ANIMATION SPIN
October 31, 2017 posted by Greg Ehrbar

Walt Disney’s “Trick or Treat” with June Foray on Records

Cartoon Research’s celebration of the Halloween short starring Donald Duck, his nephews and Witch Hazel continues with a look at its appearances on vinyl.

Walt Disney’s
 TRICK OR TREAT
RCA Victor Records Little Nipper Series VY-2000 2 10’ 78 RPM discs / WY-2000 (Single 7” 45 RPM Record / Mono)

Released in 1952. Producer: Steven R. Carlin. Writer: Ralph Wright. Music: Norman Leyden. Running Time: 8 minutes.

Voices: June Foray (Witch Hazel); Clarence Nash (Donald Duck). (Voices of Huey, Dewey and Louie are uncredited, but may include Sandy Fussell.)
Song: “Trick or Treat” by Mack David, Al Hoffman, Jerry Livingston.

Considering the countless records graced with the voice of June Foray (in addition to film and television classics), it may come as a surprise that she seldom acted as narrator (one exception was her own 1996 creation, “Tall and Small Tales”). Such a rare occurrence makes the original recorded adaptation of Trick or Treat very special indeed.

Foray tells the story as Witch Hazel, the character she voiced first for Disney in this cartoon. She later played the same role, with major changes in appearance (and lots of spinning bobby pins) in Warner Bros cartoons following Bea Benederet. The character’s name was not copyrighted because it was already a commonly-used household item, so there was no telling when a stray “Witch Hazel” can swoop into a given story– even though the source of the pun is becoming obscure.

GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
“Trick or Treat”Note that Huey, Dewey and Louie share fragments of each other’s sentences, as they do in the comics. Having in-studio writer Ralph Wright work on the adaptation surely made this possible, since it’s a tricky thing to do in audio. This may be the only recording in which Donald’s nephews speak in this authentic manner.

Walt Disney’s
 TRICK OR TREAT 
Stories and Songs of Halloween

Disneyland Records 1358 (12” 33 1/3 RPM / Stereo / Side One) 
(Side Two: The Haunted Mansion)

Released in 1975. Producer/Writer: Jimmy Johnson, from the Film Story by Ralph Wright. Running Time: 12 minutes.

Voices: Ginny Tyler (Narration Witch Hazel); June Foray (Soundtrack Witch Hazel); Clarence Nash (Donald Duck, Huey, Louie, Dewey); The Mellomen (Bill Lee, Thurl Ravenscroft, Bob Hamlin, Max Smith).
Song: “Trick or Treat” by Mack David, Al Hoffman, Jerry Livingston.

This album is notable for several historic reasons, chiefly among them that it is evidently the last original recording produced before Jimmy Johnson retired from his position of President of what is now the Disney Music Group in 1975.

Unlike the RCA version above, the Disneyland version use generous elements of the original 1952 cartoon soundtrack. For reasons that could only be guessed, June Foray was not cast as narrator. Ginny Tyler, who had a 15-year history with the label, was selected. Most likely it was her long working relationship with Disneyland Records that influenced the decision. It’s even possible that, since the cartoon did not credit June, Johnson and company didn’t know it was her (voice actors were only beginning to gain legendary status in the 1970’s).

However, Foray’s voice still can be heard on the record. Separate vocal, music and sound effects tracks must not have been available, so the record was edited as carefully as possible to create the impression of a fully scored production. Actually, the editor collected any snippets of music that stood alone and blended and/or faded it in with music that existed under the voices. Some Witch Hazel dialogue was re-recorded by Tyler and placed over Foray—with the exception of the square dance sequence.

The “Trick or Treat” song, while not a Disney standard, was performed on at least two other recordings, one by Karen Pendleton and Cubby O’Brien from the LP Holidays with the Mouseketeers (later titled Happy Birthday and Songs for Every Holiday). It was written by Al Hoffman, Jerry Livingston and Mack David, who also wrote “The Unbirthday Song” for Alice in Wonderland and all the songs for Cinderella (Livingston and David also wrote “This is It” for The Bugs Bunny Show).

“Trick or Treat” was sung by Anne Lloyd and the Sandpipers on Little Golden Records in 1952, along with Lloyd and Art Carney singing Lambert, the Sheepish Lion:

GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
“Trick or Treat”
Even though the 1952 cartoon was recorded in mono, an overall stereo ambience was created for the 1975 Disneyland Record, including a nice echo for the final Jack o’Lantern’s “Boo!”

9 Comments

  • One of my favorite shorts! The song was always a Halloween favorite of mine. It was published as sheet music for piano commercially, though it is incredibly rare to find. I remember finding the copyright on the song is actually 1948, which was interesting as the Short was so many years later. It all made sense when I found out the songwriters ACTUALLY wrote this song for The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow sequence of Ichabod And Mr. Toad! It was originally titled Tricker Treat, and written around May 1948 while the songwriters were hard at work on Cinderella. It was later replaced during production with The Headless Horseman song (another bouncy jazz number).

    In the late 40s and early 50s in particular, I believe Halloween novelty tunes were at their peak and permeated much of the seasonal pop culture. There are some GREAT radio programs of that era.

    Thanks for sharing this!!

    • Did not know that! Even though the song is on the records In the post, it might have been nice if there was a novelty pop version recorded, like Monster Mash, so it could have received more play outside of the film. There are several versions of Headless Horseman, including a good one by Kay Starr.

  • I’m wondering if the ones Trick or Treat albums that had the free Witch Hazel masks are still in pristine condition with the mask intact in the album or if those masks are missing from the albums?

    • Disney sold a lot of records. It’s very possible to find a copy in new condition online. It might take a while, but you’d be surprised how many there are out there.

    • Mine is in nearly-new condition, but I was very careful with the handling of this record, as it was one of my absolute favorites. The masks are still intact. So there is probably someone who might be willing to sell one that is in good condition.

  • It is true that there were Witch Hazel jokes and references in almost all the major studios’ cartoons, including “BOTTLES” from MGM’s HAPPY HARMONIES series. This is an interesting post, as always, Greg.

    • Yup and most recently on the Doc McStuffins episode Boo-Hoo To You! Witch Hazel was one of the Halloween decorations at the McStuffins household and on the Simpsons where Comic Book Guy Jeff Albertson was dating Principal Seymour Skinner’s mom Agnes where she told Jeff she’ll be right down after she apply some Witch Hazel on her.

    • Let’s not forget the WItch Hazel from Little Lulu’s stories, aunt to Little Itch.

  • Thanks for posting this!
    June Foray at her best.
    Not sure that is Clarence? Can’t imagine why it wouldn’t have been? Was he credited by name on the cover?
    I gotta find one of these…

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