ANIMATION SPIN
March 24, 2015 posted by

De-Patie-Freleng’s “Goldilocks” (1970) on Record

Bing Crosby Meets the Sherman Brothers Meet De-Patie-Freleng Meets Disney – in soundtrack albums for their live-action/animated TV special.

GoldilocksArmstrongLP-600

Bing Crosby Introduces Mary Frances Crosby as
GOLDILOCKS

Original TV Soundtrack
Evans-Black Carpets by Armstrong Promotional Album (Produced by Disneyland Records) DL-3511 (12” 33 1/3 RPM / Stereo)
Disneyland Storyteller Series ST-3998 (12” 33 1/3 RPM / Mono)

Released in 1970. A Sherman Bros/DePatie-Freleng Production. Show Producers: David H. DePatie, Friz Freleng. Director: Marc Breaux. Associate Producer: Walter Bien. Co-Producers: Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman. Teleplay: A.J. Carothers. Arranger/Conductor: Doug Goodwin. Running Time: 28 minutes.
Performers: Bing Crosby (Himself); Kathryn Crosby (Herself); Mary Frances Crosby (Herself, Goldilocks); Nathaniel Crosby (Himself); Paul Winchell (Narrator, Bob Cat, Forest Animals); Avery Schreiber (Forest Animals).

Songs: “Take a Little Longer Look”, “The Human Race”, “Don’t Settle for Less (Than the Best)” by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman.

Front cover - Click to enlarge

Front cover – Click to enlarge

On Tuesday, April 2, 1970, NBC broadcast Goldilocks, a 30-minute special that was unique for its technique, participants and position in entertainment history. It was the first TV special, a rare venture into combining live-action and animation, for De-Patie Freleng. At the center of the project were the Sherman Brothers, who brought with them great talents and close friends: Mary Poppins co-choreographer Marc Breaux to direct the live-action and Disney’s Happiest Millionaire scribe A.J. Carothers (also the creator of ABC’s Nanny and the Professor) to write the special. They also enlisted Jimmy Johnson at Disneyland Records to release the complete soundtrack on records.

In 1970, DePatie-Freleng was producing cartoons starring The Pink Panther, The Ant and the Aardvark and others for theaters and Saturday morning TV, but would also eventually make almost two-dozen primetime specials, many with Dr. Seuss. The Shermans, only a few years after were weathering post-Walt changes at the Disney studios. Their last musical fantasy for Disney, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, was a year away, and they were exploring new ventures and responsibilities. The Goldilocks special was an important step.

Because the show was produced by DePatie-Freleng with their musical director (Doug Goodwin) and their character designer (Al Wilson), the Disney release of the record is a curious hybrid. The uncredited illustrator of the 11-page Disney Storyteller book—who created art for quite a few albums in the line, including two based on Oz books—smoothes out the distinctive Xeroxed DePatie-Freleng rough-hewn edges and retains only the character shapes. The backgrounds only bear a passing resemblance to those in the film. (Click each double-page spread below to enlarge)

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GoldilocksDisneypage3-4_600GoldilocksDisneyLPpage5-6_600GoldilocksDisneyLPpage7-600GoldilocksDisneyLPpage9-10-600-1GoldilocksDisneyLPpage11-12-600

The Disneyland Storyteller LP release was released in single-channel mono, while the promotional LP offered at Evans-Black Carpet dealers (the program’s sponsor) was in with mono tracks mixed inventively in multiple left and right channels to create a stereo feel. Even though the Evans-Black-Armstrong record does not list Disney anywhere on the label or cover, the print on the label is identical to a Disney album of the era and the “DL-3500” catalog series indicates a Disney promotional record. The art direction on the Armstrong LP appears to have been done by their ad agency.

The Sherman Brothers’ connection with Bing Crosby goes back to the days when their father, Al, wrote songs for the star. They remained friends for decades (Bing was even considered for the lead in the Sherman-scored Disney musical, The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band). He was also a good friend of Disneyland Records Musical Director Tutti Camarata, who arranged many of his Decca records in the ‘40s. The whole project made good sense all around, since Bing, Kathryn and their children had, for NBC, become welcome faces in annual Christmas TV spectaculars.

Disneyland LP Back Cover (click to enlarge)

Disneyland LP Back Cover (click to enlarge)

The Goldilocks special is just the right length for a simple story and three songs, in the manner of half-hour Rankin/Bass specials. The live portion takes place at a family campout, with Bing telling the story to pass the time. Mary runs after a butterfly and transitions into an animated forest, where her father, mother and brother are the three bears.

As songwriters, the Shermans fashioned a mini-musical, expressing the philosophies of Bing as dad, Bing and Kathryn as adult bears, and of Goldilocks’ familiar multiple choices. Because this special has been out of circulation for so long, these fine original tunes are not as well known as they ought to be.

