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THE MOUSEKETEERS, THE MUSIC MAN...AND TALLULAH BANKHEAD
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Posted on Aug 29 2011 by Greg
This is why Disney is so fun and fascinating -- you always make a new discovery.

On a Disneyland album called Happy Birthday and Songs for Every Holiday, which was a reissue of a Mickey Mouse Club LP called Holidays with the Mouseketeers, there a very pretty song called "It's Easter Time." The song is credited to Meredith Willson, creator of the Broadway and movie smash The Music Man.

I've always wondered what Broadway show featured "It's Easter Time." Today I just found out that it actually came from a radio show, for which Willson was musical director.

On the February 2, 1951 episode of NBC's The Big Show, host Tallulah Bankhead announced a brand new song premiered for the first time on this show -- "It's Easter Time." And here's the twist: she spoke the opening verse (different from the one on the record), which was about a Martian visiting the Earth's churches and wondering why they were especially crowded on one particular day!

Willson was likely a Disney friend, though he to my knowledge did not compose or conduct anything specifically for Tutti Camarata (who helmed the Mouseketeer album) or Walt Disney, though I'm sure they must have known each other. However, he did lead a band of literally 76 Trombones down Main Street, U.S.A. at the Walt Disney World Grand Opening in 1971 and posthumously, his Music Man was remade by Disney for TV with Matthew Broderick.

You can probably find this Big Show episode somewhere on the net to buy or download. This 90-minute variety spectacular was NBC's last ditch effort to create "appointment radio" with a star-filled show -- but TV won the battle.
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