December 5, 2017 posted by Greg Ehrbar

Disneyland Records’ Holiday-Themed “Cinderella” Sequel

A little-known album picks up where the movie left off, weaving previous recordings from the Disneyland catalog into the mix, including a record conceived by Walt himself.

Walt Disney Presents

A Story with Music About Jaq and Gus-Gus
Based on the Walt Disney Motion Picture
Disneyland Records DQ-1274 (12” 33 1/3 RPM LP / Mono)

Released in June, 1965. Writer/Executive Producer: Jimmy Johnson. Producer: Camarata. Musical Direction: Camarata, Oliver Wallace. Running Time: 22 minutes.
Voices: Robie Lester (Narrator, Cinderella, Lucifer); Jimmy Macdonald (Jaq, Gus-Gus, Ludwig Mousensky); Sterling Holloway (Square Dance Caller).
Songs: “Mouse Square Dance” by Tutti Camarata; “Winter Wonderland” by Felix Bernard, Richard Smith; “Jingle Bells” by James Lord Pierpont.
Instrumental: “Cinderella Arrives at the Ball” (from the Cinderella soundtrack) by Oliver Wallace.

The more one experiences the recordings of a record labels, artists or genres, the more the wondrous connections are discovered. This was especially true in the world of children’s records, which were often burdened by low budgets, yet could still be inventive enough to remain fresh for years. In the 1960’s, even Disney records could not be as lavish in production details as they had been in previous decades. The reuse of earlier recorded materials was necessary. The trick was accomplishing it while sustaining value for the listener.

A fine example of this ingenuity is Further Adventures of Cinderella’s Mice. The 1950 animated hit was being reissued in 1965, getting the studio’s marketing and merchandising departments firing on all cylinders. Disneyland Records President Jimmy Johnson, with his vast experience in consumer products and publishing, was already prepared with the 1963 version of the Cinderella soundtrack, the 1960 storyteller, song singles, a few records by other artists (including the Mouseketeers) and book and record set in the new read-along series debuting that year.

Further Adventures offered the opportunity to tout an exclusive, brand-new story with the film’s most popular characters: Jaq and Gus-Gus, who are prominently pictured and credited on the front cover (and incorrectly listed as narrators on the back). While there is some new story material on the record, for the most part the whole disc is a device for repurposing previous recorded segments

After a few minutes recapping the basic Cinderella film story, Robie Lester moves immediately to Jimmy Johnson’s first connection to another Disneyland record. Who should come to the door but… Ludwig Mousekensky! Remember him? He led the All-Mouse Chorus and Orchestra on the 1957 EP, Walt Disney’s Christmas Concert. As the previous Spin story on the link explains in detail, this record was Walt Disney’s idea. It didn’t sell very well at first, but the three selections were used over and over again for over two decades in various Christmas collections. In the case of this Cinderella album, the songs have been made part of the story!

The mouse orchestra is welcomed into the palace by Princess Cinderella, who appoints Ludwig the “Official Court Conductor of the All-Mouse Symphony Choir and Square Dance Band.” Why “square dance band?” So Camarata’s “Mouse Square Dance” can picked up from the Sterling Holloway album, Country Cousin. This ends with the appearance of a cat, which for the purposes of this Cinderella-themed album, is said to be Lucifer.

The mice protest when Cinderella makes Lucifer promise to behave if he moves in. Trying to teach Lucifer about music, Ludwig ends up having to be rescued from a grand piano. Moving into a plotline borrowing from Aesop, Gus-Gus wants to put a bell on Lucifer so they’ll always know where he is—but not before Cinderella decides to weave another song from an early Disney record into the story. In the scene depicted on the album cover, the mice put on an ice show to the music of “Winter Wonderland,” played by the Mouse Orchestra.

The album ends with is the Mouse Orchestra and Chorus version of “Jingle Bells,” since the bells made Lucifer jingle all the time, making it “Christmas wherever he went.” To anyone listening who might be unaware of any previous recordings, the whole thing plays as a surprisingly cohesive whole, especially since Jimmy Macdonald is the voice behind all the mice.

“Putting a Bell on Lucifer”

Using the magic of listening, writer Johnson makes Gus-Gus’ trap for Lucifer into an elaborate Rube Goldberg-like contraption to lure him into wearing the bell. Included is a rehearsal for a “Castle Christmas Concert” (also taken from the Mouse Concert record) in which the mice tune up, but after the trumpeters’ introduction, but the carols are replaced by the jingle bell sound effect to tie the conclusion, and the music, all together.

1 Comment

  • There is a family resemblance between the mice of the Christmas Concert album and Cinderella’s mice, so they can be blended well together. They not only look similar, but they sound like the same mice; in fact, a couple of the mice on the original album sound like Jacques and Gus-Gus. It’s a clever pairing of two concepts.

    Disney must have had an affinity for the name Ludwig. Not only was there Ludwig Mousekensky for the Christmas album, but there was of course Ludwig Von Drake, the animated host of “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color.”

    This album is also highly unusual for having a Christmas theme that is not identified on the front or back cover as such. While clearly the combination of the Cinderella elements with the Christmas Concert elements works very well as a narrative, it might have been a little surprising for the child playing the record for the first time…especially if one were to find oneself listening to Christmas music in May or June!

    This is a rare and unusual album (of which I happen to own a recording). I appreciate the extra information about it. Thanks for the post!

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