty feature films, and his music has been performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. He was the creator of the world's first orchestral score for a video game, "Dragon's Lair," which is preserved in the Smithsonian Institute. In addition to his live orchestral scores, Chris has become a prominent figure in electronic orchestral score realization. He designed the original Emulator library, and in his state-of-the-art studio, Chris has done the sound design for "Battlestar Galactica," "Big Wednesday," "Logan's Run," "Pete's Dragon," "An American Tail" and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind". He holds the distinction of having worked on every one of the Phantasm films. In an uncredited role, he was responsible for creating the voices of the evil dwarf creatures, not only in the original Phantasm (1979), but in every subsequent sequel. Using then experimental electronic equipment including the Vocoder, and his own voice, he was able to craft a disturbing quality for these sound effects. In addition to being a talented composer, he recently launched a sonic technology company, "Audio Impressions", devoted to cutting-edge music composing systems. Son of film director Andrew L. Stone and film editor Virginia L. Stone (née Lively). Younger brother of assistant director L. Andrew Stone.
Christopher L. Stone's Official Credits
The Password Is Courage (Movie) - Composer*
The Secret of My Sucess (Movie) - Soundtrack: "Music Box Waltz", "Bicycle & Guitar Themes"
The Rideau: Colonel By's Peaceable Waterway (Short Documentary) - Sound, Composer
The Treasure Of Jamaica Reef (Movie) - Composer
Insight (TV Series) - Composter (Until 1982)
Phantasm (Movie)- Additional Voices*, Composer*
Summer's Children (Movie) - Composer
Choices (Movie) - Composer
Forever & Beyond (Movie) - Song Writer: "Forever & Beyond", Composer
The Trouble With Grandpa (TV Movie) - Composer
Time Walker (Movie) - Special Sound Consultant
Dragon's Lair (Video Game) - Sound Effects.
Money to Burn (Movie) - Soundtrack: "MONEY TO BURN", Composer
Space Ace (Video Game) - Composer
Covergirl (Movie) - Composer
Nadia (TV Movie) - Composer
Los Angeles Streetfighter (Movie) - Composer
Sword of Heaven (Movie) - Composer
The Fourth Wise Man (TV Movie- Composer
From Beyond (Movie) - Additional Electrical Orchestrator
Nadia (Movie) - Composer
Robotech The Movie (Movie) - Additional Orchestrations
TerrorVision (Movie) - Electronic Orchestrator
The Naked Cage (Movie) - Composer
Down & Out With Donald Duck (TV Movie) - Composer
Run If You Can (Movie) - Conductor, Composer
The Caller (Movie) - Electronic Orchestrator
Felix The Cat: The Movie (Animated Movie) - Composer
Mickey's 60th Birthday (TV Movie) - Composer
Phantasm II (Movie) - Composer
Prison (Movie) – Composer
Survival Quest (Movie) - Composer
Remembering World War II (TV Series Documentary) - Composer
Disneyland's 35th Anniversary Celebration (TV Special) - Composer
Donald: The Star-Struck Duck (TV Movie) - Composer
Moon 44 (Movie) - Conductor, Orchestrator
Swamp Thing (TV Series) - Composer
TaleSpin (Animated TV Series) - Composer, Conductor
Brute Force (TV Series) - Composer: Theme Music
Dragon's Lair II: Timewarp (Video Game) – Conductor
Shatterbrain (Movie) - Special Music Thanks
The Real West (TV Series) - Composer
Civil War Journal (TV Series) - Composer
The Defense Rests: A Tribute To Raymond Burr (TV Special) - Composer
Tick (Movie) - Composer
Anicent Prophecies (TV Movie) – Composer
