Saturday, March 10, 2012

On the DL with Chad: The Sound of (Park) Music

When I first started thinking about writing for 'Growing Up Disney', one of the first questions I asked was what my articles should entail exactly.  I've probably mentioned it before but my primary goal is to bring a smidgeon of Disneyland history into what I write.  So, the task before me every article becomes answering the question, "What aspect of Disneyland have I not talked about yet, but is important to me?"

Way back when we first started our own blog at Days in the Park, we wrote an article called "The Sound of (Park) Music", which you may have already noticed is the same title I've given this article.  But no, it's not the same one at all.  It'll get even trippier by the time I'm done, I assure you, but I'll explain more about that and why as I go on.  Although the article isn't the same, the topic, however, is!  In my mind, Disneyland (just as I'm sure Walt Disney World is the same) and its music are inseparable.  It doesn't take long at all to notice something is amiss whenever we're strolling along and notice the music isn't strolling through the air like it normally does.  When we're on an attraction and the speakers aren't working properly and there's no music, we don't even like that, for pete's sake!  I suppose that makes us rather hardcore, but we're okay with that for the most part.  Disneyland without music just isn't Disneyland; enough said, I suppose.

As important as music is to Disneyland, and Disney, the community was saddened to learn this week, of course, of the passing of Robert Sherman.  One half of the Sherman Brothers, these two were instrumental to Walt Disney and scored, composed and all that music creation entails countless tunes that are used in the Disney Parks, films, and probably anything else Disney-related that you can think of.  Without the Sherman Brothers, I feel it's safe to say that Disneyland just would not be the same, whether it was the penning of "The Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room" from Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room (I can't imagine enjoying a Dole Whip Float without listening to that song), or "It's A Small World (After All)" from everyone's favorite attraction (come on, it's okay to admit it now!).

Pretty quickly everyone's favorite question on the social networks became, "What was your favorite Sherman Brother's song?"  I abstained from answering anyone at the time, not out of a sense of obstinance, but because I knew the time would come when I would want to write about it, and this seemed a good forum to do so.

My favorite Sherman Brothers tune just happens to be 'Feed the Birds' from the film Mary Poppins.  To me, it's always been just an absolutely beautiful work of music, both in composition and lyric, and it's theme of charity and giving to others can't be beat by anything, period.  Just my opinion, though!  And you can't do better than that if the legend that it was Walt Disney himself's favorite tune is in fact true.  As it goes, when Walt Disney would spend time with the brothers himself, and was in such a mood to do so, he would simply say the words "play it" to the brothers and that was the song he intended to hear, and that was the song that they played for him.   

Why the picture of Club 33, though?  Well, as amazing to me as the tune is from the film, there does exist an even more amazing version, which is how I'm tying in this article on my favorite Sherman Brothers tune with a little Disneyland history.  Almost everyone knows about Club 33 and its place within Disneyland history.  Built in the 60s (but completed before Walt Disney was able to see it), Club 33 was built to be an exclusive club within Disneyland where Walt would be able to host dignitaries and persons of importance within The Park.  Now, it serves as a members-only exclusive dining club within the walls of Disneyland that although many know about, even fewer ever get to experience for themselves.  I have had the honor myself, and part of its beauty is in the musical decor (along with the physical) that peppers the old Club.  Part of that musical decor is an absolutely beautiful rendition of the Sherman Brothers 'Feed the Birds' tune, all instrumental (piano and violin/cello), with no lyrics, and but almost more potent than the original tune, in my personal.  As if I needed another reason for 'Feed the Birds' to be my favorite tune, this clinches it.  Whenever I feel in a rotten mood myself, I pop it in, play it, and I can't help but smile whenever I do.  I am fortunate enough to own a copy of the track (as part of a set of Disneyland music I bought some time ago), but it's getting harder and harder to come by and may even be out of print for all I know.  But it definitely bears mentioning that it exists, and if you can get a copy or listen to it in some way (if a friend you know has it), you definitely should!

So, this is how I've chosen to weave a memorial, some Disney music, and Disneyland history all into the same article.  The irony is, I noticed later, that my title is a riff on The Sound of Music, which is a Julie Andrew's movie, who sang the original 'Feed the Birds' in Mary Poppins, which is the song this article is based on.  I took it as a sign to move ahead.

Without music, Disneyland just isn't the same; heck, most things aren't.  But it's especially important to everything about The Parks: the different lands, attractions, and shows.  Without it, it would just be bland, and Walt Disney knew this for himself, and hired and worked with only the best people to produce the best for whatever it was that he was doing.  His giving attitude and ethos in this regard has benefited, and will benefit us, for generations to come.

Thank you for all that you've given to us with your music, Mr. Robert Sherman.  Our Disneyland just wouldn't be the same without you.  

Contributed by Chad E of Rancho Cucamonga, CA. I'm a married dad with three little boys doing the stay-at-home-dad/youth ministry/seminary student/card carrying Disneyland Annual Passholder (Premium!) thang! And when I have the time, I also like to blog and podcast about The Disneyland Resort and am the co-creator of both Days in the Park and the Days in the Parkcast podcast.

Read more fabulous DIsneyland articles from Chad:

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