Thursday, February 24, 2011

February 5th, 1953 - Peter Pan Soundtrack, Composed by Sammy Fain, Sammy Cahn, Frank Churchill, Winston Hibler and Ted Sears.

Before I begin this week's review of Walt Disney's Peter Pan, I want to backtrack a little bit, back to my review of Carmina Burana. I'm not sure why this slipped my mind the first time, but there is an AWESOME cover of O Fortuna by mathcore legends, Botch.

If you dig that, I highly suggest trottin' yerself down to your local record store, and picking up a copy for Botch's "Unifying Themes Redux". There is also a badass cover of the B-52's classic "Rock Lobster" done in the hardcore punk style.

But there will be plenty of time to talk about Botch and the B-52's later. You're here for Peter Pan, right? Right!

So, when I was a kid, I had this little Peter Pan storybook that also came with a cassette tape with some spoken dialogue and some of the songs on it. It was one of those read-a-long books, and I loved it, because Peter Pan was one of those Disney movies I never owned on tape as a child. You know how Disney can be, release a movie for a little while, and then yank it off the shelves for years. Go ahead, go to a store and try to find a copy of Tron. You can't! And you won't find it again until Disney releases it on Blu-Ray, and it will stay on the shelves again for maybe 2 or 3 months before getting pulled yet again.

The exact same thing was true with those big white plastic clam shell VHS tapes they used to sell. They'd only be around for a little while, and then mysteriously vanish. I'm not certain what Disney's fetish is with forced scarcity. I mean, it must be making them some money somehow, I don't know. All I know is if you head into any used record or movie store, you'll find those gross, cracked, white clam shells en masse on slae usually for under 5 bucks.

As for the soundtrack of Peter Pan, I'm amazed at how little info I could dig up on physical releases. All wikipedia talks about are the various Disney music compilations songs from the film have been featured on. I've seen it on Vinyl, and I know I had a tape from a storybook. Then, much later on, when Disney was releasing all the movies on DVD, each film's release coincided with a remastered soundtrack on CD. This soundtrack was not nearly as monumental as Snow White's, which was already fifteen years old. MGM's "Singin' in the Rain" had only been released last year, and for such a phenomenal hit as that was, American movie-goers and music lovers would have gone into riots if there was no accompanying soundtrack release.

The Peter Pan soundtrack I'm familiar with will always be the one on that little read-a-long tape. One notable quirk about this release is that the music was lifted directly from the finished version of the movie. This means that if during any of the songs in the movie, there was a piece of dialogue, or sound effect, it showed up on this tape. The instance that sticks in my mind the most is during "Following the Leader", when John and Michael are marching with the Lost Boys. Michael bumping into the "rock" that later turns out to be the giant rhino is audible. John "honking" the nose of the sleeping bear with his umbrella is audible as well. In fact, I think as a child I listened to this tape so much that I've now memorized the cues for these out of place sound effects!

This is a CD I'd like to get eventually, it's been awhile since I've really heard these songs. Aside from that, it's a cartoon that has so far, gone untouched by Youtube sensation Pogo, who's remixed Hook, but not it's 1950's Disney originator.
Perhaps it's not in the cards, but a man can dream about the possibilities, can't he? :D

See you next time, when the king of Rock and Roll himself takes the stage. I'll be reviewing Elvis Presley's self titled debut. After that, Johnny Cash and his hot blue guitar will grace these bloggy pages.

Till next time ladies and germs.

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