ANIMATION SPIN
March 10, 2015 posted by

Walt Disney’s “The Three Caballeros” on Record

To celebrate the presentation of The Three Caballeros and other “Treasures of the Disney Vault” this Sunday on TCM, here’s a look at the soundtrack album.

caballeros-600

Walt Disney Presenta
LOS TRES CABALLEROS

Musica y canciones de al pelicula
Discos Disneylandia 1239M (12” 33 1/3 RPM / Mono)

Album Released in the U.S. in July, 1977. Produced for Records by Edmundo Santos. Music: Edward H. Plumb, Paul J. Smith. Album Song Version Producer: Louis Oliveira. Album Song Version Conductor: Leo Perachi. Running Time: 26 minutes.

“Caballeros” Soundtrack Songs: Main Title (“Three caballeros”) by Ray Gilbert Manuel Esperon, Ernesto Cartezar; “Llongo” by Gil; “Zadunga” (Traditional); “Jesusita en Chihuahua” by Quirino Mendoza y Cortés; “Los Posadas” (Traditional); “Solamente una vez (You Belong to My Heart)” by Ray Gilbert, Augustin Lara; “Mexico” by Edmundo Santos; “Jarabe Pateno” (Traditional); “Os quindins de yaya (Angel May Care)” by Ary Barroso.

“Caballeros” Album Version Songs: “Baia (No baixa do dapatiero)” by Ary Barroso; “Tico Tico” by Ervin Drake, Aloysio Oliviera, Zequinha de Abreu; “Brazil” by Ary Barroso, S.K. Russell.

“Saludos Amigos” Album Version Song: “Brazil (Aqualera Do Brasil)” by Ary Barroso and S.K. Russell.
Studio Versions: Clarence Nash (Donald Duck); Aloysio Oliviera (José Carioca); Dora Luz, Aurora Miranda, Disney Studio Chorus, Leo Perachi Vocal Group.

The marvelous results of an historic journey to South America by Walt Disney and his artists yielded not only two live-action/animated features (and a few shorts), but also a wealth of music, from original songs written for the film to established Latin hits and traditional music. While several Hollywood entities provided cultural exchanges during the era of the U.S. Good Neighbor Policy, few carried it out with such flair as the Disney people, and few produced such an abundance of classic moments.

threecaballerosIn the U.S., there was no English language soundtrack album of either Saludos Amigos or The Three Caballeros. In 1944, Decca released a three-disc 78 RPM set for each film. They featured musical director Charles Wolcott on vocals. These records were not made available on LP discs or singles. In 1958, Disneyland Records released its own LP combining music from both films with some cuts from the soundtrack, but mostly new—and excellent—renditions recorded in South American studios. This album, Saludos Amigos: Disney’s Songs from South of the Border, is available on iTunes.

In 1977, a line of “Discos Disneylandia” albums was distributed in U.S. stores. Most were Spanish language versions of Disney stories, with one very unique item among them: Los Tres Caballeros, the Spanish soundtrack album. This was the first and only way one could own the soundtrack on vinyl.

Most of the material in Three Caballeros isn’t in English anyway, so it hardly matters that all the dialogue is also in Spanish (and it’s cool to hear Aloysio Oliviera’s José Carioca converse with Clarence Nash’s Donald Duck in his native tongue). About 70% of the album consists of soundtrack segments, with a few tracks originating on the 1958 Saludos album (including a knockout version of “Brazil”).

There is one glaring oversight: the absence of the title song as sung by Panchito, Donald and José. It’s sung by a chorus in the Main Title, but instead of hearing the avian trio sing their famous tune, the album ends abruptly with “Os quindins de yaya”. Nevertheless, this is still a primo piece of vinyl.

