Featured Attractions

Monday, May 23, 2016

Music Mondays: DISNEYLAND Records Release #4: "Ukulele Ike Sings Again"


The fourth release from the DISNEYLAND Records label was Ukulele Ike Sings Again. The recording was made as a way to give Cliff Edwards, who performed in the 1920's as "Ukulele Ike" a needed gig. Mr. Edwards was the voice of Jiminy Cricket in Pinocchio, singing Disney's best known song- When You Wish Upon A Star. By the late 1950's, however, he had become an alcoholic, cigarette smoking transient, living in flophouses and trolling the Studios for possible work. In his heyday, he had worked at MGM and Warners, but neither studio was willing to take a chance on him. Disney did take a shot, giving him work on The Mickey Mouse Club, where he both performed as "Ukulele Ike" and provided guidance to Mouseketeers as Jiminy Cricket.

This album was seen as a way to reintroduce his music to new audiences, letting him re-record his past hits. Sadly, this album didn't help him much and he fell further in the 1960's. Walt Disney, and later Roy, quietly paid for Cliff's medical bills and tried to assist him. In 1971, he fell out of contact with the studio, passing away at a charity hospital. His body went unclaimed, eventually getting sent to UCLA for use as a cadaver. Finally,Walt Disney Studios was notified and they sought to claim the body for proper burial. The actor's union, which was technically responsible for such things, ended up claiming his body and arranging proper burial. Roy Disney ended up paying for Cliff's headstone.