May 14, 2019 posted by Greg Ehrbar

Spin Special: Doris’ Day at Disneyland

In tribute to superstar Doris Day who passed away yesterday, let’s look at her classic children’s album featuring Disney tunes (some sung with rarely-heard opening verses).

Doris Day and the Jimmy Joyce Singers
Columbia Records CS-9066 (Stereo) CL-2266 (Mono) (12” 33 1/3 RPM LP)
CD Reissue (with You’ll Never Walk Alone, Collectors Choice 2008)
LP Reissue (edited): retitled “Doris Day Sings Do-Re-Mi,” Harmony Records (Columbia HS-14559, 1967)
Available on itunes

Released in 1964. Producer: Allen Stanton. Arranger/Conductor: Allyn Ferguson. Cover Photo: William Claxton. Running Time: 31 minutes.

Songs: “Give a Little Whistle” (from Pinocchio) by Ned Washington, Leigh Harline); “The Children’s Marching Song (Nick Nack Paddy Whack)” (featured in The Inn of the Sixth Happiness) adapted from the folk song by Malcolm Arnold; “Getting to Know You” (from The King & I), “Do-Re-Mi” (from The Sound of Music) by Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II; Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” (from Song of the South) by Allie Wrubel, Ray Gilbert; “The Lilac Tree (Perspicacity)” by George A. Gartlan; “High Hopes” (from A Hole in the Head) by Sammy Cahn, Jimmy Van Heusen; “Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)” (from The Man Who Knew Too Much) by Jay Livingston, Ray Evans; “Inchworm” (from Hans Christian Andersen) by Frank Loesser; “Swinging On a Star” (from Going My Way) by Sonny Burke, Jimmy Van Heusen; “Sleepy Baby” by Jane Murfin, Paul Francis Webster, Martin Broones; “With a Smile and a Song” (from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs) by Frank Churchill, Larry Morey.

When an “A”-list superstar like Doris Day records an album for children–during an age of full stereophonic frequency on vinyl discs recorded at their highest and warmest fidelity, performed and arranged in a style combining elegant sophistication with playful cheer–the results are not only going to be superb, they’re going to have lasting power.

Columbia’s original With a Smile and a Song was reissued many, many times around the world, either in its 1964 twelve-track form or a truncated 1967 edition on the Harmony budget label under the title “Doris Day Sings Do-Re-Mi” (with two songs omitted: “The Lilac Tree” and surprisingly, “With a Smile and a Song”).

One of the niceties of this album are introductory verses included on the Disney songs that were not heard in their respective films. Sometimes these words only appeared in sheet music or occasional cover versions (non-soundtrack recordings by various artists). It’s fun to quiz friends by playing the lesser-known verses that precede the tunes and having them guess the ubiquitous song that follows.

The Doris Day album opens with one such example:

“Give yourself a cross examination / Are you just about to make a big mistake / Well here’s a way to save the situation / So learn it now for Heaven’s sake, give yourself a better break…”

This is lead-in verse for “Give a Little Whistle.” Day also sings the opening to “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah,” which had been incorporated into script dialogue (“This is just the kind of day that you dream about / When you open up your mouth, a song pops out…”). And for the LP’s title song, this is the opening: “Don’t let little worries grieve you if you wear a smile / You’ll discover that they’ll leave you in a little while / Don’t let little clouds upset you, start right in to sing / Don’t let little showers fret you, they don’t mean a thing…” (Mary Martin also provides several wonderful rarely-heard opening verses on her must-hear album, Hi-Ho: Mary Sings and Mary Swings Walt Disney Favorites.)

The Jimmy Joyce Singers, heard a year later augmenting the child actors on the soundtrack of The Sound of Music, accompany Doris Day on this LP. Also in 1965, these young people would be singing along with The Chipmunks on one of their finest albums, The Chipmunks Sing with Children (please see this Spin).

Coincidentally, both the Doris Day and Chipmunks discs feature The Jimmy Joyce Singers backing up Day’s signature song, the Oscar-winning “Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)” from the Hitchcock thriller The Man Who Knew Too Much. About a decade later, they would also accompany Sesame Street star Bob McGrath for his Disneyland solo LP. After Jimmy’s passing, wife Betty Joyce would continue working with Disneyland Records producer Jymn Magon on such LP classics as Goin’ Quackers!, Merry Christmas Carols and the Children’s Favorites series. His son Bob Joyce recently appeared on the Mary Poppins Legacy Collection CD set in the “Lost Chords” song, “The Chimpanzoo,” as well as several Disney Parks recordings.

