This chapter of our story starts out in Merrie Olde England.
Capitol Records invaded the British record market in the earliest weeks of 1949–and was accepted by the British public, who tended to prefer American versions of American songs anyway.
Capitol’s English label, pressed up by the local Decca concern, featured a wide variety of music for the discerning ear. This included popular, jazz, country-western, rhythm-and-blues, polka, square-dance… And it included children’s records–a specialty of Capitol for several years already (more about these, see Greg Ehrbar’s post here).
Releases included such good-selling discs (in America, anyway) as “Sparky’s Magic Piano”, ‘Rusty in Orchestraville”, “Little Toot” (with radio’s Don Wilson), and “Bugs Bunny Meets Elmer Fudd” (with Mel Blanc and Arthur Q. Bryan).
Around October, 1950, English Capitol released a coupling that had not yet appeared in Capitol’s regular domestic catalog. The disc consisted of two songs inspired by Warner Bros. cartoon characters–“I Taut I Taw A Puddy Tat” and “I’m Glad That I’m Bugs Bunny”. This record appeared (on 78 rpm only) as Capitol CL.13407.
To what must have been the great surprise of all concerned, the record took off–and not just with the children’s-record audience.
Until fairly recently, UK record sales charts were not known before November, 1952. But someone has compiled charts going back to 1940. Whether these were actual chars of the time, or whether they were “ret-conned” is anybody’s guess. These are referred to by fans as ‘the missing charts”.
The ‘puddy tat” opus entered the “missing charts” on November 6th, 1950, at #11–a pretty high debut in a Top Thirty. The next week, the record was pegged at #5. The week after, the record began a four-week run at he top of the British charts.
What’s more, the disc had staying power–what the film industry calls ‘legs”… The disc stayed in the British charts until the end of March, 1951. Don’t think for one second that this activity wasn’t being noticed in the Hollywood head-office of Capitol Records here.
NEXT WEEK: The “Putty Tat” hits the charts in the USA