Starting “Treehouse of Horror XXII” and finishing “The Falcon and the D’ohman”

Kang & KodosI’m in the thick of it now. We spotted this year’s Halloween show on Thursday, September 22. There will be 38 cues in this episode. That’s more than the average for our usual count, but par for the course when it comes to the Halloween show. We’ve had as many as 52 cues for one of the “Treehouse” specials. Once again we have four stories in the episode, a recent development when FOX added another commercial break a couple of years ago. Let’s see… what can I say without saying too much?

  • We have parodies of three recent Oscar-nominated movies and a Showtime favorite.
  • Kang & Kodos are with us for the 22nd straight year.
  • We celebrate TWO holidays during the show.

The episode will debut on FOX on Sunday, October 30, 2011 (Yes, before Halloween! Thank you early Baseball schedule this year!)

It’s been another very busy few days since spotting. That same afternoon we scored NABF20 “The Food Wife” plus an additional two songs for two different future episodes. The weekend was spent editing all that music while getting underway with the notes for “Treehouse”. Dubbing for NABF20 will wrap up tomorrow (9/27). Gotta make sure my seat belt is tightly fastened.

NABF16 “The Falcon and The D’ohman” aired last night as our season premier. Early reports on the ‘net say that nearly 8 million people tuned in. Now I can share with you more of the details of the work that went into the score. Here are the full music spotting notes:

  • 1M1 was Homer singing his own lyrics to “Walking on the Moon” by THE POLICE. We were very fortunate to have obtained the original master tracks from THE POLICE without vocals. This is a rare instance. When we need to do our own lyrics to an established hit song, Alf usually arranges and records a “sound-alike” that tries to capture all the spirit and nuance of the original so that the audience immediately identifies the track, but allows us to add our own vocals.
  • You’ll notice in 1M5 that we referenced JABF14 “24 Minutes”. Al Jean felt it would be helpful since the character was being played by Kiefer Sutherland, even though he wasn’t playing Jack Bauer.
  • 2M4 references a cue we did in JABF21 “Midnight Towboy”. I’ve been keeping notes on all the spotting and scoring sessions since the beginning. Now with the information entered into a computer, I can more easily track down original cues when we are asked to hark back to a previous episode.
  • 3M4, 3M5, 3M6 & 4M1 all use “Dance of the Knights” which is a sequence from the ballet “Romeo and Juliet” by Serge Prokofiev. This music had to be licensed because it is still under copyright in most of the world. Just because a piece is considered “classical” doesn’t mean it’s free. 3M4, 3M5 & 4M1 all worked as SCOURCE cues in this episode.
  • 3M9 was a little shout-out to the creators of Auto-Tune the News. It was authentically created meaning Tress MacNeille spoke the dialogue of the woman in the video and she was edited and auto-tuned to make a song. Dave Itzkoff of The New York Times wrote a recent article about the men & woman behind Auto-Tune the News. Dave is a witty writer. Follow him on Twitter.
  • The Korean Choir singing at the end of the episode was actually sung by a kids’ choir made up of youngsters aged 14 and under. We pre-recorded that track toward the end of last season.
  • The totals at the very bottom break the cues down into groups: Underscore, Source/Songs to be Recorded, Source/Songs already Recorded, Format. This breakdown aids the planning in numerous ways. Alf knows how many minutes of music he has to write, I know which cues are going to be delivered to me on CDs or were pre-recorded by us, whether we’re using a long or short version of the Main Title, etc.

OK, that’s about it for now. Gotta get back to “Treehouse of Horror XXII” and a few other surprises in the works for later in the season. I’m enjoying the questions and comments. I’ll keep doing my best to write thoughtful replies.

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