Monday, June 17, 2013
Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round
75 Years of Fun in Griffith Park
Over the past few days I’ve had the pleasure of taking my Canadian friend to Disneyland a couple of days and then around to see some Disney sights around the Los Angeles, California area. We drove to Burbank and walked around the Disney Studio and saw where Walt Disney wanted to build his “little park” before he decided better and made a much bigger playground for himself, Disneyland. We stopped in at the Carolwood Barn (Walt’s backyard train workshop from his house) and then went a little ways further into Griffith Park to see the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round.
Now you may ask, why check out the Merry-Go-Round in Griffith Park if I’m showing her mostly Disney history? Well, the story goes; Saturday was Daddy Day with the girls for Walt Disney. He was always looking for fun things to do with his two daughters. Often he ended up in Griffith Park sitting on a bench watching his girls ride the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round. He would sit there on the bench and think there should be some “entertainment enterprise” where parents could enjoy having fun with their children instead of just watching them. This is where the dream of Disneyland began.
Today the grand Merry-Go-Round has lost much of its luster. It is in good running condition but much in need of refurbishment. The poor old horses need lots of TLC to bring them back to the grandeur they once had. You can see the beauty beneath the faded and chipped paint and missing “jewels”. The crown panels are missing some of the pictures and the ceiling has some holes. The entire thing is faded.
The Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round was built in 1926 by the Spillman Engineering Co. It is the only 4 row, all jumping horse Spillman Merry-Go-Round still working today. From 1926-1938 it was on Mission Beach in San Diego. Some of the horses on the Merry-Go-Round date back to the 1880’s All the horses have real horse hair tails.
The music is from the original calliope. Its Stinson 165 Military Band Organ is said to be the largest carousel band organ on the West Coast, with more than 1500 marches and waltzes in its repertoire.
In 1938 it was purchased and moved to Griffith Park where it has entertained generations of children and is still bringing joy to the current generation of children. The Merry-Go-Round was purchased by privet parties in 1984 with the intent of refurbishing it. Slowly it is happening but is slow and expensive. The Merry-Go-Round has to generate the funds for its maintenance and repairs.
Many people have donated time, money and supplies in the process so far. I hope the speed of repairs picks up and this grand Merry-Go-Round is returned to its original beauty. It would be a shame for this piece of history to be lost.
Thursday, June 13, 2013
If you love music and especially Disney music you have heard of Richard Sherman and his older brother Robert. Yesterday was Richard Sherman's birthday! So today I'm sharing about him today.
Richard Morton Sherman (born June 12, 1928) is an American songwriter who specialized in musical film with his late brother Robert Bernard Sherman.
Some of the Sherman Brothers' best-known writing includes the songs from Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, Winnie the Pooh, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Slipper and the Rose, and the Disney theme park song "It's a Small World (After All)".
Richard Morton Sherman was born in New York City to Russian-Jewish immigrants, Rosa and Al Sherman. Together with his older brother Robert, "The Sherman Brothers" eventually followed in their songwriting father's footsteps to form a long-lasting songwriting partnership.
Following seven years of frequent cross-country moves, the Sherman family finally settled down in Beverly Hills, California in 1937. During Richard's years at Beverly Hills High School, he became fascinated with music and studied several instruments, including the flute, piccolo and piano.
At his 1946 graduation from Beverly Hills High School, Richard Sherman and André Previn played a musical duet. Previn played piano and Sherman played flute. Coincidentally, in 1965 both composers won Oscars in music categories for different films.
At Bard College, Sherman majored in Music, writing numerous sonatas and "art songs". His ambition to write the "Great American Symphony" eventually led him to write songs. Within two years of graduating, Richard and Robert Sherman began writing songs together on a challenge from their father, songwriter Al Sherman.