DreamWorks Animation used a cut from Doris Day’s With a Smile and a Song album for the feature Antz. Here is “Swinging On a Star” “High Hopes” (a tune well-known to fans of Laverne and Shirley as those of Frank Sinatra) played over the end titles:

(NOTE: When seeking this album on CD, be aware that a two-disc set that is also entitled “With a Smile and a Song” was released by TCM. It’s a wonderful 2012 compilation of Doris Day movie and pop songs. Aside from the title song, it does not include the 1964 Columbia album material, which was reissued on CD by Collectors Choice in 2008 as part of a combo with Day’s You’ll Never Walk Alone album).

Additionally, as our colleague James Parten noted here, this album did not mark the first time that Doris Day recorded songs from the Disney catalog, as she sang “Very Good Advice” from Alice in Wonderland in 1951. Sony released this, along with a collection of other interesting Disney covers by vintage pop stars on a CD called Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah.

Lots of Warner Brothers animation fans also know Doris Day from “Freddie, Get Ready,” the surreal animation/live-action musical sequence she did with Jack Carson, Bugs Bunny (and Mel Blanc offscreen) in the feature My Dream Is Yours. There was no soundtrack album for the film, nor apparently a pop record version of the song, though some “unofficial” vinyl and CD discs offered the music lifted directly from film. Rhino eventually released this track on a 1998 CD, produced by George Feltenstein, called Doris Day: It’s Magic. Her Early Years at Warner Bros.


“With a Smile and a Song”

In this heavenly arrangement, Allyn Ferguson gives emphasis to a musical phrase that was in Frank Churchill’s original arrangement by giving it to The Jimmy Joyce Singers as a vocal flourish between Day’s lyrics. Note how the children sang the “la-dee-dah’s” in 1964 and recall how the Disney orchestra played the notes in the 1937 movie.


  • Wanna know who else passed away? Tim Conway, aged 85, just this morning. He was known for voicing Mermaid Man’s sidekick Barnacle Boy on Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants

    • Conway guested on one of Day’s 70’s specials.

    • Tim Conway also voiced The Weeper on an episode of Batman : The Brave & The Bold.
      He also appeared in a few Disney live-action movies in the 70s :
      The World’s Greatest Athlete
      The Apple Dumpling Gang
      The Shaggy D.A.
      The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again

      I liked him.

  • RIP. Ironic that she never appeared in Disney films or did voiceover work,

  • SWINGING ON A STAR: I think you meant Bing Crosby. A VERY young, try teenage, Andy Williams (later a smash on Columbia, Doris’s own label), by Sinatra’s FAVORITE conductor-producer-arranger of ALL Time, Mitch Miller, helps back Bing on that one!

    And the “rather be a fish” reminds me of Warner Bros.’s final Termite Terrace/Jack Warner-era live/cartoon feature, THE INCREDIBLE MR.LIMPET – with no running characters!

    • Thank you for catching that! The song is actually “High Hopes” from A Hole in the Head, (which explains my error).

  • Doris also recorded a beautiful cover single of “Second Star to the Right” from “Peter Pan,” backed by The Four Lads. This has shown up on several CD compilations and can be found on YouTube.

  • As always, thank you Greg. So many of us guys had crushes on Doris Day. Do you remember “Glass Bottom Boat” with Aurthor Godfrey?
    I have the album with Doris Day “A Smile and a Song” and prefer her singing over Mary Martin.
    It is unfortunate, Doris Day was not a part of any Disney projects.
    You mentioned “Hole in the Head” I love that move with Frank Sinatra and EG Robinson. I wonder if reader have seen it and know about Frank designing Disneyland. We have a ton of Day’s early movies. They are awesome.
    Take care.

  • It’d be remiss not to note that almost all of the “new” songs Carl Stalling used in the Warner cartoon soundtracks for many years in the ’50s were almost all hits that Doris Day had recorded, which speaks volumes to their infectiousness and longevity. The last “pop” song Mel Blanc sang as one of the characters was “Secret Love” in RABBITSON CRUSOE, too.

    • Thank you!
      “Oh carrots are divine, you get a dozen for a dime, it’s maaaaa-gic…”

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