ANIMATION SPIN
September 16, 2014 posted by

Hanna-Barbera’s “Cinderella á Go-Go”

Groovin’ through Paul Frees and June Foray’s steeped-in-the-‘60s spoof of the fairy tale that is, like, for non-squares, you know?

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PIXIE & DIXIE WITH MR. JINKS TELL THE STORY OF CINDERELLA
Hanna-Barbera Records – Cartoon Series HLP-2025 (12” 33 1/3 RPM / Mono / 1965)
Edited 7” 45 RPM Version: Hanna-Barbera CS-7029 (1965)

Reissues of 45 RPM Version on 12” 33 1/3 RPM: Columbia Special Products P-13908 (Condensed Story with Top Cat’s Robin Hood and Magilla Gorilla’s Alice in Wonderland / P-13934 Fred Flintstone Presents All-Time Favorite Children’s Songs and Stories (Condensed Story with Other HBR Reissues)

Executive Producers: William Hanna, Joseph Barbera. Producer/Writer/Director: Charles Shows. Music: Hoyt Curtin. Cover Design: Willie Ito. Cover Art: Ron Dias. Running Time: 36 minutes.

Voices: Paul Frees (Jinks, King, Prince Junior, Herald, Policeman, Narrator); June Foray (Dixie, Cinderella, Stepmother, Lena, Fatima, Fairy Godmother); Dick Beals (Pixie), Danny Hutton (Soloist).
Songs: “Cinderella” by Lynn Bryson, Larry Goldberg and Charles & Peggy Shows.

Of all the cartoon-related records that did not cast the original voices, this one is perhaps the most forgivable. Yes, the absence of Daws Butler and Don Messick makes one wonder what it could have been, but with Paul Frees and June Foray (plus an assist from Dick Beals), it transforms into a cross between Hanna-Barbera, Jay Ward and Stan Freberg.

Charles Shows, who was working on a virtual assembly line with these scripts just as the animators and other H-B staff were doing with their TV shows, must have taken a little extra time with the Cinderella script. There is a one-liner every few seconds, some genuinely funny (“They’d turn on television and they’d all sit around watching…but the only thing they’d let Cindy watch was the commercials! Talk about cruelty!”)

Because of the talent involved, the album becomes more than a collection of jokes. Frees’ Jinks narrates with empathy as well as way-cool beatnik detachment. Foray is nothing less than extraordinary, crafting Shows’ lines to give every character added nuance and dimension. Few albums offer such a wide cross-section of Frees and Foray characterizations.

The music editing it makes the most of Hoyt Curtin’s keen talent for creating music that, though used over and over again, still can seems tailor-made for each given purpose. The best examples are the two solo piano music beds from Golden Records’ “Songs of the Flintstones” album (“Dum Tot Song” and “I Flipped”). Heard with Frees’ seriocomic performance, the same music acts as an sympathetic theme for Cinderella.

This album is also willfully groovy. It’s a vivid time capsule of the overlap of the beach party, crooner era of fizzy pop and the British and American rock invasion’s progressive journey into shades and shadows. Either Shows was a car buff or he bought an issue of Hot Rod Magazine at Von’s, because he puts a lot of emphasis on such details as fuel injection engines, flatty mills and dummy spots (some of which would resurface on HBR’s “Hot Rod Granny” album).

Even Danny Hutton’s pensive, moody closing song is one of the best in the Cartoon Series. It’s a contrast to the relentless spoofery of the rest of the album, but Jinks’ transition gives the transition sense. The electric guitar accompanying Hutton sounds like the same one Fred Flintstone “played” on HBR’s Songs from Mary Poppins album.

GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
Highlights from “Pixie and Dixie and Mr. Jinks Tell the Story of Cinderella”
HBR’s condensed 45 RPM version tended to leave the dated material out due to time, so this is a condensation that includes the royal ball, the glass slipper fitting, Danny Hutton’s folk ballad and the very amusing scene in which Cinderella is pulled over for speeding!