In 1953 Sherman was drafted into United States Army, joining the band and glee club. He served as a musical conductor for both groups and remained in the U.S. during his time in the service. During this time, his brother Robert worked with other songwriters. In 1955, Sherman was honorably discharged from the armed forces. In 1957 Sherman married Elizabeth Gluck, with whom he had two children: Gregory and Victoria. Lynda (Sherman) Rothstein is his daughter from a previous marriage.
In 1958 the Sherman Brothers had their first Top Ten hit with "Tall Paul", sung by Mouseketeer Annette Funicello. The success of this song got the attention of Walt Disney, who eventually hired the Sherman brothers as staff songwriters for Walt Disney Studios.
While at Disney, the Sherman Brothers wrote what may be their most successful song: "It's a Small World (After All)," for the 1964 New York World's Fair. Since then, "It's a Small World (After All)" has become the most-translated and performed song on Earth.
In 1965, the Sherman Brothers won two Academy Awards for the film Mary Poppins (1964), which includes the songs "Feed The Birds," "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," and the Oscar winner, "Chim Chim Cher-ee." After Mary Poppins, the Sherman Brothers won nine Academy Award nominations, two Grammy Awards, four Grammy Award nominations and 23 gold and platinum albums.
The Shermans worked directly for Walt Disney until Disney's death in 1966. Since leaving the company, the brother songwriting team has worked freelance on scores of motion pictures, television shows, theme park exhibits and stage musicals.
Their first non-Disney assignment came with Albert R. Broccoli's motion picture production Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in 1968, which garnered the brothers their third Academy Award Nomination. In 1973, the Sherman Brothers made history by becoming the only Americans ever to win First Prize at the Moscow Film Festival for Tom Sawyer, for which they also wrote the screenplay.
The Slipper and the Rose was chosen as the Royal Command Performance of 1976 and was attended by Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. A modern musical adaptation of the classic Cinderella story, "Slipper" also features both song-score and screenplay by the Sherman Brothers. That same year the Sherman Brothers received their star on the Hollywood "Walk of Fame" directly across from Grauman's Chinese Theater.
Their numerous other Disney and non-Disney top box office film credits include The Jungle Book (1967), The Aristocats (1970), The Parent Trap (1961), The Parent Trap (1998), Charlotte's Web (1973), The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977), Snoopy, Come Home (1972), Bedknobs And Broomsticks (1971), and Little Nemo: Adventures In Slumberland (1992).
Outside the motion picture realm, their Tony-nominated play, Over Here! (1974) was the highest-grossing original Broadway musical of that year. The Sherman Brothers have also written numerous top-selling songs, including "You're Sixteen," which holds the distinction of reaching Billboard's Top Ten twice, first with Johnny Burnette in 1960 and then with Ringo Starr fourteen years later. Other top-ten hits include "Pineapple Princess" and "Let's Get Together."
In 2000, the Sherman Brothers wrote the song score for Disney's film The Tigger Movie, marking the brothers' first work for a Disney major motion picture in over twenty eight years. In 2002, a a stage version of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, featuring six new songs from the Sherman Brothers, premiered at the London Palladium. It is currently the longest-running in that theater's history. In 2005, the musical premiered on Broadway at the Hilton Theatre.
In 2003, four Sherman Brothers' musicals ranked in the "Top 10 Favorite Children's Films of All Time" in a nationwide poll, according to the BBC. The Jungle Book (1967)_ranked at #7, Mary Poppins (1964) ranked at #8, The Aristocats(1970) ranked at #9 and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) topped the list at #1.
A new Disney and Cameron Mackintosh production of Mary Poppins: The Stage Musical made its world premiere at the Prince Edward Theatre in December 2004, featuring the Sherman Brothers' songs. The show went on to successful runs in New York and Los Angeles.