The Three Caballeros will be hosted by Leonard Maltin during TCM’s Treasures from the Disney Vault this Sunday, March 15, at 12 am ET (which is really Monday morning March 16), followed by the must-see documentary, Walt and el Grupo. The whole lineup starts at 8 pm ET. Here’s the whole schedule:

8:00 pm Darby O’ Gill and the Little People (1959)
9:45 pm Wonderful World of Disney: I Captured the King of the Leprechauns (1959)
10:45 pm Silly Symphony: Babes in the Woods (1932)
11:00 pm Wonderful World of Color: The Story of the Animated Drawing (1955)
12: 00 am The Three Caballeros (1944)
1:30 am Walt and el Grupo (2008)
3:15 am The Fighting Price of Donegal (1966)

One other note—only because it gets so little attention and deserves so much more: There’s a charming Epcot indoor boat ride attraction called Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros, which features the animation magic of Eric Goldberg and gorgeous live-action footage that you’d swear was filmed in’40s Technicolor, thanks to Susan Goldberg.

GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
Excerpt from “Os quindins de yaya”
C’mon…a song about pastries and cake with Donald, José, Aurora Miranda, spectacular orchestral and choral arrangements? Did I mention cake? This is the big finish of the production number, in which Ms. Miranda makes all the buildings move along with the beat.


Walt Disney’s
DARBY O’GILL AND THE LITTLE PEOPLE

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The Story of Darby’s Adventures with the King of the Leprechauns
Disneyland Storyteller ST-1901

Released in 1959. Executive Producer: Jimmy Johnson. Producer/Musical Director: Camarata. Music: Oliver Wallace, Camarata. Adapted from the Screenplay by Lawrence Edward Watkin. Suggested by H.T. Kavanagh’s Darby O’Gill Stories. Running Time: 29 minutes.

Album Voices: Arthur Shields (Darby); J. Pat O’Malley (King Brian, Paddy Scanlon).
Singing Voices: Sean Connery (Michael); Janet Munro (Katie).
Song: “Pretty Irish Girl”, “, “The Wishing Song” by Oliver Wallace, Lawrence E. Watkin.

darby-onesheetOne of Walt Disney’s personal favorite live-action features, this is another terrific Disney film coming to TCM this Sunday. The Disneyland Records version eschewed soundtrack dialogue and instead featured narration by Arthur Shields as Darby. Even though we don’t hear Albert Sharpe reprising his film role, Shields is an equally capable Darby with a stellar movie career that includes How Green Was My Valley, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and The Quiet Man (which surely must have helped inspire Walt to produce Darby).

Playing King Brian is Disney favorite J. Pat O’Malley, filling in for Jimmy O’Dea. (Coincidentally, O’Malley’s birthday is also this Sunday.) Sean Connery and Janet Munro make very brief appearances, singing the tail end of “Pretty Irish Girl”, not from the soundtrack, but from a 1959 single, conducted by Tutti Camarata. Tutti also provided fully orchestrated background music cues.

The music cues help a lot, but not enough. Darby O’Gill and the Little People as the film is a visually lush production buoyed by special effects that are still a marvel—including the use of forced perspective rather than process screen or mattes to make the Leprechauns seem small (the same technique as in Peter Jackson’s Tolkien epics). But as an audio recording, Darby needs dynamism in its sound presentation to make up for the lack of visuals. While the vinyl adaptation has its moments (the banshee segment is pretty creepy), the overall result is quite good by not great. The Disneyland folks did a nice job with what they had.

This Darby LP record is one of the few early Disneyland Storyteller albums that did not accompany books. Some of them were later converted to book-and-record sets, like 101 Dalmatians and Swiss Family Robinson.

Perhaps one day Walt Disney Records and Intrada will release the actual Oliver Wallace score for Darby O’Gill and the Little People …you hear that, King Brian?

GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
Excerpt including part of “Pretty Irish Girl” single
Darby narrates and introduces the signature song from the film, as heard on the LP. This rendition is not the soundtrack, but from the single 45 RPM version conducted by Camarata with vocals by Connery and Munro. Unfortunately, only the tail end of that song was used for the LP.

9 Comments

  • I loved that Grand Fiesta Tour ride!

  • The South American films are rich, not just visually, but musically as well. It would be nice to see a definitive collection of this music. Some critics both then and now have treated “Saludos” and “Caballeros” rather harshly, and this is a shame, because they are among the most unusual and creative films Disney ever made. Personally, I enjoy the free-form storytelling that isn’t quite so bogged down in characters and plot. “Caballeros” especially is a stunning tour-de-force.

