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When You Wish upon a Star

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When You Wish upon a Star

Mickey Mouse is clearly the most identifiable representation of Disney and everything they are. You see Mickey and you think Disney. They are one in the same, but behind Mickey the best representation of what the Walt Disney Company is and everything they believe in is a song. No ranking of Disney songs that places “When You Wish Upon a Star” in its top spot can be all bad. After all, this is the song that the Disney company has chosen over the years to feature as emblematic of its entire family-centered entertainment empire.

When You Wish upon a Star

After the smash success of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” in 1937, Walt Disney was in search of a follow-up film. Initially, he thought it was going to be Bambi, but production problems were hampering that movie. That necessitated moving up another animated feature he had in development: Pinocchio. Based upon the 1883 Italian children’s book “The Adventures of Pinocchio” by Carlo Collodi, it tells the tale of wood-carver Geppetto and puppet he makes named Pinocchio. Brought to life by the Blue Fairy, Pinocchio can become a real boy if he can prove himself to be “brave, truthful and unselfish.” He has many misadventures on his quest including encounters with a rather sly fox named Honest John and Monstro the giant whale, but is aided by traveling companion/conscience Jiminy Cricket.

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Pinocchio, Disney's 1940

 

Pinocchio’s production took around two years and boasted a large cast of creators including seven directors and seven screenwriters. The songs were written by Leigh Harline and >Ned Washington, with the musical score composed by Harline and Paul Smith, who had collaborated together on “Snow White.” In contrast with that picture, Walt Disney decided that he wanted celebrities to voice characters in the Pinocchio. Therefore, Cliff Edwards was brought in to play Jiminy Cricket.

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Carlo Collodi

 

Nicknamed “Ukelele Ike,” Edwards had appeared in vaudeville, on Broadway and in numerous MGM and Warner Bros. films. During the late 1920s, he had scored two pop hits including his introductory recording of “Singin’ in the Rain.” For “Pinocchio,” he got to perform that film’s classic, signature song which opens the movie: “When You Wish Upon a Star.”

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Cliff Edwards

 

Leigh Adrian Harline was born March 26, 1907 in Salt Lake City, Utah. He received music training from J. Spencer Cornwall, conductor of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and following his graduation from the University of Utah, he began working for a string of radio stations. His radio work sent him to San Francisco and, by 1929, to Los Angeles where he was music director and announcer at KHJ radio. He went to work at the Walt Disney Studio in 1932 arranging and scoring animated shorts. As Disney began production of his features, Harline was enlisted to write songs. His most famous composition, “When You Wish Upon a Star,” was written for Pinocchio and the following year he received an Academy Award for it and another for the film's memorable score.

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Leigh Adrian Harline

 

Ned Washington, american pop lyricist, wrote many hits for Broadway and film from the 1930s through the 1960s. He began his career in music as a vaudeville MC and served as an agent for some of the vaudeville performers. Eventually, Washington began writing material for the vaudeville acts, and so started songwriting. One of his tunes was used in Earl Carroll's Vanities of 1928. While working for Warner Bros, Washington had a big hit with "Singing in the Bathtub," which was used in the revue “Show of Shows.” For the cinema, Washington went on to write music for MGM, Republic Studios, Paramount Pictures, and Walt Disney Studios. He also worked on successful Broadway musicals. Washington won a number of Academy Awards for Best Song, from 1940 for "When You Wish Upon a Star" through 1961's “Town Without Pity” title song.

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Ned Washington

 

“Pinocchio” did not have a proper soundtrack release in 1940. Six of the songs were issued across three 78s by Victor. A full length soundtrack album for the film was not released until 1956 on Disneyland Records. Cliff Edwards also recorded several of the songs for Decca, including ones which were cut from the film.

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Blue Fairy

 

“When You Wish Upon a Star” became the opening theme for Disney’s television anthology series in the ‘50s and ‘60s and is the music behind their opening movie logo. Additionally, it was ranked No. 7 on AFI’s 100 Greatest Songs in Film History list. The characters themselves are still prominent parts of the Disney experience, appearing throughout the theme parks; Jiminy Cricket has been featured prominently in various, mostly educational, Disney projects over the years.

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Jiminy Cricket (Cliff Edwards)

 

It is not just a Disney classic tune but remains both a beloved and motivational song that has been covered by many artists. Louis Armstrong didn’t get around to recording the tune until 1968. The song would have been a natural fit for Armstrong even had recorded it anytime in the 1940s or 1950s, but waiting until 1968 only adds to the emotional wallop this performance packs. Armstrong tackled it on seemingly strange concept album, “Disney Songs the Satchmo Way.”

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Jiminy Cricket & Pinocchio

 

When You Wish Upon A Star Lyrics


When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you.

If your heart is in your dreams
No request is too extreme
When you wish upon a star
As dreamers do.

Fate is kind
She brings to those who love
The sweet fulfillment of
Their secret longing

Like a bolt out of the blue
Fate steps in and sees you through
When you wish upon a star
Your dreams come true

When a star is born
They possess a gift or two.
One of them is this.
They have the power to make a wish come true.

When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you,

If your heart is in your dreams
No request is too extreme
When you wish upon a star
As dreamers do.

Fate is kind
She brings to those who love
The sweet fulfillment of
Their secret longing.

Like a bolt out of the blue
Fate steps in and sees you through
When you wish upon a star
Your dreams come true.

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When You Wish Upon A Star by Gun Legler

 

 

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