Say, Mouseketeers! Since Mickey’s birthday is tomorrow, let’s look at LP’s that brought avalanches of songs to eager fans during the first and second Mickey Mouse Club runs.
MUSICAL HIGHLIGHTS FROM WALT DISNEY’S
MICKEY MOUSE CLUB TV SHOW
Official Mickey Mouse Club Records (Am-Par/Disneyland) MM-12 (12” 33 1/3 rpm / mono)
Released on January 22, 1958. Executive Producer: Jimmy Johnson. Producer: Camarata. Musical Direction: Buddy Baker, George Bruns, Arthur Norman, Camarata. Running Time: 44 minutes.
Performers: Mickey Mouse Mouseketeers including Jimmie Dodd, Sharon Baird, Lonnie Burr and Tommy Cole; plus Ruth Carrell Dodd, Cliff Edwards, Thurl Ravenscroft, Betty Mulliner Luboff; The Mellomen, and The Arthur Norman Chorus.
Songs: “Mickey Mouse Club March Theme,” “The Mouseketeers’ March (The Merry Mouseketeers),” “Today is Tuesday,” “Anything Can Happen,” “The Mickey Mouse Mambo,” “Here Comes the Circus,” “The Mousekedance,” “The Pencil Song,” “The Telephone Song,” “The Pussy Cat Polka,” “I’m No Fool (Mouseketeers & Chorus Version),” “You the Human Animal,” “Mickey Mouse Club Closing Theme (Alma Mater)” by Jimmie Dodd; “Animals and Clowns” by Larry Adelson, Imogen Carpenter; “Simple Simon” by Jimmie Dodd, Tom Adair; “Fun with Music” (Alice in Wonderland Lost Chords Version) by Jimmie Dodd, Al Hoffman, Mack David, Jerry Livingston; “The Little Cow” by Jimmie Dodd, Roy Williams; “Talent Round-Up” by George Bruns, Gil (Hazel) George; “Hi to You” by Jimmie Dodd, Victor Skaarup, Sven Gyldmark; “The British Grenadier” by Bob Amsberry, Muzzy Marcellino; “Do-Mi-So” by Jeanne Gayle, Ron Salt, George Bruns; “Old MacDonald Had a Farm”(traditional, lyrics uncredited); “The House That Jack Built” (uncredited); “Sho-Jo-Ji,” (traditional, lyrics uncredited); “The Boy at the Dike” (uncredited); “Get Busy” (uncredited).
Things happened fast before and during the production of the original Mickey Mouse Club. The Disney studio was already bursting with activity as the Disneyland series was making history on ABC, the park was opening and there were live-action movies on the horizon (for TV and theaters) as well as the long-awaited Sleeping Beauty. Even short cartoons were still an occasional occurrence.
The Mickey Mouse Club was the reason the Disney organization started a record company. The success of “The Ballad of Davy Crockett” for other record labels was one of the things that Walt Disney Music Company president Jimmy Johnson was using as leverage to convince Roy O. Disney to bring the business in-house. Even though Crockett and Cinderella (the studio’s first animated feature with a score published entirely in-house) were bringing profits in and eliminating the middlemen, Roy was unsure.
There had to be records made before The Mickey Mouse Club premiered, but the casting was not finished. That’s why certain Mouseketeers—particularly Annette and Darlene—are not showcased on the first album. Jimmie Dodd and a smaller group recorded a few songs at Capitol Records. What surely surprised listeners at home in the fifties (and with each reissue) was that a studio chorus of adults sang some of the most familiar songs, like the ones for each day (“Today is Tuesday,” “Anything Can Happen,” etc.). They sounded nothing like the TV versions.
They sounded like Little Golden Records. Specifically, the Little Golden Records recorded in Hollywood. New York Golden Records of the fifties had the distinctive Mitch Miller/Sandpipers/Anne Lloyd/Jimmy Carroll style. California productions (for example, “Toy Parade” from Leave it To Beaver, Roy Rogers-Dale Evans records and the late ‘50s Disney songs, like Johnny Tremain) had a completely different sound. Thurl Ravenscroft could he heard, as well as Betty Mulliner, then-wife of famed choral arranger Norman Luboff. The staff of Golden and Columbia were all colleagues and it is not out of the realm of possibility that the Golden Records credited to “The Arthur Norman Chorus” are actually Norman Luboff. It was not unusual for music professionals to moonlight for one another as favors, especially when budgets were tight. The sonic evidence is quite strong in a comparison between actual Columbia children’s records with Luboff backing (like “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”) and the Golden Records.
