Celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Goof’s big screen epic with this look at two albums that bring out the “gawrsh” in so many of us.
Walt Disney Pictures Presents
A GOOFY MOVIE
An Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack
Walt Disney Records 60682-7 (CD / 1995) Reissue: 5099950772629 (CD / 2007)
Available for Download on iTunes
Executive Producer: Harold Kleiner. Score Producer: Carter Burwell. Additional Score Producer: Don Davis. Associate Score Producer: Bambi Moé. Orchestrator/Conductors: Shirley Walker, Don Davis. Additional Orchestrations: Lolita Ritmanis, Bruce Fowler. Vocal Contractor: Bobbi Page. Score Contractor: Reggie Wilson. Editors: Adam Smalley, Tom Carlson. Songs Recorded at Sunset Sound, The Bakery Studios, Ocean Way Recording, O’Henry Sound Studios, Paisley Park, Signet Sound Studios. Score Recorded at Todd-AO Scoring, Sony Pictures Studios. Running Time: 31 minutes.
Singing Voices: Bill Farmer (Goofy); Aaron Lohr (Max); Tevin Campbell (Powerline); Kevin Quinn (Lester); Wayne Allwine (Mickey Mouse). Studio Singers: Nathan Carlson, Gary Falcone, Scott Harlan, Linda Harmon, Nick Jameson, Rick Logan, Susan McBride, Bobbi Page, Carmen Twillie, Danice Axelson, Scottie Haskell, Reece Holland, Luana Jackman, Bob Joyce, Megan McGuire, Jonathan Redford, Chas Reisser, Josh Weiner, Jimmie Wood, Randy Crenshaw, Michael Lanning, Julia Waters Tillman, Luther Waters, Oren Waters, Maxine Waters-Willard.
Songs: “I 2 I”, “Stand Out” by Patrick DeRemer, Roy Freeland; “After Today”, “The Open Road”, “Nobody Else But You” by Tom Snow, Jack Feldman; “Lester’s Possum Park” by Randy Peterson, Kevin Quinn.
Score: “Opening Fanfare”, “Max’s Dream”, “Deep Sludge”, “Bigfoot”, “Hi Dad Soup”, “Runaway Car”, “Junction”, “The Waterfall”, “The Truth” by Carter Burwell, Don Davis.
Anyone who has an adolescent in his or her life knows how mortally embarrassed they can be at all times, especially by adults. The premise of this outstanding, moderately budgeted theatrical feature suggests the hellish concept that this embarrassing adult is your dad—and he’s The Goof himself.
That premise might serve well for a short subject or half-hour episode (and the film was an offshoot of the “Goof Troop” TV series), but it takes more to flesh it out to a full-length feature with no sign of padding. Under the freshman direction of Kevin Lima (“Enchanted”, “Tarzan”) and with a script by Jymn Magon, Chris Matheson and Brian Pimenthal, “A Goofy Movie” did it successfully, during an era in which several more lavishly mounted animated features were falling short of expectations.
This was the first animated feature in which a classic “fab five” Disney character carried the lead role from beginning to end. “There was a lot of trepidation as to whether Goofy could handle a full length film but I think we definitely proved that he could,” said voice artist Bill Farmer. While some critics didn’t gel with The Goof, the film got a “thumbs up” from Siskel and Ebert, five Annie Award nominations (including Best Animated Feature) and was successful enough to warrant a sequel.
A Goofy Movie is not a musical, but it features two elaborate musical sequences, two pop songs, a nice duet between Goofy and Max, and a loony song spoofing roadside attractions. Speaking of spoofery, the film is peppered with wry but gentle satirical barbs, many of which go by so fast they require repeated viewings.
That’s particularly true of the two big signature production numbers. Rich in gags, each is akin to similar set pieces in Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”, released four years earlier. “After Today” is like “Belle” as it opens the film and establishes lots of archetypal characters in a short period of time. The “Be Our Guest” equivalent is “On The Open Road” in which every driver and passenger on the highway—even Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse—gets a few minutes of screen time.
“The songs were actually recorded before anything else,” Bill Farmer recalled. “Aaron Lohr, who sang for Max, was a wonderful kid, and a good singer, so I was a little intimidated. Luckily Goofy doesn’t have to be a great singer, so they chose the right guy for that. We did both songs in a couple of hours. I went home and thought, did I just sing two songs that are going to be in a movie? It didn’t feel like it!”
The only thing that was never quite made clear was the reason Jason Marsden, who voices Max in the feature, was not asked to sing Max’s songs. “Later on, I found out that he can sing, and we were always a little upset that he didn’t get that chance,” said Bill. “But recently, when they celebrated the 20th Anniversary of ‘A Goofy Movie’ at the D23 Expo in Anaheim we were able to sing the song live and show the world that Jason definitely can sing, and sing well.”
