February 24, 2015 posted by Greg Ehrbar

Walt Disney’s “Pinocchio” on Records

A fond look back at how the two-time Oscar winning song and score from Disney’s Pinocchio took the form of soundtrack albums over the last 60 years.


All the Songs from Walt Disney’s PINOCCHIO
Disneyland Records DQ-1202 12” 33 1/3 RPM / Mono / 1959 / 18 minutes
Original Release: WDL-4002 (1956 / 26 minutes)
Reissues: DQ-1202 (1963); 1202 (1978 / 26 minutes)
CD Release: 1993

Executive Producer: Jimmy Johnson. Producer: Camarata.

Voices: Cliff Edwards (Jiminy Cricket); Dickie Jones (Pinocchio); Walter Catlett (Honest John); Christian Rub (Gepetto); Patricia Page (Marionettes); Disney Studio Chorus.
Songs: “When You Wish Upon a Star”, “Give a Little Whistle”, “Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee (An Actor’s Life for Me”, “I’ve Got No Strings” by Leigh Harline and Ned Washington.
Pinocchio Instrumentals (Varying from Edition to Edition): “When You Wish Upon a Star”, “Little Wooden Head”, “Turn on the Old Music Box”, “The Coach to Pleasure Island” by Leigh Harline and Ned Washington; “Jiminy Cricket Theme”, “Village Awakening/Pinocchio Goes to School”, “Sad Reunion”, “Lesson in Lies”, “Desolation Theme”, “Out of the Sea/Sea Horses” by Leigh Harline; “The Blue Fairy Theme”, by Leigh Harline and Paul J. Smith; “The Whale Chase” by Leigh Harline and Edward Plumb.

Pinocchio LP (1956)

Pinocchio LP (1956)

Tutti Camarata watched Disney animated classics with his eyes closed. To the surprise of studio staffers who screened the films for him, the accomplished musician, arranger, conductor and composer did not want the visuals of the films to distract him from the musical structure of the soundtracks, which were not available to hear in their complete form any other way back in the 1950’s.

As the new Artists and Repertoire Director and Musical Director of Disneyland Records, Tutti developed a soundtrack album format that played as a suite, a listening experience, rather than a chronological rundown of the songs and music. That is one reason the songs and music were sometimes reorganized, even between sides one and two. Another reason vinyl soundtracks re-ordered the song sequence was because the outside grooves had more dynamic range than the inside grooves; tracks that required a lesser degree of bass lines and clarity were often placed on the inside.

Pinocchio LP (1979) click to enlarge

Pinocchio LP (1979) click to enlarge

Disneyland Records President Jimmy Johnson first released the classic soundtracks to the adult record-buying market, like the albums for Ben-Hur and Singin’ in the Rain. The 1956 Disney soundtrack album covers were designed to be rich and sophisticated (they are treasured collectibles today) and they were offered at premium prices. But stores didn’t always know where to display them and the public still considered them for families and kids.

The record company went through several financial and organizational changes by 1959. Johnson had the albums re-designed and lowered the prices to $1.98. Some of the records themselves remained the same, but perhaps to appeal to the shorter attention span of children, both Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Pinocchio were shortened.

The 1959 edition of Pinocchio, with the puppet boy dancing to Gepetto’s accordion (pictured above), was the most ubiquitous of all the Pinocchio soundtracks. Early in its release, it ran only 18 minutes. Later in the ‘60s, it was restored to 26 minutes but was still missing some selections from the initial release.

Short or long, big or tall, this is one of the all-time best scores in the history of motion pictures, animated, live action or whatever.

“Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee” and “The Coach to Pleasure Island”
Sometimes the available tracks and sound mixes that were used in one decade were different than those in another. On the vinyl editions of Pinocchio, there was a vocal over the Pleasure Island reprise of “Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee” and there were sound effects in “The Coach to Pleasure Island.” The music alone was heard on subsequent CD releases. This is how it sounded on vinyl.

