Golden Records, one of Disney’s most popular partner labels, featuring Disney cast members and Golden artists, configured the “greatest hits” in several novel ways.
WALT DISNEY’S SONG PARADE (1955)
The 29 Greatest Songs from Walt Disney’s Motion Pictures
Golden Record Chest GRC-2 (Eight 45 RPM Discs / Mono / 1955 / 48 minutes)
WALT DISNEY’S SONG PARADE FROM DISNEYLAND (1956)
Golden Records GRC-2-LP (12” 33 1/3 RPM LP / Mono / 1956 / 48 minutes)
Producer: Arthur Shimkin. Musical Director: Mitch Miller. Arranger/Conductor: Jimmy Carroll. Vocal Arrangements: Jimmy Carroll, Norman Luboff.
Performers: Cliff Edwards (Jiminy Cricket); Jimmy Macdonald (Mickey Mouse); Clarence Nash (Donald Duck); Pinto Colvig (Goofy); J. Pat O’Malley (White Rabbit, Tweedle Dum, Tweedle Dee); Art Carney (Uncle Remus, Brer Rabbit); Anne Lloyd (Cinderella), Gil Mack (Pinocchio); Susan Douglas (Alice); Bobby Nick (Peter Pan); Mike Stewart; Dick Byron, Bob Miller, Ralph Nyland (The Sandpipers). Other Voices by Members of the Cast.
Songs: “When You Wish Upon a Star,” “Give a Little Whistle,” I’ve Got No Strings,” “Hi Diddle Dee Dee” (from Pinocchio); “Heigh-Ho,” “Whistle While You Work” (from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs); “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?” (from Three Little Pigs); “Thumper’s Song” (inspired by Bambi); “When I See An Elephant Fly” (from Dumbo); “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah,” “Ev’rybody’s Got a Laughing Place” (from Song of the South); “The Work Song,” “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes,” Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo” (from Cinderella); “Peter Pan Theme,” “You Can Fly! You Can Fly! You Can Fly!” “The Second Star to the Right,” “March of the Lost Boys (Following the Leader)” from Peter Pan; “Alice in Wonderland Theme,” “I’m Late,” “The Unbirthday Song,” “How D’ye Do and Shake Hands” (from Alice in Wonderland); “Ferdinand the Bull” (inspired by Ferdinand the Bull); “The Reluctant Dragon” (from The Reluctant Dragon); “Pecos Bill,” “Johnny Appleseed Song (The Apple Song)” from Melody Time; “Mister Mickey Mouse,” Donald Duck (Theme),” “Goofy’s Song.”
As early as 1949, Golden Records formed a creative and profitable bond with the Walt Disney Studios. The label’s founder, Arthur Shimkin, was a business associate of Jimmy Johnson, who was running the Walt Disney Music Company at the time. Shimkin even attended a sales preview of Cinderella for potential product sales, a rare and exclusive occurrence.
While Mattel was offering a spoken word tour–with background scoring and some questionable character voice knock-offs–Golden Records created a “record chest” filled with eight 45- or 78-RPM records. Each record featured three or four previously released Little Golden Records, presented either in edited form or their entirety, with new bridging material here and there to connect them to the narration.
Cliff Edwards hosts the tour as Jiminy Cricket. Edwards seems in good voice for the narration, more so than on “When You Wish Upon a Star,” he had done a few years earlier for Golden, in which he is a bit hoarse and off key in places (portions of this are on the 8-disc set).
For some reason, Jiminy never identifies the individual themed “lands” of Disneyland, but the songs are nevertheless grouped in a way that loosely suggests Fantasyland first (home to Pinocchio, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and the Three Little Pigs); Adventureland (animals like Thumper, Dumbo and Br’er Rabbit); Fantasyland (Cinderella, Peter Pan, Alice, Ferdinand the Bull, The Reluctant Dragon) and Frontierland (Pecos Bill, Johnny Appleseed); capping it all of with songs about Mickey, Donald and, as Jiminy calls him, “Goofy Dog.”
Several Disney voice actors appear on the record, most notably Jimmy Macdonald, Clarence Nash and Pinto Colvig as Mickey, Donald and Goofy and J. Pat O’Malley as Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee. O’Malley, who recorded several non-Disney songs for Golden as well (“The Music Goes Round and Round,” “Frosty the Snowman, Part 2”), also voices the White Rabbit.
Art Carney, the legendary “Ed Norton” of The Honeymooners and later an Oscar-winning Best Actor for Harry and Tonto, does all the voices for “Br’er Rabbit and the Laughin’ Place.” Before his TV fame, Carney was a radio announcer, singer and actor who recorded quite a few children’s discs. His longest-selling Golden LP was The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which he narrated in such a stentorian announcer’s voice, it’s not always easy to guess his identity.
Other actors on the records include Bobby Nick (Studio One, Gomer Pyle, USMC) as Peter Pan, Susan Douglas (The Guiding Light) as Alice and Golden regulars Anne Lloyd (Snow White), Gil Mack (Pinocchio) and the Sandpipers, a quartet who appeared on Milton Berle’s TV show as the “Men of Texaco” (not to be confused with the later “Guantanamera” pop vocal group).
