"Cartoonist Walt Disney has made the twentieth century's only important contribution to music.  Disney has made use of music as language."--Jerome Kern

Walt Disney and Music - In His Own Words

"There's a terrific power to music.  You can run any of these pictures and they'd be dragging and boring, but the minute you put music behind them, they have life and vitality they don't get any other way."

"We should set a new pattern, a new way to use music."

"Music had always had a prominent part in all our products from the early cartoon days.  So much so, in fact, that I cannot think of the pictorial story without thinking about the complementary music that will fulfill it . . . I have had no formal musical training.  But by long experience and by strong personal learning, I've selected musical themes, original or adapted, that were guided to wide audience acceptance."

"But credit for the memorable songs and scores must, of course, go to the brilliant composers and musicians who have been associated with me through the years."

"Fantasia, to me is a whole new opportunity. For my medium it opens up unlimited possibilities.  Music has always played a very important part since sound came into the cartoon. Now, the full expression that comes from the new Fantasound opens up a whole new world for us."

"I was doing Sorcerer's Apprentice with Mickey Mouse and I happened to have dinner one night with Leopold Stokowski. And Stokowski said, 'Oh, I'd love to conduct that for you.' ... Well, that led to not only doing this one little short subject but it got us involved to where I did all of Fantasia and before I knew it I ended up spending four hundred and some thousand dollars getting music with Stokowski.  But we were in then and it was the point of no return. We went ahead and made it."

--All quotes above by Walt Disney.

The importance of music in Disney projects didn't just mean scores for films and tv shows.  When Disneyland was built in 1955 there were a plethora of live music groups in the park, appropriately themed to the area in which they were performing.  The same goes for Walt Disney World and every Disney park built since then.  The first record album available to purchase at Walt Disney World in the early to mid-1970s ("A Musical Souvenir" picture disc, pictured and listed elsewhere on this site) was nothing but performances by these groups - which at the time, included:

The Kids of the Kingdom
The Walt Disney World Band (who also recorded their own album in 1972)
The Dapper Dans
The Banjo Kings
The Saxophone Quartet (Keystone Cops)
The Main Street Pianist
The Pearly Band
The Fife and Drum Corps
The Town Band
The Tavern Singers
The Polka Band
The Blue Grass Boys
Mariachi Chaparral
The Steel Drum Band (who also recorded their own album in 1976)

Walt Disney in the barber's chair being serenaded by The Mellomen Barbershop Quartet.
The Mellomen performed regularly at Disneyland and their voices were featured in Disney films and on recordings.

Leopold Stokowski and Walt Disney discuss Fantasia ideas . . .

Studio songwriting team Robert B. and Richard M. Sherman with Walt.

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