May 3, 2016 posted by Greg Ehrbar

Top Ten Cartoon Single Records (Part 1)

This week, we look at the first five out of my personal ten best cartoon-related 78 and 45 RPM singles of all time. Feel free to differ with the subjective musings of your humble Animation Spinner.

Please know that my bobbleheaded opinions are my own and do not reflect those of Jerry Beck and much of the rest of the world. And with that peppy disclaimer in mind, enjoy the first five picks!



May 27, 1967
Peaked at #27

This is actually a three-way tie with two other Alpert hits, “Spanish Flea” and “Tijuana Taxi,” distinguished by the fine animation (by Richard Williams) that accompanied them in the 1960s. Williams created the titles for the 1967 James Bond spoof Casino Royale, a lavish widescreen romp starring David Niven, Woody Allen and many other “A” listers of the day.

Alpert’s version is golden ‘60s grooviness with a tambourine section that could just as easily have been wacky background music for an I Dream of Jeannie episode. The Alpert sound is part of the atmosphere of the’60s and was extremely popular with young and old alike, before the style became too widely imitated, spoofed and ultimately associated with Chuck Barris TV game shows. Fortunately, Alpert’s music has a freshness that resounds again today, now that time has faded some of those connections.

These is how Williams animated it for the main titles:

And this is the full stereo version of the song as released on records:


Mighty Mouse 45 1This is one of those songs that became so well known, it’s hard to know whether folks knew it from the cartoons or from the signature Golden record version. Andy Kaufman started his very first Saturday Night Live appearance by lip-synching to this record, gaining a new comic identity. Golden’s version was even used in the Kaufman biopic, Man on the Moon.

In addition to Roy Halee, the singers you hear are Mike Stewart, Ralph Nyland and Bob Miller and Dick Byron, they formed the Sandpipers. They were “The Men of Texaco” on Milton Berle’s Texaco Star Theater, and are often mistaken for the ’60s vocal group of the same name that came over a decade after them—whose biggest hit, “Guantamera,” by the way, featured a solo by the lovely Robie Lester.

The Sandpiper quartet appears on nearly all the early Golden 78’s, usually with Anne Lloyd, a New York vocalist. Jimmy Carroll did the arrangements and Mitch Miller directed, and when the two made records for Columbia, members of the quartet, most notably Mike Stewart, sang on the popular “Sing Along with Mitch” records and TV show that The Flintstones spoofed as “Hum Along with Herman.”

39497NUMBER 8

May 9, 1964
Peaked at #31

Even though theatrical shorts were dwindling in the ’60s, animated titles often upstaged the movies that followed them. (Perhaps such titles might have served as surrogates for the shorts that many of us had enjoyed seeing on a regular basis.) To a lot of kids, an animated title was the best part of any ehhhh grownup live-action movie.

DePatie-Freleng’s Pink Panther titles, set to gave the little studio a few more years to breathe than they might have had otherwise. They never had a breakout character to match the Pink Panther’s success, but without him, there would not have been so many delightful TV specials and series stretching far into the ’70s.


51S5uS+K7tL._SX355_NUMBER 7

February 7, 1970
Peaked at #10

“Sugar, Sugar” was The Archies’ biggest hit (besting The Beatles at #1 for the year of 1969), but their second biggest song is the true pinnacle of their power (and yes, they were a powerful pop culture phenomenon). A studio group of New York’s finest musicians under the direction of Jeff Barry, The Archies consisted primarily of Ron Dante and Toni Wine on the vocals. The mix is a masterpiece, creating a sonic mass of such pure elation that even the bitterest detractor must admit it’s impressive. No amount of subsequent technological advancement could duplicate it.

Like “Sugar, Sugar,” “Jingle Jangle” was featured in a CBS prime time special called Archie and His New Pals, introducing Sabrina, the Teen-Age Witch and a few other characters. It was rerun as Archie’s Sugar Sugar Jingle Jangle Special, in case anyone had any doubts about what the songs were going to be when they watched.
The animated version:

The stereo record version:

s-l225NUMBER 6

April 21, 1966

Sammy Davis, Jr. sang this unforgettable song in the soundtrack of Hanna-Barbera’s 1966 ABC special, Alice in Wonderland, or “What’s a Nice Kid Like You Doing in a Place Like This?”. Perhaps his contract with Reprise Records precluded his recording it for Hanna-Barbera, but the animation company’s fledgling record label released it as a single and also on the cast album.

Crothers’ version employs arrangements based on the Marty Paich charts, with a smaller orchestra re-arranged by Al Capps. Even with the smaller sound, it’s a great piece. Best of all, Crothers’ interpretation of the Cheshire Cat led to more roles with Hanna-Barbera, particularly as Meadowlark on The Harlem Globetrotters and the lead in Hong Kong Phooey.

Scatman Crothers’ single version:

Sammy Davis, Jr.’s version from the film:

NEXT WEEK: What will be the five records at the very top?


  • Love the Casino Royale theme it’s one of my all time favorite songs. And when Ralph Bakshi animated The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse he had a clip show episode with all the classic Mighty Mouse cartoons of the 1930’s and 40’s featuring Here I Come to Save the Day in a Big Band style featuring a female vocalist singing the theme.
    And there was a episode of the Pink Panther where he disrupts a concert that was playing Beethoven’s 5th Symphony to get his theme song preformed at the concert with a outstanding arrangement of the Pink Panther theme by Walter Greene and Composer Henry Mancini in a live action cameo appearance at the end of the cartoon.