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The CBS Television Network Production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA

Columbia Masterworks CS-2730 (Stereo) / OL-6330 (Mono) 12” LP / 1965)
CD Reissue: Sony Broadway SK-53538

Album Producers: Irving Townshend, Ed Kleban, Thomas Z. Shepard. Musical Director: John Green. Orchestrations: Robert Russell Bennett, John Green. Recorded in Hollywood, November 2-6, 1964. Additional Recording in New York City, November 10, 1964. Engineer: Fred Plout. Reissue Producer: Didier Deutsch. Remixing and Mastering: Darcy Proper. Running Time: 52 minutes.

Performers: Lesley Ann Warren (Cinderella); Celeste Holm (Fairy Godmother); Pat Carroll (Prunella); Barbara Ruick (Esmeralda); Stuart Damon (Prince); Don Heitgerd (Herald), Bill Lee (Father); Betty Noyes (Mother); Trudi Ames (Daughter); Butch Sherwood (Little Boy); Alice Mock (Grandmother); Myra Stephens, Linda Howe, Franceska Bellini, Alicia Adams, Rosemarie Rand, Judy Chapman, Jackie Ward (Maidens); Debbie Megowan, Robin Eccles (Young Maidens).

Songs: “Loneliness of Evening,” “In My Own Little Corner,” “The Prince is Giving a Ball,” “Impossible!/It’s Possible!” “Ten Minutes Ago,” “Stepsisters’ Lament,” Do I Love You Because You’re Beautiful?” “When You’re Driving Through the Moonlight/A Lovely Night” by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II.
Instrumentals: “Overture,” “Cinderella March,” “Gavotte,” “Waltz for a Ball” by Richard Rodgers.

There is no shortage of great recordings for Rodgers & Hammerstein’s only musical created for television. Of course, there is the original 1957 cast album starring Julie Andrews, the current Broadway cast album, a British panto recording Tommy Steele and this 1965 production starring 18-year-old Lesley Ann Warren. (Unfortunately, there is no cast album for the Whitney Houston/Brandy version from 1997.)

Each of the TV and stage versions have their own special magic, but the 1965 version has the distinction of being smack in the middle of an era spangled with full-color, escapist entertainment still dear to baby boomers. Premiering on February 22, 1965, the CBS special came along just as musicals—like Mary Poppins—seemed to be having a resurgence in Hollywood, and before such programming became passé in the minds of many.

Pat Carroll, who became legendary as the voice of The Little Mermaid’s Ursula (and the original Mother Magoo), was an oft-welcomed presence on series TV, game and talk shows. In this production, Carroll played one of the stepsisters. The other sister was played by Barbara Ruick, who appeared as Carrie (“Mr. Snow”) Pepperidge in the movie version of Carousel. Ruick was the wife of composer John Williams, who among other projects at the time, scored early episodes of Gilligan’s Island. Sadly, Ruick passed away in 1972, before she could experience Williams’ colossal success with Star Wars and his other sweeping movie scores.

R&H favorite Celeste Holm played the traditional fairy Godmother in 1965, in contrast to Edie Adams’ sassy fairy in the 1957 show. And the Prince was Stuart Damon, later to play Alan Quartermain on General Hospital (which included a “prince” nod in at least one script, maybe more).

GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
Kaye & Alice & Pat & Barbara – “Stepsisters’ Lament”
Each actor brings his or her own talents, timing and skills to a role, so it’s interesting to hear all four great ladies of musical comedy in their interpretations of the stepsisters: Kaye Ballard, Alice Ghostley, Pat Carroll and Barbara Ruick.

9 Comments

  • I agree that in this instance Paul Frees’ substitution as the voice of Jinks is not miscasting. After one or two listens, it’s hard to imagine anyone else with the possible exception of Daws doing as creditable a job with the vocal characterization. Not only do we get Frees’ spot-on interpretation of Jinks, but he manages to make the King and Prince into satisfactory characters as well. June Foray’s Fairy Godmother sounds like a character right out of the Fractured Fairy Tales, and her Stepmother and Stepsisters are as fully vocalized as Frees’ King and Prince. Hilarious, too! Thus we truly have, as you suggest, a cross between Hanna-Barbera and the Fractured Fairy Tales. I have both versions of the album, and I enjoy the longer one better, as this outrageousness is developed to a fuller, wackier extent than on the shortened one–where the shorter one sticks closer to the fairy tale, and makes the last line a little incomprehensible: “That’s not really the way the story ended, is it, Jinks?” Danny Hutton’s “Cinderella” song definitely has the qualities of a folk ballad, with odd touches here and there–such as “fairy queen” instead of “fairy godmother”–but overall the song is very satisfying and a nice conclusion to the album. Vocally, Danny gives a delicate rendering that is in contrast to some of his other performances on the HBR albums. (He does a similar job on “Jack and the Beanstalk.”)