In 1955, millions of Little Golden Mickey Mouse Club Records were sold, some pressed on orange plastic in addition to the familiar yellow. The identical music was also released on 78 rpm 10-inch and 45 7-inch records on the “Official Mickey Mouse Club” label. At first the deal between Disney and the ABC network allowed ABC’s AmPar Records to manufacture and distribute these records.
A Little Golden Record sold for a quarter. They flew off the toy store shelves, as did the other records, which were also offered in special money-saving package promotions. Roy was once again seeing other companies gaining piles of profit. Disneyland Records was established in Spring, 1956 and soon the production, manufacturing and distribution of all The Mickey Mouse Club Records were done by the Disney Studios (that’s why some records have AmPar at the bottom of the back covers and some have Disneyland).
By 1958, when the series had been on the air for a while and record sales might have been leveling off, it was decided to collect Mickey Mouse Club songs on long-playing records. To the delight of fans, an enormous amount of songs were crowded on each disc and they had generous playing times. Not all the songs from the singles ever made the jump to LP and collectors have had to settle for Little Golden Records on 78 rpm for some of the first songs.
This album is divided into six sections with five or so songs each, nicely cut together with brief pauses so they play like peppy little medleys.
As mentioned in an earlier Spin, “Fun with Music” is not at all like the televised song. The finished song was adapted from a Scandanavian tune purchased by Disney in an effort to have a quantity of music to use on the series. Songwriters David, Hoffman and Livingston first wrote it for the Caterpillar to sing in Alice in Wonderland (with different lyrics) under the title “Everything Has a Useness.”
27 NEW SONGS FROM WALT DISNEY’S
MICKEY MOUSE CLUB TV SHOW
(Title on Label: MUSICAL HIGHLIGHTS FROM WALT DISNEY’S
MICKEY MOUSE CLUB TV SHOW, Volume II)
Official Mickey Mouse Club Records (Am-Par/Disneyland) MM-14 (12” 33 1/3 rpm / mono)
Released in October 1958. Executive Producer: Jimmy Johnson. Producer: Camarata. Musical Direction: Buddy Baker, George Bruns, Arthur Norman, Camarata. Running Time: 45 minutes.
Performers: Mickey Mouse Mouseketeers including Jimmie Dodd, Darlene Gillespie, Annette Funicello, Sharon Baird, Lonnie Burr, Bobby Burgess, Doreen Tracy, Karen Pendleton, Cubby O’Brien, Tommy Cole, Cheryl Holdridge; plus Jimmy Macdonald, Clarence Nash, Gloria Wood, Ruth Carrell Dodd, Cliff Edwards, Thurl Ravenscroft, Betty Mulliner Luboff, The Mellomen, and The Arthur Norman Chorus.
Songs: “A Mousekathought,” “Good Samaritan,” “If You’re Happy,” “I’m No Fool (As A Pedestrian),” “I’m No Fool (In Water),” “Proverbs,” “Smile and Face the Music,” “Mousekartoon Time,” “Quack! Quack! Quack! Donald Duck,” “Hey, Cubby Boy,” “A Mousekethought,” “Do What the Good Book Says,” “May I Have a Word With You,” by Jimmie Dodd; “The Leprechaun With The Flute” by Tom Adair, Sid Miller; “Westward Ho, The Wagons” Tom Blackburn, George Bruns; “Wringle Wrangle” by Stan Jones; “Nineteen Twenty-Five” by Tom Adair, George Bruns; “Stop, Look and Listen,” “Safety First” by Gil (Hazel) George, Wanda (Sam) Sykes; “Donald Duck Song” by Oliver Wallace; “Uncle Remus Said” Johnny Lange, Hy Heath, Eliot Daniel; “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah,” “Everybody Has A Laughing Place” by Allie Wrubel, Ray Gilbert; “Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo,” “A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes” by Mack David, Al Hoffman, Jerry Livingston; “Banjo Joe” (uncredited), “The Edelweiss Polka” (uncredited), “When I Grow Up” (uncredited).
Titled “Volume II” on the label but given the more sales-aggressive “27 New Songs” title on the cover, this album conveys the feeling of being cobbled together with odds and ends rather than having the cohesive song program of the first album. Several selections come from extended-play 45 rpm records, others are marketing tie-ins with recent releases (according to Jimmy Johnson’s autobiography, Inside the Whimsy Works, the record company played a role in the cross-promotion of Westward Ho the Wagons co-starring the Mouseketeers, Fess Parker and George Reeves. It seems to end abruptly with “The Edelweiss Polka.”