Writer Carothers, faced with the always-tricky task of expanding a basic fairy tale, starts fleshing things out by giving Papa Bear a Bing-like love of golf. Through Papa’s game, we meet the highly irritable (and irritating) Bob Cat, who dominates the second act with his intolerance of humans. Bob stirs up the animals into a sign-carrying protest to get Goldilocks away from her protector, Papa Bear, and is bad through and through.

It’s not rocket science to position this story in its 1970 context, when Richard Nixon was president and the country was in a ideological flux over the war, civil rights, women’s liberation, rock music, violence, drugs, sex and choosing between Ginger or Mary Ann. Sadly, the special isn’t as dated as it might have been had the issues been resolved in the ensuing 45 years.

Bing left us in 1977 (shortly before that legendary “Drummer Boy” duet with David Bowie was broadcast). Mary—who made TV history as the person who shot J.R. on worldwide hit series, Dallas—recently appeared with her mom in director Henry Jaglom’s film, Queen of the Lot. Oldest son Harry (who did not appear in the special) is a successful investment banker. In addition to acting, Kathryn has written three books about Bing and a State Fair cookbook (which we bought when she was appearing in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical). Lovely lady, “noooo doubt about it.”

GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
“The Human Race”
A showcase for Bing, Kathryn and DePatie-Freleng’s shot at live-action/animation, this looks to have been done with a bit of modeling for the dance steps, perhaps by Mr. and Mrs. C themselves. Note the nod to the Sherman Brothers and Mary Poppins; Papa rides a turtle across the stream à la Jolly Holiday.

By the way, more actors who vaguely resemble doctors recommend Minute Maid orange juice for their patients who drink juice…


SO RARE: TREASURES FROM THE CROSBY ARCHIVE
Collectors Choice Music / Bing Crosby Enterprises CCM-2109 (Compact Disc / Stereo & Mono) Also available as a download.

Executive Producers: Kathryn Crosby, Gordon Anderson. Producer/Liner Notes: Robert S. Bader. Research: Martin McQuade. Mastering: Bob Fisher.

Songs: “Just One More Chance”, “I’m Through with Love”, “Buckin’ the Wind”, “Where the Turf Meets the Surf”, “Over the Rainbow”, “As Time Goes By”, “I’ll be Seeing You”, “Why Don’t You Fall in Love With Me?”, You’re the Gem State Wonder, Idaho / Buckle Down, Winsocki”, “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town”,” What Do You Mean, You Lost Your Dog?”, “We’re in the Money”, “I Hear Music”, “I Can’t Get Started”, “Because”, “Pledging My Love”, “The Yellow Rose of Texas”, “My Old Kentucky Home”, “So Rare”, “Straight Down the Middle”, “Tomorrow’s My Lucky Day”, “The Second Time Around”, “Incurably Romantic”, “Anthem of the Clams”, “Pennies from Heaven”, “Far From Home”, “How Green Was My Valley”, “Step to the Rear”, “Live a Little”, “Don’t Let a Good Thing Get Away”, “What Do We Do with the World”. “The Human Race”, “Take a Longer Look”, “That’s What Life is All About”.

Spoken: “Bing Talks about His First Radio Show”, “Bing Talks about Rock and Roll”, “Bing’s Message to the Kentucky Junior Derby”.

Bing+So+Rare+275This two-disc set (also downloadable on iTunes) is a great way to appreciate the length and breadth of Bing Crosby’s extraordinary recording career, spanning generations and rivaling even the biggest contemporary music stars in record sales and industry influence. And because it’s comprised of hard-to-find recordings, even a Crosby collector will probably seek it out.

The album is mentioned here because it includes Bing’s groovy pop single versions of “Take a Longer Look” and “The Human Race” with peppy arrangements by music veteran by Jimmie Haskell. According to this CD’s liner notes, the Shermans asked Bing to record the single versions. Bing was fond of the Goldilocks score and happily complied, meeting with his longtime friend Al Sherman at the session. The two songs were originally intended for release as a 45 RPM 7” single and were remixed especially for this compilation by Richard Sherman and Robert S. Bader.

GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
“The Human Race” (No. 2) Pop Single Version
This was, in essence, the Shermans’ take on the “humans-from-the-animals-POV” novelty song, in the tradition of Louis Prima’s hit, “Civilization” and Floyd Huddleston’s “If You Want to See Some Strange Behavior (Take a Look at Man)” from Disney’s More Jungle Book Storyteller LP. In the special, the lyrics are written to be Papa and Mama Bear’s opinions; on the single, the words are altered to reflect Bing’s perspective.

14 Comments

  • Good stuff today!