· The Sherman Brothers' classic motion picture, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was adapted into a London West End Musical in 2002 and premiered at the London Palladium on April 16, 2002 featuring many new songs and a reworked score by both Sherman Brothers. It was nominated for a 2003 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Best New Musical. The Sherman Brothers each received the "Musical Theatre Award" from the Variety Club of Great Britain that year as well for Chitty. Chitty finished a record breaking, three and a half year run at the Palladium becoming the longest running show in the theatre's century long history. 2004 saw the premiere of Mary Poppins on the stage. In 2005, Poppins was nominated for nine Olivier Awards. In 2005 Chitty went to Broadway and was nominated for 9 Tonys and also began its nationwide (UK) tour.
· On June 9, 2005, Sherman was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame alongside Bill Withers, Steve Cropper, John Fogerty, Isaac Hayes, David Porter and his brother, Robert B. Sherman.
· On November 16, 2006 the Cameron Mackintosh/Disney production of Mary Poppins made its Broadway premiere at the New Amsterdam Theater featuring the Sherman Brothers’ classic songs.
· In February, 2008 Chitty Chitty Bang Bang began a second UK tour. In 2008 and 2009, Poppins is scheduled to premiere in numerous cities throughout the world including:Stockholm, Copenhagen, Budapest, Shanghai, Toronto, Sydney, Johannesburg, Amsterdam, Buenos Aires, São Paulo and Helsinki. Full UK and US tours of Poppins are also scheduled to commence in 2008 and 2009 respectively.
· On Saturday, October 4, 2008, Sherman appeared as a surprise guest on stage at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles during The Swell Season's sold out concert and performed "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" with the band.
· On Monday, November 17, 2008, Robert and Richard Sherman were awarded the National Medal of Arts at the White House by President George W. Bush in the East Room. The National Medal of Arts is the highest award bestowed onto artist by the United States Government.
· In May 2009, a documentary called The Boys: The Sherman Brothers' Story was released. In October 2009, Disney released a 59 track, two CD compendium of their work for the studio spanning forty-two years. The CD is entitled The Sherman Brothers Songbook.
· In 2010 Sherman released "Forgotten Dreams," a CD of his piano music. Sherman also wrote "Make Way For Tomorrow Today," which can be heard in the score for the movie Iron Man 2.
· On March 11, 2010 the Sherman Brothers were presented with a Window on Mainstreet Disneyland in Anaheim, California in honor of their contribution to Disney theme parks.
· On May 17, 2010 the Sherman Brothers received the "Career Achievement Award" at The Theatre Museum's 2010 Awards Gala in New York City.
· On May 21, 2011, the Sherman Brothers were each awarded honorary doctorate degrees in Fine Arts from their alma mater, Bard College.
From 2002 onwards, Robert Sherman lived in London, England. He moved from Beverly Hills, while Richard Sherman remained in California. The geographical separation did not impede the brothers' collaborative process. The brothers credited this to fax, e-mail, and the low cost international telephone service. Both brothers frequently traveled between Los Angeles, New York, and London for their work. After Robert's move, the brothers continued to collaborate on various musical plays until Robert's death in 2012.
