Is this a young Tim Heidecker at Disney World? I wish it was. However, it’s from something even better. A new post from the internet k-hole. Seeing this wealth of shitty snapshots makes me wonder why anyone is ever nostalgic for anything. Yes, there can be comfort in the safe and familiar past, but the memory is often much nicer than the moment itself, at least under the garish illumination of the flash from a cheap camera.
The Monkey’s Uncle by The Beach Boys and Annette Funicello
Last week I watched a great documentary called The Boys. It tells the story of Robert and Richard Sherman, legendary songwriters for many of Disney’s biggest and best films during their golden age. For all his accomplishments, Alan Menkin will forever write in the enormous shadow of these two.
I grew up watching these movies and loving the music. In the pre-Blockbuster era of the mid- to late-80s, my family used to rent video tapes from the library. The selection was limited, especially compared to today’s everything-all-the-time video options, but they did have a good selection of Disney tapes. We went through them all several times over. I remember a period of time where we must rented Bedknobs and Broomsticks several weekends in a row, at least. It wasn’t until much later in life that I even became aware the Sherman Brothers were responsible for the tremendous music, and even then, I knew very little of their story.
The movie is bittersweet. It was a joint effort between one of Robert’s sons and one of Richard’s sons, and they decided to make it to see if they could reconcile the estrangement between the two brothers and their respective families. Throughout the film, you see how drastically different the two brothers are, and how it eventually drove them apart on a personal level, if not a professional level. Robert went off to fight in WWII at a very young age, suffering injuries and seeing the horrors committed by Nazi Germany as his squad was the first to enter Dachau at the end of the war. In watching the movie, it’s clear that those early traumas never left him, and he has spent much of his life trying to shake them off. It’s ironic that a man who carries around such tremendous pain was able to create a body of work so full of joy and optimism.
This song comes from the 1965 film of the same name. I’d come across it before in my various YouTube travels, but I didn’t make the connection until it appeared briefly in The Boys. It’s credited simply to Robert and Richard Sherman, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the Beach Boys, or at the very least Brian Wilson, contributed quite a bit to the arrangement. I’m not a huge fan of Annette Funicello’s vocals on this one, however. Her voice is so grating against the inherent sweetness of the Beach Boys. She certainly looks cute shimmying about, though, which was probably more important to the Disney executives backing the film.
I heard this on the radio last night. I’ve always thought it was funny that this and other Disney songs have become jazz standards, but I guess that’s a testament to the strength of the folks who originally wrote them.
What really caught my ear was the shift in rhythm at 3:49. The song is in 6/8, and the drummer, Joe Morello, is playing a pretty straight forward 6/8 feel until that point, but then he switches things up and begins playing a 4/4 rhythm while the rest of the band stays in 6/8. Pretty awesome.