Wednesday, July 7, 2010

America Sings Information Packet - Summer 1978

Back in 1978 a school teacher in Holtville California was planning a play based on Disneyland’s America Sings. Apparently she wrote Disneyland looking for the lyrics, amazingly they didn’t have them? But they were more than happy to provide an awesome information package.

The artwork on the cover is also on a guide book (link) and a few other items. However, this is the nicest printed version I’ve seen.

Each of the sections is separated by a tab that I didn't scan. These’s some great information in here, reading thru it sure makes me miss this attraction. In Act IV Betty Taylor sings “Bill Bailey”!


TokyoMagic! said...

Ooooooh, super nice item!

Pegleg Pete said...

What a great post! Thanks so much.

Matterhorn1959 said...

Tim- I am now jealous. Great item.

Major Pepperidge said...

Makes me wish I had written to the publicity department when I was a kid and asked them about Space Mountain (or whatever).

I'm sure that there was a script around somewhere, but it might have been difficult to get it from Imagineering, for various reasons.

Katella Gate said...

I concur with Major, the script was probably not released over copyright concerns.

This attraction profile, however, is magnificent, and even though the question was asked before the internet in the 70's, with song titles in hand it would not be much of a problem to look the songs up at the public library. Almost all are in the public domain or are "standards"... except for one.

"Where is My Wondering Boy Tonight?" as it appears in the show was probably written by Buddy Baker himself, very loosely based on an earlier song.

There was a sentimental ballad written at the turn of the century with the same name and the same opening 8 notes, and then after that everything is different. The original melody is plodding and the words lack focus: there is no answer to his whereabouts.

The Disney writers turned it from a "Forlorn Mother" Song into a comic comment on temperance with an inspired visual punchline, while Baker provided the melody as it should have been written.

Here's a link to the original: WARNING: just listen to the first verse, it doesn't get better at the end.

As Mark Twain said "You don't have to eat the whole egg to know it's rotten."

Katella Gate said...

As long as I have my Pontifex Maximus cap on, I may as well get all the pontificating out of my system now...

The other interesting song is "Who Shot the Hole in My Sombrero". True Disneyphiles know that the original soundtrack for "America Sings" was recorded with this song sung with a heavy (comic) Spanish accent.

The choice wasn't completely arbitrary..."Sombrero" was a novelty song from the 20's about a lovestuck Mexican who's made a practice of kissing the local wives and making enemies of the local husbands.

The middle of the original 20's version has a long patter verse that lists the names of who's been kissed (think Don Giovanni) and who'd be angry over it, and all the names are Hispanic, hence the suggestion for the accent.

Unfortunately, a dog doing an imitation of Ricky Ricardo didn't sit well with a lot of people and their lawyers, so the original sound track was ditched and was replaced with a generic white cartoon voice.

Of course, it wasn't meant to be offensive. Otherwise, the animatronic dog used would have been a chihuahua.

DIsney On Parole said...

Very funny katella Gate!
Thanks tim,
Loved the letter. it completes the packet!

ericpaddon said...

It's too bad that they couldn't have just come up with a way to spruce up the final act in the 80s to give it some more timeliness and allow the show to have a longer lease on life than it got. I would have loved to have seen it live (though I'm glad it lasted just long enough into the age of camcorders). Disneyland has sadly had no good use for its Carousel theater ever since.

Kevbot said...

I have loved all your posts, but this one really got to me. Being a newer Disney fan (my first trip to the parks was in 2007!), I missed a lot of this stuff when it was first happening, so your site and others like it really help me live the magic and the nostalgia for the first time. For whatever reason, America Sings! has always been one - like Horizons and World of Motion - that I absolutely fell in love with, years after the fact. This post really made me happy.

Also! It was very nice meeting you this past April on my first trip to Disneyland! You know so much!