ANIMATION SPIN
May 26, 2015 posted by

Walt Disney’s Goofy – on the Record

The great goof’s birthday was yesterday, so it’s fitting that we celebrate it on the wrong date – and by checking out two of his kookiest record albums from the 1960’s.

GOOFYTV-SPEC-LP

Walt Disney Presents
GOOFY’S TV SPECTACULAR

Disneyland Records DQ-1252 (Mono & Stereo / 1997)

Released in 1964. Executive Producer: Jimmy Johnson. Producer: Camarata. Running Time: 24 minutes.
Voices: Pinto Colvig (Goofy); Paul Frees (Professor Ludwig Von Drake); Jimmy Macdonald (Mickey Mouse); The Wellingtons.
Songs: “Rutabaga Rag” (from A Symposium on Popular Songs) by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman; “Mouse Square Dance” by Tutti Camarata; “Happy Mouse” by Gil George, Paul J. Smith; “The Ballad of Davy Crockett” by Tom Blackburn, George Bruns; “Beautiful Dreamer” by Stephen Foster; “I Want a Girl Just Like the Girl (That Married Dear Old Dad)” by William Dillon, Harry Von Tilzer; “The Band Played On” by Charles B. Ward, John F. Palmer; “The Sidewalks of New York” by Charles B. Lawlor, James W. Blake; “Goofy Goes Dixieland” (Otherwise Untitled).
Spoken Segments: “Goofy and His Laughs”, “A Riddle”, “Goofy and His Crazy Clarinets”, “The Baby Mosquito”, “Goofy Commercials”.

When you’ve got a record company that has to keep its costs down, but still need new products to sell, it takes a lot of ingenuity to repackage and repurpose earlier material that’s been partially or completely paid for already. Goofy’s TV Spectacular (1964) is very clever in that respect. It holds up as an entertaining listen despite the fact that it’s largely a patchwork of elements from earlier Disneyland Records—with two notable exceptions.

The first exception is the presence of Pinto Colvig as Goofy. He did not record as many records for the Disney label as one might imagine (the “fab five” didn’t really start making a sizable dent in the catalog until over a decade later). This is one of the few albums from the Walt era in which he is heard throughout.

Back cover of the album. Click to enlarge.

Back cover of the album. Click to enlarge.

Back in the early days of TV, specials were called “spectaculars”, though they may seem rather quaint to today’s viewers. The premise of this album is that Goofy is hosting his own variety spectacular, introducing the performers and also taking the stage himself. There is a striking similarity between this album and Colvig’s Bozo the Clown records for Capitol, right down to similar phrases like “This is your ol’ pal”. Like Bozo, Goofy goes from one encounter to another—the difference being that Bozo interviews and interacts with the other characters and Goofy in 1964 can’t chat with Mickey from 1955 or Ludwig from 1962.

The first Guest is Ludwig Von Drake, singing “Rutabaga Rag” from the soundtrack of 1962’s A Symposium on Popular Songs. Next is the music track of “Mouse Square Dance” from the Country Cousin LP with Goofy replacing Sterling Holloway.

The previously released materials are sometimes shortened (“Happy Mouse”) or sped up (“The Ballad of Davy Crockett”). I have to wonder if Goofy’s Dixieland jazz “finale” is actually performed by The Firehouse Five Plus Two (the renowned jazz band made up of Disney creative artists). If so, this may be the only Disney album to include the ensemble, albeit anonymously (they were contracted to the “Good Time Jazz” label; many of their recordings are also available on CD).
Another supposition is that Pinto Colvig, gag man supreme that he was, worked on some of the script with Jimmy Johnson. Some of it is corny, but some is also quite funny, especially “Goofy Commercials” and “The Baby Mosquito” (both of which showed up again in 1972 on the LP, The Mouse Factory Presents Mickey and His Friends).

GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
Goofy Presents Ludwig Von Drake Singing “Rutabaga Rag”
This selection is the other exception on Goofy’s TV Spectacular—it is not a repurposed track from an earlier album. This is the song as it was heard in Symposium, with Paul Frees singing in character as Von Drake. On the 1965 Tinpanorama LP, the music track is the same but Frees sings it in an Al Jolson style.