“It was packed!” said Bill of the event. “It was like being The Beatles. We got a standing ovation. We had Tevin Campbell singing ‘I 2 I”, which he hadn’t sung in 20 years. We got a three-minute standing ovation after the show–and I was proud to find that we were the only panel among the ones at D23 that got a 100% from the attendees. We beat out the Star Wars panel and they had George Lucas and Harrison Ford!
“I feel very vindicated about how much people love this movie. It’s very heartwarming.
GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
“On the Open Road”
The “Be Our Guest”-like show stopper from “A Goofy Movie”, features Goofy, Max and appearances by Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, musical cowgirls, a honky tonk pianist, truck driver, a convict, a cat lady, honeymooners, firemen, police, a mafia hit victim, a corpse, tourists, flying acrobats and a quartet of singing nuns.
THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
Walt Disney Records 60617-2 (Stereo / CD)
Released in 1991. Executive Producer: Harold Kleiner. Producer: Robin Frederick. Vocal Arrangements: Bill Elliott Running Time: 38 minutes.
Voices: Wayne Allwine (Mickey Mouse); Russi Taylor (Minnie Mouse, Huey, Dewey, Louie); Bill Farmer (Goofy); Alan Young (Uncle Scrooge McDuck). Studio Singers: Mary Hylan, Angie Jarée, John Laird, Gary Jones, Aleta Braxton, Jess Harnell, Clydene Jackson Edward, Myrna Matthews, Raymond MacLeod. Recorded at Kingsound Studios, Score One Recording, Paramount Recording Studios. Art Direction: James DiMauro, Vince Peterson. Illustration: Jeff Schroeder, Greg Wray.
Songs: “Sleigh Ride Through the Snow” by Andy DiTaranto and Samuel J. Wisner; “Christmas Together” by Phil Baron; “Twelve Days of Christmas”, “O Christmas Tree” (Traditional, Lyrics by Robin Frederick); “A Gift of Love”, “Dear Santa” by Michael and Patty Silversher; “Snow Ho Ho Ho” by Robin Frederick; “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” by J. Fred Coots, Haven Gillespie; “Downtown Holiday Hullabaloo” by Roy Zimmerman, Melanie Harby; “I’d Like to Have an Elephant for Christmas” by Hank Thompson; “He Delivers” by Sandy Sherman; “Around the World Christmas” by Dave Kinnoin, Jimmy Hammer; “Here We Come A-Caroling”, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” (Traditional).
When I’ve asked Bill Farmer, Russi Taylor and Wayne Allwine to choose a Disney recording as their favorite, they each answered, without hesitation, The Twelve Days of Christmas. There are many fine Disney holiday recordings, but this one is extra special.
“We sang it together,” recalled Bill Farmer. So many character voices–be they for film, Theme Parks or records—are recorded separately. But this album came along during a particularly fertile period for Disney music and records, when circumstances allowed for a simple yet richly produced album–one that had no tie in with any larger initiative, except that it starred the core Disney stars. This unpretentious status afforded it freedom from the spotlight and the assortment of hands that help cook the broth when all eyes are on a project.
The esprit de corps was in high gear and it is audible from beginning to end. The album blends traditional songs with brand-new compositions, plus a few from previous Disney recording projects (like “Dear Santa,” a tune from a read-along; and “The Gift of Love”, a magnificent song originally written for Buena Vista’s “Rainbow Brite” album).
It also offers one of the cornerstone qualities that make a great children’s album: it’s eclectic. The songs don’t all sound alike; there are carols, dance and play-along tunes, big band music and rich choral pieces, all done in with an exuberance that never loses its robust energy.
Bill Farmer has a ball with Goofy’s solo, “I’d Like to Have an Elephant for Christmas”, a novelty number that may have marked the first time he employed Goofy’s warbling tremolo (something that even Pinto Colvig did not do). “That was one of the first times, or very early on when I started using it. It kind of developed and it seemed to catch on, to add a little bit of humor. It’s a staple now. We use it quite a bit.
“Making this album was just one of those rare times when everyone was into it, and had a great time with each other. It was more like play than work.”
GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
“A Gift of Love”
Patty and Michael Silversher, who have written a library of great Disney songs, from the theme to “Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears” to “Happy Happy Birthday to You”, wrote this for the aforementioned LP, “Rainbow Brite Christmas”. This is the remake for “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, with Mickey and the gang—even Uncle Scrooge–experiencing the joy of giving generously to others.
This is the original Rainbow Brite version: