Golden Records First (and Last) Cartoon Music Compilation – Four decades of animation, as interpreted by the venerable Golden childrens record label, were combined into just one eclectic album in the early seventies.
Music & Stories from Original Hit T.V. and Movie Cartoons
Wonderland-Golden Records LP-285 (12 33 1/3 RPM / Mono)
Released in 1972. Compilation Producer: Ralph Stein. Running Time: 31 minutes.
Voices: Gilbert Mack (Bugs Bunny, Sylvester, Henery Hawk, Pepe LePew, Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd, Foghorn Leghorn, Tweety, Daffy Duck, Yosemite Sam, Blabbermouse, Super Snooper, Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Pixie, Mr. Jinks); Paul Frees (Announcer, Boris Badenov); June Foray (Rocky, Natasha, Red Riding Hood, Grandma); Bill Scott (Bullwinkle, Wolf); Edward Everett Horton (Fractured Fairy Tales Narrator); Alan Reed (Fred Flintstone): Mel Blanc (Barney Rubble); Jean Vander Pyl (Wilma Flintstone); Bea Benederet (Betty Rubble); Grace Stafford (Woody Woodpecker); Jack Mercer (Popeye); Frank Milano (Ranger Smith, Yogi Bear, Boo-Boo, Major Minor, Snagglepuss).
Cartoons & Songs:
Merrily We Roll Along by Eddie Cantor, Charlie Tobias, Murray Mencher;
Rocky, the Flying Squirrel / Bullwinkle / Boris & Natasha / Fractured Fairy Tales:
I Was Born to Be Airborne, Im Rockys Pal, The No-Goodnik Song, Fractured Fairy Tales by Paul Parnes:
Meet the Flintstones by Hoyt Curtin, Bill Hanna, Joe Barbera;
The Woody Woodpecker Song by George Tibbles, Ramey Idriss; Cartoon Showtime by Walter Greene, Judy Zahler;
Im Popeye the Sailor Man by Sammy Lerner.
Yogi Bear and Boo-Boo
Before Yogi, Cutie of the Cave Set by Paul Parnes;
Im King of the Jungle by Paul Parnes;
Blabbermouse by Fay Winter, Bill Hanna, Joe Barbera;
Huckleberry Hound by Hoyt Curtin, Bill Hanna, Joe Barbera.
Finding this album can be confusing because the title is inconsistent. The front cover says: Music and Stories from Original Hit T.V. and Movie Cartoons, and the vinyl label calls it Cartoon Favorites (as it was listed in the Wonderland-Golden catalog) with the subtitle The Original Hits from the T.V. and Movies. Most of the songs are also not given their actual titles on the cover or on the label, but are mostly identified by the characters themselves.
The cover art, presumably art directed by producer Ralph Stein (who performed such duties on numerous Golden discs), is a paste-up of art elements from various albums of long ago. Identifying each is not unlike finding the pictures in an issue of Highlights magazine.
Although Golden Records (which was renamed Wonderland-Golden and later just Wonderland after Western Publishing retained the rights to the Golden name) released several LPs, EPs and singles in which songs from previous Hanna-Barbera, Lantz, Jay Ward and Warner Bros. characters (plus Popeye) were recombined, this is the only album in which characters from all these studios appeared on the same long-playing disc. It was also the last. By 1972, the childrens record business was still shrinking, Disney and Sesame Street were the frontrunners and Peter Pan was gaining on Golden and would soon outlast its rival.
Cartoon Favorites is relatively heavy on Hanna-Barbera and Jay Ward and is about 60% authentic in the voice department. It opens with side one and two of the sprightly Merrily We Roll Along released as a Little Golden Record and as a track on the Bugs Bunny Songfest album, which we explored here. It features frequent Golden artist Gil Mack doing all of Mel Blancs voices with musical accompaniment that, while uncredited, may have been the work of Dennis Farnon, whose fine arrangements grace the bulk of side one in the generous selections from the superb Rocky and His Friends LP, which we discussed here.
Rocky and His Friends is one of Goldens all-time best animation records, clearly made with the hands-on participation of the Ward studio. These excerpts offer the towering talents of June Foray, Paul Frees and Bill Scott in several songs as well as the soundtrack of Ridinghoods Anonymous from Fractured Fairy Tales. In 1972, when hope for finding the Rocky and His Friends album was next zero in those pre-eBay days, this album was practically beamed down from Heaven.
It would have been nice to have more than just Meet the Flintstones with Alan Reed, Jean Vander Pyl, Mel Blanc and Bea Benederetmaybe Split Level Cave? But again, it was a treasure to have even that much of the Songs of the Flintstones album if the original was out of reach. Golden had long since discontinued their Hanna-Barbera records.
They had not, however, discontinued their Woody Woodpecker song album, which was reviewed here. It was still in the catalog at the time of the release of Cartoon Favorites, both on LP and 45 rpm EP. So was the excellent Popeye the Sailorman and His Friends (see this previous Spin), upon which you could also enjoy I’m Popeye the Sailor Man by Jack Mercer, though the performance itself appeared as a Little Golden Record before the LPs.
The rest of the album is taken up with selections from Frank Milano and Gil Mack Hanna-Barbera covers from Golden’s Quick Draw McGraw and Huckleberry Hound and Songs of Yogi Bear albums. The decision of what to include and what to omit may have been based on the cartoons that were commonly circulated on TV during the early 70s, which would explain why properties like Magilla Gorilla might not have made the cut.
It might have been interesting, though, to include Push Button Blues from The Jetsons, since it was still very popular, or to dig back into their Total TeleVision songs, which we looked at in this Spin. Wonderland Records stayed away from animation from that point on, except for a brief association with Mister Magoo three years later (we covered the TV show album here).