The Man in the White Suit

This was my very first intro to electronic tunes, here in the Ealing comedy: The Man in the White Suit


The “Guggle Glub Gurgle” Leitmotif of
The Man in the White Suit (1951)

Whenever Sidney Stratton’s apparatus is bubbling, or whenever he is thinking about his stainless fiber, the musical accompaniment to The Man in the White Suit (1950) plays a samba created from a series of recorded bubbles, gurgles, woofs, and squirts. These sounds were not made using traditional musical instruments but rather laboratory equipment. According to promotional material at the British Film Institute, London, the music was a collaboration of director Alexander Mackendrick and sound editor Mary Habberfield. They worked out a score with a rhythm in samba tempo that read: “Bubble, bubble, high drip, low drip, high drain, low drain.” The bubble sound was obtained by blowing through a glass tube into a viscous glycerin solution. The two drip sounds were obtained by pinging two different sized pieces of brass and glass tubes against the palm of the hand. The drain sound was created by air blowing through a tube into water and then amplifying the bubble sound through a metal tube. After Habberfield captured each sound effect, she mixed them in different combinations by trial-and-error until
she found the leitmotif that would accompany Sidney Stratton and his bubbling apparatus in the movie.

They called it the “Guggle Glub Gurgle”. When Benjamin Frankel wrote the movie’s score, he incorporated their track into his larger composition called “The Guggle Triumphant”.

The “Guggle Glub Gurgle” leitmotif was subsequently used by Jack Parnell and His Rhythm in “The White Suit Samba” that they released on Coral Records in 1952. In 2001, it was re-released on Produced by George Martin.

This entry was posted in . and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.