Powerhouse Harmonica Powerhouse Harmonica
Cartoon Culture

Powerhouse Harmonica

You know the Raymond Scott tune from a million different cartoons. But I bet you’ve never seen it played like this:

(via BB, thanks Chappell)

  • That was cool. That must have been a tough one in rehearsal.

  • That’s the second biggest harmonica I’ve seen today.

  • Grant Beaudette

    You gotta hand it to the guy who looks like he’s trying to play a heat register.

  • That was awesome. Now where do I find a bass harmonica?


  • Awesome!

    White folks were so much cooler before they started trying to be cool.

  • Martin

    This kind of thing would go over great at an old folks’ home.

  • Anyone got a name on the Harmonica gang?

  • Mike Fontanelli

    Awesome, but where’s the midget??

  • Beautiful Mind

    Neato! Who were they? What was this from?

  • Sharper version here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ti-bpjcPD40 . According to the description they are The Philharmonicas and the clip is from the 1939 short “The Dipsy Doodler” by Larry Clinton and His Orchestra.

    Read the comments for a neat anecdote.

  • steve w.

    It’s Raymond Scott’s “Powerhouse”, from the 1940 Vitaphone Melody Master short “The Dipsy Doodler” with Larry Clinton and His Orchestra, supported by the “Six Philharmonicas”. Naturally, the film was produced by Warner Bros., since they controlled the Raymond Scott catalog. Here’s another clip from the 11 minute short, featuring “Get Happy”:

    And a higher quality copy of the Powerhouse clip, that’s a few seconds longer:

  • uncle wayne

    Wow! Now that IZZ severe triple treat….thank YOO y.t., AND C.B.!

    I thought, too, that this was the group we saw (so often) “on Ed Sullivan”…but the decade, I think, proves that it is, indeed, an EARLIER “harmonica troupe!” The “midget” (as I fondly remember) was in (correct me, Gang!?) “The Harmonicats!” It was he that held the bulk of its comedy!! (And they were a RIOT!!!)

    Thank you, again, Jerry!!

  • uncle wayne

    Oop! “My Bad” [as they say] ….thank you, AMID!!!!

  • Graham

    MAN! Are there any groups like this that exist today? Really really cool!

  • TsimoneTseTse

    That’s a gasser!! Thanks!

    Powerhouse actually sounded more fluid here than the Scott version I have. There was a recording group called the Harmonicats, I don’t know if they went back to the thirties though. I heard of them through a lady that worked in a retirement center with someone that claimed to have been a member.

  • Artisticulated

    Can I get these guys at my birthday party?

  • George Zadorozny

    I like how they all look to be on the edge of insanity! And the ending is just PERFECT! Great musicians, all.

  • joe szczender

    from a youtube post

    They are indeed the Phil Harmonics performing Raymond Scott’s “Powerhouse”, from the 1939 short “The Dipsy Doodler” by Larry Clinton and His Orchestra.

  • Mel

    Is this group the legendary Harmonicats?

  • I remember watching this a few months back. I was quite amazed when I found it. Pretty crazy stuff.

    I didn’t realize at the time it was animation-related enough to send to you guys.

  • Its a “Six Degrees of Separation” kinda thing.
    The “Six Philharmonicas” playing Raymond Scott – who was liberally borrowed from by Carl Stalling for use in the Warner Bros.’ shorts.
    Makes perfect sense. Kinda…

  • Raymond Scott’s Powerhouse brings me back to the classic CN bumpers and LT toons (ahh…those were the days), but I would also like to see the version of “The Toy Trumpet” played at the end of George Pal’s “Rythm in the Ranks”. Arnold Lebovit removed that cartoon from YouTube.

  • Dock Miles

    I wonder how many times the guy on the right end with the untamed hair and the huge rack of a harmonica whacked the poor dude next to him in concerts over the years.

  • Cha Cha

    The harmonica troup that Uncle Wayne saw on The Ed Sullivan Show was actually called the Harmonica Rascals and the midget was Johnny Poleo. I believe an earlier version, led by Borah Minevich, did appear in movies during the 1940s.

  • William Ferry

    Great clip! Very creative interpretation! By the way, the “group with the midget” was, I believe, Borah Minnevitch and His Harmonica Rascals. Johnny Puleo was the little fellow.

  • Gerard de Souza

    That guy playing the Bass line (Is there such a thing as a bass/baritone harmonica?) Is getting the biggest work-out and could probably knock out someone’s lights if they stand too close while playing.
    Yes. Amazing.

    Gotta send a link to my dad. He plays a mean Harmonica.