ANIMATION SPIN
May 19, 2020 posted by Greg Ehrbar

Classic Cartoon Greeting Card Records by Buzza-Cardozo

Before e-cards, cardboard records festooned with favorite animated characters and laminated with specially produced voice and music recordings sent magical messages.

HI, THERE!
Bugs Bunny, Road Runner & Wile E Coyote
#50R9038
HAPPY BIRTHDAY
Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck & Elmer Fudd
#50B9030
I LOVE YOU
Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd
#50R9039
Record Cards by Buzza-Cardozo (Columbia Record Productions) 6” 33 1/3 RPM

Released ca. 1964. Voices: Mel Blanc, Hal Smith. Average Running Time: 2 minutes.

Flexi-discs and paper records were nothing new in the early sixties. People were delighted to find a thin record “tipped into” a magazine to advertise a set of records, or a paper record as a giveaway in a retail store. Kids found them inside and outside cereal boxes. They were inexpensive, easy to ship and did their simple tasks.

Pretty soon today’s greeting cards will be able to contain digital video. But there was a time when receiving a real record pressed into a laminated cartoon greeting card was downright magical. They could be tricky to play, however. On an automatic record changer, the spindle was stationary so the record had trouble spinning. If it was creased it skipped forever.

When it played, the character were talking to you—“you, the person getting thin card!” Hoping you were getting well, wishing you a happy birthday, sending love or just saying hello. With the “real voices,” as we used to say as kids.

The Looney Tunes cards featured Mel Blanc as everyone except Elmer Fudd. Hal Smith (Otis on The Andy Griffith Show as well as a veteran of numerous Hanna-Barbera series and Disney records) performs Elmer as was his assignment at the time. Blanc even “meep-meeps” for the Road Runner, even though that honor really belongs to master animation artist Paul Julian.

Unlike the Chipmunk and Disney cards below, these do not have any music, but are snappy little productions nonetheless, featuring the “nicer” TV host Bugs and one with a somewhat competitive Daffy. There were also two other cards in the series: another “Happy Birthday” with Bugs and Elmer and a “Get Well” from Bugs.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY
50B9033 (Yellow Cover)
BECAUSE I LOVE YOU
50R9040
HAPPY BIRTHDAY
50B9032 (Orange Cover)
IT SURE IS ROUGH BEING SICK
50C9044
WELL, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ANYHOW
50B9031
David Seville and the Chipmunks
Record Cards by Buzza-Cardozo (Columbia Record Productions) 6” 33 1/3 RPM

Released in 1964. Voices: Ross Bagdasarian. Average Running Time: 2 minutes.

Clyde Crashcup does not appear on the records, but he is quoted by Alvin on the first one on the list, so he is here in spirit, as is the style of the original Alvin Show. To give his Chipmunks an instrumental backing for “Happy Birthday,” Ross Bagdasarian repurposed the track from “Good Morning To You” from their first album, Let’s All Sing with the Chipmunks (which is detailed in this Animation Spin).


“Because I Love You” contains an a capella piece that sounds like a very Bagdasarian-like song that was simply not set to an accompaniment but has the same unique Chipmunk charm. There’s a touch of gentle cynicism on “It Sure is Rough Being Sick,” which shows Alvin taking full advantage of being home. Dave actually clicks his tongue in disdain in case “you who are getting this card” is faking illness to get out of going to school!


HAPPY BIRTHDAY
Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck & Pluto
50B9022
HAPPY BIRTHDAY
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
50B9023
HAPPY BIRTHDAY
Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck, Pluto & The Mouseketeers
50B9025

Record Cards by Buzza-Cardozo (Columbia Record Productions) 6” 33 1/3 RPM

Released ca. 1964. Voices: Jimmy MacDonald (Mickey Mouse, Doc, Happy, Grumpy, Sneezy, Sleepy); Clarence Nash (Donald Duck); Pinto Colvig (Goofy, Pluto); Ginny Tyler (Snow White, Dopey, Minnie Mouse); The Mellomen, Mouseketeer Chorus. Average Running Time: 2 minutes.