Walt Disney Presents
CHILDREN’S RIDDLES AND GAME SONGS
With Goofy Leading the Fun and Laughter

Disneyland Records DQ-1272 (12” 33 1/3 RPM / Mono)

Released in 1964. Executive Producer: Jimmy Johnson. Producer: Camarata. Harpischordist: Amindav Aloni. Running Time: 29 minutes.
Voices: Pinto Colvig (Goofy); Bill Lee (Singing Voice of Goofy and Other Vocals).
Songs: “Laugh, Laugh, Laugh” by Tutti Camarata; “Knock, Knock, Who’s There” by Vincent Lopez, Johnny Morris, Jimmy Tyson, Bill Davies; “Join Into the Game” (Traditional); “The Riddle Song” (Traditional); “The Sycamore Tree” (Traditional); “The Instrument Song (Shusti Fiddli)” (Traditional).
Spoken Segments: “Jokes and Riddles”, “Limericks and Jokes”.

GoofysRiddlesLPUnlike Goofy’s TV Spectacular, which contains a large helping of previous material, the Children’s Riddles album is largely original, and aimed squarely at children (there are no gentle spoofs or wacky sound effects). However, it does begin with some of the same dialogue; Goofy talks about laughter, introduces his brother “Geefy” (?) and, later on side one, a child comments about Goofy’s billy goat riddle (“What goes around a-buttin?”) as if he heard it on the previous album.

Disneyland Records had a lot of success with albums in which an adult leads a group of children in songs, rhymes and games (Acting Out the ABC’s with Teri York, Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes with Sterling Holloway). The uncredited children swapping riddles with Goofy are both professional actors (Pamela Shannon of Disneyland’s 10 Songs from Mary Poppins LP) and relatives (Grey and Gennifer Johnson). The most intriguing person in the group sounds like either a teen or young adult; she asks Goofy about his insomnia).

The songs and games are very much like those heard on educational children’s records of the day—Ella Jenkins, Tom Glazer, Frank Luther, to name a few. These are songs many of us recall from recess and activity time in school and day care. Perhaps the reason this album was available for so many years is that it was suitable for teachers to play in the classroom. Disneyland Records shared materials with the Walt Disney Educational Media Company, so it stands to reason that these recordings found there way into other projects and releases.

When Bill Lee, a Disneyland Records favorite and major Hollywood “ghost singer”, sings as a “dad” on this album, that makes sense. But why does Bill Lee also sing for Goofy on the same record? My guess: Lee’s songs were recorded in a different session than Colvig’s dialogue. Even the children who are singing not necessarily the same children who are speaking.

Lee’s Goofy voice is very much like his Yogi Bear singing voice (as discussed here). Still, it seems like a Goofy thing to do.

GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
“Laugh, Laugh, Laugh / Jokes and Riddles”
Note the similarity between Goofy’s opening words and those on the TV Spectacular album. This segment was also used as a segment on the 1968 LP, Mickey Mouse and His Friends.


Editor’s Note: Greg Ehrbar and ye editor Jerry Beck will appear on Stu Shostack’s podcast – Stu’s Show – today Wednesday May 27th at 7pm Eastern / 4pm Pacific. The show is broadcast via the internet here FREE at the that time. It is available for download at 99¢ (ninety-nine cents) after that. Greg will be discussing music in classic theatrical and TV cartoons – something Greg is an expert on – Stu and I will be there to add additional comments. It should be a blast! Please tune in! – Jerry Beck

11 Comments

  • Thanks for the information. The “Spectacular” album was out of print by the time I was old enough to buy records, but one of my older records had a list of Disneyland albums that included this one–so I was tantalizingly intrigued but never got my chance to learn what was on the album.