· The Parent Trap, 1961
· In Search of the Castaways, 1962
· Summer Magic, 1963
· The Sword in the Stone, 1963
· Big Red, 1963
· Mary Poppins, 1964
· The Happiest Millionaire, 1967
· The Jungle Book, 1967
· Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, 1968
· The Aristocats, 1970
· Bedknobs and Broomsticks, 1971
· Snoopy, Come Home, 1972
· Charlotte's Web, 1973
· The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, 1973
· The Slipper and the Rose, 1976
· The Magic of Lassie, 1978
· Magic Journeys, 1982
· Winnie the Pooh: Seasons of Giving", 1999
· The Tigger Movie, 2000
· A Symposium on Popular Songs, 1962 (uncredited)
· Mary Poppins, 1964 (*treatment only, uncredited)
· The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, 1973
· The Slipper and the Rose, 1976
· The Magic of Lassie, 1978
· Ferdinand the Bull, 1986 (*TV screenplay)
The London Palladium in 2004
Prince Edward Theatre in 2005
· Victory Canteen, 1971 (Ivar Theatre, Los Angeles)
· Over Here!, 1974 (Broadway, New York)
· Dawgs, 1983 (Variety Arts Center, Los Angeles)
· Busker Alley, 1995 (U.S. Tour)
· Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, 2002 (London)
· Mary Poppins, 2004 (London)
· On the Record 2004-2005 (U.S. Tour)
· Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, 2005 (Broadway, New York)
· Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, 2005 (UK Tour)
· Busker Alley, 2006 (Broadway, New York — one night only)
· Mary Poppins, 2006 (Broadway, New York)
· Mary Poppins, 2008 (UK Tour)
· Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, 2008 (Second UK Tour)
· Mary Poppins, 2009 (U.S. Tour)
· Summer Magic, 2012 ([Morristown,TN])
· The Best Time of Your Life for Carousel of Progress
· Magic Journeys for Journey Into Imagination
· it's a small world (after all) for the 1964 New York World's Fair attraction, Pepsi Presents WALT DISNEY'S "it's a small world" — a Salute to UNICEF and the World's Children, then adapted to each Disney Park installation of "It's a Small World"
· 1965 Won Academy Award in the category of "Best Original Song" for "Chim Chim Cher-ee" from Mary Poppins
· 1965 Won Academy Award in the category of "Best Music, Score - Substantially Original" for Mary Poppins
· 1969 Nominated Academy Award in the category of "Best Original Song" for "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
· 1972 Nominated Academy Award in the category of "Best Music, Original Song" for "The Age of Not Believing" from Bedknobs & Broomsticks
· 1972 Nominated Academy Award in the category of "Best Music, Scoring Adaptation and Original Song Score" for Bedknobs & Broomsticks
· 1974 Nominated Academy Award in the category of "Best Music, Scoring Original Song Score And/Or Adaptation" for Tom Sawyer
· 1978 Nominated Academy Award in the category of "Best Music, Original Song" for "The Slipper and the Rose Waltz" from The Slipper and the Rose
· 1978 Nominated Academy Award in the category of "Best Music, Original Song Score & Its Adaptation Or Best Adaptation Score" for The Slipper and the Rose
· 1979 Nominated Academy Award in the category of "Best Music, Original Song" for "When You're Loved" from The Magic of Lassie
· 2000 Nominated Annie in the category of "Outstanding Individual Achievement for Music in an Animated Feature Production" for the song "Round My Family Tree" from The Tigger Movie
· 1977 Nominated "Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music" for The Slipper and the Rose
· 1977 "Pioneer Award" awarded in Los Angeles, California.
· 1991 "Lifetime Achievement Award" awarded at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles, California.
· 1985 "Mousecar" awarded at the Hollywood Bowl in Hollywood, California in front of 20 thousand people.
· 2010 Main Street, U.S.A. Window presented at Disneyland in Anaheim, California in honor of the Sherman Brothers' contribution to Disney theme parks.
Golden Videocassette Award
· 1965 Won Grammy in the category of "Best Original Score for a Motion Picture or Television Show" for Mary Poppins
· 1972 Nominated Grammy in the category of "Best Original Score for a Children's Show" for Snoopy Come Home
· 1965 2nd Place "Golden Laurel" in the category of Music Men"
Moscow Film Festival
· 1973 First Place Award in the category of "Best Music" for Tom Sawyer
National Medal of Arts
· 2008 National Medal of Arts awarded to Richard and Robert Sherman on November 17, 2008 at the White House by President George W. Bush. This is the highest honor the United States Government bestows on artists.
· 2002 Nominated "Best Musical" for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Songwriters Hall of Fame
· 2005 induction at the Marriott Hotel on Times Square in New York City.
Theatre Museum Award
· 2010 Career Achievement Award presented on May 17, 2010 at The Players Club in New York City.
Variety Club Awards
· 2003 Won "Best Musical" for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Walk of Fame
· 1976 A Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame awarded to "Richard & Robert Sherman" on November 17, 1976, located at 6914 Hollywood Blvd.