In the previous post, we took a look at Disneyland Record no. DL-1297, Walt Disney's Story of the Seven Dwarfs and their Diamond Mine. It was released in 1966 as a 33⅓ LP 12" disc. The following year in 1967, album no. LLP-314 was introduced with the same title but as part of the Read-Along (See, Hear, Read) series. It was issued as a 7" LP and included a 24-page book (Western Publishing Company).
This American See, Hear, Read edition contained the same narrative recording (by "Disneyland Story Reader" Robie Lester) as the 1966 version but in an abbreviated, edited form. It also introduced the Tinker Bell chime to let young readers know when it was time to turn the page in their book. The two deleted songs from the film, "Music in Your Soup" and "You're Never Too Old To Be Young" were also here but no longer integrated into the story. Side 1 narrative; Side 2 songs.
Original release on green disc labels; later pressings used the "yellow rainbow" labels.
What was the See, Hear, Read story? The Seven Dwarfs set out from their cottage and end up following clues along the way until they make a marvelous discovery. It's merely coincidental that Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit were both first released in 1937. What might not be so accidental is the fact that this Diamond Mine story has a number of similar plot elements that can also be found in Tolkien's novel. His book was fresh off a re-printing in 1966, the same year this Disney audio story first came out. Let's look a little closer.
One of the motivating forces in The Hobbit is the idea that at the end of the dwarves' long journey to the Lonely Mountain, there is a hidden doorway that will lead them to a mysterious passage and the treasure. The secrets of this magical doorway are revealed (with the help of Gandalf and Elrond) by way of notations on a map and letters that can only be read by light of the midsummer moon. After many trials, the dwarves finally reach the appointed spot. It's the autumnal equinox, and here they wait until the last rays of sunlight hit the stone wall behind them. At that precise moment, a door appears and a key must be used to open it before the moment passes. They go in, and (after more trials and the climax of the book) those that remain finally get their treasure.
The Seven Dwarfs and Their Diamond Mine takes place after the film, and Snow White has been happily married for two years. Comparing a complex and intricate story like The Hobbit to a simple See, Hear, Read tale seems rather silly; nonetheless, it's fun! So our Seven Dwarfs do indeed discover a mysterious note and a gold key. Clues about midnight, moonlight, and a secret door are provided. When the grandfather clock in their mine strikes twelve, "a moonbeam came through the cave roof and shone on a door that had never been there before." Grumpy quickly puts the key in and opens the door to reveal a secret passage...to a royal ballroom where Snow White awaits their arrival.
Listen to the entire tale at MouseVinyl.
The Book (sample pages):
Illustrations and text copyright Disney. Posted here for historical documentation purposes only.
Also see the 1968 French and British versions of this album.