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#1 OFFLINE   crp

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 08:35 PM

Why did 'Scooby Doo' have a laugh track  hmm.gif

Discuss.

Edited by crp, 02 March 2012 - 08:35 PM.

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#2 OFFLINE   Webb

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 08:41 PM

Why do sitcoms have laugh tracks?

QUOTE
Dear Straight Dope:

Why exactly do TV sitcoms have recorded laughing--to remind us to laugh or what?

Chris Hill

I realize this doesn't say much for TV viewers, but the answer to your question essentially is yes--the purpose of a laugh track is to tell the audience when it's time to laugh.

For those who've spent the last 55 years in a monastery, a laugh track is a pre-recorded effect inserted into most sitcoms not taped in front of a live audience. The laugh track is generally added in post-production--that is, during editing after the show is taped.

TV laugh tracks were first used on the "Hank McCune Show" back in 1950. Mr. McCune apparently wasn't getting many laughs, so engineers dubbed in recorded laughter. Sadly, the show lasted only three years and doesn't appear to be available on video, so we'll never know how truly funny it wasn't.

The man who made canned laughter what it is today was Charley Douglass, a sound engineer who devised the Laff Box. This was a contraption that stood a little over two feet tall and could be played like an organ to replicate different kinds of laughter, from guffaws to belly laughs. The operator could also select particular genders and ages, so a kids' show could have a simulated audience full of giggling children. No one's really sure where the original recordings came from; some say Douglass recorded audiences from "I Love Lucy," "The Red Skelton Show," or Marcel Marceau's mime act. All of these were heavy on sight gags, which probably made the recording process a little easier. Douglass, who died in 2003, won a special Emmy for engineering in 1992.

Today, of course, it's easy to insert any sound you want into a soundtrack. Most effects can be added and manipulated digitally. Douglass's company now produces a machine about the size of a laptop that will do basically the same thing as the old Laff Box, but more so. In addition to age and gender, it offers laughter in a number of accents, useful for shows done in other languages. Modern software makes it easy to add and manipulate sound effects. In fact, I'm writing this article on a computer that has a program called Adobe Audition that lets me add or delete sounds, change pitch or volume on specific sounds, and add effects like reverb or delay. I can take one or two voices and make it sound like an audience of hundreds.

The reason laugh tracks exist is to tell the audience when to laugh. Seriously. It's not that people don't get the jokes; rather, laugh tracks acknowledge the fact that laughter begets laughter. In a live audience people rely on cues from their neighbors to tell them when something is funny. The TV audience doesn't have those cues, so the laugh track provides them. Sitcoms aren't the only occasion when cues come in handy. For example, if you're reading the paper while you've got the game on TV, you'll likely look up at the screen if the crowd cheers or boos. The change in crowd noise signals to you that something significant just happened, and you might want to pay attention to find out what. Similarly, a laugh track tells you that something funny is going on. But a laugh track does more than indicate LAUGH NOW. It creates a mood and makes the audience more receptive. You see something along the same lines on late-night talk shows or for that matter at comedy clubs, where the host or another comedian comes out and tells jokes beforehand to warm up the audience.

Now that we know why laugh tracks work, we must ask ourselves, "Why a machine? Can't a live audience provide laughter?" Sure, and shows taped before an audience often use the audience's laughter. But a live audience is limiting--you can't do location shots, all the sets need to be on one sound stage, retakes are problematic, etc. Substituting a laugh track for a live audience simplifies matters, the obvious drawback being that the lack of feedback lets TV execs kid themselves that a show is funny when it's not.

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#3 OFFLINE   V.T. Eric Layton

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 09:15 PM

Laugh tracks are often necessary to remind us to laugh at inane subject matter that would otherwise tranquilize us into torpor.

HAHAHAHAHAH!  hysterical.gif

See! Without that laugh track above, my boring, bloated verbiage would have had you snoring minutes ago. wink.gif

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#4 OFFLINE   LilBambi

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 09:33 PM

Yes, sitcoms employ them (very annoyingly BTW) but cartoons?!

Yep, Scoobydoo, Harlem Globetrotters and Josie and the Pussycats all employed laughtracks! That's sick and twisted, IMHO. And a bunch more!

Sounds like programming to me...gee, what a concept. hysterical.gif

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laugh_track

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More here: http://hanna-barbera.wikia.com/wiki/Laugh_tracks
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#5 OFFLINE   ross549

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 12:09 AM

Someone did a remix of a Star Trek The Next Generation episode with a laugh track and sitcom music.

Terrible. Simply terrible.

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#6 OFFLINE   LilBambi

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 12:07 PM

That would be tragic Adam!
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#7 OFFLINE   Corrine

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 02:06 PM

Laugh lines or not, Scooby Doo was a family favorite.
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#8 OFFLINE   ross549

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 03:05 PM

QUOTE (LilBambi @ Mar 3 2012, 11:07 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
That would be tragic Adam!


It was. I can barely stand to watch horrible awfulness.....

I even made up a new word for it. ^^

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#9 OFFLINE   LilBambi

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 03:18 PM

Yes, for sure Corrine! I personally had a blast watching Scooby Doo!  But I don't like that they felt they needed laugh tracks on a cartoon! I have always hated laugh tracks since I was old enough to realize what their intent was. And it really ticked me off then...

Still ... had a blast watching Scooby Doo! happy62.gif

Adam,  ^^  now that's an interesting new word ... what is its English equivalent? wink.gif
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#10 OFFLINE   ross549

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 04:46 PM

I was attempting to point toward the word awfulness. wink.gif
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#11 OFFLINE   Urmas

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 06:06 PM

1. A Manual of Composition and Rhetoric: A Text-book for Schools and Colleges by John Seely Hart (1892)
"awfulness. The third circumstance that may be named as producing a feeling of the sublime is a certain degree of awfulness and solemnity. ..."

2. Lay Sermons by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1852)
"motive, however ennobled by the magnitude and awfulness of its objects,* and though as the termination of a ..."

3. Journal of the Life, Travels and Gospel Labors of Thomas Arnett by Thomas Arnett (1884)
"awfulness and serenity pervaded the minds of the people, and they were, every one of them, I believed, fully convinced that the true gospel of Christ was ..."

4. Sermons by George Buist (1809)
"On the uncertainty and awfulness of death ; preparation for it to he found only in the conscientious practice of Christian duties. 1 THESS. CHAP. 5, VER. 2. ..."

5. Passages from the English Note-books of Nathaniel Hawthorne by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1880)
"Mr. G is a small, smooth, and pretty young man, not emphasized in any way ; but grief threw its awfulness about him to-day in a degree which I should not ..."


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#12 OFFLINE   V.T. Eric Layton

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 06:47 PM

Awfultude? wink.gif

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#13 OFFLINE   ross549

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 06:48 PM

QUOTE (Urmas @ Mar 3 2012, 05:06 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
1. A Manual of Composition and Rhetoric: A Text-book for Schools and Colleges by John Seely Hart (1892)
"awfulness. — The third circumstance that may be named as producing a feeling of the sublime is a certain degree of awfulness and solemnity. ..."

2. Lay Sermons by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1852)
"motive, however ennobled by the magnitude and awfulness of its objects,* and though as the termination of a ..."

3. Journal of the Life, Travels and Gospel Labors of Thomas Arnett by Thomas Arnett (1884)
"awfulness and serenity pervaded the minds of the people, and they were, every one of them, I believed, fully convinced that the true gospel of Christ was ..."

4. Sermons by George Buist (1809)
"On the uncertainty and awfulness of death ; preparation for it to he found only in the conscientious practice of Christian duties. 1 THESS. CHAP. 5, VER. 2. ..."

5. Passages from the English Note-books of Nathaniel Hawthorne by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1880)
"Mr. G is a small, smooth, and pretty young man, not emphasized in any way ; but grief threw its awfulness about him to-day in a degree which I should not ..."


tongue.gif


Sorry, Urmas. This is not the appropriate forum for your newfangled facts.

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#14 OFFLINE   LilBambi

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 07:08 PM

hysterical.gif

Great to see you Urmie!
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#15 OFFLINE   Urmas

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 05:38 AM

QUOTE (ross549 @ Mar 4 2012, 12:48 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Sorry, Urmas. This is not the appropriate forum for your newfangled facts.

The manere and the forme of al this thyng... men loven of propre kynde newefangelnesse.




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#16 ONLINE   abarbarian

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 08:06 AM

QUOTE (Urmas @ Mar 4 2012, 06:38 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>



hysterical.gif


Thats a good pub mate. They do a good pint af AweFull bitter.  hysterical.gif
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#17 OFFLINE   LilBambi

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 12:32 PM

hysterical.gif
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#18 OFFLINE   patio

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 11:56 AM

Just proves how good the Three Stooges were...

#19 OFFLINE   V.T. Eric Layton

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 12:10 PM

Woo-hoo! Three Stooges! I love 'em! smile.gif

Speaking of that era... I watched Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer on Saturday night w/ Boris Karloff. smile.gif

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#20 OFFLINE   Cluttermagnet

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 12:42 PM

Wasn't it Chaucer who sought to divide a fart by the use of baffles, so as to offend a greater number? Monty Python refined and simplified this to "I fart in your general direction." Awfulness... whistling.gif
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#21 OFFLINE   Cluttermagnet

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 12:45 PM

QUOTE (V.T. Eric Layton @ Mar 5 2012, 11:10 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Woo-hoo! Three Stooges! I love 'em! smile.gif

Speaking of that era... I watched Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer on Saturday night w/ Boris Karloff. smile.gif


Or maybe "Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy"? I remember that one from blissful childhood...

Edited by Cluttermagnet, 06 March 2012 - 12:47 PM.

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("It takes an entire village to raise a child...")
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"Hey, Mel- isn't that your kid driving that bulldozer?"

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#22 OFFLINE   V.T. Eric Layton

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 02:03 PM

I love anything w/ Abbott and Costello in it. smile.gif

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#23 OFFLINE   LilBambi

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 09:56 PM

Last one I saw was: Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

I have always loved Abbott and Costello! My Dad did too!
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#24 OFFLINE   Temmu

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 12:37 AM

QUOTE (Cluttermagnet @ Mar 6 2012, 10:42 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
... Monty Python refined and simplified this to "I fart in your general direction." ...


may i speak with someone else?
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