Before Disney had an in-house record company, other major labels made their records, including this adaptation with film cast members and voice acting greats.
Walt Disney’s LADY AND THE TRAMP
Adapted from the Walt Disney Motion Picture by Alan Livingston
with Members of the Original Cast
Capitol Records – Children’s Series DBX-3056 (10’ 78 RPM & 7”45RPM Discs / 1955)
LP Reissue: J-3260 (12” 33 1/3 RPM / Mono) (Album Also Includes Disney’s Mr. Toad and Rob Roy)
Producer/Writer: Alan Livingston. Musical Director: Dave Cavanaugh. Running Time: 12 minutes.
Voices: Barbara Luddy (Lady); Larry Roberts (Tramp); Bill Thompson (Jock, Bull, Dachsie); June Foray (Aunt Sarah, Si, Am, Peg); Daws Butler (Trusty, Jim Dear, Boris); Art Gilmore (Narrator).
Songs: “The Siamese Cat Song” by Peggy Lee and Sonny Burke; “Home, Sweet Home” by Sir Henry Bishop.
Alan Livingston and his Capitol staff did a truly fine job on this brief but unrushed little productions of Walt Disney’s Lady and the Tramp. When the film was first released in 1955, this Capitol children’s album and Peggy Lee’s Decca song album were the major releases, as Disney was only a year away from throwing the switch on Disneyland Records.
Decca’s album contained touches of soundtrack material (you can hear the selections on a CD called Peggy Lee Classics & Collectibles. But there was no complete soundtrack. This was not to change within Disney’s label either, as “studio” or “second cast” cover versions were produced in 1962, along with a Storyteller album that re-enacted the story much as Capitol does.
What makes the Capitol version a special gem is the presence of Daws Butler and June Foray in several roles, along with golden-toned Art Gilmore to narrate in that unmistakable manner heard in countless wacky movie trailers (“Hey! It’s Don Knotts! The funny man from TV!”)
This is also the only instance in which Barbara Luddy and Larry Roberts played their canine characters specifically for records. The story is compacted a little (No Stan Freberg beaver! No rat stuff!), but the pace is so natural it makes perfect sense. It makes one wonder, though, how so many of the records of this era might have fared if they could have had the longer running times of future LP records. Maybe they wouldn’t have had the same energy.
GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
“Lady and the Tramp” Told By Art Gilmore
The original, Bozo-Approved “Record Reader” album as released by Capitol Records in 1955.
Walt Disney Records Legacy Collection
LADY AND THE TRAMP
Walt Disney Records D002066192 (Mono & Stereo / 2015 / Two CDs and 24-Page Book)
Producers: Michael Leon, Randy Thornton. Sound Restoration: Doug Schwartz, Jeff Sheridan. Research: Randy Thornton. Lost Chords Arrangements: Jerry Cleveland. Compilation: Randy Thornton. Mastering: Jeff Sheridan. Liner Notes: Holly Foster-Wells, Jim Fanning, Russell Schroeder, Randy Thornton, Dave Bossert. Creative Direction: Dave Snow, Steve Gerdes. Package Design: Steve Gerdes. Original Painting and Illustrations: Lorelay Bové. Running Time: 76 minutes.
Voices: Peggy Lee (Darling, Si, Am, Peg); Barbara Luddy (Lady); George Givot (Tony); The Mellomen (Dog Choir); Patricia Page (Marionettes), Donald Novis (Soloist).
Songs: “Bella Notte”, “Peace on Earth”, “What is a Baby?” “La La Lu”, “The Siamese Cat Song”, “What a Dog/He’s a Tramp” by Peggy Lee and Sonny Burke; “Home Sweet Home” by Sir Henry Bishop.
Instrumentals: “The Wag of a Dog’s Tail”; “It Has a Ribbon”; “Lady to Bed”; “A Few Mornings Later”; “Sunday”; “The Rat”; “Morning Paper”; “A New Collar”; “Jock and Trusty”; “It’s Jim Dear”; “What a Day!”; “Breakfast at Tony’s”; “Warning”; “Breakout”; “Snob Hill”; “A Wee Bairn”; “Countdown to B-Day”; “Baby’s First Morning”; “Going Away”; “Aunt Sarah”; “What’s Going On Down There”; “The Muzzle”; “Wrong Side of the Tracks”; “You Poor Kid”; “He’s Not My Dog”; “Through the Zoo”; “A Log Puller”; “Footloose and Collar-Free”; “It’s Morning”; “Ever Chase Chickens”; “Caught”; “The Pound”; “In the Doghouse”; “The Rat Returns”; “Falsely Accused”; “We’ve Got to Stop That Wagon”; “Trusty’s Sacrifice”; “Watch the Birdie”; “Visitors”.
Lost Chords: “I’m Free As The Breeze”; “I’m Singin’ ‘Cause I Want to Sing” by Eliot Daniel and Ray Gilbert. Lost Chords Songs Sung by Sonny Burke (Demo) and Jeff Gunn.
Bonus Tracks (from DQ-1231, the 1962 Disneyland album, “Songs from Lady and the Tramp”: “What is a Baby”; “La La Lu”; “The Siamese Cat Song”; “Bella Notte”; “He’s a Tramp”; “Peace on Earth (Silent Night)”. Bonus Tracks Sung by Robie Lester, Teri York, Bob Grabeau, Marilyn Hooven and the Mellomen.
The Legacy Series Collection albums are sort of like mini-coffee-table books with compact discs inside. The music is first and foremost the attraction, but, in this particular case with Lady and the Tramp, you also get over two dozen reproductions of fine Disney production art and sketches, brand-new painted art throughout, complete lyrics, and essays by Producer Randy Thornton, Historian Jim Fanning and Russell Schroeder, descriptive text by Walt Disney Animation Producer/Creative Director Dave Bossert—PLUS personal reminisces from Peggy Lee’s granddaughter, Holly Foster-Wells.
Much of the soundtrack score was contained on the 1997 debut of the Lady and the Tramp soundtrack. As Randy explains, he tried to find genuine stereo tracks but apparently the feature had stereo dialogue and sound effect tracks, but a mono music track. However, he did create a stereo effect on a few songs by uncovering some separate mix elements. If you don’t know which selections offer “surprise stereo”, I won’t spoil the surprise.
Besides the always remarkable Lost Chords productions (so well sung, so richly produced), there are also six cuts from the Disneyland DQ-1231 “Second Cast” album, featuring lush, melodic Camarata arrangements that allow each song to step outside its story requirements and stand on its own. Our beloved Robie Lester doubles her voice to play both Si and Am, just as Peggy Lee did, in “Siamese Cat Song.” Bob Grabeau schmoozes and croons “Bella Notte” with such verve; it should have landed him a spot on The Dean Martin Show.
Teri York told me that “He’s a Tramp” was one of her favorite and most fun Disneyland LP performances. Teri also sings “La La Lu,” while Marilyn Hooven precedes the lullaby with “What Is a Baby?” a rendition containing much more song material that was in the film. For the “Peace On Earth” close, Marilyn also borrows a technique from Ms. Lee in that she sings the song itself while adding a countermelody of “Silent Night” over it. That is what Ms. Lee did on her Decca Version.
GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
Voice Doubling for “The Siamese Cat Song”
No matter how many times they ran this sequence, how could one ever tire of watching the lovely Ms. Lee show us how to double our voices on a garden-variety, elementary school grade reel-to-reel tape machine? Yes, of course I tried it myself! But I also sped it up for that Chipmunk effect. Good times.