Walt Disney Records Legacy Collection

Walt Disney Records D002065992 (Mono & Stereo / 2015 / Two CDs and 24-Page Book)

Producers: Michael Leon, Randy Thornton. Sound Restoration: Doug Schwartz, Jeff Sheridan. Research: Randy Thornton. Lost Chords Arrangements: Jerry Cleveland. Compilation: Randy Thornton. Mastering: Jeff Sheridan. Liner Notes: Jim Fanning, Russell Schroeder, Dave Bossert. Creative Direction: Dave Snow, Steve Gerdes. Package Design: Steve Gerdes. Original Painting and Illustrations: Lorelay Bové. Running Time: 76 minutes.

Voices: Cliff Edwards (Jiminy Cricket); Dickie Jones (Pinocchio); Walter Catlett (Honest John); Christian Rub (Gepetto); Patricia Page (Marionettes).

Pinocchio Songs: “When You Wish Upon a Star”, “Give a Little Whistle”, “Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee (An Actor’s Life for Me”, “I’ve Got No Strings” by Leigh Harline and Ned Washington.
Lost Chords: “No Strings”, “As I Was Sayin’ to the Duchess”, “Rolling Along to Pleasure Island” by Leigh Harline and Ned Washington; sung by Kate Higgins, Cindy Robinson, Randy Crenshaw and Jeff Gunn.
Bonus Tracks: “You (Are a Human Animal)”, “Mickey Mouse Club Book Song”, “I’m No Fool (In Water)”, “I’m No Fool (On a Bike)”, “I’m No Fool (As a Pedestrian)” by Jimmie Dodd; “Safety First” by Gil George and Wanda Sykes; “Stop, Look and Listen” by Gil George and George Bruns.

Instrumentals (varied from edition to edition): “When You Wish Upon a Star”, “Little Wooden Head”, “Turn on the Old Music Box”, “A Real Boy” by Leigh Harline and Ned Washington; “Kitten Theme”, “Old Gepetto”, “Off to School”, “So Sorry”, “Sinister Stromboli”, “Angry Cricket”, “Transformation”, “Monstro Awakens”, “Desolation Theme”, “Out of the Sea/Sea Horses” by Leigh Harline; “Clock Sequence” by Leigh Harline and Rees; “The Blue Fairy Theme”, by Leigh Harline and Paul J. Smith; “The Whale Chase” by Leigh Harline and Edward Plumb.

pinocchio-legacyThis is the most comprehensive release of the Pinocchio soundtrack and score material ever assembled. While most of the score appeared on earlier CD’s, added in are three brand-new, fully orchestrated and newly sung “Lost Chords.” Until recently, albums and some DVD bonus features offered mono demo recordings of songs deleted from Disney films. Now, for posterity, the songs are lavishly mounted in the most authentic settings possible to give you an idea of what these fine songs would have been like in the “alternate universe in which they made it into the final films”. The creator of the Lost Chords project, Russell Schroeder, explains each track’s history.

Four bonus tracks are from the very first Mickey Mouse Club. Jiminy Cricket was frequently brought back to make appearances in Disney films and on the nighttime anthology show, but it was the Mickey Mouse Club in which Jiminy made the biggest impression on baby boomers, either seen on TV or in classrooms with his series of lightly instructional cartoons, all featuring the ‘50s modern look of TV commercials and UPA. The four tracks actually count up to five different songs, with three renditions of the most famous of the songs, “I’m No Fool.” The song “Mickey Mouse Club Book Song” never appeared on an LP or a CD, only on singles in the ‘50s, until this release.

The two discs are packaged in a hardcover book with illustrations by Disney animation artist Lorelay Bové, plus there is a gallery of animation concept art from the original production with notes by Dave Bossert of Walt Disney Animation Studios. Historian Jim Fanning provides an overall look at Pinocchio and its music.


