Hence Disney was able to push “Minnie’s Yoo-Hoo“, while Walter Lantz saw a sheet-music version of the “Lucky Rabbit” theme song to the “Oswald” cartoons. (This even considering the fact that neither Disney, Lanta, Columbia Pictures nor Universal Pictures had their own music publishing companies–at the time!)
On the other hand, when people who have no connection with the production or the distribution of cartoons write songs about a suddenly-popular character, it can be seen as either a cynical and mercenary attempt to cash in–or as a flattering compliment.
Such is the case with “Mickey Mouse (We All Love You So)“, a 1931 copyright whose composer credits are, as yet, unknown to me.
Only one recording of this tune is known to me at this time–a version cut for the same “dime-store” labels that unwittingly provided soundtrack material for some of Max Fleischer’s cartoons. Click this sound file embed to hear:
Directing the session–which was recorded May 8, 1931–was Wallace Theodore “Ed” Kirkeby. Kirkeby had been leading and managing dance-bands for ten or more years, and was most closely associated with the California Ramblers, one of the hottest dance bands of the 1920’s. Through the personnels of these orchestras had passed such luminaries as Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Red Nichols, and the amazing Adrian Rollini.
Musical styles had gotten “sweeter” even before the Stock Market took a tumble in 1929, and Kirkeby’s groups often went along with that trend. But he still got a number of recording dates, and the records came out on a wide variety of labels, with a wide variety of pseudonyms.
This recording, along with its flip side (which we will meet in a future post in this series), is known to exist on the Perfect, Banner and Romeo labels. It may well exist on Oriole, and on one of the last issues to appear under the Regal label. (It is not known to have appeared on Conqueror, the label made for Sears, Roebuck and Company.)
Brought in to sing the “vocal refrains” that were considered essential was a singer whom we have met before–Billy Murray. He is joined in the choruses of the song by two or three of the band members–one of whom might well be Ed Kirkeby himself.
The lyric, like those of so many of these early “Mickey Mouse” songs, describes Mickey as being “tricky”. It’s an obvious rhyme, but it does fit. There is also some hot alto sax played by Bobby Davis, while Ward Lay slaps his bass fiddle for all it’s worth when Davis is reciting.
Tin Pan Alley continued to praise Disney’s ever-popular rodent. What? No Mickey Mouse? (What Kind Of A Party Is This?) was a 1932 copyright, and it confirmed the appeal of Mickey Mouse to all audiences.
Like Mickey Mouse (We All Love You So), this song was not widely recorded. But it was recorded commercially by a veteran bandleader and “all the lads” under his baton.
We will meet Ben Bernie in a future post at this site. Suffice it to say that he was one of the personalities oft the day. But he backed up the personality with solid musicianship, both personally and from his musicians. In Dick Stabile, he had a sax player considered by his peers as one of the finest of his age.
Ben Bernie takes the “vocal” by his lonesome–and while he does not actually sing (he wound rarely hit a note on the button, preferring to talk-sing his vocals, leaving the serious singing to others), he does put the song’s lyric over, assisted by some sound effects and some unison singing by those of his musicians who could carry a tune with their voices, rather than just their instruments.
The lyric refers to Mickey Mouse as “. . . that tricky, wacky-wicky, Bolseviki Mickey Mouse“. I don’t know if Disney would have approved of that description of Mickey Mouse–especially considering Disney’s testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947 (after a lot had happened to Walt and his business). Mickey always struck this observer as rather apolitical.
At least one other performance of this song is known–a vocal quartet rendition which appeared on a transcribed radio program in 1934.
Next Week: Mickey Gets Married. . . on records!