We continue our celebration of Disney’s game-changing classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with more albums based on the score.
1963: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – All the Songs from the Walt Disney Movie and An Adaptation of the Story by the Brothers Grimm (Golden/Wonderland)
Narrated and adapted by Golden Records regular John Allen, this album must have been the result of various business agreements. It contains the film songs, owned to this day by the Bourne company. However, it is not the Disney story, so the songs are rearranged slightly so the story could be altered. Disney owns their version of the story and characters. Golden Records had gone from being a licensee of the Walt Disney Music Company in the fifties to a retail competitor of Disneyland Records in the sixties
It’s interesting to hear the result of using the Grimm story elements and keeping the Disney story to a minimum to support the songs. The dwarfs are not given names, though Allen mentions that one sneezes. Instead of Snow White eating the apple during the Queen/witch’s visit, Snow White puts the fruit on a shelf, letting several hours pass before eating it. At the end of this adaptation, the defeated Queen makes an angry face and it stays that way — some of our moms warned us about that!
The songs are under the mellow baton of Jim Timmens, with a few tunes bearing the music beds from earlier Mitch Miller/Jimmy Carroll versions. Singing for Snow White is Broadway song demo and studio singer Rose Marie Jun, who gave the world the gift of “Push Button Blues” for Golden’s Jetsons LP. The Prince is sung by a renowned singer and vocal arranger who called himself “The Other Ray Charles,” because he was not the legendary jazz/blues performer. This Ray Charles worked on countless TV, film, and recordings, but is best known as the singer (with Julia Rinker) of the theme song to Three’s Company.
It may come as a surprise to some that there was a song actually called “Snow White.” It was written during the course of the film’s production by Ned Washington and Leigh Harline, just along with the rest of the score. “Snow White” may have been what Hollywood called a ‘promotional’ song,”
Russell Schroeder, author of Disney’s Lost Chords books, told me: “There were a lot of these songs that were made just for publicity purposes, just to help promote movies. We can’t be sure if the ‘Snow White’ song was considered for the film itself – it’s not really that great of a song.” Conceivably it could have been pitched to Walt Disney for the prince to sing and was overruled by “One Song.”
1966: The Songs from Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
(Happy Time/Mr. Pickwick)
New York-based Pickwick International was a strong contender in the children’s and budget record business. The Cricket label became Happy Time in the early sixties, combining early material with new records. This version was made specifically for Happy Time Records, which were easy to find in grocery, department, and record stores – sometimes on special “budget racks” as they sold for ninety-nine cents or less.
Almost every late sixties/early seventies Happy Time record featured musical direction by “Bugs” Bower, delivering a simple and easygoing sound befitting the budget. Bower added some original “hooks” to the arrangements to make the songs even more catchy than they already are.
Frequent Pickwick lead singer/actors Connie Zimet, Ron Marshall, and Lionel Wilson provide the vocals for this Snow White album.
Marshall was a leading vocal director as well as a voice actor (The Easter Bunny is Comin’ to Town, The Year Without a Santa Claus), Zimet was ubiquitous on commercials and recordings for Pickwick and Golden. She was also the voice of Burdine’s department stores for many years.
Lionel Wilson has legendary status as ALL the voices on Tom Terrific and the 1969 animated Winky Dink and You! as well as Eustace on Courage the Cowardly Dog. We paid tribute to Wilson in this Animation Spin.
Like the Golden LP above, this album is notable for the presence of the lesser-known “Snow White” song. In 1974, all the songs were reissued in full stereo on the Mr. Pickwick label, fronted by a 1953 version of the generic Snow White story told by Ralph Lowe.
BONUS SNOW WHITE RECORDS!
1961: Snow White and The Three Stooges – The Original Sound Track Recording (Columbia)
The following two albums bring the Spin total to seven. They do not present the story or songs from Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, but there are some comparison points.
As a 20th Century Fox feature, Snow White and the Three Stooges currently falls under The Walt Disney Company, a fact unthinkable in 1961 when this film was released. This was the second feature-length Stooges movie and the only one in Technicolor.
