NEEDLE DROP NOTES
December 10, 2017 posted by James Parten

Sing Me A Cartoon #22: Original Mousetracks

You would think that, by 1936, the folks at the Walt Disney studios would have every way figured to promote their product. Toys . . . newspaper comic strips . . . sheet music . . . records of songs from the shorts . . .

But somebody at the Gramophone Company, a branch of Electrical and Musical Industries, Limited, showed them another way yet. In that year, the Gramophone Company made a deal with Walt Disney-Mickey Mouse Limited (the firm that was seeing to Disney’s interests in the United Kingdom) to transfer soundtracks from the Disney short subjects onto disc masters, and press them up for home consumption.

Six ten-inch 78 rpm discs were issued on the “His Master’s Voice” label, drawn from the soundtracks of Disney shorts. What’s more, these masters were shipped over the Atlantic, and released to American and Canadian consumers, at bargain prices.

Six discs were issued in a new Bluebird “BK” series, aimed at the children–and at their mothers, who controlled the purse strings. Each disc was priced at thirty-five cents. If your pockets were too shallow for that price, the six discs were issued on Montgomery Ward records as well, and those were probably priced lower than their Bluebird counterparts.

The records were issued here with the standard “staff” label used by Bluebird between the late summer of 1937 and sometime in 1939. However, in Canada, they had a buff label, with a design entirely unique to this label.
Later Canadian pressings, however, have the typical label of an early-Forties Candian Bluebird issue.

The six releases that came out here and in Canada were as follows:

BK – 5: “Who Killed Cock Robin?” (two parts)
BK – 6: “Lullaby Land” (two parts)
BK – 7: “The Pied Piper” (two parts)
BK – 8: “Mickey’s Grand Opera”/”The Orphans’ Benefit”
BK – 9: “Mickey’s Moving Day”/”The Grasshopper And The Ants”
BK – 10: “Three Little Pigs”/”Three Little Wolves”

There were other sides recorded that were not issued here. In 1937, HMV released transfers of “Santa’s Workshop” and “The NIght Before Christmas” for the Holiday season. And, arund 1939, HMV released a two-part “Farmyard Symphony”.

All of the HMV issues have bright yellow labels showing Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Practical Pig dancing about.
And two of the couplings–the two-part “Lullaby Land” and the pairing of “MIckey’s Moving Day” and “The Grasshopper And The Ants”–were still in the HMV caaogue, as 78 records, as late as 1956.

The transfer of “Three Little Pigs” is early enough that it still has the Wolf’s masquerade as a Yiddish-dialect Fuller Brush Man–which was changed as early as 1947 on the film. And the closing of “The Grasshopper And The Ants” includes three notes in the ending fanfare that, for some reason, are edited out of the prints currently circulating. Go and figure!

Next week: Snow White. . . y los siete enanos.

 

3 Comments

  • Any chance you an post some excerpts of these records? The differences from later versions of the films are interesting.

  • One thing that can be added that when the set’s were issued in the USA both the mickey and Silly Symphonies set by Victor the were not issue din standard 78 albums but the three records were put in bags with nice art covers. Victor also add special record sleeves for each disc showing Mickey and Minnie on both sides.

    HS

  • It does lead me to wonder if the Gramophone Company’s Australian operations did a local version of these 78s.

    Might be worth an investigation.

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