ANIMATION SPIN
October 14, 2014 posted by

Harvey Comics on Records

Find out what Casper the Friendly Ghost has in common with Elizabeth Taylor, Sandra Dee and Ajax Detergent — and celebrate the only Harvey/Famous cartoon soundtrack album ever released!

harveyset-cover


THE HARVEY COMICS COLLECTIBLE BOX SET
Edel America Records 0037142EDL (Mono CD, DVD, Booklet, Comics / 1997)

Producers: Jerry Beck, Mark Arnold. Total Music Running Time: 34 minutes.
Soundtrack Songs: “Casper the Friendly Ghost,” “Skiddle Diddle Dee (Herman & Katnip),” “Little Audrey Says,” “Noveltoon Theme,” “Merry Madness,” “Start Your Day With a Song,” Skip to My Lou,” “Casper the Friendly Ghost (Casper’s Version),” It’s a Hap-Hap-Happy Day,” “Love in Bloom,” “Listen to the Mockingbird,” “La Cucaracha,” “Personality,” “Tax Collector,” “A Life on the Ocean Waves,” “I’m in the Mood for Love,” “Louise,” “April Showers, “ “Song of the Pirates.”

Original Songs: “Richie Rich,” “Casper, Casper (Whatcha Doin’ on the Moon),” “Here Comes Little Audrey,” “Hiding from Spooky,” “Baby Huey,” “Hot Stuff,” “Richie Rich and Casper,” The Magic Wand of Wendy” by Sid Jacobson and Jimmy Krondes.

Video Clips: “Casper the Friendly Ghost (Main Title),” “Skiddle Diddle Dee (Herman & Katnip),” “Little Audrey Says,” “Noveltoon Theme,” “Merry Madness,” “Start Your day with a Song” “Skip to My Lou,” “It’s a Hap-Hap-Happy Day,” “Casper the Friendly Ghost (Ed Sullivan Version),” “Love in Bloom,” “Listen to the Mockingbird,” “La Cucaracha,” “Personality,” “Tax Collector,” “A Life on the Ocean Waves,” “I’m in the Mood for Love,” “Louise,” “April Showers, “ “Song of the Pirates.”

Considering how popular and widely seen the Harvey/Famous short TV and theatrical cartoons were, it comes as a bit of a surprise that there was never a bonafide soundtrack album (though there were soundtracks for the later movies and spinoffs).

It wasn’t until 1997 that an elaborate tribute package was created. THE HARVEY COMICS COLLECTIBLE BOX SET was a bright and beautiful set. Inside there are two CD/DVDs, three vintage Harvey comic book reproductions (the ads alone are a kick) and a full-color THE HISTORY OF HARVEY CARTOONS booklet designed by artist/author Leslie Cabarga (The Fleischer Story).

Our own Jerry Beck shared his memories of working on this landmark set:

I had worked for Harvey Entertainment full time as a producer on the Claster syndicated THE BABY HUEY SHOW. Though I left the company full time after that, I stayed associated with my friends at Harvey for about ten years and did several projects for them freelance, including the formatting of THE HARVEYTOONS SHOW for Fox Kids (which ended up being the basis of HARVEYTOONS: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION on DVD—and is still being shown on the Family Entertainment Channel today).”

As I understood it, one of the executives at Harvey got into a conversation with a seat mate on a cross country airplane trip—that seat mate was the president of Edel America Records which I believe at the time was producing box set soundtrack albums. I was asked to visit their offices in L.A. and suggest ideas for a Harvey Comics CD collection – and everything I suggested we ultimately did. We included three reprinted comic books, a small booklet on the history of Harvey cartoons (designed by my pal, Leslie Cabarga).”

harvey-history500

It was always decided to do it as a big “box set” of some sort right from the start.”

Harvey had no master sound elements, so all the music had to be pulled off the film prints they had. I compiled all the music and themes I could think of. Apparently I missed the Modern Madcap theme by accident. We also used the Sid Jacobson and Jimmy Krondes songs, which were sold on 45rpm records through Harvey Comics directly in the early 1970s.”

Sid Jacobson was the editor of Harvey Comics and had had some songwriting experience in the 1950s – according to Wikipedia: Jacobson wrote songs for such pop acts as Frankie Avalon (“A Boy Without a Girl”), Dion and the Belmonts, and Johnny Mathis.”

We also have Harvey historian Mark Arnold to thank for the existence of this set. He recalls:

“The three reprinted comic books were RICHIE RICH #7, THE FRIENDLY GHOST, CASPER #14 and BABY HUEY #9. The two Sid Jacobson Harvey songs that didn’t make the cut on the set were “The Sad Sack Song” and “The Sad Sack and Nap Sack Song”. This was/is because Sad Sack is still owned by Alan Harvey and the Harvey family.”

GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
“Skiddle Diddle Dee / Noveltoons Theme / Whatcha Doin’ On the Moon”

One of the odd things about “Skiddle Diddle Dee” was that is was sung on camera in the quirky 1975 dramedy, Sheila Levine Is Dead And Living In New York — the lead character works for a children’s music company (Golden?) and they all sing the song for a recording. “Whatcha Doin” is the first of the groovy Harvey 45’s, which sound musically inspired by The Archies, The Lovin’ Spoonful and The Beatles.


casper-goldenLP

CASPER THE FRIENDLY GHOST
A Trip Through Ghostland in Story and Songs
Golden (later Wonderland) Records LP-113 (Mono / 12” LP / 1963 /
Executive Producer: Arthur Shimkin. Musical Direction: Jim Timmens. Writer: Feather Schwartz. Running Time: 34 minutes
CD Reissue: Drive Entertainment DG2-47113 (1998)
Available for Download on iTunes

Performers: Norma Macmillan (Casper, Wendy, Nightmare, Bubu, Ghostly Trio, Construction Ghost, Little Johnny Kids); Bradley Bolke (Spooky, Witches, Miss Scarem, Kids); Abbot Lutz, Anne Lloyd, Mike Stewart (Vocalists).
Songs: “Casper, The Friendly Ghost,” “A Trip to Ghostland,” “Nightmare’s Song,” “I’m Supposed to Be a Witch,” “What Good is a Good Witch?” “Spook Stew,” Bubu, The Boo-Tiful Ghost,” “The Ghost’s Lament,” “Happy-Go-Lucky Ghost,” “Ghost Lesson,” “Old Man Jones,” Ghostly Birthday,” “We Took a Trip to Ghostland” by Feather Schwartz.

What a pleasure it is to hear 34 minutes of Norma Macmillan and Bradley Bolke on vinyl! They did so much in the ‘60s and ‘70s, but precious little was for audio. Golden music director Jim Timmens used a slightly different style for this album: instead of woodwinds and vibes, it sounds like a trio with bass, percussion and electric organ
Writer Feather Schwartz had no problem making early ‘60s references for Casper as he guides us through Ghostland (BTW, “Us” are also played by Macmillan and Bolke). There are three references to keeping ghostly sheets bleachy-clean, even to the point of Bubu the movie star ghost mentioning “Chlorinol,” a Proctor and Gamble ingredient in Comet Cleanser. When Casper guides “us” through their version of Hollywood, “we” ask if “we” are going to see Elizabeth Taylor or Sandra Dee.

From Mark Arnold’s 1999 review of the CD reissue:

From my review of the CD release in 1999: Of all the Casper kids albums released in the 1960s and 1970s, this one is the best. Originally issued on Golden Records in 1963, this album features the actual voices actors (Norma MacMillan and Bradley Bolke) who performed on THE NEW CASPER CARTOON SHOW in 1963.

The CD features an extra treat with the addition of the “Casper, the Friendly Ghost” theme by Mitch Miller and the Sandpipers that was previously released as a single on Golden Records [your humble blogger was responsible for that addition]. Other Casper releases were originally on Peter Pan Records and not as good, and at present are not scheduled to be released to CD anytime soon. Later Casper albums were solely music albums, usually a soundtrack to a feature film.

GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
“Ghostly Birthday / Ghostly Birthday”

This selection features the greatest number of Harvey/Famous characters on the album. Plus you also get to hear the “canned crowd,” one of three references to bleach, TV’s white tornado and “Witch Miller.” Two songs, “Old MacDonald,” “Happy Birthday,” and “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean.” The other singer heard in addition to Macmillan and Bolke is Golden Records regular Abbot Lutz.

10 Comments

  • “Harvey had no master sound elements, so all the music had to be pulled off the film prints they had. I compiled all the music and themes I could think of. “

    Listening to them, I can tell where the edit was made between the Harvey Films’ titles and the original source occurs right in the soundtrack (the sound gets a bit clearer and less hissy in the middle sections)!

  • I hadn’t thought of that strange inclusion of “Skiddle Diddle Dee” in SHEILA LEVINE in many years! When I saw the movie back in the day, I thought it very curious… until I realized that SHEILA was a Paramount feature, and Paramount’s Famous Music still owned the rights to the song.

  • Anyone got a clip of the SHEILA LEVINE scene?

  • I don’t see any references in your article to Winston Sharples, the composer responsible for most of the musical soundtracks of the (Famous Studios) Harveytoon short subjects… Any reason why?

    • No, just an oversight. He belongs in the first review area. Good catch!

  • Bradley Bolke was also the voice of Chumley (Tennessee Tuxedo’s pal the walrus) in Tennessee Tuxedo (produced in the local NY Total TV, so it makes sense.).

  • Was the song “Whatcha Doin’ On the Moon” reffering to the “Casper on the Moon” mini-comic series (to coincide with our country landing on the moon) that was happening at the time?

    • That’s likely, Nic. Maybe the record was packaged with that very comic.

  • I have that Casper LP and two others. It is indeed a great record.

  • Although I appreciate the credit, I am not one of the producers of “The Harvey Comics Collectibles Box Set”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *