The venerable theme song from the fondly-remembered Disney Christmas episode made its way to several recordings in two different versions during two different Disney record eras.
Walt Disney Presents
CHRISTMAS CAROLS… FROM ALL OF US TO ALL OF YOU
Disneyland Records #1354 (12” 33 1/3 LP / Mono)
Originally Released as DQ-1239 “30 Favorite Songs of Christmas” (August, 1963)
Released in 1973. Executive Producer: Jimmy Johnson. Producers: Camarata, Buddy Baker. Running Time: 29 minutes (#1354); 36 minutes (DQ-1239).
Voices: Cliff Edwards (Jiminy Cricket); Jimmy Macdonald (Mickey Mouse, Goofy); Chimes and Chorus.
Original Song: “From All of Us to All of You” by Gil George, Paul J. Smith; “Fantasyland Christmas Tree” by Tutti Camarata (DQ-1239 only), Dick Huemer; “Kris Kringle” by Martin Schwab (DQ-1239 only).
Carols: “Oh Sanctissima,” “Away in a Manger,” “Westminster Carol,” “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” “The First Noel,” “Joy to the World,” “As With Gladness,” “Angels From the Realms of Glory,” “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks,” “Good King Wenceslas,” “Here We Come A-Wassailing,” “Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly,” “Pat-a-Pan,” “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” “Jingle Bells,” “Jolly Old Saint Nicholas,” “Up on the Housetop,” “Good Christian Men Rejoice,” “Coventry Carol,” “Silent Night,” “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” “O Christmas Tree,” “We Three Kings,” “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” “Greensleeves (What Child is This),” “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”
here are surprisingly few Christmas songs strongly associated with Disney. Some standouts include Peggy Lee and Sonny Burke’s classic “Peace on Earth” from Lady and the Tramp; Irwin Kostal and Frederick Searles’ lovely “Oh What a Merry Christmas Day” from Mickey’s Christmas Carol; the Sherman brothers’ bittersweet “It Won’t Be Long ‘Til Christmas” deleted from The Happiest Millionaire; and more recently, Rachel Portman and Don Black’s “As Long As There’s Christmas” from the direct-to-video Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas. Songs from Babes in Toyland like “March of the Toys” and “Toyland” might qualify as well, but they are kind of close to the Victor Herbert/Glen MacDonough originals.
The song “From All of Us to All of You” is probably the most inherently “Disney” of such songs. To several generations it was closely associated with Walt Disney because of a holiday episode of his weekly anthology show, brimming with classic clips from animated features. The episode, also called “From All of Us to All of You,” first aired on December 19, 1958.
With lyrics by Gil George (actually Walt’s nurse Hazel George, who enjoyed writing lyrics for many excellent Disney songs as a sideline) and music by Paul J. Smith, the theme song of this episode was sung by Cliff Edwards, as the voice of the show’s animated co-host, Jiminy Cricket. As the program was rebroadcast–eventually without Walt after his passing–Jiminy was almost as associated with “From All of Us to All of You” to baby boomers as he was with “I’m No Fool.”
Our Cartoon Research colleague Jim Korkis has done far more delving into the history of the various incarnations of the TV presentation itself. You might want to read his detailed account first, then return to this article to find out how it found its way to records.
In November 1958, Jiminy sang “From All of Us to All of You” on the Official Mickey Mouse Club LP, Mickey Mouse’s Christmas Surprises. Released several weeks before the ABC network broadcast, the album offered a sneak preview of sorts, though this rendition differed quite noticeably from the TV version.
For vinyl, the song was produced on a much more modest level. The simple arrangement features a harp, celeste, guitar and bass. Cliff Edwards sings the same lyrics, but is joined on the record by Mickey and Goofy—both played by sound effects genius Jimmy Macdonald, who was handling the Mickey voice chores for Walt during this era.
Mickey doesn’t so much sing in this version as say hello, but Goofy is given an oddball verse that was sometimes cut in later reissues of the tune:
Goofy: I’ll hang you on my Christmas tree, you’ll be a pretty bangle.
Jiminy: Goofy! What are you saying?
Goofy: A-hyuk-uh, jingle, jangle, jangle.
