Elementary school music class was a very memorable time for me. In my school, we had to perform musicals for the community, and when we weren’t doing that, we were usually watching VHS tapes. As one would probably guess, these were musical tapes, some of which had the viewers sing along. There are several that I remember, but cannot remember the name of, but the ones that I definitely remember are from Disney.
Disney had a line of tapes known as Disney Sing Along Songs, which featured songs from their various movies tied together by a host. The hosts of these tapes included Jiminy Cricket and Ludwig Von Drake. However, those aren’t the tapes that I’ll be discussing today. There were a few tapes that Disney released that had live-action footage shot exclusively for them. They popped into my head recently, so I thought that I might as well share my memories with you all.
One particular line of these tapes was Mickey’s Fun Songs. These saw Mickey and the gang, represented by what look like costumes recycled from Disney Parks, go to various locations with children. The one that I remember the most was when they went to the Ringling Bros./Barnum & Bailey Circus. It’s essentially just some songs and acts from the now-defunct circus with occasional dialogue.
Re-watching this, the acting in the non-musical segments is fascinating. Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy are just as excitable as the children, and the clown that invites the kids backstage is so into his role. The green screening in the intro looks like something out of The Wiggles, and the intro song is catchy as well.
As for the rest of the songs, they’re fine. “Rainbow World” is a fine song to introduce the circus to children, but the song immediately after, “The Circus on Parade,” has almost the exact same rhythm as it, but only a little faster. “Upside Down,” originally by Diana Ross, is a catchy little tune with some funky bass and some cool-sounding keyboard, and the classic “Aba Daba Honeymoon” has a catchy chorus. That’s about all that I have to say for the individual songs, since so many sound similar. The most exciting thing that happens in this tape is when the subtitles are edited in some way.
After getting bored with that tape, I turned to the other one that I remembered. That one was 101 Dalmatians: Pongo and Perdita (spoilers: there aren’t 101 Dalmatians).
From a visual standpoint, this one had a set built for it that looks kind of cool. The main human character is also good in her role as the dogs’ caretaker, but that’s about all of the complements that I have for this program as an adult. Some of the songs on this tape (and the circus one) are not by Disney, and some of the ones that are by Disney are from films that are not a part of the series called 101 Dalmatians. Granted, that series did not have many songs to choose from, but still. It begins with “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah,” which was originally featured in one of Disney’s most controversial movies ever, “Song of the South.” The bit that I remembered the most was “Follow the Leader,” which according to Wikipedia was originally in Peter Pan. A catchy song, but why is it here?
The plot sees the Dalmatians about to head to the “Bow Wow Ball,” where there’s food, dancing, and of course, music by Lil Bow Wow. Other songs in this tape include “Hokey Pokey,” a variation of “Bingo (Was His Name-O),” and “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” which may have the funniest transition ever in one of these tapes.
The kid said he was okay, there wasn’t any permanent damage, and there was a funny sound effect, so it’s okay to laugh.
Yeah, as an adult, these are fun to make fun of for a little bit, but I found myself getting bored very quickly. However, that’s not a problem with the tapes themselves at all, because for what they seek out to do, they do it well. Children would love these tapes, but I’d recommend that if you get one, then it should be one with songs from Disney’s classic movies, as they’re simply better than these tapes’ song collections. With that being said, I hope that you enjoyed this look back at a part of my childhood.
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Thanks for reading! YouTube clips uploaded by Andrew Vickers and Lift Tech. The videos themselves are owned by Disney.