Yesterday, I wrote a bit about the movie musical The Happiest Millionaire, the last live-action movie that Walt Disney worked on. (Okay, I wrote more than "a bit.") As you might imagine, I have a little to add. There are a couple other songs from the charming score by the Sherman Brothers that I want to post.
As I noted, it's not a distinguished score, but very tuneful and a lot of fun. I want to post these two particular songs not because they're favorites -- they're aren't, though I like them both -- but because they each have something of interest in them.
The first is called "When a Man Has a Daughter" -- the video lists it as "What's Wrong with That?", but it's not. It's the same tune as a song in the score called "What's Wrong with That?" (which is sung a couple of times earlier) and is somewhat of a reprise of those, but the focus of the song here is entirely different. All though are sung by Fred MacMurray, which is the reason for posting it. I figured that most people might be intrigued to hear him sing. And in fact he does a very respectable job. He doesn't have a trained, strong voice but he can carry a tune nicely. In fact, in one of the versions of "What's Wrong with That?" -- a lively, petulant "character" number where he keeps defending his eccentric nature -- he ends with a seriously impressive high note. (I tried to find that, but couldn't, but I'll keep looking.) This sort-of-reprise is a much more tender number, sung to his daughter Cordelia, played by Lesley Ann Warren, who falls asleep in his arms.
The other song is "Watch Your Footwork," sung by the brothers of the aforementioned Cordelia, who warn one of her suitors about getting too forward when romancing her because of her skill as a boxer. (Her father, among his many off-beat interests, trains young men in boxing, and she's picked it up.) Playing the brothers are Paul Peterson and Eddie Hodges, and that's the reason for posting this. Some folks here may know of Paul Peterson, who's best-known for being on The Donna Reed Show, and had a bit of a singing career. But he's not why I've included this here. It's because of the other fellow in the scene, Eddie Hodges -- his name may be immediately familiar to a few people who wander these pages, but his most famous role absolutely will be to most everyone, since it's one of the most iconic supporting roles in Broadway history. As a very young boy, he was in the original Broadway cast of The Music Man and played the red-haired Winthrop Paroo, the shy lisping kid who breaks out to sing "The Wells Fargo Wagon" and "Gary, Indiana." I just think it's a treat to see him grown up and singing in a Walt Disney movie musical. And it's a fun number, as well.
Leave a Reply.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
Feedspot Badge of Honor