ANIMATION SPIN
May 5, 2015 posted by

Disney’s First “Peter Pan” Soundtrack Album

It’s been reissued often on vinyl and CD, but Peter Pan’s soundtrack debut on records had the best cover art and the shortest running time.

PeterPan-1960-600

Walt Disney’s PETER PAN
All the Songs from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Disneyland Records DQ-1206 (12” 33 1/3 RPM / Mono / 1960)
Reissues: DQ-1206 (with Mouseketeer Renditions); 1206 (with expanded tracks)
CD: 60958-7 (with additional soundtrack selections / 2000, 2013)

Executive Producer: Jimmy Johnson. Producer/Editorial Supervisor: Camarata. Musical Director: Oliver Wallace. Vocal Arrangements: Jud Conlon. Running Time: 16 minutes.
Voices: Bobby Driscoll (Peter Pan); Kathryn Beaumont (Wendy); Hans Conried (Captain Hook); Bill Thompson (Mr. Smee); Candy Candido (Chief); June Foray (Squaw); Paul Collins (John); Tommy Luske (Michael); The Bob Mitchell Choir, The Jud Conlon Singers.

Songs: “The Second Star to the Right”, “You Can Fly! You Can Fly! You Can Fly!”, “What Made the Red Man Red”, “Your Mother and Mine”, “The Elegant Captain Hook” by Sammy Fain and Sammy Cahn; “A Pirate’s Life” by Ed Penner, Oliver Wallace; “Following the Leader” by Winston Hibler, Ted Sears, Oliver Wallace

There has been no shortage of gorgeous Disney record album covers, but this particular one, with Peter beckoning from a huge picture window, is ‘the sort of thing that dreams are made of.” It was originally packaged with crayons so that the plastic-coated drawings on the back cover could be adorned with color (several Disney albums were released with this feature). The trouble was, as a kid, I couldn’t even finish one picture before the record was over. This LP only played for 16 minutes.

The record was just too short (though I love the look of those widely spaced grooves). It is likely that Peter Pan posed a bit of a problem for the Disneyland Records label in the late ‘50s. The film felt like a musical, but when the actual songs were isolated, there really weren’t many of them. Camarata must not have been able to access Oliver Wallace’s background music in the ‘50s (it took until the ‘90s for Randy Thornton to do that).

Several Disney soundtracks were released on the fledgling Disneyland label in 1956 in a “WDL” prefixed series. The background scores were included along with songs from the films. The records were sold at premium prices, with hopes that adult soundtrack buffs would like the music and the sophisticated artwork.

(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

Peter Pan was not among those initial releases. An excellent Storyteller book and LP set was produced in 1957 with loads of dialogue and narration by Jimmie Dodd (replaced in 1960 on the same album by Ginny Tyler), furthering the notion that there were no isolated music tracks available—or if there were, some kind of costly preparation was needed.

By 1959, since Disneyland Records had not succeeded with their premium line of “WDL” albums, they were repackaged with kid-oriented artwork and lower retail prices. The Peter Pan soundtrack was finally released, seven years after the film’s premiere. Even with a short running time, the LP was a bargain at $1.98 or less.

Several years later, the album was lengthened, but not with more soundtrack material. Instead, four Camarata-arranged songs from the Official Mickey Mouse Club album A Walt Disney Song Fest were added to the soundtrack selections. There was “You Can Fly!” by The Gloria Wood Choir, “Never Smile at a Crocodile” by Henry Calvin (of TV’s Zorro), “Your Mother and Mine” by Jimmie Dodd and “Following the Leader” by Jimmie and the Wood Choir.

When the movie was reissued in the summer of 1976, Disneyland-Vista Records Producer Jymn Magon completely refreshed the Peter Pan album, adding in more dialogue sections with music underneath. Because “Never Smile at a Crocodile” was never sung in the film, the Henry Calvin version was again included.

GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
“Your Mother and Mine” – Jimmie Dodd
In observance of Mothers’ Day, here is one of the songs from the Official Mickey Mouse Club album that was added to the Peter Pan soundtrack album (with the window cover) to increase the running time. When the LP was lengthened again in 1976, the soundtrack selections were expanded and only one of the four MMC songs, “Never Smile at a Crocodile”, was included.

Color The Back Cover

Color The Back Cover


To Mother With Love-600

TO MOTHER WITH LOVE
Conceived and Produced by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman
Featuring Elsa Nilsson, Ned Romero and the Del-Fi Chorus
Del-Fi Gold Label Series Records DFLP-1207 (12” 33 1/3 RPM / Mono)

Released in 1959. Producers: Bob and Dick Sherman. Arranger/Conductor: Ray Henderson. Project Director: Bob Keene. Running Time: 32 minutes.

Sherman Brothers Songs: “To Mother With Love”, “You’re Faithful to Me” (Music by Stephen Foster).
Al Sherman Songs: “First Lullabye” by Al Sherman; “Mommy Darlin’” by Al Sherman, Buddy Fields, Al Lewis; “Dream Mother” by Al Sherman, Al Lewis, Joe Burke; “Old Fashioned Lady” by Al Sherman, Abner Silver, Al Lewis.
Other Songs: “My Mom” by Walter Donaldson; “I Want a Girl Just Like the Girl (That Married Dear Old Dad)” by William Dillon, Harry Von Tilzer; “That Wonderful Mother of Mine” by Walter Goodwin, Clyde Hager; “Pal of My Cradle Days” by Al Piantadosi, Marshall Montgomery; “My Mother’s Pearls” by Sylvia Dee, Sidney Lippman; “M-O-T-H-E-R” by Howard E. Johnson, Theodore F. Morse.

With Mothers’ Day looming, here is a fascinating item that, at first glance, might not seem all that extraordinary (except for the kitschy photo; don’t you just love that Woolworth-ish bedspread!)

The fact is that it was the work of none other than the Sherman Brothers, who were just on the brink of hit status with “Tall Paul”, Annette’s ascent and all the magic to come. This album (and its companion, To Dad With Love) is a budget line collection of standard tunes about mothers, living and passed.

“Bob and Dick” created new lyrics for a Stephen Foster classic and wrote the album’s title song. Several titles are the work of their beloved father, Al Sherman, who spurred the duo to make a go of songwriting. The songs are rendered in a very quaint, homespun, early 20th century style, with a small combo including electric organ, bass and piano; they would be perfectly at home with a barbershop quartet or as Dennis Day solos on The Jack Benny Program.

GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
“To Mother With Love”
It puts one in the mind of “Maggie’s Theme (For Now, For Always” from The Parent Trap, and perhaps the Sherman Brothers wrote it in the same vein—as a warm, nostalgic throwback to the good old days.

4 Comments

  • Long ago I got a Disney record that had “Never Smile at a Crocodile” on it. I don’t remember whether it was this one or another. I do remember that it wasn’t advertised as from “The Micky Mouse Club”, and I don’t think that Henry Calvin was the vocalist. It was identified as an unused song written for “Peter Pan” but left out because there was no room for it, or maybe because it would have been too expensive to produce the extra animation that went with it.

  • Recall reading somewhere that Jerry Lewis did the Croc song. Thinking that might have been his only brush with Disney.

    • It certainly wasn’t Jerry Lewis singing “Never Smile at a Crocodile” on the record that I had. Although I can imagine him doing a good job of it.

      “Never smile at a crocodile;
      Oh, you can’t get friendly with a crocodile.
      Don’t be taken in
      By his friendly grin;
      He’s imagining how well you’ll fit beneath his skin …” (accuracy not guaranteed)

  • The version I had featured Jimmie Dodd and Henry Calvin on it. I didn’t know who Calvin was at the time by name and never made the connection as the same guy who played in Zorro, Babes In Toyland and Toby Tyler. Jimmie Dodd’s performance of Your Mother And Mine made a big impression on me at a young age. His performance still comes across as very heartfelt.

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