Hanna-Barbera produced quite a few oddball vinyl records in the ‘60s, but look at this one-of-a-kind wonder—it has Disney songs and HB characters all in one!
FRED FLINTSTONE AND BARNEY RUBBLE in
SONGS FROM MARY POPPINS
Presented by Hanna-Barbera
Hanna-Barbera Records / Cartoon Series HLP- (12” Vinyl 33 rpm / Mono / 1965)
Executive Producers: William Hanna, Joseph Barbera. Writer/Director: Charles Shows. Song Arrangers: Al Capps, Stan Farber. Background Music: Hoyt Curtin. Underscore and Sound Effects Editor: Milton Krear. Mastering: Joe Leahy, Dave Diller. Engineer: Richard Olson. Art Direction: Harvard Pennington. Cover Art: Jerry Eisenberg, Paul Julian. Hand Lettering: Robert Schaefer. Running Time: 32 minutes.
Voices: Henry Corden (Fred Flintstone); Daws Butler (Barney Rubble, Opening Narrator, Policeman, Ed Sullivan); Danny Hutton, Rebecca Page, Ron Hicklin, Al Capps (The Hanna-Barbera Singers).
Songs: “Bedrock Rock (The Flintstones),” “A Spoonful of Sugar,” “A Jolly Holiday,” “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” “Chim Chim Cheree” by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman.
Cheers to the absolute incongruity of this record album! It’s a testimony to just how huge a hit Mary Poppins was, as a movie and a musical score—so much so that even HBR would do an album of songs—but how could they reconcile the two disparate properties?
One has to give Charles Shows credit for cobbling together a story that incorporates the Disney songs without actually making Fred and Barney part of the Disney universe. How? By having the story result from the Flintstones and the Rubbles seeing Mary Poppins “in real life” at their neighborhood drive-in (no doubt the same one that showed “The Monster” and served giant, car-toppling ribs).
Fred talks Barney into quitting the rock pile with him (did they both work there in the 1960’s episodes? I seem to recall that not being the case until the ‘70s). Fred yells his resignation to the “boss,” not identified as Mr. Slate, for some reason.
In a rare moment of HBR public service, Fred is dismayed to find that most jobs require degrees, saying, “Boy, you can’t get very far these days without an education.” Fred does what dozens of characters on sitcoms have done: he decides to become a songwriter. Barney buys a kerosene guitar (also referenced on HBR’s Pixie and Dixie Cinderella album). Fred proceeds to “strum” up four songs, but forgets that he had already heard them at the drive-in. The one with the ribs.
To prevent Fred from getting into a “My Sweet Lord”/”He’s So Fine” lawsuit, Barney keeps running home to get Mary Poppins records. When he plays them for Fred, he does it in a non-confrontational manner, so as to avoid getting Fred any more steamed than necessary (it’s so much fun getting this “deep” into favorite characters!) The “Hanna-Barbera” studio singers, as featured on other HBR albums, are “heard” on Barney’s records.
Barney is correct when he says, “This record’s been out a long time already.” When Mary Poppins was first released, there weren’t that many cover versions of the songs (Ray Conniff’s Columbia LP was among the first). By 1965, when this HBR album was made, the score was a full-fledged smash. Many artists and labels released their own renditions.
Most likely for budget reasons, we hear Henry Corden in place of Alan Reed as Fred, and Daws Butler instead of Mel Blanc as Barney. Unlike some of HBR’s voice stand-ins, Corden and Butler actually voiced them in various instances. Corden sang for most of Reed’s songs and replaced Reed when he passed away. Butler filled in for Blanc for a handful of Flintstone episodes after Blanc’s auto accident.
Corden did a very different Fred than Reed, more blustery and Gleason-like; Butler’s Barney sound like Yogi Bear on the surface (both had roots in Art Carney’s Ed Norton), but his Barney has less guile and more joviality that his Yogi (at least at the time, since Yogi got nicer over the ensuing decades). And of course, Yogi and Barney have different laughs.
Though repetitious, the script is pretty good. The only lapse in taste comes after Fred sings his first “creation” and a policeman visits—because the neighbors thought he was beating his wife! That wasn’t funny even back then, before political correctness, especially for a children’s record. Shows might have come up with something else to compare with Fred’s singing.
Pebbles appears on the cover but is not heard on this record. As mentioned in earlier Animation Spins, it’s usually due to the disconnect between creation of the recordings and the printed materials (and the rapid production pace). Pebbles does have an indirect presence on the album, though, as Julie Andrews’ song sections are sung by Rebecca Page, who also sang for Pebbles with a slightly sped-up voice. As to the cover art itself, Jerry Eisenberg, Paul Julian and Robert Schaefer created nothing less than a breathtaking masterpiece.
