If there’s one thing that the Walt Disney concern learned during the 1930’s, it’s that there was oodles of boodle to be made from the “foreign” market.
This went not only for the cartoons themselves–which played everywhere (with the possible exception of the Soviet Union), but also the songs, and records of the songs, from the cartoons.
When RCA Victor sent the metal “mothers” of the dubbings from the soundtrack of Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs to Electrical and Musical Industries in Hayes, Middlesex, they figured that the British firm–which marketed “His Master’s Voice”, among other labels–would get some use out of the discs. Turns out they were not wrong on that account.
As recounted in an earlier Post in this Series, HMV had issued home-grown dubbings from the soundtracks of “Mickey Mouse” and “Silly Symphonies” cartoons, and had gotten good, steady sales out of them. These records bore special yellow labels (above) which subordinated the usual picture of Nipper listening to “His Master’s Voice” to shots of Mickey Mouse and friends.
The same three couplings that were issued here on Victor, came out on yellow-label HMV discs. And, again, Nipper’s picture was subordinated–this time to a shot of Sow White sanding surrounded by the various and sundry Dwarfs.
These records sold steadily in the United Kingdom, and one might presume that they also sold well in Ireland as well. We’ve no way of knowing yet–but it would not surprise this observer if the discs sold well in Australia, New Zealand, and in various British colonies in Africa and India.
As in the United States, the songs from “Snow White” were widely disseminated, through the media of broadcasts and of gramophone records, as well.
By this time, the British record industry was the virtual duopoly that it would remain until the 1950’s. You had the aforementioned EMI lables (HMV, Columbia, Parlophone and Regal-Zonophone), and you had Decca (Decca, Brunswick, and Rex). Most record companies recorded individual selections from the score of “Snow White”–primarily with local orchestras.
Curiously, the orchestras that got the “Snow White” songs were–by and large–not the top-flight bands. (One exception was that two of the songs were cut by Carroll Gibbons and his Savoy Hotel Orpheans, which had one of the most tony residencies in London.
Another band that got a couple of the tunes was the theater band of Billy Cotton.
Still others were studio groups, directed by Philip Green (Parlophone) or George Scott-Wood (Columbia).
There were also records of types that were and are not widely known in the United States. Several labels had “selection” records, on which an orchestra and its various singers would sing choruses of the score of a given move or show. These were not necessarily played in dance tempo.
There were also a couple of recordings of “strict-tempo’ versions of songs from the “Snow White” score. These were records that wee aimed at the 1930’s version of the “strictly come dancing” crowd–played at strict tempo for keen dancers, and not featuring vocal refrains.
It would not surprise me if the “cimena organ” specialists also got their mitts into the “Snow White’ score–probably on medleys of selections from the score.
Next: Snow White – Polyglot Princess