    I’d love to see a release of this special too (the video and the record!)

    • I suppose we can pester this “BingCrosby.com” constantly about it. Wouldn’t hurt I think.

  • I watched this special when it was first broadcast. It was treated like a very big event. Bing Crosby was still extremely popular in the early 70’s, as evidenced by his presence in frequent specials, particularly around holiday times.

    This was a good blend of talent–the Sherman Brothers were also still at the peak of their productivity. They had a lot of output during the 70’s.

    Thanks for the memories–(uh, no, that was Bob Hope!)

  • Fascinating. Such an ambitious project for DePatie-Freleng! I never knew this existed; I’d love to see and hear it.

    I would mention, though, that Kathryn Grant Crosby (a real trouper) is still very much with us at this writing.

    • Yes — we fixed that. Apologies to Ms. Crosby and the family for that glaring error. i rewrote the last paragraph entirely. Hopefully the affection behind the entire post will make up for it.

      It was a delight to meet Kathryn Crosby when she starred in the first stage production of State Fair. A trouper, indeed. We wish her many more happy years.

  • Yet another animated something I haven’t seen yet. I see from that one YouTube clip that that “Bing Crosby Enterprises” does own this particular special, but I suppose any thought of what to do with it hasn’t came to their minds yet. There are many avenues to go these days like Netflix or Hulu Plus but they seem to be sitting on an opportunity to do something with this (just like AT&T with “The Tiny Tree”). They even have an internet shop but it seems to be completely out-of-stock on everything (or lack of interest to keep it going).
    http://www.bingcrosbyshop.com/home/

  • All I can do is echo other comments–I, too, somehow missed this special. It certainly would be a nice addition to my collection. It is well worth owning, as is an unexprigated version of “MAKE MINE MUSIC/MELODY TIME”. We need animation history in its original form!

    • I think the UK DVDs of Make Mine Music and Melody Time are uncensored.

  • Don’t like sounding like a broken record, but I, too, am one of the underpriviledged mulititude who has not seen or even knew this animated special existed until now. Thanks Greg, for another entertaining post!

  • I saw this when it was first broadcast and several times, and have the soundtrack due to one of the many file sharing sites..

    fun lines
    BABY:”Sorry, Mr.Bobcat
    BOBCAT:”Oh yeah…well I don’t think you’re sorry ENOUGH!”

    Besides Al Wilson, Marty Murphy was the other designer./ Paul Winchell played Bob. Sort of like Chuck Jones’s own Papa Bear but much less violent.. The cooperation of Freleng and Crosby seemed ironic in the wake of the 1930s cartoons that Friz did that upset Bing…

    And the word Bear by Greg was used in a non-punny eay..:)

    I saw the album/storybook unwrapped in a Los Angeles bookstore and it showed Bob Cat, who stomped off unapologetically, happily with the other animals. No mention of the Crosby’s in the storybook or that it was all a dream she had. Love “Take a Little Longer Look” and wish that the SOUNDTRACK version was released as a single, NOT the POPPY one..:)

    • I guess I missed out when that was on that one blog four years back. Annoying the things I miss out on the first time around.

  • Very charming stuff! I’m pretty sure I saw this show when it first aired, but didn’t remember much about it. Thanks for refreshing my memory.
    Bing Crosby ran a fair-sized independent TV production company in the 60’s, best remembered for “Hogan’s Heroes” and “Ben Casey,” though they made a number of less successful series as well, including a sitcom vehicle for the boss man. Another of his ventures, Bing Crosby Laboratories, spent a good deal of money in the 50’s trying to develop a video tape recording system, but Ampex beat him to the punch.

  • It’s worth mentioning here that the Shermans wrote a song in tribute to both Bing and their songwriter father Al, for the 1962 Disney short, “A Symposium of Popular Songs”, sung by Skip Farrell (who does an uncanny impersonation of early 1930s Bing!).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1srhWQ7igw

  • Tuesday would be March 31 (sometimes cited as the actual first date for the special), “bears little resemblance to the special”….”bearable” pun. Chris, I visted another blog (I forget the name and got the file again…The storybook really changes things with Bob, who in the record (and I BELIEVE the special) just storms off never to be seen again while (like, say, last Christmas’s Annie with Miss Hannigan) the villain is totally redeemed in the last page. This special had several runs in 1970 and in 1971 then as I said above in 1975 on the same night as Tiny Tree, both cases on NBC. I had forgotten seeing it…(Bing was still alive then and beloved, of course he never completely decreased in popularily or never did..btw Nancy Sinatra (Fran k’s daughter) and Mary Crosby herself were on Siriusa XM, Siriusly Sinatra, and discussing Bing very favorably..though of course no mention of the special. )

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