A few other notes: the words “twine and twig” are reversed in “A Spoonful of Sugar;” Corden mispronounces “SupercaliFRAGilistic” as “SupercaliFLAGistic” twice (maybe it was misspelled in the script); Fred sings “It’s a jolly holiday with Wilma” but of course, Ron Hicklin sings it as “With Mary;” and also in “Jolly Holiday,” the “raspberry ice” verse is included, which seldom—if ever—appeared on records back then, even on the Disney vinyl soundtrack.
GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
“Fred is Finally Convinced”
This conclusion sequence exemplifies the overall format of this album, with Fred realizing beyond a doubt that he has been “writing” existing songs. I can’t get enough of Butler’s Ed Sullivan and particularly enjoy the amusing way Corden says, “I’ve had a rough day.”
Walt Disney Pictures’ SAVING MR. BANKS
2-Disc Deluxe Edition Soundtrack
Walt Disney Records D001931102 (Compact Discs or Download / Stereo / December 10, 2013)
Executive Producer: Mitchell Leib. Producers: Thomas Newman, Bill Bernstein. Conductor: Thomas Newman. Music Consultant: Richard M. Sherman. Music Supervisor: Matt Sullivan. Recorded and Mixed By: Tommy Vicar. Orchestra Recorded by: Armen Steiner. Running Time: 47 minutes.
Instrumentals: “Travers Goff,” “Walking Bus,” “Uncle Albert,” “Jollification,” “The Mouse,” Leisurely Stroll,” “Mr. Disney,” “Celtic Soul,” “A Foul Fowl,” “Mrs. P.L. Travers,” Laying Eggs,” “Worn to Tissue,” “Whiskey,” “Impertinent Man,” “To My Mother,” “Westerly Weather,” “Spit Spot!” “Beverly Hills Hotel,” “Penguins,” “Pears,” Maypole,” “Forgiveness,” “The Magic Kingdom,” “Ginty My Love,” “Saving Mr. Banks (End Title)” by Thomas Newman; “Chim Chim Cheree (East Wind),” by Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman.
Dialogue/Singing Excerpts: “Chim Chim Cheree (Responstable);” “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious;” “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman. Featuring: Colin Farrell, Bradley Whitford, Jason Schwartzman, B.J. Novak, Emma Thompson, Melanie Lawson.
Archive Music: “One Mint Julep” (Rudolph Toombs) Performed by Ray Charles; “Heigh-Ho” (Larry Morey / Frank Churchill) Performed by The Dave Brubeck Quartet
Restoration and Compilation Producer: Randy Thornton. Restoration and Mastering: Jeff Sheridan. Music and Lyrics: Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman. Mary Poppins Soundtrack Arranger/Conductor: Irwin Kostal. Running Time: 24 minutes.
Performers: Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman, Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, Karen Dotrice, Matthew Garber, David Tomlinson.
Mary Poppins Pre-Demo Recordings: “The Pearly Song (Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious),” “Chim Chim Cheree,” “Tuppence a Bag (Feed the Birds),” “Let’s Go Fly a Kite.”
Mary Poppins Soundtrack Songs: “A Spoonful of Sugar,” “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” “Chim Chim Cheree,” “Feed the Birds (Tuppence a Bag),” “Let’s Go Fly a Kite.”
Coming up with a score for a contemporary feature film that takes place over 50 years ago—with continuous shifts between drama and whimsy, the near past and the long past—must have been daunting. But Thomas Newman (whose many Oscar nominated scores include Finding Nemo, Skyfall, WALL-E and The Shawshank Redemption) rose to the task.
To give an idea of the variety heard throughout the Saving Mr. Banks score—also Oscar-nominated—there are suggestions of the sophisticated jazz of Mad Men without the darkness, a mystical Celtic quality, some Vince Guaraldi and even a little accordion that harkens back to when “Feed the Birds” was heard at a crucial moment in Mary Poppins as Mr. Banks looked at the tuppence his children had given him.
This deluxe CD package includes the score of the first disc, with short dialogue highlights. The second disc comes from “protector of the wondrous golden Disney audio stuff,” Randy Thornton at Walt Disney Records. It’s a collection of Sherman demos and key songs from the film. You may have some of this material already, but it’s nice to have it all in this package.
GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
Mary Poppins Radio Spot – Original Release
This isn’t on the Saving Mr. Banks soundtrack (every fan should have that or plan to get it anyway). For a special treat, here’s one of several radio spots for the original Mary Poppins theatrical release. This spot is wonderfully silly – it’s obvious that frequent Disney announcer (and Lost in Space Robot voice) Dick Tufeld is nowhere near the real movie set and that he’s also playing the assistant director.