  • On the CD releases of the soundtrack, I always missed the boat whistle and the sound of children’s voices on the “Pleasure Island” track–they contribute to the atmosphere and seem to me a vital piece. It’s great to hear it again.

    As a child I spent a week recovering from surgery, and one of the things that helped in my recovery was listening to the “Pinocchio” album. I especially found “Little Wooden Head” soothing in my weakened condition. I played that track over and over. But I really developed an appreciation for all of the music on the album–lying there in bed with nothing else to do, I paid attention to details more than to any record I had owned up to that time. Including snippets of dialogue and sound effects greatly enriched the instrumental tracks. The album is imprinted on my audio memory.

    There were evidently many songs cut from the score of Pinocchio–“Three Cheers for Anything,” “Honest John,” “Monstro the Whale,” “Jiminy Cricket is the Name,” and a vocal version of “Turn on the Old Music Box,” among others. I’m guessing an entire album could be assembled if all of these deleted songs were ever gathered together in one place.

    The Legacy Collection sounds like a step in the right direction. It would also be nice to hear some of the Storyteller versions of Pinocchio, especially those featuring narration by Cliff Edwards as Jiminy Cricket.

    • Was this OLD MUSIC BOX song the same tune as LITTLE WOODEN HEAD??

      There was a 3 disc RCA release of SNOW WHITE?? I assume you mean CD??

    • The song “Turn on the Old Music Box” was a separate tune from “Little Wooden Head”. It is heard instrumentally in the original film soundtrack at the very end when Gepetto turns on the music boxes to dance after Pinocchio’s transformation into a real boy, and it segues into the final reprise of “When You Wish Upon a Star.” The version of “Music Box” that I have heard was recorded by Cliff Edwards around the time of the film’s original release. In the early 40’s they didn’t have original sound track material available for release on records, so some or all of the cast members would go to a recording studio to create versions of the songs to be played at home. Sometimes these recordings would use the same orchestration as the films, but often there were noticeable differences. Cliff Edwards recorded “When You Wish Upon a Star” including the seldom-sung bridge section, and he also recorded the songs “Give a Little Whistle,” “Jiminy Cricket”, and “Turn on the Old Music Box.”

      The tune can also be heard playing during the final scene of the “Pinocchio’s Daring Journey” ride at Disneyland.

  • Greg, PINOCCHIO and LADY AND THE TRAMP are my two favorite Disney cartoon features of the “story” type. (The two FANTASIA films are in a class by themselves and, because of their construction, should not be compared to the story films, IMO.)

    I have the original 1940 RCA 78 rpm three-disc set of PINOCCHIO soundtrack songs with the Disney Studio art in full color on all of the pockets and covers. If you have that, or any of the later (no interior art) issues, did you ever notice that there is a snippet of “Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee” on that disc that is missing from the film?!? If not, I can tell you that it comes near the end of the second chorus, where Walter Catlett is vocalizing the notes rather than singing the lyrics! Two of the three sets of bars of repeating notes (along with the vocalizing of those notes) just before the last line of the vocalized chorus are the part that is missing in the film. The film jumps to the THIRD set of repeated notes, then on to the last notes of the chorus! I probably wouldn’t have noticed that, except that I had access to a later plastic pressing of the set with those extra notes on it when I was a child. So when I saw the movie later, I was aware of the cut from knowing how it had originally been recorded! Granted, the cut wasn’t a big deal, but I am a stickler for accuracy where showbiz history is concerned! I also note that RCA reissued that three-disc set (also the SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS set) on CDs sometime in the 1990s, I think. Disney probably didn’t like that, but since Walt didn’t retain complete control of the original music material, the studio couldn’t stop RCA from doing that! All they could do was withhold the appropriate art work!

    I have also had that original soundtrack music lp since it was released in 1956! Always LOVED that beautiful art cover! <3!