    I grew up with the 1965 Cinderella production of Rodgers and Hammerstein. Our entire family loved it and looked forward to repeated viewings on TV. I can testify that the very names “Rodgers and Hammerstein” without any prior association sounded magical to a five-year-old child’s ears. I knew nothing of “Oklahoma” or even “The Sound of Music” and yet I knew there was something special about a Cinderella that came from “Rodgers and Hammerstein”. Just as the names of all of the performers in the special sounded magical, even not having any awareness of what previously had made them great. Names like “Celeste Holm,” “Ginger Rogers” and “Walter Pidgeon” had a unique ring to them. Later on, of course, I came to appreciate the achievements that had made them famous–but as I child, I didn’t even need to know anything else. These were the magical people who had come together to produce this enchanting musical. Nearly everything family-oriented was a musical back then. I feel sorry for kids today who are turned off when a performer starts singing in the middle of a scene–back in those days, we expected it–and the songs seldom failed to enchant.

    Interesting how the story of Cinderella warranted two such divergent retellings back in the mid-60’s. Put the two versions together, and you get a pretty comprehensive look at pop culture of the time.

    • Totally feel the same way. Everything seemed very magical to me during that period of entertainment. Even Tooter the Turtle!

  • Interesitng use of Frees and (fr Hanna-Barbera, in lieu of Janert Waldo in Cinderella’s case) June Foray..they did the eqully groovy ((as intended), and willfull y so (:)) Snooper/Blab Monster Shindig album from that time..

  • Greg:
    That’s the first time I’ve heard the Mr.Jinx and Pixie and Dixie version of Cinderella and I really like it! I wish Paul had actually done an actual MRJ and PandD cartoon! He did do a superb job!And it was interesting to hear a combined medley of a song from the RandH Cinderella! My favorite line:”And with very little trouble.I could break her little arm!”

  • I’ve known about the Jinks Cinderella album for ages but never thought I’d actually hear it. Thanks for that, Greg. Frees’s reads as the cat were fairly outstanding and show a pro’s deliberation at getting the pre-existing character, rather than making the performance entirely his own.

  • What a great piece, Greg! I’d never heard this LP so it’s a real treat for me…in 1973 June Foray let me borrow her Monster Shindig album (along with the Snow Queen soundtrack also featuring Frees), so I could put it on tape, but she forgot about this title. I knew Frees did this voice (he does a brief bit in the Peabody segment about Jules Verne), but he is really consistent here. I suspect he loved the Jinks voice that Daws did…not only was it Daws’ own favourite of his characters, but at that time a lot of the industry folk loved it. It’s amazing how rich the voice-work was in those golden TV and album years from 1957-67 – on the West Coast Frees, Daws Butler and June Foray really had the field sewn up during that decade. Frees once disclosed he had done a Bugs Bunny while Blanc was recovering from his near-fatal auto crash, but I’m still trying to find what he did it for…Jerry Hausner said he did Bugs, too.

  • I’m amazed at how accurate Paul Frees’ Jinksy is; with none of his usual plummy resonance. He did a great job of capturing Daws Butler’s goofy, underslung delivery. (The Pixie and Dixie voices are pretty off-model though…) I can’t ever remember seeing Hanna-Barbera records in the stores when I was a kid, all I ever saw were Disneyland, Golden, and Peter Pan; I grew up (?) in the midwest and maybe H-B was distributed more on the west coast.

  • And great timing, tomorrow, like, you know all you meeces, BEING June Foray’s birthday….VERY EXAcT Daws Butler Jinks voice by Paul Frees, I thoughjt that it totally acutaly WAS Daws Butler…Jeff Missinne, I agree about Pixie and Dixie being off model vocally.

  • I’m just getting around to hearing this now. This is amazing! These kinds of gems should have also been part of that great four-CD box set PICK-A-NICK BASKET OF CARTOON FAVORITES collection. Maybe there should be a part 2; yeah, I know the answer, but c’mon. It is a great idea!

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