ANIMATION SPIN
February 25, 2020 posted by Greg Ehrbar

Hi, Mouseketeers! It’s Disney Song Day on Animation Spin!

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.

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.

Jimmie Dodd and Darlene Gillespie

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.

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.

GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
“A Silly Song” – Mouseketeers Featuring Jimmie Dodd and Tommy Cole with Kevin Corcoran

Kevin Corcoran, a.k.a. “Moochie,” was not an “official” Mouseketeer as far as appearing in the show’s roll calls or musical numbers, but he gained popularity in the Mickey Mouse Club serials and appeared with the Mouseketeers in photos wearing a sweater with his name and a pair of ears. He provides the “ee-yays” for this version of “Silly Song,” in which Jimmie Dodd sings a verse not heard in the final version of Snow White.


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.

GIVE ANOTHER LITTLE LISTEN
“So This is Love” – Darlene Gillespie

Camarata’s background with the best singers in the history of entertainment enabled him to select exactly the right instrumentation and create the perfect arrangements for a great talent like Darlene, who makes this lovely tune even lovelier.

11 Comments

  • Always enjoy your columns, Greg, and always learn something new.

    Maybe I am just in a silly mood this morning but I noticed two things on the cover of SONG FEST. First, Peter Pan is taller than anyone else. As a young boy, he should be roughly the height of Alice not towering over Snow White. Second, Darlene’s face is higher than Jimmy Dodd and he is looking at her but she is looking straight at the audience. Obviously, the art wants to draw attention to her.

    It must have been frustrating for Darlene that she was a good actress and singer but that audiences fell in love with Annette who just had a real sweetness about her. Darlene always struck me as being a little “hard” as a personality.

    • I also noticed that cat Cinderella is petting. It’s not Lucifer – it looks more like a supporting player in a Chuck Jones cartoon!

    • Thanks, Jim, that’s quite a nice thing to say, especially from you. Your Peter Pan comment reminds me of your anecdote about Walt Disney standing on apple boxes when posing for photos next to the very tall Fess Parker.

    • There’s usually some sort of meaning and logic behind the way that artists pose their subjects. Like in the Garden of Eden panel of Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights, Adam is looking at God, Eve is looking away from God, and God is looking at YOU. I may be the first person to compare that painting to a Mickey Mouse Club album cover!

      Maybe my tastes are out of the mainstream, but I always preferred Darlene over Annette: better singer, better actress, and better-looking. Thanks for that lovely recording of “So This Is Love” (though I think Camarata went overboard with the corny up-beat harp glissandi).

    • Ha! Jim! You are alive! So nice to hear you weighing in.
      In this comment, one might draw a conclusion that you’re suggesting these animated movies are NOT real.
      :*)
      I’m with you. I love our friend, Greg’s, posts!

  • Yes, you notice right away the art design of the album is similar to Mary Poppins. Love that 1950s modern design!

  • Moochie WAS passed off as a Mouseketeer in their September 1957 sequence seen on “DISNEYLAND’S Fourth Anniversary Show”. There are some nice production photos- some in color- with Moochie “in uniform”, among the other Mouseketeers surrounding Walt.

  • The cat with Cinderella is obviously not Lucifer. He looks more like the cat in that WB cartoon about the feline & the mouse piano player.

  • I just saw that Google has posted an illustration of Alice and the Cheshire Cat on its home page in honour of Sir John Tenniel’s 200th birthday (it’s already the 28th in my time zone). Happy birthday, Sir John — and a very merry un-birthday to the rest of us!

  • Westward Ho-the first movie I saw in a theatre. Distinctly remember the scene where the chuck wagon cook(Jeff York?) was setting himself up for a date by putting some wagon wheel grease in his hair to attract the ladies. Back then,a little dab’ll do ya. The film was in color,not only a big thing for a Disney live action feature,but a big thing for this five year old. TV was black & white. That wheel grease looked like motor oil in a rain puddle.
    Mom & I came in after the movie started-a common occurrence as long as Alfred Hitchcock or William Castle was involved.
    Before leaving the palace-a grand second-run that was just recently closed ,Mom took me upstairs to the restrooms. She asked me to wait outside,but seconds later I was in the ladies room. Why so many women were upset about a five year old boy waiting for his Mom-still remember that moment.

  • Very nice. I always thought Darlene Gillespie was underrated as a singer and almost felt kind of out of place amongst the other Mouseketeers.

    James Ingram covered “So This Is Love” in the 1990s with lyrics unheard in the movie CINDERELLA.

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