October 4, 2008

Seriously, Who Wrote The Music For That Sesame Street Crayon Movie?

PBS has been advertising on Daddy Types lately, for which I am grateful. But Sesame Workshop's media office has not responded to several requests for production information about the classic "How Crayons Are Made" movie.

The Muppet Wiki information is cursory at best. The clip is mentioned as airing in 1988 on Episode 2484, and the music is credited to Stuart Horn. Horn is also credited with the lyrics to the Sesame Street stop-action animated series Teeny Little Super Guy. He also was well-known in the mail/correspondence art movement of the 1970's and 1980's. Sounds like the kind of guy who'd relish a Q&A about his work. Unfortunately, Horn, who also went by the name Stu, just passed away a couple of months ago.

Meanwhile, MaestroJosh87, who transcribed and performed the piece himself has added pop-up annotations to his YouTube video saying the music is "Water Course" composed by Richard Harvey.

According to commenters on Second Cafe, the opening and closing sections with the girl are by Harvey, which may mean the rollicking factory section is by Horn.

Harvey is thankfully still alive and composing scores for films and television series. I've emailed him about The 'Street; perhaps we'll have some closure on this important matter soon.

11/08 UPDATE: I heard back from Harvey's studio that they have recently found the original master tapes for "Water Music," which was "[o]riginally called 'Dragonfly dance'.....it will feature in full glorious re-mastered form on the re-union CD of his 70's band 'Gryphon' sometime next year [i.e., in 2009]" So stay tuned.

11/09 UPDATE And there it is!. Released last month under the KPM 1000 Series umbrella, Richard Harvey's Nifty Digits contains both tracks used for the Crayon Movie: "Dragonfly Dance" is the beginning and ending, and "Exchange" is the raucous, rolling piece in the middle. The tracks and the album are available on iTunes. Thanks to Martin in Harvey's studio for the updates.

Richard Harvey - KPM 1000 Series: Richard Harvey's Nifty Digits - Dragonfly Dance download "Dragonfly Dance"
Richard Harvey - KPM 1000 Series: Richard Harvey's Nifty Digits - Exchange download "Exchange"
Richard Harvey - KPM 1000 Series: Richard Harvey's Nifty Digits - Nifty Digits download the album, Richard Harvey's Nifty Digits

Episode 2484, Season 19, Air Date: May 12, 1988 [muppet.wikia.com]
"Water Course" is on Harvey's "Nifty Digits," KPM 1251 [discogs.com]
Richard Harvey's website [richardharvey.net]
Stuart Horn's artwork, Northwest Mounted Valise [verizon.net/aahpat]


I discovered this clip about a year ago and became obsessed with the music. At first I couldn't believe MaestroJosh87's version was actually being played by him on that keyboard, but once I got over being gobsmacked, I realized the kid is a genius. I look forward to hearing more about the mystery composer, but I must say that I would be highly surprised if this was first aired in 1988. Both vid and music scream 70s to me.

I, too, have been obsessed with this music for about a year now - my 4 year old son and i can 'sing' the whole thing! We've also marvelled at MaestroJosh's version too - whatta talent!

I believe this is from the 70's (as that is when I was watching The Street as a kiddo)

Wow, just discovered that musical rerecording myself while digging for that original film. I was interested in the visuals, not the music, but that Youtuber made me actually listen to it.

Also, very resourceful of you to try to find the actual composer. I have always unfairly assumed that CTW kept all their records in some arcane data storage format that has never been updated. Computer punch cards, or something. I hope I'm wrong.

Oh, and I actually did get the impression from MaestroJosh87 that only the opening and closing passages were by Harvey - he says after that that "unfortunately" he doesn't know the name of the composer (either a contradiction or a reference to two separate passages). If it's the latter, hey, you may have solved this mystery.

Wow, I have been returning to listen to this again and again on Youtube and thought it was an interesting mystery! It's great that info is coming out about the composer.

I just did a quick Google for Richard Harvey and there is a Yahoo artist profile for him here:

It is quite empty but has some interesting youtube links to his songs. Apparently Exchange and Water Course were featured on this record:

Now if only to get hold of that...!

The album is "Nifty digits" the tracks are Exchange, Water course and perhaps Dragonfly dance.

All by Richard Harvey and available on i-tunes.

Fully available now as EMI took note of what was going down onn youtube and this site. Well done all!

Have listened to this. The opening and closing are "Dragonfly Dance" by Richard Harvey. Very nice stuff. But the bouncy center track is yet unidentified. Being that the music from the other Sesame Street mystery clip, the "robots, creepy toys and satellites" bit, have been IDed, maybe this will soon follow.

Okay, I'm wrong. The music in the middle is indeed also Harvey. "Exchange". Fantastic! That piece is incredible!

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