It was one of the many results occurring when The Three Stooges found themselves in a resurgence. Television reruns of their early short films brought them to an eager, freshly minted young audience. They finally were awarded the fame, adoration, and commercial potential so found elusive in the low-paying Columbia days (note: never underestimate or devalue your back catalog, it’s the gift that keeps on giving).
Moe Howard, Larry Fine, and “Curly Joe” DeRita (the last of a succession of third Stooges) moved into the 1960s festooned with new merchandise, a cartoon series, and several features, starting with 1959’s successful Have Rocket Will Travel. Combining the now more kid-friendly, less violent Stooges with a Disney-like fairytale must have seemed to make sense. Abbott and Costello’s Jack and the Beanstalk (1952) had been fairly successful, using a slightly larger budget and original songs. The Stooge feature was planned as a low-budget project as well.
Instead, it became the most expensive Stooge film ever made. In today’s dollars, it would cost over 31 million dollars, astronomical for a Three Stooges movie. Apparently, even Frank Tashlin was brought in to handle some direction and work on the screenplay, co-authored by Wizard of Oz scenarist Noel Langley. One script problem became balancing the Stooges with the fairy tale elements, a similar dilemma faced UPA with their 1959 Mister Magoo feature, 1001 Arabian Nights. The film did not meet the expectations of fans of Stooge comedies or family musicals.
However, the soundtrack has a lot going for it — the voices of Mel Blanc (as the puppet Quinto); Bill Lee (singing voice of Christopher Plummer in The Sound of Music, Yogi in Hey There It’s Yogi Bear, and a member of The Mellomen); Norma Zimmer (the Lawrence Welk “Champagne Lady” who sang in Disney’s Cinderella and Alice in Wonderland); and musical direction by the Lyn Murray (whose Decca Snow White album was featured in last week’s Spin. McHale’s Navy and Twilight Zone fans will recognize Edson Stroll as the Prince.
The full-length feature (in CinemaScope) is here. The soundtrack album is embed below:
1965: Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs – Original Sound Track Recording of the Childhood Productions Classic Motion Picture (Golden)
Childhood Productions was one of a handful of small, independent film companies that thrived during the era of children’s matinees. The admission was about 25 or 50 cents; sometimes there were prizes and even birthday parties.
Actor/songwriter Paul Tripp, who with composer George Kleinsinger gave the world “Tubby the Tuba” (which we explored in detail in this Animation Spin), was a partner in Childhood Productions and narrated most of the features. Most were retellings of fairy tales on a modest budget, using lots of outdoor photography and the castles they could find locally, like the Neuschwanstein castle also used in The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
The German version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was released in 1955; the English language edition came to the U.S. ten years later. The musical score was completely changed but created to match the rhythm and staging of the German songs. Most of the songs were written by TV legend Milton DeLugg with his wife Anne.
Milton DeLugg is probably best remembered from The Gong Show, but he also arranged and conducted the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade TV music for decades and was the musical director of The Tonight Show before it moved from New York to Los Angeles. He also scored the excellent Japanese feature, Gulliver’s Travels Beyond the Moon, which was covered in this Animation Spin.
The musical director of Childhood Productions’ Snow White is Lehman Engel, also a legend in the music and recording industry. New York actors provided the voices, but none were credited. They sound as if they are the same people who appeared on the MGM children’s records of the same era. Several were veterans of the classic radio show, Let’s Pretend, like Sybil Trent, Ian Martin, Anthony Holland, and Evelyn Juster.
Golden Records released the story soundtracks for Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, Sleeping Beauty, and The Bremen Town Musicians. (It’s nice to see “Golden Records” listed in the film credits.) RCA Camden released The Big Bad Wolf, Cinderella, Snow White and Rose Red, and Tripp’s holiday epic, The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t, most in stereo as well as mono.
The film is more traditional as far as the Grimm source material is concerned, depicting some of the more harsh aspects of the Grimm tale that the Disney version omitted, like the various way the witch attempted to kill Snow White before she succeeded (sort of) with the apple.
All the Childhood Productions films capture an extremely quaint, old-World kind of children’s film, the sort of thing Kukla, Fran & Ollie presented weekly on The CBS Children’s Film Festival.
Here is a link to the feature film – And here is the record album: