Friday, February 23, 2007

One of the forgotten cartoons of Walt Disney and RKO...... "Willie, the Operatic Whale"

As a boy I remember watching this on TV..Willie, the Operatic Whale...I agree that it may not have what many cartoons today have. But for me as a kid..I enjoyed it.

This was the voice, or should I say voices of Willie. Nelson Eddy..(1901-1967)

All Willie wanted was to sing at the Metropolitan Opera House. He was a most talented whale. I must confess I am going on 40 year old memories here so there may be some discrepancies as to the story line. But what I recall was that it was Willie's wish to sing there. Now Willie also had an amazing talent..That he had many vocal chords..Therefore he was a whole sextet in himself. One whale of an entertainer..........

Nelson Eddy who was a famous singer from the 1930's and 40's was the voice of Willie. Eddy was famous for his many movies and recordings with Jennette MacDonald...Such as "Indian love call"...If that does not ring a bell..The lyric should "And I'm calling you-o-o-o-o-o-ooooo".."You will answer to-o-o-o-o-ooooooo" etc...
Dreary stuff but very popular at the time!

By the time he made the recordings for Willie his career had pretty much been reduced to nightclub acts around the country. But the cartoon was somewhat ground breaking.......From its original work to its final release in the 1950's

Make Mine Music, 1946, was a Walt Disney animated feature compilation. Eddy provided all the singing and speaking voices for the touching final segment, The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met. It was later released as a short, Willie, the Operatic Whale, by RKO in 1954.

Using a technique based on his technical experiments with his home recording equipment, Eddy was able to sing sextets with himself on the soundtrack, providing all the voices from bass to soprano.

That was quite a performance as I recall....I guess I need to listen to that cartoon again...But as this blog is about history you don't usually hear too much about...I thought it was a odd and most unique point and part of animated cartoon history. I would also state one of the most forgotten of all cartoons.