Who is Tubby the Tuba you ask? Well, if you were into collecting very obscure Disneyland Records releases in 1963, you’d recognize this character as a one-off musical instrument used to teach children about, what else: music.
But I’m guessing that doesn’t clear anything up for you, so I think this would be a good time to show you the LP cover:
I love his socks!
This LP from Disneyland Records follows the pattern of most similar releases in that the main title is confined to the A Side, with filler or stock music of a related theme confined to the B Side. So as you may gather from that, Tubby the Tuba and his story only appears on the A Side of this LP.
Annette does a fantastic job of narrating the story doing many character voices and even singing a very funny character song for a bullfrog.
FUN FACT: Even though Walt talked her out of changing her last name, with the argument that she would be unique and remembered for it, she is often billed as simply ‘Annette’. What’s up with that?
The story of Tubby the Tuba follows, you guessed it, a tuba as he tries to be taken seriously by the snobbish instruments of the orchestra he is a part of. While they get to play beautiful melodies he only gets to go ‘Uumpa! Uumpa!’ and is shouted down if he tries to do anything else.
After a rehearsal Tubby goes off by himself and sits down beside a pond where he meets a large bullfrog. The bullfrog is a happy and courteous fellow and greets the tuba and soon they are swapping life stories which turn out to be very similar. It seems the bullfrog’s singing isn’t appreciated by his pond friends either. He sings a tune for Tubby that both cheers him up and gives him something to play for his band mates!
Tubby returns to the orchestra for another rehearsal and tries to sneak the bullfrog’s tune in but is again shouted down by the other instruments. But the Conductor hears it and asks Tubby to play it again. He does so and it is so good that all of the other instruments join in and Tubby is now a respected part of the orchestra!
NOT-SO FUN FACT: Back in 1963 society still wasn’t very sensitive to anything that was different. Movies and television were filled with stereotypical depictions of heavy-set people. Usually every plucky protagonist had an overweight friend constantly munching on junk food for comic relief. I always wondered how those (usually) younger actors felt about being hired solely to be laughed at?
My contention is with the naming of this character: Tubby the Tuba. With the root word so obvious and the tuba’s size as an instrument, it’s not hard to see why the writers took the easy way out in naming him. But although arguably not as cute, couldn’t he have been named Thomas the Tuba or Terry the Tuba or Tony the Tuba?
This may be a stretch, but it comes close to fat shaming a tuba because of its size.
Now back to 2016 and the B Side of the LP:
- This was a Short from 1953 and provided a history of music through the ages, from prehistoric man to the modern symphony orchestra.
- An old standard given a new musical twist.
- A medley featuring five things kids might sing about.
- Jimmie Dodd sings a quasi-religious song based on the Bible book of Proverbs to the Mouseketeers.
- This song was written by Dodd but sung by an ensemble.
It was great to hear Jimmie Dodd again as he was such a great talent and a very good man all around. It’s always interesting to see him outside of his Mickey Mouse Club role.
FUN FACT: Did you know that Jimmie Dodd starred in live-action movies before joining the Disney family? Please see the post entitled Jimmie Dodd Meets Private Snuffy Smith for one such role where he also shows his musical side.
These old LPs are great collectors items and very inexpensive to obtain. I picked this one up a local flea market for just a dollar. The music is well done and the artwork is fun!