  • Greg:
    It’s a very interesting post this time around! Being a former Dee Jay,as well as a animation fan I really like the concept of a Top Ten Cartoon single Records List.Even though I think Hank Mncini’s Pink Panther should have been a little higher than Number 8,I’m definitely not complaining! As a matter of fact, I’m eagerly waiting for next week’s post to see what the topo five will be.BTW,you probably knew this,but for those that didn’t,I believe that was Ron Dante,doing the male lead on the Archies single Before he became Barry Manilow’s producer,He comprised the group the Detergents and had a minor hit with “Leader of The Laudromat”and had an even bigger hit as the Cufflinks and the song “Tracy”Thanks for letting an old guy ramble on like this Keep up the good work!

  • Very good post, today, Greg! I can’t express how much I’d love to see Hanna-Barbera’s version of “ALICE IN WONDERLAND”, especially vividly remembering the Sammy Davis, Jr. number and thinking he was the coolest cartoon character on that special! I’m sure that I’ll like next week’s posting but, I’m really wondering what Ross Bagdasarian tunes you’ll pick. Sure, I mostly remember the Chip Munks’ “Christmas Song”, but I’d since learned that there were so many great Bagdasarian novelty hits with and without the little rodents. Great stuff!

  • If I recall correctly, wasn’t Sugar Sugar the very last record to be completely mastered with all tube amplifiers throughout the process. It definitely has the “tube” sound and mellowness to it.

    • Sonic Youth’s 1987 Sister was a complete tube production, I believe. Unless you mean only animation-related tube recordings.

  • I still listen to the Casino Royale theme – written by Burt Bacharach!

  • “Jingle Jangle” and its animated accompaniment even made it on the Ed Sullivan show.

  • Are you counting animated movies or just TV shows? If so, you’ve got to have Yellow Submarine, Beauty and the Beast, A Whole New World (Aladdin), plus Sugar, Sugar and the Casper theme. Anyway, looking forward to part 2.

    • The list can be from any medium as long as it connects to animation, but my list is totally arbitrary and subjective. It’s just fun to think about.

  • Re No. 9, as I understand it, there was only one original Terrytoon cartoon in which Mighty Mouse actually says, “Here I come to save the day!” That was in the Gandy Goose & Sourpuss cartoon “Comic Book Land,” where MM makes a “cameo” appearance popping out of a comic book.

    So, one could almost say it’s one of those “never really said it” quotations, along with “Elementary my dear Watson” and “Play it again Sam.”

  • Try finding a stereo copy of the Casino Royale soundtrack LP (Colgems), which includes a reprise of the theme, along with terrible,eye rolling lyrics. For years this was an audio staple to test your home system. It also includes the iconic Dusty Springfield version of “The Look Of Love”,though I prefer Alpert’s A&M stablemate,Sergio Mendes, which was featured at the Academy Awards. And,as an added piece of trivia, the Mendes version doesn’t feature future Alpert spouse, Lani Hall, as many have speculated. The lead is erformed by Janice Hansen.

    The single usually isn’t really considered an Alpert track. He was added to the song (and overdubbed his trumpet voice at least twice as this was the primary Tijuana Brass hook) after Burt Bacharach’s recording was finished, using British studio players. This lead to a longtime recording home for Bacharach’s recordings under his own name.

    One reason to hold onto your A&M 45 or the Alpert LP “…Sounds Like…” is that the mono mix is cut kinda hot-made to blast through an AM car system in the late ’60s. Unfortunately, the 45 is pressed on styrene, not vinyl, and doesn’t hold up to repeated playings. But all of these can be found plentiful and dirt cheap in any used bin, including charity shops.

  • WELL!!! Thank you, Mr. Ehrbar! Just the other day, I was wondering (for the umpteenth time) whether or not the conductor of the first 300-or-so Golden Records, Mitch Miller, also arranged them! Though not much of a surprise, I am delighted to learn that the arranger was Jimmy Carroll. (I note that he took over conducing chores, presumably when Mitch got too busy as a singalong star!) I did not know that The Sandpipers were also The Men of Texaco! So I thank you for that, as well!

    I really love a LOT of the Little Golden Records (and the ten-inch BIG Golden Records, too)! My cartoon theme favorites (most from 1951) are “Casper, the Friendly Ghost,” “I’m Popeye the Sailor Man” (best version of all!), “Little Audrey Says,” “Little Lulu,” and (a bit later), “Barker Bill.” And I must also mention the Golden version of “The Second Star to the Right,” because of the beautiful “adult-type” arrangement, and because for her solo, Anne Lloyd just sings her HEART out!

  • Technically not a cartoon (at least not at first) but all the songs in the soundtrack to The Flying Nun starring Sally Field were all subsequently used in various Hanna-Barbera cartoons with slight rearrangements loosely based on the originals.

    She gives interviews telling where – being only nineteen when this record was made -she was feeling severely bent out of shape being “forced” to sing all this `kiddie sap’ when other people at RCA Victor’s Music Center of the World on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood like Jose Feliciano and the Jefferson Airplane into whom she would run in the lobby – were cutting progressive rock and other more modern forms of music in nearby studios – which she could hear being made in neighboring rooms inbetween takes.

    The is one of those records that the latter half of baby boomers (born between 1954-`64) wore out in elementary school. Released in 1967, it, along with the soundtrack to Doctor Doolittle starring Rex Harrison was one of the last albums by a major label to have a special dedicated mono mix as the format would be dropped by virtually all labels by 1968.

    As such – apparently mono copies were as cheap as dirt because we must have opened a fresh one every three or four months when the old one got trashed

    After the third mono copy got worn through to the other side in under a year, my teacher bought the 4-track Muntz cartridge version which of course was also stereo to boot. But that didn’t last long either because nobody ever cleaned the player – which subsequently got hungry.

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