Back in January, we took a deep dive into the song “Snuff Out the Light” from Kingdom of the Sun, the movie that eventually became The Emperor’s New Groove. With music and lyrics by Sting and Eartha Kitt’s vocals, it’s one of the most stunning Disney songs that fans never got to hear (at least in the finished product). But it’s hardly the only example.
The history of Disney music is littered with abandoned or deleted songs. In some cases they were cut for time, or because changes in the script necessitated it, but it’s rarely a reflection of the quality of the number.
This week, we’re taking a look at five deleted songs from five classic Disney films.
Never Smile at a Crocodile (Peter Pan)
This may very well be the most famous of all the deleted Disney songs. The piece was written in 1939 by Frank Churchill (music) and Jack Lawrence (lyrics) for Peter Pan. Sadly, the project was shelved for a decade, and Churchill died in 1942.
While the melody was included in the final film (which was released in 1953), the version with lyrics was cut. However, the song was included on the soundtrack released the same year. As noted in the Disney Song Encyclopedia, “The song has long been a favorite on children’s records, and other recordings have been made by Henry Calvin, Gracie Lou, Joe Reisman and His Orchestra, the Paulette Sisters, and Mitch Miller and His Singers.”
(2) Never Smile At A Crocodile | Peter Pan – YouTube
Beware the Jabberwock (Alice in Wonderland)
Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” is one of literature’s most famous poems, and perhaps the greatest example of nonsense verse ever written. Composed by Lewis Carroll and included in his 1871 novel Through the Looking, and What Alice Found There, the sequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, it tells the story of a fearsome beast known as the Jabberwock and the boy who slays it.
Both novels inspired Disney’s 1951 film Alice in Wonderland. The film contains a lot of classic songs, such as “In a World of My Own,” “All In the Golden Afternoon,” and “Painting the Roses Red,” but one of the most interesting didn’t make the final cut. A song entitled “Beware the Jabberwock,” written by Don Raye and Gene de Paul was recorded in 1947. Supposedly, it was meant to be sung by Stan Freberg. Instead, the piece was replaced by the Cheshire Cat singing the opening lines to Carroll’s poem.
The animated sequences intended for the song were stored in the Disney Archive and later used as images in a picture book version of “Jabberwocky” published in 1992.
(2) Beware the Jabberwock – 1947 Demo – Alice in Wonderland – YouTube
Don’t Buy a Parrot from a Sailor (One Hundred and One Dalmatians)
When fans think about the music of One Hundred and One Dalmatians, they likely think of “Cruella de Vil” and not a lot else. Die-hards may also remember the Kanine Krunchies jingle, but Cruella’s song is definitely the star of the show.
It likely always would have been (it is, after all, a masterpiece), but there was another rather amusing song intended for the movie. To be sung by the characters of Jasper and Horace, “Don’t Buy a Parrot from a Sailor” was meant to mirror the style of Cockney pub songs like “Knees Up Mother Hubbard” and “Any Old Iron.”
The song was written by Mel Leven (the same man who penned “Cruella de Vil”). While it doesn’t appear in the movie, it’s a fun and ridiculously singable piece. One that would be perfect to sing while tipping back a frosty mug of root beer.
(2) 101 Dalmatians – Abandoned Song: Don’t Buy a Parrot from a Sailor – YouTube
I’m In the Middle of a Muddle (Cinderella)
In Cinderella, we get to hear about all of the miserable chores that Cinderella’s stepmother and step-sisters force her to do in “Work Song (Cinderelly, Cinderelly).” It’s performed by Jaq, Gus, and the rest of the mice. However, the audience was originally meant to learn about her troubles in Cinderella’s own words when she sang “I’m In the Middle of a Muddle.”
Like the rest of the soundtrack, it was written by Mack David, Jerry Livingston, and Al Hoffman, a trio of Tin Pan Alley composers. Walt Disney brought the trio on board after hearing their song “Chi-Baba, Chi-Baba,” which was popularized by Perry Como. The three can be heard performing the track on a demo recording on Cinderella: The Legacy Collection, a double-disc album released in 2015. The album also includes a recording of actress Kate Higgins performing the number.
(2) I’m In the Middle of a Muddle – YouTube
Admiral Boom (Mary Poppins)
The story of Mary Poppins is populated with memorable characters, from Bert the Chimney Sweep to Uncle Albert. One of the most eccentric, and endearing, is Admiral Boom, portrayed by Reginald Owen (best remembered as Ebeneezer Scrooge in the 1938 version of A Christmas Carol).
Boom and his partner Mr. Binnacle are neighbors of the Banks family. A pair of retired Navy men, they live in a house with a ship on its roof. Twice a day, they fire a cannon to mark the time at precisely 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.
The Sherman Brothers, who composed all of the songs in Mary Poppins, wrote a ditty called “Admiral Boom” for the character. However, Walt Disney ultimately decided that the song was superfluous to the plot of the film. However, one line was kept as a bit of slightly paraphrased dialogue. It is spoken by Bert, who declares, “The whole world takes its time from Greenwich, but Greenwich, they say, takes its time from Admiral Boom!”