The first “Happy Birthday” record card depicts the Bugs/Daffy-like rivalry between Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse that is occasionally touched upon in the postwar era, primarily through Donald’s appearance in the Mickey Mouse Club theme, shouting “Donald Duck!” during the refrain. Unlike Bugs, who remains fairly cool throughout Daffy’s rants, Mickey can get a little defensive, as he does here, and also when he mutters “Now there’s a real ham. And to think I helped him to get his start!” on the biographical album, Mickey Mouse: This is My Life, which is examined in this Animation Spin.

The “Mickey Mouse March” that is heard (in part) on the third record card listed here is from the LP, Musical Highlights from the Mickey Mouse Club TV Show, the first album on the Official Mickey Mouse Club label. Clarence Nash adds his “Donald Duck” shouts for this recording.

It’s also worth noting that Snow White mentions that the birthday message is coming from Disneyland. That was a very important overall message that Walt Disney wanted in the public mindset from the time he first introduced the park on the first installment of his anthology TV series.

Everything was to be perceived as originating from Disneyland, hence the weekly “lands” that each week’s show represented at the beginning. Even Disneyland Records got the name for the same overall reason. It was synergy before the phrase became a buzza-word.

Buzza-Cardozo Cards originated in Minneapolis in 1909 by George Earl Buzza. Business partner Ralph Nunus Cardozo’s name was added when the company moved to Hollywood in the thirties. The Gibson greeting card company purchased Buzza-Cardozo in the early fifties. (More about the early company (with vintage artwork) here.

Gibson has an interesting history with Disney in that it had a Disneyland retail location located on Main Street, U.S.A. from opening day in 1955 until 1959, then Hallmark moved in. In 1984, the Walt Disney Company announced the purchase of Gibson but there was a scuffle about the finances. By 1985, the purchase was off but a deal was struck allowing for Gibson cards with Disney characters—and bringing their cards back to the theme parks.

Disney records historian Bill D. Morgan provides a complete list of the Disney/Buzza-Cardozo greeting card records on his excellent website here.

GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
“Soaky, The Fun Bath Send Greetings From The Chipmunks”

Soaky was a popular line of liquid bath soaps packaged in plastic bottles with cartoon character shapes. They are still prized collectibles today. This card was a promotional point of purchase item. David Seville takes up plenty of groove space by dutifully reading advertising copy. Bagdasarian’s Christmas song, “Wonderful Day” is sung with new lyrics for this record. The song appears on the album Christmas with the Chipmunks, Volume 2, which is covered on this Spin.

The back cover of the card says, “American Telecard, Inc. are the only manufacturers of a complete line of talking cards”, so this is just one of many. Their claim to be the “only” manufacturers may connect their company to the other Buzza-Cardozo products, if only through the fact that Columbia produced them.

7 Comments

  • One thing I really like about these is the artwork . The Warner and Chipmunk characters are very “on model” and very expressive. The Disney artwork is just a bit “abstract” but still very nice. Thanks for this post.

    dja

    • Thank you. I love the art too! The Disney art harkens back to the Mickey Mouse Club “modern” era used in advertising and some comics. Maybe Bill Justice or Roy Williams?

  • Thank you so much for putting these up. I talk about the Chipmunks ones in my book, and was planning to upload them. I’m glad you did.

    • Thanks, Mark. My Soaky record is bent so it doesn’t play (but the art makes it worth keeping). Fortunately, someone else posted that one!

  • Well, that’s a new one on me. I had no idea there were ever such things as greeting cards you could play on your phonograph. How much did they retail for, back in the day?

    I do remember those flimsy little records that came with magazines. When I was in first grade, my teacher played a record from National Geographic for my class, and afterwards she gave it to me because, she said, I was the only one who had been paying attention. On the way home from school a kid knocked me down and took the record. That kid grew up to be a police detective in Washington DC; about 20 years ago he got busted for felony extortion in an FBI sting operation and wound up in federal prison. True story! I know this has nothing to do with cartoons, but I can’t resist sharing it (as I did with everyone I knew from my home town when I found out about it), because it makes me as happy as a personal birthday greeting from the Chipmunks!

    • How well I can relate! One can only speculate on the fates of those who took glee in the merciless torture of we who so vulnerably expressed our enthusiasm for the prevailing uncool stuff of any era. Sometimes they are frustrated by the fact that we have something that brings us joy.

    • I love this story.

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