July 30, 2017 posted by

Sing Me A Cartoon 4: Mickey Mouse Gets Married. . . on records, at least!

If you know your onions about Mickey Mouse, then you know that his main squeeze was one Minnie Mouse.

You also know that they were never formally married–nor did they ever live together. (Such activity would have been frowned upon at the time.)

The closest Mickey came to that solemn occasion was in a dream. . . which turned into Mickey’s Nightmare (1932)

That short turned out to be quite influential. The gang at Termite Terrace must have seen it–for its influence shows up not only in Tashlin’s Porky’s Romance (LT, 1937), but earlier in Freleng’s The Merry Old Soul (MM, 1935), in which Old King Cole regrets marrying the ‘Woman In The Shoe’.

Even the Fleischer crew down in Florida may well have seen the Disney short–perhaps before they even left New York. They turned it around just a tad–Olive Oyl had the dream of marital “bliss” with four kids all over the place–and produced Wimmin Is A Myskery (1940). And, fourteen years later, they remade that cartoon in Technicolor as Bride and Gloom.

But, in Denmark Street, the songwriters just wouldn’t be satisfied until the Parson had read the book over Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

“The Wedding Party of Mickey Mouse” was the first such song to come out. And it actually has a direct Disney connection.

The melodies of both the “verse” and the “chorus” are heard in the Mickey Mouse short The Mad Dog. These appear immediately after the credits (with their reiteration of “Minnie’s Yoo-Hoo”) have finished.

In the song, Mickey and Minnie are to be marred in the garret of an old farmhouse. The party is well underway when the Cat comes in. One of the other mice goes out, gets Rover, and Rover makes short work of the Cat, after which the party continues.

The piece is credited to Messrs. Coleman, Cavanaugh and Bagar. It’s still speculative here, but one wonders if the “Bagar” is Bob Bagar, a pianist who appears on several records by Art Gilham in 1926. (Gillham styled himself “The Whispering Pianist”–but often effaced his own talents, even referring to himself as “the world’s worst piano player.”) Bagar was one of several pianists who appear on Gilham’s recording dates, either to supplement or to supplant his efforts. Others include Columbia house-musician Edward King, comoser Abner Silver, ad two African-American pianists; Louis Hooper and Alex Hill.)

James Cavanaugh was a lyricist with a good long career in Tin Pan Alley. I don’t know if he wrote full sets of lyrics, or if he was more of a “lyric doctor”, helping other lyricists hone their work to a state of high craft.

“MIlt Coleman” is usually thought of as a pseudonym (used on low-priced labels like Harmony) for one Eddie Walers, who was one of those “ukulele troubadours” recording regularly for Columbia between 1929 and 1932. Some discography gives Coleman as the real name, and “Eddie Walters” as the nom de disque.

Even in Copenhagen , Mickey Mouse was popular–and a local composer felt that he should do the right thing and marry Minnie.

So, “Mikkel Mus Bryllupsmarch”–“Mickey Mouse’s Wedding March”–was published in Copenhagen in 1932.

A recording was made in Germany that year, with popular bandleader Paul Godwin cutting a side that appeared on Polyphon in Denmark. Vocalist Vigge Larsen sings it pretty stiffly, but no less so than it is played by the orchestra.

Godwin–real name, Pincus Goldfein–was one of the more prominent bandleaders in Germany–until Hitler came to power. Then, he joined the exodus of bandleaders, singers, musicians, composers,and artists of all kinds who left Berlin for reasons of–ahem!–health.

He didn’t pick his place of exile that well–he went to Amsterdam and settled there. He was sent to one of the Concentration Camps–but, somehow, he managed to survive the hostile hostel to which he was sent.

After World War II, he went back to Amsterdam, where he lived, and worked until his career ended.

Next week: more Mickey Mouse nuptials—and the inevitable aftermath.

(Thanks to David Gerstein – and to Will Friedwald for posting “The Wedding Party of Mickey Mouse” on You Tube for use in this post)


  • When, in big band parlance, did “Mickey Mouse” become a descriptor for the cornier sweet bands of the era? I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately in music-oriented publications from the late 1930s and 1940s and you encounter it over and over again. Sweet bands like those of Guy Lombardo, Sammy Kaye and Lawrence Welk, all described, in a derogatory way, as “Mickey Mouse” bands.

  • Many years later (1967) the British comedy band The Bonzo Dog Doodah Band sang a tune about the birth of Mickey’s Son and Daughter, which sounds like a follow-up of this song.

    • That one’s actually a cover of an old recording by Jack Payne (and maybe others) – I trust we’ll get to hear the story behind it here soon.

  • Hi James,
    What a treat hearing that recording of “The Wedding Party of Mickey Mouse”. I’ve always liked that tune, being very familiar with it’s use in “The Mad Dog”. I always thought the tune might have been titled, “Pluto’s Bath Time Song”, since it is closely synchronized to Mickey’s scrubbing actions at the start of the cartoon.
    Thanks, Mark

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