The great goof’s birthday was yesterday, so it’s fitting that we celebrate it on the wrong date – and by checking out two of his kookiest record albums from the 1960’s.
Walt Disney Presents
GOOFY’S TV SPECTACULAR
Disneyland Records DQ-1252 (Mono & Stereo / 1997)
Released in 1964. Executive Producer: Jimmy Johnson. Producer: Camarata. Running Time: 24 minutes.
Voices: Pinto Colvig (Goofy); Paul Frees (Professor Ludwig Von Drake); Jimmy Macdonald (Mickey Mouse); The Wellingtons.
Songs: “Rutabaga Rag” (from A Symposium on Popular Songs) by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman; “Mouse Square Dance” by Tutti Camarata; “Happy Mouse” by Gil George, Paul J. Smith; “The Ballad of Davy Crockett” by Tom Blackburn, George Bruns; “Beautiful Dreamer” by Stephen Foster; “I Want a Girl Just Like the Girl (That Married Dear Old Dad)” by William Dillon, Harry Von Tilzer; “The Band Played On” by Charles B. Ward, John F. Palmer; “The Sidewalks of New York” by Charles B. Lawlor, James W. Blake; “Goofy Goes Dixieland” (Otherwise Untitled).
Spoken Segments: “Goofy and His Laughs”, “A Riddle”, “Goofy and His Crazy Clarinets”, “The Baby Mosquito”, “Goofy Commercials”.
When you’ve got a record company that has to keep its costs down, but still need new products to sell, it takes a lot of ingenuity to repackage and repurpose earlier material that’s been partially or completely paid for already. Goofy’s TV Spectacular (1964) is very clever in that respect. It holds up as an entertaining listen despite the fact that it’s largely a patchwork of elements from earlier Disneyland Records—with two notable exceptions.
The first exception is the presence of Pinto Colvig as Goofy. He did not record as many records for the Disney label as one might imagine (the “fab five” didn’t really start making a sizable dent in the catalog until over a decade later). This is one of the few albums from the Walt era in which he is heard throughout.Back in the early days of TV, specials were called “spectaculars”, though they may seem rather quaint to today’s viewers. The premise of this album is that Goofy is hosting his own variety spectacular, introducing the performers and also taking the stage himself. There is a striking similarity between this album and Colvig’s Bozo the Clown records for Capitol, right down to similar phrases like “This is your ol’ pal”. Like Bozo, Goofy goes from one encounter to another—the difference being that Bozo interviews and interacts with the other characters and Goofy in 1964 can’t chat with Mickey from 1955 or Ludwig from 1962.
The first Guest is Ludwig Von Drake, singing “Rutabaga Rag” from the soundtrack of 1962’s A Symposium on Popular Songs. Next is the music track of “Mouse Square Dance” from the Country Cousin LP with Goofy replacing Sterling Holloway.
The previously released materials are sometimes shortened (“Happy Mouse”) or sped up (“The Ballad of Davy Crockett”). I have to wonder if Goofy’s Dixieland jazz “finale” is actually performed by The Firehouse Five Plus Two (the renowned jazz band made up of Disney creative artists). If so, this may be the only Disney album to include the ensemble, albeit anonymously (they were contracted to the “Good Time Jazz” label; many of their recordings are also available on CD).
Another supposition is that Pinto Colvig, gag man supreme that he was, worked on some of the script with Jimmy Johnson. Some of it is corny, but some is also quite funny, especially “Goofy Commercials” and “The Baby Mosquito” (both of which showed up again in 1972 on the LP, The Mouse Factory Presents Mickey and His Friends).
GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
Goofy Presents Ludwig Von Drake Singing “Rutabaga Rag”
This selection is the other exception on Goofy’s TV Spectacular—it is not a repurposed track from an earlier album. This is the song as it was heard in Symposium, with Paul Frees singing in character as Von Drake. On the 1965 Tinpanorama LP, the music track is the same but Frees sings it in an Al Jolson style.
Walt Disney Presents
CHILDREN’S RIDDLES AND GAME SONGS
With Goofy Leading the Fun and Laughter
Disneyland Records DQ-1272 (12” 33 1/3 RPM / Mono)
Released in 1964. Executive Producer: Jimmy Johnson. Producer: Camarata. Harpischordist: Amindav Aloni. Running Time: 29 minutes.
Voices: Pinto Colvig (Goofy); Bill Lee (Singing Voice of Goofy and Other Vocals).
Songs: “Laugh, Laugh, Laugh” by Tutti Camarata; “Knock, Knock, Who’s There” by Vincent Lopez, Johnny Morris, Jimmy Tyson, Bill Davies; “Join Into the Game” (Traditional); “The Riddle Song” (Traditional); “The Sycamore Tree” (Traditional); “The Instrument Song (Shusti Fiddli)” (Traditional).
Spoken Segments: “Jokes and Riddles”, “Limericks and Jokes”.
Unlike Goofy’s TV Spectacular, which contains a large helping of previous material, the Children’s Riddles album is largely original, and aimed squarely at children (there are no gentle spoofs or wacky sound effects). However, it does begin with some of the same dialogue; Goofy talks about laughter, introduces his brother “Geefy” (?) and, later on side one, a child comments about Goofy’s billy goat riddle (“What goes around a-buttin?”) as if he heard it on the previous album.
Disneyland Records had a lot of success with albums in which an adult leads a group of children in songs, rhymes and games (Acting Out the ABC’s with Teri York, Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes with Sterling Holloway). The uncredited children swapping riddles with Goofy are both professional actors (Pamela Shannon of Disneyland’s 10 Songs from Mary Poppins LP) and relatives (Grey and Gennifer Johnson). The most intriguing person in the group sounds like either a teen or young adult; she asks Goofy about his insomnia).
The songs and games are very much like those heard on educational children’s records of the day—Ella Jenkins, Tom Glazer, Frank Luther, to name a few. These are songs many of us recall from recess and activity time in school and day care. Perhaps the reason this album was available for so many years is that it was suitable for teachers to play in the classroom. Disneyland Records shared materials with the Walt Disney Educational Media Company, so it stands to reason that these recordings found there way into other projects and releases.
When Bill Lee, a Disneyland Records favorite and major Hollywood “ghost singer”, sings as a “dad” on this album, that makes sense. But why does Bill Lee also sing for Goofy on the same record? My guess: Lee’s songs were recorded in a different session than Colvig’s dialogue. Even the children who are singing not necessarily the same children who are speaking.
Lee’s Goofy voice is very much like his Yogi Bear singing voice (as discussed here). Still, it seems like a Goofy thing to do.
GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
“Laugh, Laugh, Laugh / Jokes and Riddles”
Note the similarity between Goofy’s opening words and those on the TV Spectacular album. This segment was also used as a segment on the 1968 LP, Mickey Mouse and His Friends.
Editor’s Note: Greg Ehrbar and ye editor Jerry Beck will appear on Stu Shostack’s podcast – Stu’s Show – today Wednesday May 27th at 7pm Eastern / 4pm Pacific. The show is broadcast via the internet here FREE at the that time. It is available for download at 99¢ (ninety-nine cents) after that. Greg will be discussing music in classic theatrical and TV cartoons – something Greg is an expert on – Stu and I will be there to add additional comments. It should be a blast! Please tune in! – Jerry Beck