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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Sheet Music-"Mickey Mouse And Minnie's In Town" (1933) & "Der Fuehrer's Face" (1942)

I've been quoted as saying: "I'm one of the laziest people I know. I just want to work one day a week -- it just needs to be a VERY profitable day!" I always looked for ways to leverage the time and energy we put into new product development into as many different areas as possible to maximize potential profit. Here are two more examples of where Disney gained secondary benefit from animation activities.

As far as the music side of animation is concerned, one of the Disney web sites had several interesting comments. First, this quote from Leonard Maltin:
Some people will tell you that music was a key ingredient of Walt Disney's success. Don't you believe it. Music was the foundation of Walt Disney's success.
The site went on to say:

- From the first time Mickey Mouse squeaked on the screen in "Steamboat Willie" to the soaring musical score of "Dinosaur," the history of Disney has gone hand in hand with music. Barely five years after "breaking the sound barrier" in "Steamboat Willie," Mickey Mouse and his cartoon gang made the move into the infant field of commercial audio recordings for the home.
- The first records of Disney songs were released in 1934 by RCA/Victor. Recorded by Frank Luther and his orchestra in November 1933, the music was derived from the popular Mickey Mouse and Silly Symphony cartoons, including "In a Silly Symphony," "Dance of the Bogey Man," "Mickey Mouse and Minnie's in Town," and "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?"

"Micky Mouse And Minnie's In Town" (1933)

Ann Ronell (1905-1993), who wrote the song, had been a song writer for years and got her start on Broadway and wrote the popular "Willow, Weep For Me" in 1932. Disney was her first employer in Hollywood where she co-wrote "Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf" from "The Three Little Pigs" (1933) with Frank Churchill. In 1991, Ronell was inducted into the National Academy of Popular Music's Hall of Fame. The role Ronell played in later adaptation and commercial success of "Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf" became the basis for litigation through 1972. (457 F.2d 1213, United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit).

Frank Churchill (who stared to work for Disney in 1930) became is known for his music in "The Three Little Pigs" and "Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs" -- including the songs "Whistle While You Work" and "Someday My Prince Will Come." Churchill received Oscar nominations for "Baby Mine," the score for "Bambi" and "Love Is A Song" from "Bambi."

“Der Fuehrer’s Face” (1943)

[NOTE: On the back of the sheet music is Morse code for the "V" in Victory.]

Oliver Wallace's "Der Fuehrer's Face" was released prior to the opening of the cartoon to help promote attendance - a marketing innovation that continues to exist today. The song was recorded by Spike Jones and His City Slickers. In the song, Jones used an instrument called a "birdaphone," which made a farting noise, to communicate the concept of passing gas in the face of Hitler. The tomato on the the cover of the sheet music was an attempt to put into an image the sound of the "birdaphone." [I don't make this stuff up!]

Oliver Wallace became one of the most important composers of music for animation. He co-wrote a number of scores with Frank Churchill, including "Dumbo." Wallace scored "Cinderella," "Alice In Wonderland," "Peter Pan," and "Lady And The Tramp." In add, Wallace helped produce the music for over 140 Disney productions. (Wikipedia: Oliver Wallace) [Note: cover sheet is also shown on Wikipedia's entry on "Der Fuehrer's Face" (Wikipedia: Der Fuehrer's Face)

----- DATABASE NOTES -----

SeqID-1801. From “Der Fuehrer’s Face” (1943) sheet music by Oliver Wallace. Copyright 1942. Southern Music Publishing Co., Inc., 1619 Broadway, New York. 4-pages. Note: “Nell Van Zant” written in ink on the front; slight wear on back side. Good example of Disney’s War Bonds artwork on back. [9”W x 12”H] Acquired 2006. Updated: SeqID-1801.

SeqID-1802. From “Mickey Mouse And Minnie’s In Town” (1933), words and music by Ann Ronell. Copyright 1933, Irving Berlin, Inc., 1607 Broadway, New York. By special permission from “Walt Disney Ent.” 8-pages. Note: image of Mickey and Minnie show “pie” eyes. [9”W x 12”H] Acquired 2006. SeqID-1802 Updated: 1/23/2006


  1. This is the second printing of the sheet music. The first printing made reference to the film's original title, which was "Donald Duck in Nutzi Land."

    When the song, which was titled "der Fuehrer's Face" became a big hit, the title of the film was changed to match the title of the song. The "Nutzi Land" reference was then omitted from future printings of the sheet music.

    Visit this link to see a series of posts I created that look at this great Disney propaganda film:

  2. Wow! Thanks for the comment and the link. I apologize for not doing a search before posting. Your information is exceptional...

    Thanks, again

  3. I have an original copy of the sheet music for der Fuhrer,s Face with the title "Donald Duck in Nutzi Land also on the cover. I am looking to see what kind of interest there might be for it. Please contact me at

  4. I have a copy of this sheet music if anyone is interested in it, Peter or