    In the 70’s in addition to the “Mouse Factory” LP there were also three smaller records containing 4 tracks each–“Mickey Mouse and the Mouse Factory,” “Donald Duck and the Mouse Factory,” and “Goofy and the Mouse Factory.” All of them consisted of previously released material. Most of the songs on the “Mickey” record were also on the “Mouse Factory” LP. The “Donald” material was largely taken from the “Donald Duck and Friends” album but also included songs that had been on the larger LP. The “Goofy” record contained material that was “new” to me–instead of reprising the Goofy tracks that had been used on the “Mouse Factory” LP, it used other material taken from “Goofy’s TV Spectacular” including the introduction presented above–but stopping short of the Ludwig intro and the “Rutabaga Rag” song. I guessed at the time that the “Spectacular” album would have been the original source of these delightful tracks. It’s interesting to note that none of these “Mouse Factory” albums used any original material–nor was there any attempt to follow the format of the “Mouse Factory” TV series–not even including the speeded-up version of “Whistle While You Work” that was used as the theme song.

    Nobody could do the voice of Goofy as effectively as Pinto Colvig. Others who have attempted the voice would do it in a low register that suggested the character was really stupid–when the whole point of Goofy is not that he is stupid, but that he has his own brand of “intelligence” and his own brand of logic. Colvig’s Goofy sounds “bright” but a little “off,” which is the way the character should be portrayed. Bill Farmer wisely followed Colvig’s example in his vocal interpretation.

    If you can someday share the “Goofy Commercials” it will be a treat for those who have not had a chance to hear them–one of the few times that a Disneyland Records album went in for parody that is hysterically funny.

    The other album makes me imagine the costumed Goofy at Disneyland interacting with a group of kids. I had originally assumed that these were some of the Mouseketeers–but the date of the album shows that this was made long after the MMC had shut its doors. The “Jokes and Riddles” sequence is particularly enjoyable for its interaction between Goofy and his kid-audience. What kid wouldn’t want a chance to swap jokes with Goofy?

    • Nobody could do the voice of Goofy as effectively as Pinto Colvig. Others who have attempted the voice would do it in a low register that suggested the character was really stupid–when the whole point of Goofy is not that he is stupid, but that he has his own brand of “intelligence” and his own brand of logic.
      That could pretty much describe Gracie Allen’s character.

      Colvig’s Goofy sounds “bright” but a little “off,” which is the way the character should be portrayed. Bill Farmer wisely followed Colvig’s example in his vocal interpretation.
      Others who tried to do Goofy ended up sounding more like Mortimer Snerd. I liked Farmer’s interpretation (in “Goof Troop” and elsewhere), which comes closest to Colvig, and he even manages to nail the “Goofy Scream.”

  • I remember a song Goofy sung in the 1960’s called Kookaburra which is a popular children’s song from Australia. What I remembered most is that Goofy sung it Acapella or without a orchestra.

  • Greg — You are so incredibly knowledgeable about all these recordings that I’d like to ask you a question . . .

    Where would I have heard a song called “Goofy the Street Sweeper”? I seem to recall it was on a bright yellow little 78rpm record with a black label. My Dad would sing it to us at bedtime doing a pretty good imitation of Goofy!

    I’d love to hear it again . . but i’ve never seen the record on ebay. Maybe I have the title wrong?

    • Hello, Dave B.! I have just read the column–and your post–a few minutes ago. For more than 55 years, I have been collecting various genres of the 78 rpm records, including those that were authorized by Walt Disney on many labels, most of which were recorded and released before Walt started his own Disneyland and Buena Visa record labels! I was a child in the early 1950s, when the song you remember was produced. I had a lot of the Little Golden Records–including the Disney character series–but not that one. Still collecting those kid records many years later, I was able to obtain that very record–complete with the original picture cover with Disney studio artists’ artwork on the front of it! Here’s the scoop:

      First of all, this record was an “Extra Play” Golden Record (“PLAYING TIME EQUAL TO A 10″ RECORD,” bragged the front cover)! Regular Little Golden Records were about 6-1/2 inches in diameter and were the yellow color plastic. They sold at that time for 25 cents each. The Extra Play ones were a bit bigger (7 inches in diameter) with finer grooves for more playing time, and those cost 35 cents each. The Extra Play releases were black plastic instead of yellow, making “Golden Record” a REAL misnomer in those cases!

