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Lost Louis Prima Disney Song

Here’s a real curio – and a treat for fans (like I am) of Louis Prima. The son of late song writer Floyd Huddleston (The Aristocats), Huston Huddleston, has just posted the first of several lost songs produced by Disney for use in a proposed version of The Rescuers. Says Huston:

“This is a song written by Floyd Huddleston, recorded at Disney in Burbank by Louis Prima, Sam Butera and the Witnesses. EXTREMELY rare recording, not even Disney has it, and was not used for the final film. To my knowledge, there were only storyboards and sketches for the Louis The Bear version of the film, most of which Disney has never released.

“Over the next few months, I will be releasing ALL of the unreleased songs and Demos from the film including “Rescuers Aid Society”, “Misery”, “I Never Had It So Good” “Sittin’ In My Favorite Position Doin’ Nothin’‘” and “All I Ever Do Is Think Of You“.

“Unfortunately, the demo version of “Someone’s Waiting For You” sung by Nancy Adams (singer of Love from Robin Hood) is, to my knowledge, forever lost.”

It’s certainly a pleasure to hear this, though its debatable if this version of the story would have made a better film. Who knows how much more discarded material the Disney vaults hold (if they kept it all)?

  • Tom Pope

    Brings to my mind an overgrown Bongo.

  • HA! Great song!!! I woulda jammed out to this as a kid :)

  • Shake it, Baby!!!

  • Gerard de Souza

    Bear on the unicycle reminds me of Bruno The Magnificent from Bugs Bunny’s Big Top Bunny.
    Song’s intro sounds like Animal Crackers In My Soup.
    I love Louis Prima & The Witnesses and Keely Smith and all but I don’t care for this song.
    Another character named Louis with the same actor?
    I like the way The Rescuers films turned out…probably for the better.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      It certainly felt like overkill the way it was going hill until they nixed this.

  • Manny

    The PERFECT PETA song!

  • I love this song, but I get the feeling that they planned to reuse animation from The Jungle Book for this movie to save on cost. I’m glad they didn’t go with this idea, the version we have now is very heartfelt.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      I felt that way too, a lot of the same style dancing and performance could be combed form that along with The Aristocats for that matter.

  • Jesse Haskell

    Actually, we provided this along with several other tracks and images from the tracking sessions to the Prima Estate a few years ago. So yes, Disney has copies of this material.

  • Chris Powell

    Love the song but glad the Rescuers came out the way it did. If it didn’t, we wouldn’t have the heartbreaking performance of penny and the amazing animation of Medusa.

  • Great hearing a lost Louis Prima song, but the artwork suggests, as mentioned before, a retread of Bongo. Also, after Jungle Book and Robin Hood, how many big, jazz-singing bears were they going to do? The prisoner rescued by the mice in the original book was an adult political prisoner, a poet, and not a zoo animal. Interesting, but I can see how the filmmakers thought a little girl was arguably a better emotional choice for their movie.

  • Joe Jackson

    This is awesome. I’m a huge Sam Butera and Prima fan! Cool finding it on an animation blog!

  • huston

    I agree with pretty much every comment made. Frank and Ollie once said they didn’t want to “Draw all those white and black penguins” and just before Prima died, they’d incorporated Penny into the story.

    On a musical level, the final film wasn’t very interesting. “Someone’s Waiting For You” was the only good song, and there was no uptempo “swinging” song at all. The remaining songs Dad wrote were bluesy or ballads, but that’s what Wooley requested for the story. I’ll soon be posting dad’s “Rescuer’s Aid Society” which is quite a bit better than what ended up in the film.

  • Bud

    I’d have preferred the original plot for the Rescuers, where the mice helped save a poet from a Cuban prison and escaped back to the U.S. under machine gun fire in an exciting boat chase in the Bahamas during a hurricane (there’s lots of great art in the Disney Archives on this one!). At the height of the Cold War, it’s no wonder they didn’t move forward on that one (although it would have been very interesting if they had!).

    I didn’t care much for the second version they developed, featuring Cruella DeVille as the villain.

    This bear version looks even less interesting–and the song is pretty weak.

    What I’d love to hear is the Charo as a flamingo song cut from Fox and the Hound.

    • “I’d have preferred the original plot for the Rescuers, where the mice helped save a poet from a Cuban prison and escaped back to the U.S. under machine gun fire in an exciting boat chase in the Bahamas during a hurricane (there’s lots of great art in the Disney Archives on this one!).”

      Is what you say here true? Did Disney really develop this as the first version of The Rescuers? I so wish it is true…

  • A poor song which should have been cut. Also an aging Louis Prima has breath control troubles. However, it’s great to have and preserve this late song of his from a wonderful career as a big band swinger.

  • Roman

    shouldn’t all jazz singing bears in Disney cartoons be voiced by Phil Harris?

    • Chris Sobieniak

      dreadfully true!

    • John A

      Phil Harris had already been cast in the Rescuers, at least in one partially developed version, as a bullfrog member of the swamp team. The character was cut from the final version.

      • Chris Sobieniak

        Well at least he had his chance to do another feature.

      • ShouldBeWorkin’

        I actually thought I heard Harris’ laugh during this song.

  • JW

    Peopleitis. I understand, Mr. Bear.

  • This is fantastic. Thank you for sharing these, Huston. It’s exciting to learn new things about the creative process behind one of my favorite films.

  • Ben

    Although the song is fun, I’m sure glad they scrapped this version of the film. Coming right along after The Jungle Book, Robin Hood, and The Aristocats, they didn’t need a story with so many animals. I liked the darker tone the final film took. Well, not terribly dark, but not so typical either. Where did this “jazzy bear” version fit into the process? Before or after the Cruella-as-villain again?

    • ShouldBeWorkin’

      Both are villains but I think Medusa is quite distinct from Cruella.

  • Jim Hill’s blog revealed Frank Fontaine [role model both for Pete Puma of that one Merrie Melodie, 1952’s “Rabbit’s Kin” and Louie the Crazy Lion from a few Huckleberry Hound shorts, 1958’s “Lion-hearted Huck” and 1960’s “The Lion’s Busy”?] after the Louie Prime ape scene, was to be in as that one rhinoceros whose famouse certain en masse was nixed by Disney since that and the surving ape scene were hyperactive enough to cancel each other out!

    Maybe they were reacting to Alice in Wonderland and other Walt Disney productions with a steady stream of upbeat scenes (but I love “Alice”).

  • BTW The last comment I made regarded “Jungle Book”, since we’re talking Louie Prime despite the “Rescuers”-themed content of this article.

  • Andrew Kieswetter

    I like the song and I find it very interesting to read about early storylines and scrapped characters from completed Disney features. The version of The Rescuers that was made was great,although the only two memorable songs from it were the Oscar-nominated ‘Someone’s Waiting For You’ and ‘Tomorrow is Another Day’. That’s obviously Penny with Louis the Bear in that sketch.