    • Hi Walt,

      I grew up with the 1959 cover, and loved to look at the ad for other Disneyland Records on the back, wishing I could someday own them. As to the extra section on Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee, it could be that RCA’s masters, which must have been acquired before the film was released, had material that was changed in the time between their getting the music and the film being finished. Sort of like how all those Bedknobs and Broomsticks records had extra songs that confused us as kids.

      As to Disney and RCA and the reissue of the Snow White and Pinocchio soundtracks on CD, there was no Disney artwork or trademarks on the covers and the recordings come from the original 78 rpm records, which do not match any of the Disneyland releases exactly. So they’re two separate things even though they come from the same film. Also, to this day, Disney does not own the songs in “Snow White”, “Pinocchio” or “Dumbo” and has to license them from Bourne music. Roy Disney himself tried for decades to buy the rights back but never could. They did buy back the rights to most of the other scores, like “Bambi” and “Song of the South”. I recall that “Cinderella” had the first musical score for an animated feature that the Walt Disney Music Company owned outright.

    • Are the RCA versions on CD, Walt???

  • In Argentina, I had the LP edition of Pinocchio in Spanish. The cover was absolutely different to the ones featured here. The does feature the same images of the characters but it was more elaborated and Pinocchio was shown as a real boy and also, as a puppet, on a shelve. The version was produced in Mexico by the team who dubbed all of the movies at the time… but the actual original soundtrack of the film has a totally different sound: the dubbing in 1940 was done in Buenos Aires helmed by film director (and previously tango lyricist) Luis César Amadori.

    • I have not seen the album, but I wonder if the cover is the same art that was the first page in the “Magic Mirror” storyteller LP of Pinocchio? I do have several international editions of Disney albums and many use those first pages as the covers. Edmundo Santos produced a lot of Spanish language Disney records, including the wonderful Saludos Amigos LP that — yes! — is on iTunes.

  • I was disappointed there weren’t more lost chords on this release. I mean HONEST JOHN was on the DVD/BLU RAY release. Why was it left off here? There’s also a reprise of WHEN YOU WISH UPON A STAR that was sung by the Blue Fairy in the adaptation. There was so much scrapped on PINOCCHIO that this set could have rivaled the MARY POPPINS from a few months ago.

  • “Honest John” – sure sounds like it could have been Thurl Ravenscroft doing his voice –

    • It always sounded like Thurl to me too. It makes me wonder if this was from the 30’s or a later recording. How far back does Thurl’s DISNEY history go??

  • Ed —

    Yes, the Snow White and Pinocchio 78 sets were reissued on CD many years back.
    “Little Wooden Head,” “Turn on the Old Music Box” and “Three Cheers for Anything” (which you can hear briefly in the Pleasure Island boat sequence) were all songs with lyrics. There were others, like “Honest John”, “Monstro the Whale” and “Jiminy Cricket” that were either written for the film and not used, or simply written as promotional songs to play on the radio (a common practice back in the day). All of these songs were included on Decca’s Pinocchio 78s, which were also reissued on LP, and on the Golden Records version of the Pinocchio Collodi story with the Disney songs.

    • @ Greg – Do you have an ISBN number or anything so I can find that CD? (Ditto on the other RCA/DISNEY releases…) Thanks!

    • To Ed McCray (and Greg Ehrbar, of course!):

      I dug out both PINOCCHIO and SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS (the RCA CD versions) and herewith report the following info on them:

      The first of the two to be released was the CD for SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS. This reissue of the 78 rpm set was digitally mastered at RCA Recording Studios in New York City during May, 1988. The catalogue number is 8455-2-R. Preceded by a 0 outside of the bar code, the bar code number is 7863-58455-2.