Biography (TV Series) - Composer (Until 1998)
Paint Cans (Movie) - Additional Music, Composer
Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead (Movie) - Composer
The American Revolution (TV Movie) - Composer
Titanic: Death Of A Death (TV Series) - Composer
Treasure Island: The Adventure Begins (TV Movie) - Composer
Ancient Mysteries (TV Series) - Composer
Fist of the North Star (Movie) - Composer
Galaxis (Movie) - Composer
The Life & Times Of Marty Robins (TV Movie) – Composer
The Lincoln Assassination (TV Movie Documentary) – Composer
Walker Texas Ranger (TV Series)
Mummies: Tales From the Egyptain Crypts (TV Movie) - Composer
One Good Turn (Movie) - Composer: Additional Music
Savannah (TV Series) - Composer: Theme Song
Sink The Bismarck (TV Movie Documentary) - Composer
Special Effects: Anything Can Happen (Movie) - Composer
The Life & Times Of The Everly Brothers (TV Movie Documentary) - Composer: Additional Music
The Munsters Scary Little Christmas (TV Movie) - Composer
The Stupids Movie (Movie) - Composer
When We Were Kings (Documentary) - Sound Recordist: Concert Sound
Where Are All The UFO's? (TV Movie Documentary) - Composer
DNA (Movie) - Composer
Napoleon & Wellington (TV Movie Documentary) - Composer
The Saint Valentine's Day Massacre (TV Movie) - Composer
Honey, I Shrunk The Kids: The TV Show (TV Series) – Composer
Logan's War: Bound By Honor (TV Movie) - Composer
Phantasm IV: Oblivion (Movie) - Composer, Voices: Dwarf Creatures
Progeny (Movie) - Special Thanks
Tales Of The Gun (TV Series Documentay) – Composer
The Life & Times Of Roy Orbison (TV Movie Documentary) – Composer
Trains Unlimited (TV Series) - Composer: Stock Music
Baby Geniuses (Movie) - Additional Music Provider: Audio Productions Limited
Civil War Combat: America's Bloodiest Battles (TV Series Documentary) – Composer
Defeat At Waterloo: Napolean VS. Wellington (TV Movie Documentary) – Composer
The Great Builders Of Egypt (TV Movie) - Composer
Civil War Combat: The Bloody Lane at Antietam (TV Movie) - Composer
The President's Man (TV Movie) - Composer
Tora, Tora, Tora: The Real Story Of Pearl Harbour (TV Movie Documentary) - Composer
UFO's: Then & Now? (TV Movie) - Composer
Campfire Stories (Movie) - Orchestrator, Composer
Jax & Dexter: The Precursor Legacy (Video Game) - Music: "Flight Of Fantasy", "Olympic Fanfare (a)" *
Music In High Places (TV Series Documentary) - Additional Music Scoring, Composer
Skeletons In The Closet (Movie) - Composer, Performer: "Valse Melancolique"
Civil War Combat: The Battle Of Franklin (TV Movie Documentary) - Composer
Dragon's Lair: Return to the Lair (Videogame) – Composer, Voice: Hallow
Modern Marvels (TV Series Documentary) - Composer
Super Surgery: 200 Pound Tumor (TV Movie) – Composer
The Code Conspiracy (Movie) – Composer
The Highest Step In The World (Video Documentary) - Composer
Civil War Combat: Culp's Hill At Gettysburg (TV Movie) - Composer
Haunted Lighthouse (Short) - Composer
Masters Of Honor (TV Series) – Composer
Phantasmagoria (Video Documentary) - Special Thanks, Himself: Special Sound Effects
History's Mysteries (TV Series) - Composer
Number of Credits: 101
*- Uncredited Role.
- Christopher L. Stone has also won 6 ASCAP awards for 'Most Performed TV Scores' from 1993-1996; then in 1999 and 2000. Also won an ASCAP award for "Most Performed TV Themes in 1996. He also won an ASCAP award in 1997 for Top TV Series: Walker, Texas Ranger.
Credits From IMDB
Christopher L. Stone Interview
Christopher L. Stone's Official Website.