Again, the album is divided into six clusters of songs. It opens with Jimmie Dodd’s Mousekethoughts record, a pleasure to hear as a whole medley as opposed to the later edited individual tunes. Besides Jiminy Cricket, this also offers Donald Duck (Clarence Nash) squawking with Tutti Camarata, who makes his MMC LP debut.
WALT DISNEY’S FUN WITH MUSIC
Disneyland Records DQ-1209 (12” 33 1/3 rpm / mono)
Released in October, 1959. Executive Producer: Jimmy Johnson. Musical Direction: Buddy Baker, George Bruns, Arthur Norman, Camarata. Running Time: 57 minutes.
Previously Released LP Songs: “Annette” (by Jimmie Dodd), “Fun With Music” (Alice in Wonderland Lost Chords Version), “Old MacDonald Had A Farm,” “The Shoe Song,” “When I Grow Up (edited),” “The Telephone Song,” “The Pencil Song,” “Get Busy,” “Sho-Jo-Ji,” “The British Grenadier,” “Smile And Face The Music,” “Hi To You,” “The Boy At The Dike,” “Alone At Coney Island,” “The Friendly Farmer,” “Cooking With Minnie Mouse,” “Bon Jour Paree,” “Do-Mi-So,” “If You’re Happy,” “Hey, Cubby Boy,” “Banjo Joe.”
Premiere LP Songs: “A Rollin’ Stone” by Gil (Hazel) George, Franklyn Marks; “Roy, Roy Quick On The Draw” “Alone At Coney Island” by Gil (Hazel) George, Wanda (Sam) Sykes; “Cooking With Minnie Mouse” (uncredited), “Bon Jour Paree” (uncredited), “Old MacDonald Had A Tree,” (uncredited), “Karen” (uncredited), “Schnitzelbank” (uncredited).
When the first run of the Mickey Mouse Club was winding down, thirty of the songs were collected on one of the lengthiest Disneyland albums ever produced. This was the year that Jimmy Johnson, concerned that Walt and Roy were possibly going to close the record company down, repackaged the soundtrack albums and geared them to children, as well as reducing the cost of packaging and distribution.
This Fun With Music LP isn’t designed to be a Mickey Mouse Club-related album at all. It’s just a whole lot of fun children’s songs for singing, activities and listening. The strategies worked. Between Annette’s hit records and the repositioning of the albums, the record division began to pick up momentum.
This LP edition of Fun with Music, bearing no reference to the TV show at all except for songs like “Annette” and “Karen,” sold for years beyond the original albums when there was no show on the air to promote them. This was also the case with two other former MMC LP’s that we explored on Animation Spin: Happy Birthday and Songs for Every Holiday and Walt Disney’s Most Beloved Songs.
MUSICAL HIGHLIGHTS FROM WALT DISNEY’S
MICKEY MOUSE CLUB TV SHOW (Reissue Compilation)
Disneyland Records DQ-1227 (12” 33 1/3 rpm / Mono)
CD Reissue: DQ-1227 (Disney Parks Wonderland Music Store On-Demand, 2010)
Currently available on various download platforms
Released in July 1962. Executive Producer: Jimmy Johnson. Musical Direction: Buddy Baker, George Bruns, Arthur Norman, Camarata. Running Time: 35 minutes.
Songs: “We’re the Mouseketeers” by Buddy Baker, Tom Adair; “Beauty is As Beauty Does,” “Happy Mouse” by Paul Smith, Gil (Hazel) George; “Mickey Mouse Club March Theme,” “The Merry Mouseketeers (Mouseketeer March),” “Today is Tuesday,” “Anything Can Happen,” “Here Comes the Circus,” “I’m No Fool,” “Mousekartoon Time,” “I’m No Fool (As a Pedestrian),” “I’m No Fool (in Water),” “You the Human Animal,” “Smile and Face the Music,” “Quack! Quack! Quack! Donald Duck,” “A Mousekethought,” “Do What the Good Book Says,” “May I Have a Word With You,” “Animals and Clowns,” “Simple Simon,” “We’re the Mouseketeers,” “Fun with Music (Early Version),” “Happy Mouse,” “Stop, Look and Listen,” “Safety First,” “Donald Duck Song,” “Talent Round-Up,” “Mickey Mouse Club Closing Theme (Alma Mater).”