      The content of this CD is in marked contrast to the tiny difference I noted above in the “Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee” track of the PINOCCHIO set! First of all, the whistling portion of “Heigh Ho! Heigh Ho!” contains an extra 16 bars of music which is cut out of the dwarfs’ return home from the mine! Those 16 bars of music are a different part of the song–a different melody is being whistled–perhaps a verse melody not sung in the film! In the film, it is transposed and at least part of that additional whistling melody is heard later in the film as the dwarfs head off to the mine the next morning!

      But the BIGGEST surprise is a THIRD verse of “The Dwarfs’ Yodel Song” which is heard on the 78 set AND this CD–but is NOT heard / seen in the film itself! In the middle of the song, Sneezy comes forth to sing his verse! As he finishes it up, he breaks into a sneeze, but not before gasping out the tail end of the punch line, getting a laugh from the other dwarfs! My hunch is that, after the song was recorded for the soundtrack (and perhaps even animated, but I’m not sure about that part), Walt had second thoughts about the verse’s content, and decided not to include it in the finished film, because it might be considered to be in bad taste! But by that time, the 78 rpm dub had been recorded and there was no way for him to delete it from the record set! Here is that “offensive” verse:

      “The minute after I was born, / I didn’t have a nighty. / So I tied my whiskers ’round my legs / And used them for a dy-die!”

      That, recorded for the film in 1936, may have been considered a bit “raw” at that time by some for Disney’s squeaky-clean reputation! That may have been Walt’s fear in deciding to delete it! (There may have been some validity to that! More than ten years later, Little Golden Records released THEIR version of the song–and they INCLUDED that verse that had been deleted from the film! (It was probably in the sheet music!) When my straight-laced mother heard THAT for the first time, she was shocked and exclaimed, “Why, what a thing to put on a record for children!” Obviously, I got such a kick out of her reaction that I never forgot it!)

      BTW, the entire song was too long to be included in the 78 set, so on the set, it is cut off well before the end–just after the point where Grumpy’s pump-organ accompaniment malfunctions with a group sour note! He immediately “wipes” the keyboard with his hands and the notes “straighten” themselves out! That’s where the dubbed track ends!

      But while the PINOCCHIO set is presented on the CD exactly as heard on the 78 rpm set–six cuts, representing the content of the three original discs, the SNOW WHITE set is slightly different! It is presented as a FIVE-cut CD! That is because the dialogue following the Yodel Song leads directly into “Some Day My Prince Will Come.” So the CD producer decided to have the audio engineer do a direct segue from the one track into the other! The running times of each CD track are shown on the playlist of both CDs, so the segued track’s time is shown as 5:10.

      Now (after all of that!) here’s the data for the PINOCCHIO CD:

      It was digitally mastered at BMG Recording Studios in New York during March of 1990. The catalogue number was 2137-2-R. With no zero showing in front of the bar code, the bar code number is 7863-52137-2.

      The only difference of note in the production credits is that the SNOW WHITE CD makes no reference to a recording date. There is, however, the following notation in the PINOCCHIO CD credits: “All songs recorded January 22, 1940.” This is incorrect, since the film itself was RELEASED in 1940 and the soundtrack would have been recorded before the animation for it began. My guess would be that the songs were recorded sometime early in 1938, but I am not positive of that. So where did they get the January 22, 1940 date from? That was probably the date that the dubbing of the songs was recorded by RCA for the 78 rpm set! I think that the modern-day technicians, being unfamiliar with how cartoons were / are produced, simply mistook the dubbing date for the actual recording date! :-)!

      (I regret that I could not submit this post in a more timely manner, but a personal emergency in the meantime forced the delay.)

    • P. S. In my previous response, I neglected to say this statement:

      If RCA produced a CD of the three-disc 78 set of the soundtradck songs from DUMBO, I am not aware of it.

  • I found the LP. Here is the cover that I described:

    It can be purchased here (where there are more photos). The LP was published by Phonogram, which is today Universal.

  • Greg—
    is Alice coming up on the legacy cd series?

