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?
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!
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.