Had a visitor been at the Walt Disney studios any time during the fall of 1949, or the subsequent winter, that visitor would have noticed the feeling of anticipation in the air.
Oh, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad was doing all right at the box office. But everybody was on pins and needles about the upcoming release–Cinderella.
Here was an animated feature that was not cobbled together from two or more disparate sources–the first such picture since Bambi in 1942. What’s more,it was based on a fairy tale–a beloved folk tale that had inspired everything from a Rossini opera to a popular comic strip of the 1920’s.
That had not been the case since Pinocchio back in 1940. And, of course, there were songs. After all, this was a Disney picture. There HAD to be songs!
Five songs wound up in the finished picture. Of the five, one was virtually ignored by Tin Pan Alley. Two others received decidedly short shrift. And two others were palpable hits–one of them reaching the Top Ten on charts that measured songs rather than recordings.
Nobody seems to have touched “Sing, Sweet Nightingale”–at least, nor for records aimed at the “take-home trade’.
Two others were handled only by RCA Victor–both for their storyteller album, and for a single featuring the girl who provided the singing voice for the title character.
RCA Victor was still trying to revive the Bluebird marque, which had served it so well as a budget-priced record between 1932 and 1945. Now, they were calling it the RCA Victor Bluebird Series, and issuing various records–some pressed in that new “miracle” material: vinylite.
Ilene Woods appeared on RCA Victor’s storyteller album, of course. But she also cut four of the songs for the RCA Victor Bluebird Series.
Two of the titles appeared on RCA Victor 30-0020,and on the newfangled 45 rpm discs introduced by RCA earlier in 1949, as 54-0015. Those were the dreamy waltz “So This Is Love”, and the uptempo piece “Cinderalla’s Work Song”. This record didn’t really go anywhere.
Miss Woods would record two other songs from the Cinderella score. These sold better, and one of them made the “Billboard” charts. But we will see next week that she had some stiff competition.