Six Repurposed Disney Songs

Poor songwriters - they spend a ton of time writing and composing music for movies, only for a good chunk of their work to be cut at a later date. OK, that probably goes for most people in the movie industry, and songwriters actually have it better than most - with a key change and a tweak to the lyrics, their songs can be repurposed to fit the next big movie... or sit in a vault for 19 years to be pulled out for a television show, as the case may be. Read on!

"Beyond the Laughing Sky"

Alice In Wonderland has some great songs - "The Unbirthday Song" is bound to get wedged in your head if you're not careful. In fact, the soundtrack consists of 18 tunes, the most number of songs in a Disney film at the time. Some of them are only used for a few seconds here and there, but Disney wanted to try to capture at least some of Lewis Carroll's quirky little rhymes and verses and felt that song snippets were the way to do it. But not all of them got included - more than 30 songs were written, including one about the Jabberwock (he ultimately got cut from the movie altogether), a song for the Caterpillar called "Dream Caravan," a song for the Cheshire Cat called "I'm Odd," and a song that Alice sang to open the movie called "Beyond the Laughing Sky." Although "Dream Caravan" and "I'm Odd" never saw the light of day, you might know "Laughing Sky" by a different name - "The Second Star to the Right" from Peter Pan. The song was cut from Alice because the song was a ballad and was a bit difficult for young Kathryn Beaumont, the voice of Alice, to sing. It was also determined that the slow song might start the movie off a little too slow, so the opening song was replaced with "In a World of My Own" instead - it's a bit more upbeat and matched Beaumont's range and style better.

"I'm a Happy-Go-Lucky Fellow"

Similarly, Pinocchio had lots of songs that wouldn't fit into the movie: "Monstro the Whale," "Turn on the Old Music Box," "Three Cheers for Anything," "Honest John" and "I'm a Happy-Go-Lucky Fellow." "Honest John" eventually turned up on the 70th Anniversary Platinum Edition DVD that came out just a few months ago, but "I'm a Happy-Go-Lucky Fellow" was released to the public just seven years after Pinocchio came out. Disney didn't even have to change the lyrics to this one - they used it as and even had Mr. Cricket sing it in the 1947 package film Fun and Fancy Free. The movie is really two shorts all rolled into one experience; "I'm a Happy-Go-Lucky Fellow" appears in the very first one called "Bongo." It's about a bear cub who works for the circus but runs away and ends up having all kinds of adventures in the wild. What does this have to do with Jiminy Cricket, you're probably wondering? Well, he sets up the story of Bongo by strolling through a house, singing this tune. When he gets to the record player conveniently set up in the house, he puts "Bongo" on and the first short officially starts. You're probably familiar with the second short - "Mickey and the Beanstalk." Fun and Fancy Free actually takes its name from a line in Jiminy's song:

"I'm a happy-go-lucky fellow Full of fun and fancy-free You can make the whole world seem mellow If you take it in your stride like me."

Don't feel sorry for Jiminy, by the way - although he may have had to wait seven years for this particular song, his ballad from Pinocchio, "When You Wish Upon a Star," has been one of Disney's signature songs ever since and was ranked #7 on the American Film Institute's "Top Movie Songs of All Time" in 2004. Here's Jiminy singing "I'm a Happy-Go-Lucky Fellow," if you're interested. The song plays throughout the opening credits, but if you want to hear him, he starts chirping around 1:47.

"The Right Side"

Fans of Winnie the Pooh probably already know "The Right Side." To Pooh fans, it's known as the song from Welcome to Pooh Corner, a live-action Disney Channel show from the '80s. Each character had his or her own theme song, and "The Right Side" served as Winnie's. But in a past life, "The Right Side" was sung by Mary Poppins herself, Julie Andrews, The song (and at least 10 others) was intended to be used in the 1964 musical for a scene where Michael wakes up on the wrong side of the bed. In typical Poppins fashion, Mary was going to sing this song to him about making the best out of crummy circumstances. The song was written by The Sherman Brothers, so it slid in nicely to the Pooh family - they wrote all of the songs for most of the other Pooh movies - "Heffalumps and Woozles," "The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers" and "Up, Down and Touch the Ground" among others.

"Land of Sand" and "Bobbing Along on the Bottom of the Beautiful Briny Sea"

Here's another that originally belonged to Mary Poppins. There was originally a segment in Poppins where Mary and the kids travel around the world with the aid of a magic compass and Admiral Boom's ship-house. Part of their adventures were to include a stop in the desert, where "Land of Sand" would come in. The entire magical compass scene was cut, and thus the song hit the scrap heap as well. However, just a few years later, the Sherman Brothers were asked to do the 1967 film The Jungle Book. Disney needed help keeping the movie light and somewhat comical, so the Brothers adapted "Land of Sand" to be the song of Shere Khan's sidekick snake, Kaa. It has since become a fairly popular if not unconventional choice for a cover song - bands that have done versions include Siouxsie and the Banshees, the Holly Cole Trio, Belly, the Dead Brothers and Susheela Raman. There was also a song for the magical compass sequence called "Bobbing Along on the Bottom of the Beautiful Briny Sea" that was later shortened to "The Beautiful Briny" for Bedknobs and Broomsticks. If it seems like a lot of Mary Poppins songs were repurposed, that's because they were - the Sherman Brothers once laughingly refused to say what else they had reworked from the movie, saying that people would think all they had done for the past 10 years was shuffle songs around.

"The Morning Report"

Moving on to a more recent film (relatively), The Lion King originally had a song called "The Morning Report" where Zazu delivers a report and Simba fine-tunes his pouncing technique. Although it didn't make it to the final film and was replaced with a simple conversation instead, it did find a spot with The Lion King musical just a few years later. The lyrics had to be slightly rewritten, but the changes proved successful. "The Morning Report" was a such a hit that the song was animated (it's believed that it didn't even make it to storyboards prior to the musical) and added to the 2002 IMAX release of the movie and the Platinum Edition DVD release in 2003.

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This is one of the coolest movies I have ever seen. It holds a positive note and send an awesome message to all ages. I first saw this movie on the Disney channel and I liked it so much I spent 2 months searching for to buy. Unfortunately it wasn't available to buy new. I finally found it at a local movie rental place and talked the owner into selling me the only VHS copy. I have recently purchased it on DVD.
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Great to see the vintage posters after all this time. I hate the way studios feel they have to repackage films every few years. Surprised at how much leg Mary Poppins is showing, though...
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