With Walt Disney’s birthday on Friday Dec. 5th, let’s celebrate this week with an album that paid tribute to both the past (Walt’s career) and the future (Walt’s hope – Cal Arts).
THE MUSIC OF WALT DISNEY
From Snow White to Mary Poppins
Buena Vista Records BV-2000 (12” 33 1/3 RPM LP / Mono)
Released in 1967. Producer: Jimmy Johnson, Tutti Camarata. Liner Notes: Jimmy Johnson. Mastered at Sunset Sound Recorders, Hollywood. Product and Service Providers: The Bert-Co Press, Modern Album Company of New Jersey, Modern Album Company of California, All-Disc Records, H.V. Waddell Company, Visual Production and Color Graphics. Running Time: 43 minutes.
Performers: Adriana Caselotti, Harry Stockwell, Cliff Edwards, James Baskett, Ilene Woods, Jimmy Macdonald, Mary Costa, Bob Grabeau, Burl Ives, Hayley Mills, Maurice Chevalier* Mary Martin, Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, B.J. Baker, The Disneyland Boys Choir (St. Charles Borromeo Boys Choir), The Jud Conlon Singers, Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra
• “I’m Wishing” and “Heigh-Ho” by Larry Morey and Frank Churchill, from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
• “When You Wish Upon a Star” by Ned Washington and Leigh Harline, from Pinocchio
• “Little April Shower” by Larry Morey and Frank Churchill, from Bambi
• “Chinese Dance” from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite as heard in Fantasia
• “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” by Allie Wrubel and Ray Gilbert, from Song of the South
• “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” and “The Work Song” by Al Hoffman, Mack David and Jerry Livingston, from Cinderella
• “Second Star to the Right” by Sammy Cahn and Sammy Fain, from Peter Pan
• “I Wonder” by Winston Hibler, Ted Sears and George Bruns, and “Once Upon a Dream Finale” by Jack Lawrence and Sammy Fain, from Sleeping Beauty
• “Alice in Wonderland” by Sammy Fain and Bob Hilliard
• “Bella Notte” by Peggy Lee and Sonny Burke, from Lady and the Tramp
• “On the Front Porch” by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, from Summer Magic
• “Lavender Blue (Dilly Dilly)” by Elliot Daniel and Larry Morey, from So Dear to My Heart
• “Castaway” or “Enjoy It” by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, from In Search of the Castaways*
• “Chim Chim Cheree” by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, from Mary Poppins
• “Winnie the Pooh” by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, from Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree
• “it’s a small world” by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, from the Disneyland/World’s Fair Attraction
*Pressings of this album contain either “Castaway” sung by Hayley Mills, or “Enjoy It” sung by Hayley Mills and Maurice Chevalier.
This album did more than pay mere lip service to Walt Disney’s memory; it functioned as both a financial booster and promotional piece for the California Institute of the Arts. Everything was provided at cost, including the products and services listed in the above credits and that of the record company, with the profits going to CalArts.
Walt is quoted on the back cover: “The California Institute of the Arts is the principal thing that I hope to leave when I move on to greener pastures. If I can provide a place to develop talent for the future, I think I will have accomplished something.”
As a kid, I didn’t know what any of that meant, but I did know Walt Disney had passed on and this album was one of my best 1967 birthday presents. What didn’t make sense was that some music came from soundtracks and some did not. Over the years, it became clear that this album was as much The Music of Walt Disney’s Record Labels as it was The Music of Walt Disney.
Everything on side two comes from film soundtracks, just as they had been presented on Disneyland Records in the ‘50s and ‘60s (with some edits to allow space on the disc). Side Two offers only two soundtracks, with the remaining selections all from the coffers of Disneyland and Buena Vista Records. The reason was that some soundtracks, like Alice in Wonderland, had either not been licensed domestically for phonograph records or were tied up in contracts with outside record companies.
Surely every key player connected with Disney music at the time had some input into the track selections. Camarata’s Alice in Wonderland LP version had special meaning to Tutti and Jimmy; “On the Front Porch” was a personal favorite of Robert Sherman; Walt himself discovered Hayley Mills; and of course, “Chim Chim Cheree” had won an Oscar for Best Song.
The cover says “From Snow White to Mary Poppins” even though it goes beyond the 1964 film with 1966’s Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree and 1964’s it’s a small world. The phrase refers to features, and these songs represent a short subject and park attraction. (It still seemed odd to me as a kid.) Disneyland Records’ 1958 compilation, Walt Disney’s Music Cavalcade, used the phrase “From Snow White to Sleeping Beauty” and that album truly reflected it.
Music is such a vital part of the Disney experience; this musical remembrance of Walt Disney is especially fitting and appropriate. The music division could have just released it as a regular album without offering profits to CalArts, but the very act of making it a “pro bono” project, and encouraging outside vendors to do the same, demonstrates a very sincere reverence and admiration from all involved.
Who knows? Maybe the profits from this album paid for some animation desks, extra copies of Bob Thomas’ The Art of Animation, or other such materials used in days gone by some of the CalArts students who have brought us their own animation artistry in the years since.
GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
Camarata’s “Alice in Wonderland” in Full Stereo
While 1951’s Alice was not one of Walt’s favorites as a film, it’s eclectic and memorable score transcended the film in the 23 years it was out of general release. The 1957 studio version—by the Camarata Chorus and Orchestra with Darlene Gillespie—was a personal favorite within the record company. The Music of Walt Disney album features a mono track of the 1958 line-by-line remake of the title song, even though it was recorded in stereo for the Walt Disney’s Music Cavalcade LP set, then featured on Side Two of The Parent Trap album.