  • Walt — thanks for all that research! I am not aware of a DUMBO CD version of the RCA soundtrack.
    On the Mickey Mouse Club album WALT DISNEY SONG FEST (reissued as WALT DISNEY’S MOST BELOVED SONGS), Jimmie Dodd sings these “Silly Song” lyrics:

    “We used to have a billy goat, we had it disinfected
    He could have slept in Grumpy’s bed,
    But the billy goat objected!”

    Another one possibly too yucky to end up in the final film.

    John —
    The next wave of Legacy titles have not been announced, but ALICE is definitely under consideration. Both the soundtrack and the Camarata/Darlene Gillespie versions are personal favorites of mine.

  • You’re welcome, Greg! Here’s a bit more on Cliff Edwards and the PINOCCHIO songs:

    In 1955, Cliff was engaged to record a 45 EP for Decca entitled “Songs from Disneyland.” Three of them were PINOCCHIO songs, but one was not. The two songs used in the film were “When You Wish Upon a Star,” and “Give a Little Whistle.” He also sang a song about his character which had been written for PINOCCHIO, but was not used in it. It was called “Jiminy Cricket.” The fourth song, “The Bird and the Cricket and the Willow Tree,” was from ADVENTURES IN MUSIC: MELODY. (Oddly, this was the THIRD of the four tracks cut at that session!) The chorus and orchestra were under the direction of Sonny Burke (co-writer with Peggy Lee of the songs for LADY AND THE TRAMP).

    As far as I know, this EP was the only issue of “Willow Tree.” But there were also two 78 (and, I presume, 45) singles of the other three. The pressing in the adult series contained, “When You Wish Upon a Star,” backed with, “Give a Little Whistle.” The plastic issue for children had “Jiminy Cricket,” backed with “Give a Little Whistle.”

    I cannot think of any commercial recordings of “Honest John,” but I do have a 16-inch radio transcription which contains it (along with another unused song from the film which I cannot recall), sung by the vocal group from the radio show, “Fibber McGee and Molly, “The King’s Men.” I think it would be safe to assume that that was not dubbed from commercial 78s. Certainly, in 56 years of collecting, I’ve never come across a commercial copy of it. I do have an original (IIRC) PINOCCHIO song folio, and the sheet music of songs therein includes “Honest John.”

    I also have records by popular dance orchestras of 1940 performing, “Jiminy Cricket” and “Monstro the Whale,” both with vocal refrains.

    And since ALICE IN WONDERLAND has been mentioned in this thread, I shall simply add a REALLY strange point about the songs, which I have gradually discovered over the decades. First of all, ALICE was Walt’s first “story”-type feature which was a financial FLOP when it made its debut in 1951. (And I know WHY it was a flop, but that’s off-topic at the moment!) Anyway, despite its being a smash flop, people in the record industry apparently just LOVED the score! I believe that there were more records made of songs from that score–issued by more different record companies–than for any other Disney story-type feature in the entire 78 rpm era of which Walt was a part!

    “Curiouser and curiouser!” :-)!

  • I had the 45 rpm record/book of Pinocchio sometime in the mid-1950s. I believe the discs were yellow. To little one’s listening, Jiminy Cricket’s chirp was “your signal to turn the page.” Of course, my sister and I probably discarded the recording when we found it among our parents’ possessions. What a shame. Do you know about this issue—what was the date of release? Can you respond to me via my email address, please?

  • Where can I find the song “Little Wooden Head” sung by Gepetto (Christian Rub)? I’ll like to purchase that vinyl, but it seems like most of these pressings have an instrumental version of the song.

  • I am a 67 year old woman. And I have the soundtrack on 33 and a third LP on the Disneyland label. I remember I got the album in the late 1950s. I found it and been cleaning it up and to me the remaster does not have the same quality to me as the original. Now this will make everybody laugh it is August 26 2020and this is just the first time I ever seen the movie. I knew the soundtrack before I saw the movie crazy isn’t it?

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