Sunday, October 19, 2008

Cliff Edwards as the voice of Jiminy Cricket - I'm No Fool (circa 1955)

Here's a well worn old kiddie record, a 6-inch, 78 rpm orange disc, the old 'Little Golden Record' format.

◀ (Click on image to view outer sleeve ENLARGED in a new window)

On Side A, Jiminy Cricket sings his 'Safety Song', just as he did in several educational cartoons that aired on TV's 'Mickey Mouse Club' show, beginning in 1955.

- Follow link to a list of the different 'I'm No Fool' educational cartoons at The Big
Cartoon DataBase

Listen to:
Cliff Edwards as the voice of Jiminy Cricket, w/ the Merry Mouseketeers, chorus & orchestra -
I'm No Fool

(Little Golden Record 6" 78, circa 1955)
(click for audio)

Side B features a quick, no-frills 'round', sans Cricket...

Listen to:
Frances Archer, Beverly Gile, Merry Mouseketeers, chorus & orchestra -
Frere Jacques

(Little Golden Record 6" 78, circa 1955)
(click for audio)

- Click here for the outer sleeve's back cover text, with a roster of other Mickey Mouse Club records in the series.

Cliff Edwards (1895 - 1971) originated the voice of Jiminy Cricket for 1940's 'Pinnochio', and continued in the voice role until the 1960s.

Though he was uncredited in the film, the role helped to revive his career, which had been in decline since the depression.

In the 1950s, his return to the role on TV would do so again,
for a time.

During the 1920s and into the early '30s, Cliff Edwards, a.k.a. 'Ukulele Ike' had been a Genuine Super Star as a recording artist, and on stage and screen.

His flair for jazzy scat singing, crooning and vocal 'tromnet' influenced many, and it was quite likely his use of the ukulele that helped make the instrument a staple of the era.

By the latter-half of the 1930s though, problems with money and problems with substance abuse and high-living began a roller-coaster of ups and downs that would follow him through the rest of his life, which ended, sadly, in obscurity.

See also:
- The Red Hot Jazz Archive has many fine archived vintage Cliff Edwards recordings.
(audio requires RealPlayer)

- Assorted other Cliff Edwards recordings at the Internet Archive
If you've never heard Ukulele Ike, you must investigate.

- Follow link to a video clip of Edwards, performing 'Hang On To Me' from a curious 1935 short,
'Starlit Days At The Lido'
, filmed in an early Technicolor process.

- Other 'Cliff Edwards - Ukulele Ike search results at YouTube.

Below, ▼ one of the 'I'm no Fool' segments from TV...


Ravel said...

As a fan of Ukulele Ike/Cliff Edwards, I can only agree about the fact he is a 'must' to be discovered. He is one of the most interesting singers of the 1920's with a personality to match...
Thanks for this little Disney gem here!

Chris Oliver said...

Woah, they used to show us this film in 2nd grade.

Sleestak said...

I admire Disney Co. for their long foray into education.

Duncanmusic said...

I have to credit you with reviving my interest in Cliff a/k/a Jiminy Cricket a/k/a ukelele Ike back when you first posted this in October.

I certainly knew of him, having grown up with Jiminy C. in the 50s and heard of Cliff & Ukelele Ike through my musical digs.

But following your links led me to download all I could find and now I'm hooked. I think he was the hottest thing going back then.

I have this ongoing quest to find music & musicians that I call 'unzipped'; that is, music played by musicians who sing or play like their zipper is down and they could care less. I believe that each era has it's share of totally unzipped musicians and then a collection of moments where different musicians 'got it' for a song or two and performed unzipped or in later day blues parlance, 'with their nose wide open'.

Cliff Edwards is unzipped. I have shared all I could find with about thirty of my closest friends in the local musical community, many of which play ukelele (his prowress is unparalleled) and just as many who can appreciate a great musician when they hear one.

Many thanks for your wake up call. Nice to see the old video also.

Ravel said...

Please note that some tunes from Gene Austin (singer from the 20's and 30's & +) have the same amount of unzipped quality...

Freshly-stirred links