Wednesday, September 16, 2009

September 16: An End & A New Beginning

On this day in 1963, one musical career ended while another just began. Composer/conductor Oliver Wallace passed away at the age of 76 in Los Angeles, the same day singer-songwriter Richard Marx was born outside of Chicago.
Oliver George Wallace was a British born musician best known for his film music
compositions - which included features by Walt Disney. First joining the Disney Studio in 1936, Wallace quickly became an important part of the animated shorts. Out of the 100 Disney shorts he wrote music for, his most memorable was the song "Der Fuehrer's Face" for the 1943 Donald Duck cartoon Der Fuehrer's Face (originally titled Donald Duck in Nutzi Land). An anti-Nazi propaganda film for the American War effort, it later won an Academy Award. But before the film's release, Spike Jones and His City Slickers (famously known for their parodies of popular songs) released a version of Wallace's tune. It was such a big hit, that Disney changed the short's title from Donald Duck in Nutzi Land to match the song!
Other shorts that Wallace scored included Ben and Me, Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom, and The Autograph Hound. In 1949, he composed the music for The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. Wallace even voiced the character of the evil Mr Winkie in "The Wind in the Willows" segment of the feature.
Wallace also scored full-length animted features such as Dumbo, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and Lady and the Tramp. He and fellow-composer Frank Churchill both won Oscars in 1942 for their work on Dumbo.
Wallace's credits weren't limited to just animated films as he also scored many of Disney's live-action features. His credits included Darby O'Gill and the Little People, Seal Island, Old Yeller, Tonka, and Big Red.
Overall Wallace contributed to about 150 Disney productions!
Richard Marx was born on this day in 1963 in Illinois to Ruth (a singer) & Dick Marx (a jazz musician and successful jingle writer). At the age of 5 Marx was already
singing on some of his dad's commercial spots!
Most music fans know Marx as an adult contemporary and pop/rock singer songwriter and record producer. He first came to be known through a string of hit singles during the 1980s and 1990s. His self-titled debut album in 1987, yielded 4 hit singles alone and sold nearly 4 million copies in the U.S.
What's his Disney connection? He wrote and produced "Remember When?" - the song used to celebrate Disneyland's 50th anniversary. Recorded by LeAnn Rimes, the song was also part of "Remember ... Dreams Come True" fireworks spectacular (held throughout the 18-month anniversary at Disneyland). The song was also included on "The Official Album of Disneyland's 50th Anniversary" and was used within a number of marketing vehicles (such as TV ads).
In 2006, another of his tunes "Through Your Eyes" appeared on the soundtrack release for Disney's Bambi II (a direct-to-video release). Martina McBride supplied the vocals.
Marx's connection with Disney doesn't stop there ... in 2009 he will perform at Epcot as part of the Eat to the Beat Concert Series during the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.

Click HERE for more September 16 Disney history.

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