The touching voice of Darlene Gillespie, the sincerity of Jimmie Dodd and the charm of the Mouseketeers with musical direction by Camarata combine for genuine Disney magic.
A WALT DISNEY SONG FEST
Official Mickey Mouse Club Records (Disneyland) MM-20, (12” 33 1/3 RPM / Mono)
Reissue: Disneyland Records DQ-1213, Walt Disney’s Most Beloved Songs (June 1960)
Originally Released in February 1958. Executive Producer: Jimmy Johnson. Musical Directors: Tutti Camarata, Buddy Baker. Running Time: 39 minutes.
Performers: Darlene Gillespie, Jimmie Dodd and the Mouseketeers (including Tommy Cole, Karen Pendleton, Cubby O’Brien, Doreen Tracey and Sharon Baird), Gloria Wood, David Stollery, Henry Calvin, Jerome Courtland, Camarata Chorus and Orchestra.
The Official Mickey Mouse Club LP albums were essentially compilations of material concurrently released on single 45 and 78 RPM singles and extended play records. The earliest Mickey Mouse Club songs appeared on Little Golden Records, but by the time this album was released, Disneyland Records had begun operation and everything was handled in-house by Jimmy Johnson, Tutti Camarata and their staff.
Films and Songs:
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: “With a Smile and a Song,” “Whistle While You Work,” “Silly Song,” “I’m Wishing” by Larry Morey, Frank Churchill.
Alice in Wonderland: “The Walrus and the Carpenter,” “All in the Golden Afternoon,” “Very Good Advice,” “In a World of My Own” by Bob Hilliard, Sammy Fain.
Cinderella: “Cinderella,” “So This is Love” by Mack David, Al Hoffman, Jerry Livingston.
Peter Pan: “You Can Fly! You Can Fly! You Can Fly!” “Your Mother and Mine” by Sammy Cahn, Sammy Fain; “Following the Leader” by Winston Hibler, Ted Sears, Oliver Wallace; “Never Smile at a Crocodile” by Jack Lawrence, Frank Churchill.
Old Yeller: “Old Yeller” by Oliver Wallace, Gil (Hazel) George.
Westward Ho the Wagons: “I’m Lonely, My Darlin’” by Fess Parker and George Bruns; “Pioneer’s Prayer” by Paul Smith, Gil (Hazel) George.
Most of the songs were recorded in sets of four so that they could be combined on one 45 RPM EP. This was done with the Peter Pan songs, one of which is the lyric version of “Never Smile at a Crocodile,” sung by Henry Calvin, then very well known as Sgt. Garcia of Walt Disney’s hit series Zorro (and a perennial holiday favorite as Gonzorgo in 1961’s Babes in Toyland).
Two of the selections are from Westward Ho the Wagons, Disney’s live-action western starring Fess Parker, Patricia Crowley and George Reeves, with Mouseketeers Doreen Tracey, Tommy Cole, Karen Pendleton and Cubby O’Brien making their big-screen debuts. Westward Ho was also the first live-action soundtrack album produced and released by Disneyland Records.
On this particular album, the two songs from Westward Ho the Wagons, “I’m Lonely, My Darlin’” and “Pioneer’s Prayer” performed by Jimmie Dodd are actually soundtrack recordings from an episode of the Mickey Mouse Club TV show, one of several episodes promoting the film.
Buddy Baker was the musical director of the Mickey Mouse Club and those two songs capture the distinct sound of his arrangements. Most of the album, though, bears the creative imprint of Tutti Camarata, providing some of the earliest musical direction in his Disney career. It is no coincidence that four of the songs were lifted from his masterful 1957 recording of Walt Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, which is the greatest record ever made according to this Animation Spin.
Darlene Gillespie’s Alice solos are all included on the Song Fest LP, along with her performance of “So This is Love” and “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes,” which opens the album. Darlene was being groomed to be the breakout Mouseketeer and this was one of the albums making an outstanding case for her success. (Note how much the pose of Jimmie and Darlene resembles the iconic Mary Poppins poster and album rendering of Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke.)
The Mickey Mouse Club’s initial run ended in 1959 and the Official Mickey Mouse Club record label was discontinued. Disneyland Records began repackaging Mickey Mouse albums and songs, either completely or in part to de-emphasize the TV series and present them as general interest children’s records.
This album became Walt Disney’s Most Beloved Songs from His Great Motion Pictures with no changes to the vinyl contents. The same was done with another album we examined on Animation Spin, Holidays with the Mouseketeers, which was reissued as Happy Birthday and Songs for Every Holiday.
FOUR SONGS FROM WALT DISNEY’S CINDERELLA
Jimmie Dodd and Darlene Gillespie
Official Mickey Mouse Club Records (Disneyland) DBR-70, (7” 45 RPM / Mono)
Released in 1966. Executive Producer: Jimmy Johnson. Musical Director: Tutti Camarata. Running Time: 7 minutes.
Either there was not enough room for all four Cinderella songs on A Walt Disney Song Fest, or two of them were bumped for the Westward Ho the Wagons tunes (a film score that was a priority to Disneyland Records President Jimmy Johnson), the only way to hear Jimmie Dodd’s “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo” “Cinderella,” was on this Official Mickey Mouse Club EP. In a way, it is an extension of A Walt Disney Song Fest (and would make very nice bonus material for another reissue someday).
Songs: “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo,” “Cinderella,” “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes,” “So This is Love” by Mack David, Al Hoffman, Jerry Livingston.