Saturday, June 22, 2013

1949 Dennis Day w/ Ilene Woods as Snow White - RCA-Victor Record Y-33

Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs--as told and sung by Dennis Day with Ilene Woods as Snow White, first issued in 1949. A two-record, 78 rpm set, this RCA/Victor storybook album (Little Nipper series, catalog no. Y-33) is distinctive in that it doesn't employ the original soundtrack recordings of Adriana Caselotti as the princess.

The 78 rpm album cover measures approximately 10.5" x 12".



At the time, Ilene Woods had already been working at the studio as the lead voice on the Cinderella project. By having her partake in this "side job", Disney was taking full advantage of an opportunity to build buzz for the 1950 film...and to sell more records.

The album, which includes a 24 page book plus two attached record sleeves, is arranged so that the narration of radio personality and singer, Dennis Day, corresponds with the text. The story is on the left side, color illustrations on the right. Day explains to young listeners how the "read-along" works with the RCA Little Nipper dog. "Every time NIPPER Barks...(BARK-BARK-BARK)...you turn the page in your story book."




The full-color illustrations are reminiscent of what we might see in a Snow White comic book. Eleanor Audley, the voice of Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty, is the voice of the Queen/Witch in this story.



Note the The Wizard of Oz reference on the wooden beam to the right of the Witch.



The music was arranged and conducted by Paul Smith, one of the composers on the original Snow White score. Six of the nine songs from the film are incorporated into the story, though all are shortened versions. Woods performs the princess tunes, Day sings One Song (near the end of the tale) and a men's group delivers Heigh-Ho. The other three dwarf songs, Dig Dig Dig, Bluddle-Uddle-Um-Dum, and The Silly Song are not included. Total running time (with dog barks): 14:01.

RCA released and re-released this particular Snow White album many times over, yet the 1949 Little Nipper Y-33 edition was its first issue. Two 10" 78 rpm "Non-Breakable" vinyl discs. Yellow labels with red printing.



Matrix #45-5256-A: Side 1



Matrix #45-5256-B: Side 4 is on the reverse side



Matrix #45-5257-A and B: Sides 2-3.



The back of the album is neatly embossed with the RCA logo and text.



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In another Little Nipper Y-33 printing, the record album and storybook are identical to the one above. The only differences are blue disc labels and a back cover with no embossed markings. The record numbers and other details are the same.



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A maroon-colored label was used with still another 78 rpm pressing. Album cover and story book are identical to the ones above; no markings on back cover.

Red label disc via supagroove.

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Released concurrently with the first 78s in 1949 was a two disc, 45 rpm vinyl set (Little Nipper WY-33). The album incorporates the same storybook, just smaller dimensions. The front cover is bordered by a black line that's not present on the 78s; however, left off is the wide blue spine reinforcement with the Little Nipper.

The 45 rpm album cover measures approximately 7.25" x 7.25".



Side-by-side comparison of the 78 and 45 album covers.



The paper sleeves for the 45s are attached in a couple different ways, depending on which printing you have.




RCA/Victor first began producing 45s in 1949. All of the early pressings were color coded; at a glance, one could know the musical genre just by the disc color. Children's were yellow vinyl with blue labels. These 7" records have the alternate catalog numbers, seen within the parentheses on the Snow White 78s above.

Matrix #47-0204-A and B: Sides 1,4.



Matrix #47-0205-A and B: Sides 2-3. No logo on back album cover but a nice textured pattern.


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In 1954, RCA/Victor issued a shortened, edited version of the Snow White recording on a single 78 disc. A new catalog number Y-484 and fresh cover art distinguish this paper sleeve album. Gone is the storybook and all references to the Little Nipper (except in the logo).



The yellow label with red printing is similar to the original 78s from 1949.



The Snow White recording was released on a 45 rpm as well, as noted on the back cover,

Special thanks to 78 expert, Peter Muldavin of The Kiddie Record King for sharing info and images on this 1954 album.

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At this time, RCA/Victor was experimenting with EPs, extended play 45s. In 1955, a kind of 2-for-1 deal was released in the Little Nipper Series (EYA-45). It features the same cover art as the previous 78, except that in addition to Snow White, we get Ilene Woods as Cinderella too. The album sleeve is a thick cardboard.




Snow White run time is 7:46; Cinderella's 7:42.

Images via recordsforsale.

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In 1960, eleven years after the album's first release, it was re-pressed on a 12", 33⅓ vinyl LP (CAL 1044). The full Snow White story was reinstated, except for the Little Nipper. The "dog bark" page turners were deleted from the recording, making the total run time approximately 13:15. The original cover artwork was also back, with a modified font style. The storybook, however, did not return.



Snow White only appears on Side 1. The flipside is a tale narrated by Paul Wing, Long-Name-No-Can-Say. The disc sports a purple and blue RCA/Camden label.



During this period, the inner sleeve often came with promotions on both sides for other Disney titles.


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Record CAL-1044 (above) is a mono recording. RCA/Camden also issued it with an electronic stereo effect, catalog number CAS-1044(e). The latter features an orange bordered cover and a notation in the upper right corner that reads, "Stereo Effect Reprocessed from Monophonic."



Sky blue label.



In another printing, a red sticker is placed over the Camden logo. A reference to the "Electronic Stereo" is also found on the back lower left.

US orange-border album images via DisneylandRecords.com.


The text on a Canadian issue simply reads, "Electronically Reprocessed Stereo."

Image via Wulfmagick.

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Dennis Day and Ilene Woods had a great run with this Snow White recording. It most certainly proved profitable for both RCA and Disney. It's amazing how many issues there were. Still another was released on the RCA/Victor Children's Bluebird label (LBY-1044). $1.98.


Bluebird images via hometown-computers.


I've seen at least one other album release of this record, and there very well could have been more. I also came across this video posted by KiddieRecordsWeekly. It's the entire original 1949 tale with Dennis Day and Ilene Woods (plus the Little Nipper). Enjoy while you can. Who knows how long this will remain online?

4 comments:

  1. I would love to know who did the artwork for that first album (and its many later incarnations)... I get the feeling it might be done by Walt Kelly, who later became famous for his "Pogo" comic strip.

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    1. I'm not actually sure who did the artwork. I'd like to know if it was Walt Kelly too.

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