Tuesday, January 1, 2013

1938 Snow White Soundtrack - 78 rpm Record Set, J-8

Entitled Songs from Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, it was an immediate sensation. Issued by RCA/Victor Records in January of 1938, this commercially-released movie soundtrack was the first of its kind. Originally sold as a set of three shellac 78 rpm 10" discs, it contained eight of the nine songs heard in the picture (not "Bluddle-Uddle-Um-Dum"). These recordings were taken directly from the film's track and thus include bits of dialogue and sound effects. The album was a hit. 

Album cover...



Earlier this year, collector Rick Payne picked up this rare gem while at a memorabilia show. What a super find! Here's his description of the set...
The three records are held in Victor sleeves that have no mention of Disney. They are contained in an outer envelope that has a flap at the top; it's made of paper similar to today's manilla envelopes (although a bit softer). The only opening was at the top; mine is split completely along both sides. The back side has no printing. The front is breathtaking. The scene of the dwarfs crossing the log is on a glossy stock that is glued to the envelope--a costly process that shows that everyone at Disney and Victor treated the release with great attention to detail. The number "J-8" is printed at the bottom of the front panel. Someone told me that the set had an original retail price of 75 cents, but I can't confirm that. The records are in perfect condition.

In 1940, two years after it's release, this first pressing set was selling for $1.50. The "J" prefix designated Victor's Juvenile (or Junior) Series. SOURCE: The Golden Age of Walt Disney Records, Murray, p.159.



Record 1: Victor #25735
Side A: "With a Smile and a Song"
Side B: "Dig-a-Dig Dig / Heigh Ho"


Record 2: Victor # 25736  
Side A: "I'm Wishing / One Song"
Side B: "Whistle While You Work"


Record 3 Victor # 25737
Side A: "Dwarfs' Yodel Song"
Side B: "Some Day My Prince Will Come"  


The record sleeves...



Record #25735...
Side A: With a Smile and a Song



Record #25735...
Side B: Dig-A-Dig Dig and Heigh Ho



Record #25736...
Side A: I'm Wishing and One Song
Side B: Whistle While You Work



Record #25737...
Side A: Dwarfs' Yodel Song
Side B: Some Day My Prince Will Come

Description and image scans courtesy of Rick Payne via dadric's attic.



In these early days, Disney did not have its own music publishing company. All material was contracted out to Irving Berlin Music and later the Bourne Music Company.
All the rights to publish the music and songs from this film are actually still controlled by the Bourne Co. In later years, the Studio was able to acquire back the rights to the music from all of the other films, except this one. Prior to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, a movie soundtrack recording was unheard of and [had] little value to a movie studio.  Source: IMDb.
Read about a 1995 United States Court of Appeals case of Bourne vs. Walt Disney Company in regards to a Snow White copyright infringement in the use of video cassettes (first released on home video in 1994) and TV commercials.

17 comments:

  1. Nice post! Keep up the good work in 2013. Have a great year!

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  2. In October 1938 Adriana Caselotti and Harry Stockwell launched a $300,000 lawsuit against the Disney Studio and RCA. Caselotti, who said she earned less than $1,000 for her work on the film, sued for $200,000 while Stockwell, who said his paycheque was less than $500, sued for $100,000 in compensation. The suit was based on allegations that reproductions of their voices were made for phonograph records in violation of their contracts. The pair ultimately lost their lawsuit.

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    1. Thanks David. "Little details" like this help tell the whole story of Snow White. Much appreciated.

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  3. I love the graphics on the paper sleeves. Do you happen to know if this version of the Silly Song had that extra line that is not in the movie?

    David's comment is interesting, I admit that I feel bad for Adriana Caselotti... it would have been nice if she had at least been given some sort of bonus after the film found such incredible success.

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    1. It was certainly a different mindset back then, but I agree, Adriana kind of got a bum deal considering her contribution and how well the film did that first year.

      And yes, this is definitely the record album which has the Silly Song verse which was deleted from the film as well as most other subsequent Snow White soundtrack releases. I am currently writing a post on just this subject, and it will include an audio excerpt of the deleted lines. Look for it to go live in a few weeks.

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  4. This same set was reissued in about 1944, but without this cover art. It was Victor album Y-6, and had a red, generic children's circus-themed envelope. It also contains the extra line of "Silly Song".

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    1. That's right. GG don't you own that album? If so, would you be willing to email me a scan (300dpi) of the front/back cover and shots of the disc labels? I'd put them in a future post (with credit going to you of course). Let me know. :)

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    2. I finally got around to photographing the set. Hopefully I can figure out an easy way to get them to you...

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  5. Anyone on have any idea of the value of something like this??

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    1. I'm not an appraiser, but if it's in good condition, the record set has been seen on ebay for hundreds of dollars.

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  6. Its a nice set. I found mine at a yard sale...and then framed it lol.

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    1. What about the 1944 set by Lyn Murray orchestra and chorus on Decca records?

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    2. http://filmic-light.blogspot.com/2014/01/1944-decca-snow-white-record.html

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  7. I found the art featured on the record sleeve cut out and framed at GoodWill. It has the dark blue edging around It as it does on the record sleeve. There is also a bit of the the yellow sleeve around it showing where it was cut. There is a message on the back addressed to someone from someone with an address and date but I can't really read the cursive to make out all of the letters. Can anyone help me identify the writing on the back if I send a picture?

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