Beatbox Master Tom Thum Remixes Disney’s ‘The Skeleton Dance’ … With His Mouth

Bryan Enk
Movie Talk
Tom Thum remixing 'The Skeleton Dance' (Photo: Disney)
Tom Thum remixing 'The Skeleton Dance' (Photo: Disney)

Remember Larvell Jones, the human sound effects CD played by Michael Winslow in the "Police Academy" movies? He's just a cadet compared to the noise that comes out of this fella named Tom Thum.

The Guardian puts it best: "Tom Thum appears to have swallowed an entire orchestra and several backing singers." An accomplished beatboxer and self-described "serial pest," the twentysomething Australian started out as a graffiti writer but rose to recognition through his ability to produce "unhuman" sounds. The YouTube video of his performance at this year's TEDxSydney has garnered more than seven million views ... and we're guessing almost as many inquiries of "How does he do that?"

In the spirit of the Halloween season, Tom Thum has turned his bizarre talents towards a holiday classic: Walt Disney's spooky animated short, "The Skeleton Dance." Give it a look (and a listen):

Produced in 1929 as the first of Disney's "Silly Symphonies," the five-and-a-half minute short serves as a sort of gothic prelude to "Fantasia" as skeletons, black cats, a dog, an owl and a spider make beautiful spooky music together around a graveyard. Written and directed by Walt Disney himself and animated by Ub Iwerks, "The Skeleton Dance" was the first animated cartoon to use non-post-sync sound as composer Carl W. Stalling incorporated a minor key foxtrot, part of Edvard Grieg's "The March of the Trolls" and other elements to make a Halloween short you could dance to.

And now, Tom Thum makes "The Skeleton Dance" an animated cartoon with strictly human sound as he recreates every noise heard from the short with only his mouth and reworks it all into something that takes the term "silly symphony" to a whole other level. We have a feeling Walt himself would've been a fan ... and probably would've given this guy a job. Really, if Tom Thum wanted to switch careers, he'd make for the most in-demand sound-effects artist in Hollywood.

Here's the original "The Skeleton Dance" short — ranked #18 in "The 50 Greatest Cartoons" according to professional animators — for comparison:

You can get more Tom Thum at his Facebook page and YouTube channel.