Christopher L. Stone role in Tale Spin was almost as important as the story editors job was since music has little margin of error. It has to flow smoothly; music is an art form in itself. Christopher's music flowed beautifully despite the fact that the tracks were quite short. (I don't blame Mr. Stone for this since Tale Spin *IS* a fast-paced action/adventure/comedy/drama series.) However; the music was always chilling and always added a bit of Disney flair although it was far less in Tale Spin then it was in Chip and Dale's Rescue Rangers. I remember Heron (Who I am doing this editorial for in return for the nice art that he has sent me.) saying how Tale Spin's music always sent chills down my spine; he is so correct that it can be quite scary. The biggest surprise was that Tale Spin didn't have the best theme music (second to only Duck Tales; I have to admit that!); however, if you watch and listen loud enough you are listening to a treat. (I hate it when Disney creates their animated series in Mono instead of Stereo!) Here are my four most favorite musical pieces for Tale Spin:
[1.] The Kit chase music in Plunder and Lightning: (Act I and IV) It gives me a sense of a chase sence in progress with Kit Cloudkicker and Don Karnage. Christopher did this piece twice; the second time which was at Louie's was a bit shorter; but Chris added a slight twist towards the end of the piece. It wasn't quite the same; unlike Rescue Rangers which seemed to use the excat same piece over and over again. (Rescue Rangers does have great music as well; and so does Duck Tales). A nice follow-up piece was while Kit was free-falling and taking the red scarf off; a very good use of that Japanese style of music. (On a side note: Japanese music is similar to Western Music expect that Japanese music is much more filling and more flowing.)
[2.] Captain Outrageous' falling sence: Just after Oscar Vandersnoot falls off the Iron Vulture and when Kit start running and opening his airboard. There was a heavy use a drums in this one; indicating a panic situation. This is also one of Christopher's longest tracks. It was very chilling and flowing; reminds me of the panic music in Final Fantasy VI.
[3.] The Balooest of the Bluebloods Mansion Music: This one uses an organ; and it was one of Mr. Stone's most scariest pieces. I often compare it to the Magus' theme music in Chrono Trigger; although they are two different pieces. Plus the animation helped make the piece even more scary. Quite a rare combination indeed!
[4.] Don Karnage's theme music: The most popular character in Tale Spin even had some beautiful theme music as well. One of Disney most loved music pieces was "The Sky Pirates" theme; which in my humble opinion was one of Christopher's greatest singing pieces in his career. Other pieces of note include: Jolly Molly Christmas music; the first few minutes of "For Whom the Bell Klangs"; gyspy music from "A Spy in the Oniment"; Wild Cat's theme music and the last two minutes of Plunder and Lightning Part 3. An off-topic note: I know that some people were wondering if there was a CD of Tale Spin's soundtrack? Well; Such a CD does exist. However; Disney would say no because they never officially released a CD on Tale Spin's soundtrack. However; it does exist. It is very rare plus it would sell for $75 a pop. (It's value will increase next year.)
Here's another scary thought: Since Tale Spin was set in a tropicial place in the 1930's; you would think that most of Christopher L. Stone's music would be just jungle music. Well; in all the series that I have been able to watch: 15% of it is jungle-like music; 75% is orchestra music while 10% there was no music at all. It was always kept fresh. I don't know how many different tracks Mr. Stone used; however, they were all memoriable. I also liked the underscore in Felix: The Cat movie that played on Family Channel recently. I haven't seen most of the credits you see here because they are very hard to find. (If anyone wants to send in .WAV files of Christopher's work; please e-mail me and let me know) I just wish producers would take music in a more serious manner; its the first thing I look for in a production. When you disrespect music; you basically start disrespecting art. (Music is a huge form of art.) I'm glad that the Hercules TV series from Disney has very good music; I think that is a start of something that all producers from all animation compaines should look into that in the USA. (and to a lesser extent in Canada because they do have half-descent music). Christopher has proven that there *are* talented musicians in the US; let's see if anyone else can step up to the plate. I salute you Mr. Stone (and so does Jeffery Mika; your biggest fan)! That's my opinion; I welcome yours. See you next time!
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