|A wooden performance by Sally Ann Howes.|
|Poppins shoved her charges up the chimney,|
then allowed dancing on the rooftop.
Child endangerment charges are pending.
The Shermans' careers were inexorably linked to Disney, beginning with one of their hit songs written before their film career took off, "Tall Paul."
|Annette was the first female vocalist to crack|
the Top Ten with a rock-and-roll tune.
|This car did everything but tapdance.|
|The Shermans were tasked with writing|
songs for Greer Garson and Geraldine Page.
|They wrote the title song.|
|The Slipper and the Rose|
featured Richard Chamberlain as
He really wanted her shoes.
Of course, I was wrong to dismiss the Shermans' work. Robert's melodies stand the test of time, and in particular, his ballads such as "Feed the Birds" and "Hushabye Mountain" delivered emotion which was simple and clean. Simple, but not simplistic. And those ballads, melodically, are unforgettable and even a bit haunting.
|She never spoke, but was at the center of one of Sherman's|
most beautiful ballads. Jane Darwell won the Oscar for
Grapes of Wrath. Mary Poppins was her final film.
|Tommy broke his foot. Investors|
fled, and Busker Alley died
on the road.
|Lionel Jeffries was younger than|
Dick Van Dyke, who played his son.
When character actor Lionel Jeffries died, his watery solo number from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was featured. And I had almost forgotten that the Shermans scored one of my favorite live-action musicals from my childhood, The One and Only Genuine Original Family Band. That clip is definitely worth watching, as it includes a dozen stars to be glimpsed, as well as a swell dance-off between Lesley Ann Warren and Goldie Hawn.
|Goldie Hawn is on the far left, in mustard. A year later, she|
was swiping sketches on Laugh-In.
Before Walt Disney died, the Shermans were the go-to guys to provide songs for the animated features which made all the money for the studio. After Walt died, the team left the studio, and there was a drought of strong cartoon features from Disney. It wasn't until 1989 that Disney animation experienced a revival, with The Little Mermaid. By then, the Shermans were passe, and the so-called renaissance of the animated movie musical fell into the hands of Howard Menken and his collaborators.
|Swing music great Louis Prima|
as King Louis
Howard and his partners will just have to wait for their own Dance Party, this week's can feature no one but the Shermans. Robert and his brother provided the score to one of my favorite Disney animated features, The Jungle Book.
|Ron Howard's little brother Clint voiced Hathi, Jr.|
Listening to this music this week, and in particular this week's clip, I was surprised to realize that the Shermans could actually write in a style different from the perky, generic one which permeates Poppins and her brethren. For The Jungle Book, the brothers created a song which sounds right out of the beat generation. This clip encourages me to investigate the Shermans' only musical to be created for the stage and to become a hit, Over Here. That show was a tribute, in a way, to the Big Band era, and starred two of the three Andrews Sisters (the third had already died), and I bet the score contains some wonderful swing numbers.
|Over Here had a swell ensemble.|
Though common (and even required) today, back then, it was fairly unusual for an established star to lend his voice to a cartoon. Here, though, we have George Sanders, Phil Harris, and Sebastian Cabot joining forces with Disney standbys Sterling Holloway and J. Pat O'Malley.
|The Vultures were to be voiced by The Beatles.|
But nobody told them. They declined; one of their replacements
was Chad Stewart, of pop group Chad & Jeremy.
The catchy song below almost makes up for the fact that Robert and Richard Sherman are responsible for one of the most irritating tunes ever to embed itself in your brain.
|A trip on this ride infects your brain with its|
theme song. Your brain does not recover.
Robert Sherman died this week, at the age of 86.