ANIMATION SPIN
November 17, 2020 posted by Greg Ehrbar

The First Mickey Mouse Club Record Albums

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.

“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.”

Click to Enlarge – Fill it out and send it in right away!

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.

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.

GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
“The Humphrey Hop”

One of the early choral MMC songs, this is from the classic cartoon, In the Bag. What makes it especially of note is that it was written by George Bruns and Daws Butler.

8 Comments

  • I see that three of these albums contain the song “Animals and Clowns”, which I remember well as the flip side of a single we owned (I think it might have been “Sammy, the Way-Out Seal”). When I learned how to juggle, I was determined to get good enough to sing “Animals and Clowns” while juggling at the same time, which is a lot harder than doing either one separately. Eventually I was able to get all the way through it without a glitch, but my friends told me I had such an agonised expression on my face while doing so that it was actually painful to watch.

    And speaking of painful, when I saw “Schnitzelbank” listed on the “Fun with Music” album I had to look up the track online just to satisfy my morbid curiosity. “Die Schnitzelbank” is a German-American folk song; it’s unknown in Germany, and every German I’ve ever sung it to thinks it’s completely ridiculous. It’s an accumulative song like “The Twelve Days of Christmas” or “I Know an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly”: the leader points to pictures on a Wandtafel or wall chart and asks “Ist das nicht ein ——–?”, and the chorus responds “Ja, das ist ein ——–!” The version I learned as a kid had the same melody as “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”, but I’ve heard other variants sung at various Oktoberfests. Jimmie Dodd leads the Mouseketeers in a rendition with Disney characters (“Ist das nicht ein Mickey Maus?”), and their pronunciation is, to put it mildly, schrecklich. “Nein, Jimmie, das ist doch kein Mickey Maus! Das ist kein echtes Deutsch sogar!”

    On the other hand, Animaniacs had a pretty funny “Schnitzelbank” cartoon, in which Professor Otto von Schnickelpusskrankengescheidtmeier (who, despite his academic credentials, dresses like a baker) leads Yakko, Wakko and Dot in what he calls the “international friendship song”. In the end they learn, as Homer Simpson’s supervisor once informed him, that Germans are not all smiles and sunshine….

    I couldn’t help but notice that even though “Be a Clown” is printed on the cover of the “How to Be a Mouseketeer” album, “Be a Clown” isn’t one of the 36 songs on it. I guess Cole Porter demanded too much money.

  • Unfortunately the only record I have on this page is “How To Be A Mouseketeer” (as well as those in your 2015 post).
    However thanks to constant reissues of the songs on various non-Mouseketeer albums, I have managed to obtain a number of the other songs.

    I bought the viewmaster reel (depicted in your story), along with about 6 other Disney reels including Davy Crockett, Zorro, Babes In Toyland , in a special Disney viewmaster pack. (thereby resulting in me having a second view master).

    Does anyone know whether it was part of a 3 reel Mickey Mouse Club pack, and if so what were the other 2 reels?
    If they were mouseketeer segments, were they also in color?

  • I had an album (red cover with photos of the Mouseketeers?) that featured songs from the MMC (notably “We’re the Mouseketeers” and the full version of the closing number) as well as numbers from other Disney productions…among them Henry Calvin singing lead on a version of the Zorro theme. Title of the album may have been “We’re the Mouseketeers”…anybody else recall this one?

  • Wow, astonishing off-model characters on that Golden Records cover. Walt must’ve had the day off when that got approved; that’s not supposed to happen, like, ever. Goofy, Donald and Pluto look like zombies. Donald looks like he was imported from Van Buren.

    Oopsie!

  • Pat — That was the last Official Mickey Mouse album with the Mouseketeers, entitled “We’re the Mouseketeers.”

  • Memories of the syndicated MMC, and of an LP that had “The Pencil Song”. But no memory of the LP cover (for some reason we had several records with just the white paper sleeves).

    Decades later, when the Disney Channel was running MMC at night, it looked like every episode opened with the same tap dance version of “We’re the Mouseketeers”. The daily themes had gone away (Mickey’s buts were re-recorded — reportedly by Walt himself — to eliminate references to specific days of the week). A lot of other stuff I remember from kidhood was gone, such as Professor Wonderful and newsreels.

    Was there a second round of syndication where they clipped out stuff?

  • I only saw the syndicated versions, but I have seen the full run of them many times, and what you are seeing comes at the end of the run. I believe that, by the last season or so, when the show was shortened and it was winding down, they started reusing segments and making it generic. Also in 1962 there were some new segments that look to be shot on videotape, like the Professor Wonderful portions. Some of these were done in Disneyland and Jimmie Dodd looks somewhat older.

  • In the syndicated version of the Mickey Mouse Club, the hour-long shows were trimmed into half-hour shows. Even the opening theme song was cut in half, using only the second portion and leaving out the first. The focus of the half-hour shows seemed to be the serials, the cartoons, the Jiminy Cricket segments, and the special guest stars. The Mouseketeers’ numbers pretty much disappeared, as did the first few bars of the “Mickey Mouse Alma Mater” closing theme. About midway through the run, the shows lose the various daily opening songs and go with the generic “We’re the Mouseketeers” (with roundup costumes for the Friday installments) opening. At that point, the opening number is just about the only time the Mousketeers appear….over and over and over performing the same song.

    When I saw some of the hour-long originals, it was very eye-opening. The Mouseketeers figured much more prominently, the cartoons and serials didn’t always run every day, sometimes alternating, and there was much more of Jimmy and Roy. It was also when I discovered the original running length of the opening “Mickey Mouse March.”

    I have seen pictures of the first two albums listed above, and always thought they were the same album. It’s interesting to note that with the two albums combined, it brought a total of 53 “mouse-ke-tracks” into the home. It would be very interesting to do a comparison between the two versions of “Fun with Music”. Also, as mentioned above the tracks of the opening songs with adults are very different from the soundtrack versions. In the 1970s’ as has been shown in a previous post, the first newly-released Mickey Mouse Club album, which was severely criticized at the time for not following the show very closely at all, was shortly followed by a longer album which included more of the actual Mouseketeers and the sound tracks of the daily openers, and which seemed and felt much more like the TV show. The soundtracks with the actual Mouseketeers are much better than the more generic-sounding adult chorus versions.

    Something about the album cover design on those first two albums seems wrong. It may be only my impression, but it does not appear inviting and seems terribly garish. There are too many bright colors and the effect is very “busy.” I think the best album cover of all of the MMC albums was the cover of the afore-mentioned “Mickey Mouse Club Song Hits”. On that cover, Mickey is less obtrusive, though still in his bandleader costume and is opening the pages of a scrapbook of the Mouseketeers. The whole design of the cover is very welcoming. Much warmer and friendlier to my taste.

    Interesting about “Humphrey Hop.” A friend of mine has been asking if Daws Butler was ever connected with Disney, and here is one instance where he was. Didn’t realize he was a songwriter as well as a voice artist. I learn so much from these posts!

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