A year after the 1955 boxed set was issued, it was edited together into one LP album of equal length and released as “Walt Disney’s Song Parade from Disneyland.” The audio was identical, still with no mentioned of the themed “lands.”
GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
Mickey, Donald & Goofy Songs
Jiminy refers to all three as “old timers” who have been around since the beginning of Disneyland, implying that it existed since “once upon a time.” “Mister Mickey Mouse” is a very strange tune, a little more fitting to his comic book adventures than films, with and some bizarre lyrics like “I’m as smart as Einstein,” “Mister Disney told him he’s strong as Hercules,” and “He will scare your cares away!” Best of the three is Donald’s theme, an excellent version of the music that opened the actual cartoons.
WALT DISNEY’S SONG PARADE
25 Best-Loved Songs from the Walt Disney Motion Pictures
Golden Records A198-2 (12” 33 1/3 RPM LP / Mono / 1957 / 41 minutes)
Producer: Arthur Shimkin. Musical Director: Mitch Miller. Arranger/Conductor: Jimmy Carroll. Vocal Arrangements: Jimmy Carroll, Arthur Norman.
Performers: Cliff Edwards (Jiminy Cricket); J. Pat O’Malley (White Rabbit, Tweedle Dum, Tweedle Dee); Art Carney (Uncle Remus, Brer Rabbit); Gil Mack (Pinocchio, March Hare); Susan Douglas (Alice); Anne Lloyd (Cinderella); Bobby Nick (Peter Pan); Mike Stewart; Dick Byron, Bob Miller, Ralph Nyland (The Sandpipers). Other Voices by Members of the Cast.
Songs: “Johnny Appleseed Song (The Apple Song),” “Pecos Bill” (from Melody Time), “Wringle Wrangle,” “Ballad of John Colter” (from Westward Ho the Wagons); “Johnny Tremain,” “Liberty Tree” (from Johnny Tremain); “Thumper’s Song” (inspired by Bambi); “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah,” “Ev’ry body’s Got a Laughing Place” (from Song of the South); “Perri–Title Song” (from Perri); “The Work Song,” “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes,” Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo” (from Cinderella); “Alice in Wonderland Theme,” “I’m Late,” “The Unbirthday Song,” “How D’ye Do and Shake Hands” (from Alice in Wonderland); “Peter Pan Theme,” “You Can Fly! You Can Fly! You Can Fly!” “The Second Star to the Right,” “March of the Lost Boys (Following the Leader)” (from Peter Pan); “Frontierland;” “Adventureland;” “Fantasyland;” “Tomorrowland (Parts 1 and 2).”
Here’s where it gets even curiouser. This revised 1957 LP version of “Song Parade” makes no mention of Disneyland on the cover, even though the “lands” are mentioned on the song listings. My guess is that it might have had to do with the newly-established Disneyland Records label.
The name of “Disneyland” is still mentioned by Jiminy throughout the record itself. This time the songs are organized around each of the four lands–which are mentioned by name and now each have their own original song. The new script retains some of the lines used earlier with lots of new material. Cliff Edwards rerecorded the revised version in its entirety.
Also very noticeable is the presence of growing enterprises that have been blossoming at the studio: a theme park, TV shows and live action films in addition to animated features and shorts. The early Disney film songs have been removed in favor of newer properties, and also because every song on this revised album is published by Walt Disney Music Company. The deleted songs—those from Silly Symphonies, Snow White, Pinocchio, Dumbo, and Bambi–were owned by non-Disney publishers. Roy O. Disney was later able to buy back the rights to “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” and “Ev’rybody’s Got a Laughin’ Place,” which may explain their presence on this album. He eventually acquired the score from Bambi as well, but the Bourne Company continues to control the rights to the other music.
The track list is a time capsule of what was “hot” at the Walt Disney Studios in the mid-50s, as well as in popular culture. TV westerns were popular, as were the “Frontierland” episodes of the Disneyland TV series. It’s probably no accident that the tour on this album starts in Frontierland, with the latest live action features represented: Westward Ho the Wagons and (somewhat awkwardly) Johnny Tremain.
Again, animal characters represent Adventureland, since little else of a musical nature must have been available to Golden at the time (added to the mix is the theme to the one and only “True-Life Fantasy,” Perri. The Fantasyland segment is virtually untouched (except for “Ferdinand the Bull” and “The Reluctant Dragon”). And this time, rather than end the tour with Mickey and friends, Jiminy boards a rocket in Tomorrowland and blasts off to outer space!
GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
Disneyland Themed “Land” Songs
These four songs are composed by vocal arranger Norman Luboff, about whom we have recently “Spinned” (The Night Before Christmas). The lyrics are by Marilyn Keith, who with husband Alan Bergman, became the toast of Hollywood songwriters. For film, they wrote the Oscar-winning score to Yentl (which is like buttah), and the Emmy-winning songs for Queen of the Stardust Ballroom, in addition to such standards as “The Way We Were” (also like buttah), “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?” “The Windmills of Your Mind” and the theme to Maude.