This version of “From All of Us to All of You” was shuttled from album to 45 RPM single back to album over the decades. In 1963, it opened side two of an album entitled 30 Favorite Christmas Carols. Except for this song, Jiminy’s “Kris Kringle” and “Fantasyland (a.k.a. Storybook) Tree” (from Camarata’s magnificent A Christmas Adventure in Disneyland, which we talked about here), the remainder of the album consisted of carols sung by a chorus accompanied by chimes. It sounded like real carolers as if they were about to go door-to-door at holiday time (actor-director Pete Renoudet used precisely that premise when he added a portion of this music to his album The Sound of Christmas, which we explored here.)
Ten years later, when the animated feature Robin Hood was to open in theaters, TV’s Wonderful World of Disney was about to rebroadcast From All of Us to All of You with a special clip from the upcoming film. For the first time, the “From All of Us” song was showcased on its own LP.
Essentially, 1973’s Christmas Carols… From All of Us to All of You was the same LP as 30 Favorite Christmas Carols—wihtout “Kris Kringle” and “Fantasyland Tree.” Side two on the older LP was changed side one, making “From All of Us to All of You” the title song!
MICKEY’S CHRISTMAS AROUND THE WORLD
A Pop-Up Adventure in Story and Song
Disney Audio Entertainment Cassette #60529-4 (Stereo)
“Songs and Story” Series CD Reissue: D001424202 (2011)
(Also downloadable on iTunes and amazon)
Released in 1991. Executive Producer: George Moroney. Producers: Ted Kryczko, Randy Thornton. Audio Script / Book Text: Jim Fanning. Engineer: Jeff Sheridan. Illustrations: Clic Publishing Ltd. Design: Graham Brown, Michael Wells. Paper Engineering: Paul Wilgress. Book Produced by Brown, Wells and Jacobs, Ltd. London. Running Time: 31 minutes.
Voices: Wayne Allwine (Mickey Mouse); Bill Farmer (Goofy, Pluto); Hal Smith (Santa Claus); Tony Anselmo (Donald Duck).
Original Song: “From All of Us to All of You” by Gil George, Paul J. Smith (music track from the 1958 Disneyland TV show soundtrack)
Carols & Traditional Songs: “Santa Lucia,” “Bring a Torch, Jeanette Isabella,” “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” “El Rorro.”
Background Instrumentals: “Jingle Bells,” “Silent Night,” “Jolly Old Nicholas,” “The First Noel,” “Away in a Manger,” “Deck the Halls,” “O Christmas Tree” (all traditional).
In the third part of our Spin about at “The Disney Afternoon” recordings a few weeks back, we saw how the Disney record company had given the read-alongs their own brand, called “Disney Audio Entertainment.” Part of that effort was to expand and develop the products beyond books and recordings alone. It was a very exciting period in which character figures, elaborate fold-out stages and other interactive gadgets were combined with the audio components.
Mickey’s Christmas Around the World was created amid this influx of invention. In addition to an album-length stereo cassette, it included a hardcover three-dimensional storybook that complemented the recording. Like the early Storyteller albums, the recording was not matched to the text because of its extended length. The contents of the book included six panoramic “spreads.” The pop-ups were not done in the vertical “centerpiece” style, but closer to the pages with intricate folds that made the images overlap each other from various angles. There were also pull tabs and other devices that caused little actions to occur on various pages.
The recording’s story recalls the “special holiday episodes” we looked forward to in many a favorite cartoon shows–The Flintstones comes to mind–in which the main characters somehow take part in Santa’s magical Christmas ride. In the case of Mickey and Goofy, when Santa asks them to assist, they meet children of Sweden, India, France and Mexico, who explain their holiday traditions and customs. (In a way, it’s the Epcot read-along that never was.) What specifically distinguishes it is that it was written by renowned Disney author and historian Jim Fanning, whose vast library of books, comics, video features and other historic materials (including the fondly regarded Disney Channel series Disney Family Album) could fill several library shelves. At the end of Mickey’s Christmas Around the World, our heroes get home from their journey and Donald bursts in to greet them—which leads to a fan-pleasing musical finale (see below).
This recording is still available in its entirety (without the book) on CD through Disney’s “Songs and Story” series and on iTunes and amazon.