ANIMATION SPIN
December 2, 2014 posted by

Remembering Walt During His Birthday Week

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).

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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

Songs:
• “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.

cal-arts-brochureThis 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.

disney-alice-in-wonderlandSurely 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.

18 Comments

  • Thanks for that “Alice” cut. After hearing it on the soundtrack countless times over the decades, hearing it in stereo in Camarata’s authentic arrangement gave me goose bumps. I bopped right over to iTunes and bought the track.

  • Greg,
    has there ever been an ALICE LP soundtrack anywhere in the world? I have an Italian storyteller lp and book which is
    almost the whole film soundtrack-in Italian and a Pickwick album with 4 soundtrack songs very poorly recorded..

  • I lucked out some 20 years ago while in Japan and picked up a CD of Camarata’s “Alice” album in stereo. Rare thing back then, now I guess you can get it on iTunes. I always wondered why there was no original soundtrack album, but most of the songs are only done in snippets in the film as patter songs, except for “A World Of My Own” and “Very Good Advice.” I never cared for “Alice” as a movie much, but the score is terrific. Especially “March of the Cards,” which I swear I heard in a car commercial a few years back.

    • Andy — The soundtrack for “Alice” was licensed to Decca Records in 1951, but the film underperformed and Decca never released it as a record. Disney would have had to pay substantial fees to produce the soundtrack themselves back then, so Camarata created his own version — which many feel rivals the film itself — and that album was the one presented to the public from 1957 to the late ’80s. It was issued in Japan on CD as well.

      “Alice” the film was reissued in 1974 after 23 years out of theaters and only seen twice on TV and also available for 16mm rental. But the film really came into its own in the mid-80s when it appeared on VHS. Since then, it’s up there with the other Disney classics, with a little more edge that works better today than back then. Randy Thornton, who had been lobbying to do a proper soundtrack for many years, was able to produce it in the late ’90s, when the film had gained a well-deserved and enthusiastic audience.

    • Andy — you very well may have heard “March of the Cards” in a car commercial, but it was probably a local or regional one. Many times stations use records from their library for commercial backgrounds regardless of where it comes from. Many TV stations had sister AM and FM stations, offering them lots of records.

      I have heard “Aldonza” from Camarata’s “Man of LaMancha” album in a local car commercial, the go-go version of “How Lucky I Am” from the “Pufnstuf” soundtrack for a station promo and and even the last few notes of “Rescue Racer to the Rescue,” also from the “Pufnstuf” album, at the end of a nightly local news broadcast.

    • Thank you, Greg. I always thought it odd as a kid that the original “Alice” soundtracks were unused on the Disneyland “Magic Mirror” Alice album, unlike all the other titles in that series. However, I actually do prefer Camarata’s more lush orchestrations over the more “cartoony” OS. You are a font of knowledge and wisdom as always!

    • And I agree that the”Alice” movie has aged very well.

    • I;’m with you Andy on the movie aging welll!

  • Thanks for buying the track, Paul!

    John — the actual Alice soundtrack was released on CD for the very first time in 1998 thanks to our friend Randy Thornton at Walt Disney Records, who will certainly be given a special place in Heaven for finally making this happen. The soundtrack CD was reissued twice and is still obtainable on amazon (along with the download). The marvelous Camarata version is only available currently for download on iTunes.

  • Let me get this straight – I’m a little confused by the 1957 and 1958 dates in the final paragraph of Greg’s article. The full Camarata Alice that iTunes sells is in mono throughout – the stereo track I bought was from the Parent Trap album. In his comment, Andy says the Camarata album came out in stereo on CD in Japan about 20 years ago. So I’m wondering why the iTunes version is mono. Was the full album recorded in mono in 1957, but the title track remade in 1958 in stereo (those two dates in Greg’s article)? Or was the 1957 recording in stereo throughout but for some reason is not available in stereo today, either on CD or via download? If I had my druthers, that’s what I’d like to get. Thanks!

    • Paul — To my knowledge there was never a stereo version of the entire 1957 Camarata Alice album because Disney records were not stereo until 1958. The Alice music meant a great deal to Tutti, which likely prompted him to re-record it in 1958 in stereo for the album, “Walt Disney’s Music Cavalcade.” It was this version that ended up on side two of “The Parent Trap” album. That’s why you can only find the one song in stereo.

      If you listen to the mono and stereo versions of the title songs, you’ll notice that they are slightly different. The instrumentation is arranged for stereo first of all, so there are subtle differences, but what is obvious is near the end: the “I’m Late” melody comes in sooner in the stereo piece, and the trombones are more pronounced.

      Andy remembered finding the Japanese Alice release in stereo. Though I don’t know that the full album was ever stereo, I don’t like to make sweeping, definitive statements because we always discover new things in the world of records and Disney. However, the original mono version is soooooo well done, so beautifully performed and recorded, it sounds better in mono than hundreds of records do in stereo. Tutti was a master of acoustics and knew how to make sound as full as possible no matter what the format.

    • Thanks Greg. I’ve always liked Camarata (“Tutti’s Trumpets/ Trombones” – yum) so I’ll be getting the full Alice album, mono and all.

    • The Alice CD I have may very well be in Mono – it’s been a while since I listened to it, But if it is mono, it’s mighty fine mono.

  • Greg sent a track or two from the Alice album to me over the summer when he kindly assisted me with a piece for the WBGO Journal on Jimmy Johnson’s recently published autobiography. I didn’t get to use the haunting Alice material there sadly… but take a listen anyhow for some great insight from Greg and Grey Johnson:
    http://www.wbgo.org/journal/inside-the-whimsy-works

  • I treasured this record when it came out! I can still remember the joy of finding it in my local department store’s record department. Needless tom say, I still have it!! 🙂

  • WOw..We used top have this on 3-3/4 IPS (speed, inchjes per sec, counterpart to a RPM :)) at home..1967 seems later than I remember..thanks!

    • I forgot to add. to “3-3/4 inches”, “TAPE REEEL”.:-) (Like Disney’s former Britney would say, “OOPS I did it again!”)

  • And btw the version WE had had Hayley Mills doing solo on Castaway, regarding the “option” of that or ehr costar Maurice Chevair’s Enjoy it.:)

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