I am making a short film and I have a scene that needs a musical bed. Something that struck me as perfect was to use the music from one of those old instructional films they would show to kids in the 1950’s. You know, shorts like “Dinner with the Family”, “Oral Hygiene and You”, and “Changes in Your Body”. Problem is, I can’t find any. I don’t even know what that kind of music is called. It’s usually upbeat and light. The “Leave it to Beaver” theme keeps coming to mind.
My question is:
Where can I find that type of music to put in my film? Is there a place to download it? I’ve been to sites like Prelinger Archives and Archive .org and they don’t have the music by itself.
The more proper term is “library music,” in that entire libraries of records were bought by radio stations, commercial production houses, etc. It was a very sixties/seventies thing in general, and because a lot of the music uses old moog synthesizers, it’s become a sort of cult/collector thing among music nerds. It’s especially popular for people looking for weird samples.
Check out the wikipedia page, which is super-sloppy and unfocused but has a few nuggets in there that should start your search off. “Major composers of library music in the 1970’s were Keith Mansfield, Alan Hawkshaw, Alan Tew, John Cameron, Keith Pappworth, Syd Dale and Brian Bennett, the former drummer of “The Shadows”.”
If you insist on “keeping it real,” go down to your local college or public radio station. I can almost guarantee you that they’ll have boxes and boxes of old music library records, grouped by theme and era. Nobody really uses them anymore (unless for ironic effect), but most people still have them around.
There is one piece of music that is very often used in the UK in the context you describe- as the background for a scene of 1950’s domesticity. It’s called In a Party Mood by the Bosworth orchestra and can be found here (about halfway down the page). It was the theme music to the BBC radio programme Housewives’ Choice.