Biography

Legendary editor whose wizardry in creating innumerable sound effects from everyday objects helped elevate Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies to rank among the most popular cartoons ever made. Tregoweth Edmond Brown was born in Gilbert, Minnesota, in November 1899. Pursuing a musical career early on, he made his first foray as a performer in vaudeville. Later, he worked as a sideman for several notable jazz bands (he played banjo in Benny Meroff's orchestra and was on guitar for Red Nichols and his 'Five Pennies'). He moved to California during the Depression era, and, from 1932 to 1934, served as music editor on Cecil B. DeMille features at Paramount, gaining valuable experience.

By the time he joined Carl W. Stalling at Leon Schlesinger's 'Termite Terrace', Brown was an accomplished multi-instrumentalist in his own right, backed by his own orchestra. He went on to excel at integrating his sound effects with Stalling's orchestrations. It was, first and foremost, Brown's inventiveness and boundless imagination which brought a motion picture quality to Warner Brothers cartoons. Not content with simply using musical instruments to create sound effects, he would instead raid the studio library for sounds from action films. Incorporating these added a touch of aural realism to the visual fantasy on the screen and thereby heightened the desired dramatic effect. Brown also ventured 'into the field' with a tape recorder to capture a multitude of noises which eventually became part of a great sound effects library created on film to be used over and over again (for example, he recorded the audience and animal sounds during a bullfight in Barcelona for Bully for Bugs (1953)). Brown presided over an entire garage full of noise-making devices.

Treg Brown is credited with introducing the hitherto unknown radio actor Mel Blanc to Schlesinger's illustrious line-up of animators (who included Tex Avery, Robert Clampett and Friz Freleng) and effectively got him hired. History was made that day. Brown himself received a Best Sound Effects Oscar late in his career for The Great Race (1965).