Earliest Disney records?

Here’s a treat. Music historian and record archivist Mike Kieffer sent me a copy of his latest find. It’s the first authorized recording made of Minnie’s Yoo Hoo in 1930 which, Mike says, “…was not released until about January 1931. However, this still predates the next earliest Mickey Mouse song, which is by the Varsity Eight from late 1931. It’s also the only instance I can recall of a piece composed by Carl Stalling issued on a commercial record, other than perhaps children’s records from the 1940s and beyond. I think the vocalist is the bandleader himself, Leo Zollo, but I’m not sure about that. The personnel is apparently unknown, as is the exact recording date, but it’s sometime in May-June of 1930.” Click on the label at left to see it larger, and you can listen to the delightful track here:

Mickey Mouse historian David Gerstein has also uncovered the earliest Mickey Mouse-based sheet music he’s aware of. Says David, “It was published in both England and Germany in 1930. The recording of it that I’ve attached (below) is one that I acquired on a bootleg CD years ago; there, it was credited to musician Leonard Henry and dated 1930 as well. Any British Brew readers who’d like to help me identify label and confirm the 1930 recording date are more than welcome.”

(Thanks to Mike Kieffer and David Gerstein)


  • http://robcatview.blogspot.com robcat2075

    The sound quality of that “Minnie’s Yoo Hoo” record is better than in any of the actual films. I recall reading somewhere that Disney was unhappy with the recording quality they were getting in their studio at that time. I also recall seeing a census page (here?) where Roy Disney lists his job as “sound recorder” which might explain why they weren’t getting the most out of the equipment.

    There’s a noticeable similarity between the song in that Mickey Mouse sheet music and a song that a post-Disney Oswald sings in a cartoon that John K posted on his blog

    http://johnkstuff.blogspot.com/2007/09/animation-lesson-2-oswald-dance.html

    scroll down a bit to find the mov file.

  • Siamang

    Delightful!

  • http://www.cartoonresearch.com/gerstein David Gerstein

    Whoops; my contribution is really the earliest *foreign* Mickey sheet music I’m aware of, not the earliest *period*. That would be the “Minnie’s Yoo-Hoo” sheet music that we can see sitting on the piano here:

    http://www.michaelbarrier.com/Essays/Disney1930/Disney1930.html

    Presumably released in late 1929, I’ve only ever seen one example on sale. It seems to be very rare indeed.

  • Kenneth Henderson

    Leonard Henry was an English dance band singer of the period & no relation to the Afro-British comedian Leonard Henry currently married to the TV comedian Dawn French(The Vicar of Dibley).

  • Mark K.

    Recording sound onto film, either magnetic or optical, was inferior to disc records.http://www.widescreenmuseum.com/sound/sound04.htm#soundindex

    Well, the playback, anyway. A Vitaphone disc recording might have sounded good, had Warners allowed Disney to use it. Most surviving Vitaphone discs are pretty scratched up from use, as well. http://www.vitaphone.org/

  • Shawn Jackson

    It’s findings like this that make the internet cool. Thanks!

  • Daniel Goldmark

    Just to further David’s comment: “Minnie’s Yoo-Hoo” is, as far as I know, the earliest Disney-related sheet music to be published, appearing in 1929, and published by Villa-Moret, which was based in Los Angeles. It does credit both Carl Stalling and Walt Disney as songwriters on the music itself, but only Disney’s name appears on the cover. The Mickey image on the piano that David refers to in his comment (from a photo on Mike Barrier’s website) is not the cover to “Minnie’s Yoo-Hoo,” however. That cover was reproduced as the frontispiece to the Barrier/Gray/Spicer interview of Carl Stalling when it was originally published in Funnyworld #13 (Spring 1971).
    minnie yoo hoo

  • http://vintagedisneymemorabilia.blogspot.com/ David

    Daniel is right…the “Minnie’s Yoo Hoo!” sheet music was the first commercially produced piece of sheet music issued by Disney. If I am not mistaken, the music was taken from the 1929 Mickey Mouse cartoon, Mickey’s Follies.

    Copies of this arrangement were also given away to Mickey Mouse Club members during their Saturday morning meetings. The four page foldout is marked “Copyright 1930 – by Walter E. Disney.” The back and front covers feature really cool graphics, while the inside pages contain the musical arrangement and lyrics. I’ll send Jerry scans in case he wants to post them.

    The 1930 Mickey Mouse Club General Campaign Manual contained two sample posters and 30 pages of information. Theaters could also purchase four related slides and two film trailers. The slides contained info on how to join the Club and were shown two week’s before a Club’s formation.

    The first film trailer was about 250 feet in length and was available from the Studio on a rental basis. The film featured vaudeville star “Noodles” Fagan, Mickey and Minnie. The trio announced the theater was starting a Club and gave children instructions on how to join.

    The second trailer was approximately 400 feet long and was sold by the Disney Studio for $16.50. This film featured Mickey Mouse singing “Minnie’s Yoo Hoo.” I have a bootleg copy of this trailer on video, which I bought about 15 years ago. It’s a hoot to watch!

    The sheet music posted by David is extremely rare. I’ve been collecting vintage Disneyana for around 24 years now and have seen probably less than ten copies ever offered for sale. I’m writing an extensive post that looks at the 1930s Mickey Mouse Club, which should be up on my blog closer to the end of this month.

    To see Les Clark’s original art for the cover of the Minnie’s Yoo Hoo sheet music posted by Daniel, visit the collection of my good friend Dennis Books at this link:

    http://www.comicartfans.com/GalleryPiece.asp?Page=1&Order=Date&Piece=135497&GSub=20233&GCat=0&UCat=0

  • http://www.cartoonresearch.com/gerstein David Gerstein

    To the best of my knowledge, the “Noodles” Fagan film is presently a lost Mickey film—the only one.
    I’ve seen animation drawings in sequence that look late-1929 showing Mickey with a megaphone and then at a piano, playing while musical notes burst out and pop above his head. I wonder whether these come from this promotional film.

  • Jessica Martin

    Anyone know more about the “Noodles” Fagan film? He is my great great grandfather and I am in the process of learning all I can about him.

    • http://CartoonBrew Rob

      Hi Jessica: I came across this article and am trying to find the short movie reel with your grandfather, Noodles Fagan, Mickey and Minnie Mouse promoting the Mickey Mouse club. Did you ever locate this reel? I also searched the internet for your grandfather and there is a photo of him with some articles. If you need assistance locating this information let me know. Regards, Rob

  • Jeffrey Owens

    Jessica, I discovered that “Noodles” Fagan was the opening act for the grand opening of the now historic Aztec Hotel in Monrovia, CA, which took place on September 1, 1925.

  • Kristjan Birnir

    Whats the actuall title of this Noodles Fagan film?