      Now for the details of the song that you remember: This disc had the “umbrella title,” WALT DISNEY’S SONGS OF THE CITY. It was called that because it featured the Disney characters engaged in various city occupations. That was a clever idea for a children’s record, but it turned out not to be one of the top sellers. Two songs were recorded for each side. The first side began with “Mickey Mouse, The Policeman,” followed by “Goofy, The Street Cleaner.” (You *almost* got the title right! :-)!) The flip side has “Donald Duck, Fire Chief” and “The Seven Dwarfs, Postmen.” I just went upstairs and pulled the record out of the Disney Golden Records box and bought it down here to give you all of this info. I also played it. Pinto Colvig IS the uncredited voice of Goofy on this disc. (There were a couple of Golden-produced records on which Goofy is done by an imitator.) BTW, Grumpy sings some of the lines in the Dwarfs’ song–and that’s Colvig again, recreating Grumpy’s voice just as he had done it in the SNOW WHITE movie! The songs themselves did not come from the Disney studio’s music department, although Walt surely must have given them the okay! The songs were composed by Alec Wilder and the lyrics were by Marshall Barer. Both men wrote this kind of special material for Little Golden Records on a regular basis during those years. The catalogue number of the record is SD 78–mistakenly printed in the upper left-hand corner of the front cover as SD 73! I know someone who might be able to locate a copy of the record for you–assuming that you can still play 78 rpm! :-D!

      P. S.: Other “Extra Play” issues were released, some being other Disney titles and others of different subjects. The Disney titles issued at about the sane time were, “Pecos Bill,” “The Reluctant Dragon,” “The World Owes Me a Living” (from THE GRASSHOPPER AND THE ANTS), and another character compilation disc with the “umbrella title,” WALT DISNEY’S LITTLE FRIENDS.

    • Walt —–
      Thank you so much for all the great info!! So I’ve been misremebering the title all these years . . substituting ‘sweeper’ for ‘cleaner’ — that’s probably why I’ve never seen it turn up on eBay in all my searching !
      Curious that you have that song on a black record, when I pretty clearly recall our copy being a yellow record. Could the same song have been released in two different formats?
      And now that you have rekindled my memory I DO remember that Seven Dwarfs song . . . but interestingly, not the Mickey or Donald songs. Possibly more evidence that what we had was a Little Golden Record and not an ‘Extra Play’?
      Thanks again for all the clarification and background info! I will be hunting anew armed with your info!
      —– Dave

    • “I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn” – Albert Mouse, “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

      These comments are amazing. Many thanks to all of you for taking the time to write them — I look forward to reading them every week?

    • Hi again, Dave B.!

      Just seeing your reply now! You might want to try to locate the record under the umbrella title, “Walt Disney’s Songs of the City.” If anyone has a copy available with the picture sleeve, they might list it that way (The disc itself contains only the four individual song titles on the labels.)

      I’ve never heard of this material being offered as two Little Golden Records, but I guess it’s possible. Let me grab the reference book discography of the 78 rpm children’s records, to see if it shows up there…

      Well, I nearly fell asleep trying to find it–no luck! But the author of the book is a good friend of mine! I’ll send him an e-mail and see if he knows of such an alternate issue. Very few of the Extra Play records were issued as Little Golden Records, although a few were. Extra Plays were also made as cube shaped cardboard box sets and 12-inch lp counterparts of the same material. The recollection of the record as being yellow with a black label does suggest a possible reissue as a regular Golden Record. To make the discs more cheaply, Golden abandoned paper labels on the yellow discs after 1955, going to ink-stamp labels beginning in 1956. The black ones, I believe, ran from 1957 until the end of the run. (What years do you remember the song from, approximately? The original Extra Play release came out either in 1953 or 1954–hard for me to call it closer than that!)

      If you wold like to get in touch with me, I am on Facebook and would welcome a FB PM from you! I am not set up to record, but I’d be willing to play the record over the phone for you, if you’d like to set that up. All for now! :-)!

      Walt

    • ….And thank you for the compliment, Greg!

      WM

  • I have the Goofy “Mouse Factory” little long playing record which included from the “Spectacular” LP the aforementioned “Goofy and his Laughs”, “Mouse Square Dance”, and “Goofy and his Crazy Clarinets” segments, with the Chip n’ Dale segment from Donald’s “Donald Duck and his Friends” LP

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