This is where it gets confusing. The front cover of this “Best Of” compilation, released in time for the syndicated TV reruns of the Mickey Mouse Club, looks exactly like the original at first glance. There are lots of differences, starting with the dissolution of the Official Mickey Mouse Club label. The Disneyland Records logo is small and easy to overlook, however.
There is no back cover, only some advertising of other Disneyland $1.98 albums. The songs were selected from MM-12 and MM-14, with a few songs added that had only been on singles and EP’s, including “We’re the Mouseketeers,” “Beauty is As Beauty Does” and Mickey Mouse (Jimmy Macdonald) gets his first solo with “Happy Mouse” with a wonderful Camarata arrangement.
As an aside, it did seem to some of us kids who watched the show that Mickey wasn’t really on the show itself very much except for the introductions and some cartoons. There was, however, a fascinating View-Master called “Mickey Mouse Club Mouseketeers” (also reissued in the ‘70s) in which Mickey did materialize on the set—but he would vanish if anyone touched him!
The Mickey Mouse Club LP
HOW TO BE A MOUSEKETEER
Disneyland Records – Storyteller Series ST-3918 (12” 33 1/3 rpm / mono / with 11-page book)
Released in August 1962. Executive Producer: Jimmy Johnson. Producer: Camarata. Musical Direction: Buddy Baker, George Bruns, Arthur Norman, Camarata. Running Time: 53 minutes.
Included in Photo Book: Sharon Baird, Lonnie Burr, Roy Williams, Bobby Burgess, Doreen Tracy, Karen Pendleton, Cubby O’Brien, Larry Larsen, Margene Storey, Jay-Jay Solari, Sherry Allen (Alberoni), Darlene Gillespie, Annette Funicello, Dennis Day, Eileen Diamond, Tommy Cole, Ruth Carrell, Cheryl Holdridge, Charley Laney, The Valley Kats, Gielish Children, The Covans, Mary Sartori, John F. Smith, Donna Atwood, Jerry Colonna, Judy Canova, Leo Carrillo, Buddy Ebsen, Fess Parker, Sterling Holloway, Cliff Edwards, Firehouse Five Plus Two, Morey Amsterdam, Sid Miller, Phil Romayme, Cathy Steele, Robert Lamouret.
“Steps to Being a Mouseketeer” & Songs:
• Learn To Sing The Theme Songs: “Mickey Mouse March,” “Fun with Music,” “Today Is Tuesday,” “Anything Can Happen,” “Here Comes The Circus,” “Talent Round-Up.”
• Learn To Be A Clown: “Animals and Clowns,” Simple Simon,” “Icka Backa Soda Cracker,” “Mr. Stubbs.”
• Learn To Act Out Games: “The British Grenadier,” The Friendly Farmer,” “Boy At The Dike,” “The Little Cow,” “Get Busy,” “Cooking With Minnie Mouse,” “Sho-Jo-Ji.”
• Learn To Dance The Mousekedances: “The Mousekedance,” The Pussy Cat Polka,” “Mouseketap,” “The Humphrey Hop” (Daws Butler / George Bruns); “The Edelweiss Polka,” “The 1925 Charleston.”
• Hold Good Mousekethoughts: “A Mousekethought,” “Good Samaritan,” “If You’re Happy,” “May I Have A Word With You,” “Proverbs,” “Do What The Good Book Says,” “Talk Happiness,” “Beauty Is As Beauty Does,” “You Can’t Run From Trouble.”
Who needs those self-help books when this album has everything you need to be a Mouseketeer, including a highly scientific test? It is certainly a clever way of reissuing material in a novel, somewhat tongue-in-cheek way, rather than simply throwing the songs on a disc and tossing photos into a book.
Two songs on the album are from another Disneyland LP of nonsense songs called Musical Monkeyshines that was also a tie to the 1960 Walt Disney feature, Toby Tyler, or Ten Weeks with a Circus. “Mister Stubbs” was the chimp who accompanied Toby on his adventures in the film and this was either written for, but not used in, the film or simply written for promotional purposes.
This album groups the songs into sections like the first album did, this time using the conceit of “steps” in the progress to Mouseketeerdom. The copywriter/proofer did not know how to spell “Mori” Amsterdam, which was a little embarrassing since that error appeared on the back cover. Maybe that was the day he was practicing to be a clown.