Here are two vintage LP collections of great songs to commemorate the birthday of Walt Disney’s original theme park in Anaheim, which has a birthday next Monday.
MUSIC FROM DISNEYLAND
Jack Pleis and His Orchestra and Chorus
Decca Records DL-8105 (12 33 1/3 RPM / Mono)
Released in 1955. Running Time: 35 minutes.
Songs: When You Wish Upon a Star from Pinocchio, by Ned Washington, Leigh Harline; Heigh-Ho Someday My Prince Will Come from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs by Larry Morey, Frank Churchill; Baia featured in The Three Caballeros; Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad Wolf? from Three Little Pigs by Frank Churchill, Ann Ronell; Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo, A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes from Cinderella by Al Hoffman, Mack David, Jerry Livingston; Melody Time from Melody Time; You Belong to My Heart from The Three Caballeros by Edmundo Santos, Augustin Lara; Love is a Song from Bambi by Eliot Daniel, Larry Morey; Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah from Song of the South by Allie Wrubel, Ray Gilbert.
A VISIT TO DISNEYLAND
Fred Waring and His Pennsylvanians
Decca Records DL-8221 (12 33 1/3 RPM / Mono)
Released in 1956. Running Time: 38 minutes.
Featuring: Dee Harless, Frank Davis, Keith & Sylvia Textor; Gordon Goodman; Joanne Wheatley, Glee Club.
Songs: The Ballad of Davy Crockett by Tom Blackburn, George Bruns; Heigh Ho, Whistle While You Work, One Song from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, by Larry Morey, Frank Churchill; When You Wish Upon A Star from Pinocchio, by Ned Washington, Leigh Harline; Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad Wolf? from Three Little Pigs, by Frank Churchill, Ann Ronell; Lavender Blue (Dilly Dilly) from So Dear to My Heart, by Eliot Daniel, Larry Morey; Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah from Song of the South, by Allie Wrubel, Ray Gilbert; A Whale of a Tale from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, by Norman Gimbel, Al Hoffman; Tico-Tico featured in Saludos Amigos, by Zequinha de Abreu, Aloysio de Oliveira, Ervin Drake; Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo from Cinderella, by Al Hoffman, Mack David, Jerry Livingston.
On the very first broadcast of his Disneyland anthology TV series in 1954, Walt Disney said, You’ll find that Disneyland the place and Disneyland the TV show are all part of the same. He was establishing Disneyland as the focal point for all of his entertainment, which could also be said for the eventual presence of the Mickey Mouse Club in the park and on TV, as well as the record company bearing the name. The idea, at least at the time, was for the public to consider Disneyland to be the source of Disney magic, since it was accessible to them and the studio in Burbank was not.
These two Decca record albums, which were also released in various single 45, 78 and 10-inch LPs, sustain this duality. Are the songs from the TV show or from the park, or does it matter? Jack Pleis Music from Disneyland was released in 1955, just before the TV show had really taken off, so it skews slightly earlier in the Disney timeline, from Three Little Pigs (1933) to Melody Time (1948) with no TV-related material, even though the cover suggests Sleeping Beauty Castle, Tinker Bell is prominent and the liner notes tie the album to the TV show.
Of the two conductors, Pleis is the less recognizable name as Fred Waring was a TV and radio personality as well as a musician. But Pleis enjoyed a long and successful career working with music legends like Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong and Sammy Davis, Jr. Coincidentally, he was mentored by Disney Legend Tutti Camarata, who became the musical and A&R director of Disneyland Records only months after this album was released.
Fred Warings television show often featured Disney songs. Perhaps the most beloved of these was his 1951 Alice in Wonderland tie-in show with Kathryn Beaumont, Sterling Holloway, Mary Blair sets and Walt himself. Waring was also an avid comic strip collector and was even the financial backer of the first electric blender (yes, it was named for him).
A Visit from Disneyland is also significant because it contains all 20 verses of The Ballad of Davy Crockett. The songs on this album cover a longer period than the Pleis LP, from Three Little Pigs (1933) to Lady and the Tramp (1955), even including A Whale of a Tale from 1954’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. What a difference a year made during a very busy decade for Disney!