    I agree that the recording of “Darby O’Gill” leaves much to be desired. In the first place, it seems to have been recorded at a very low level, requiring the volume to be turned up fairly high in order for the story to be heard. But the biggest problem for me is Darby’s heavy accent in telling the story. It lends a touch of authenticity to the record, but the brogue is so thick that it is hard for American ears to understand and follow.

    One thing these productions have in common is that they represent Walt Disney’s innovations and creativity in full bloom. I second the request for new releases of this soundtrack material!

  • “Darby O’Gill” is one of the great fantasy films that is totally forgotten nowadays. Disney at his puckish humor best, with more than a few scares and beautiful art direction. Burbank never looked prettier. Janet Munro is just adorable and appealing; Disney obviously knew this. God knows I had between this and “Swiss Family Robinson” a crush on her. Her sad death from heart disease at age 38 came way too early. Looking forward to seeing it again on TCM.

    • Janet Munro was married to Ian Hendry, a fine actor who was the original star of the classic British series, “The Avengers” long before Diana Rigg, Linda Thorson and Joanna Lumley. He was the lead, a crime solving doctor, and John Steed (Patrick Macnee) was a mysterious spy who helped him. These episodes were shot live. Hendry become a movie star, co-starring with Carherine Deneuve in “Reuplsion”, and Honor Blackman paired with Macnee and the series went from there. For those who don’t know the “other” Avengers, it’s highly recommended.

  • THE THREE CABALLEROS and BAMBI are probably my favorites of the features, apart from TV’s MARS AND BEYOND (a mostly animated feature). It is so appropriate that the former is TCM’s first “full” animated Disney feature (not counting THE RELUCTANT DRAGON) since it fits in nicely with the many MGM and Warner color live-action musicals of the forties regularly aired.

  • For whatever it’s worth, Aurora Miranda was Carmen Miranda’s sister. Disney had wanted Carmen to appear in what would eventually become “Blame It On The Samba;” she was unavailable but recommended her sister Aurora. Aurora was just as big a star in Brazil as her sister, but left show biz for married life with a family. She died in 2005 at age 90.

  • Well The Three Caballeros is my very, very favorite Disney movie, and I’m altogether quite dismayed at the treatment that it tends to get from Disney (recently it seems to get lots of merch, but mainly just pins, no … all the merch tends to go to California Adventure / Disneyland, the record you mention is grossly out of print and fetching absolutely insane prices on eBay… AND the movie itself, which I just saw the iTunes version of recently, is in a most dire need of a cleanup job / restoration for a potential Blu-Ray release (so long as none of the frames of animation get even a little bit monkeyed with, the print looks clean, all the bonus features from the special edition laserdisc release with Saludos Amigos transfer over, and the little issues get straightened out, I’ll be so happy you have no idea).

    For those of you who saw the TCM block with this movie, was the film print looking a little less rough?

    And funny enough, at the Disney park with the ride on the East Coast, in the Mexico pavilion in Epcot, there isn’t much merchandise I can discern from the Shop Disney Parks app (fabulous app by the way), but from what I can discern it looks wonderful, and I cannot wait to get back there in a few weeks and FINALLY, after a good many years of searching for one, buy my very own Three Caballeros T-shirt… at least that’s something.

    As far as my favorite scene… Probably the scene where Donald’s trying to inflate himself to his normal size after seeing how Jose Carioca demonstrated the technique. That scene cracks me up every time.

    And hopefully the TCM deal can become more than just the infrequent marathons and the Great Movie Ride tie-in.

  • I, too, would love a definitive version of “THE THREE CABILLEROS”. I missed the one on laserdisc and, if there was one on DVD, I must have missed that, too, but hey, how about a third chance, this time with all the bonus features found on the laserdisc and more, related cartoons, etc. I caught a little of the TCM airing, and I thought it was wonderful!

  • I have the three caballeros on records how much are they worth

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