Thankful For “When You Wish Upon a Star”

Note: During the months of November and December, I will be posting something I am thankful for within the spectrum of Disney. With so much negativity in the world, I encourage everyone to be thankful and count their blessings.

Sometimes a song can take you away to another place, or help you believe that dreams come true. I know I’m thankful for songs like these.

There are memorable songs from movies – you know, the songs that you find yourself humming long after the film ended – and then there are songs that transcend movies. Leigh Harline and Ned Washington’s “When You Wish Upon a Star” goes far beyond the film it was written for. This is not in anyway a knock on Pinocchio. No, the movie is among my favorite Disney animated movies – quite possibly my favorite, depending on the day! It’s just that the song itself is so much more. It’s become not only a theme song for the Walt Disney Company in general, but one to dreamers everywhere as well.

Like a bolt out of the blue...

Like a bolt out of the blue…

The notion of wishing upon a star may seem silly, but the idea of dreams coming true? Well, this is something we all long for. Now, in the “real world” we realize we can’t sit back and wait for things to come to us. If Walt had simply wished upon a star without actively pursuing that dream…. well, I don’t think that would have turned out very well. However, the notion of dreams coming true if we have the courage to pursue them (hmmm… now THAT sounds catchy!) is a noble one. Throw in a wish on the evening star as well? Believe in your dreams, and you never know.

Every time my family goes to Disneyland, we always pause underneath Sleeping Beauty’s Castle to here Jiminy Cricket sing his anthem to passers by. Combined with the magical feeling that the park brings, that song means even more there. And I’m certainly thankful for the feeling it brings.

I feel it only fitting to close out this thankful post with the song itself – perhaps my favorite cover of “When You Wish…” Take it away, Pops….

The 15 Day Disneyland Challenge: Day 12

Note: This post is part of a 15 Day challenge with questions referring to Disneyland or Walt Disney World. For more information, or to see all 15 questions, please refer to the introductory post, The 15 Day Disneyland Challenge. As stated in that post, I am not the creator of the challenge – just a willing participant!

Day 12: A Character You Have Always Wanted To Meet (But Never Have)

I really have met just about every character at the park that is used on a regular basis. Thanks to the opening of the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree, I’ve even had a chance to meet Horace Horsecollar, so I can cross him off the list! If you ask my daughter, the answer would probably be Pocahontas – the only one of the ten “official” Disney Princesses she has yet to meet. Guess the colors of the wind aren’t included in The Princess Fantasy Faire. However, I do have a desire to meet a particular character. One of my all time favorites, along with Mickey, Donald and Goofy. A character that I know exists, but is almost never seen in the park with the exception of parades and garbage cans.

Give a Little Whistle!

Jiminy, you elusive cricket. Why don’t you ever come out to meet me? I’ve seen you on parade floats – I’ve heard you make appearances at private parties. Yet, no regular visits. The biggest reason I can think of is the idea, that next to Pinocchio, the supposedly miniscule cricket is a behemoth. There’s no “Cricket Hollow,” where, like Tinkerbell, it can be believed that guests are shrunk down to his size. And no, I don’t believe his popularity is big enough to warrant it. It would just be fun to get my picture taken with the fellow.

Yet, he’s in the park regardless. As stated by me so many times before, you hear his voice underneath Sleeping Beauty’s Castle convincing you that dreams come true – all it takes is the wish on the star. He guides your ride vehicle on Pinocchio’s Daring Journey, trying to be the conscience the little wooden head so desperately needs! (Look out! You’re going the wrong way!) He’s on one of many bronze statues that surround the Partners that started it all – a testament to dreams coming true. And of course, he’s there as the face of “Environmentality,” making sure we treat the earth with the respect it deserves – in this case, by throwing our plastic water bottles in properly marked containers (one of my daughter’s favorite things to do at the park, believe it or not!).

Always Let Enironmentality Be Your Guide!

He’s just not out for pictures and autographs. Maybe I’ll start wishing on a different star for that one.

Now it’s your turn! Anyone else out there have a favorite that they’ve yet to meet at the parks?

Happy Birthday to a Timeless Voice

If I had to choose one song in the Disney library to hear for the rest of my life, it would be Leigh Harline and Ned Washington’s  “When You Wish Upon a Star.” The lyrics are incredibly moving, speaking to the hopeful child in all of us: if you wish it with all your heart, and of course on a star, your dreams can come true. The melody fits perfectly as well – one is soothed in the belief that, for at least the three plus minute duration of the song, everything is going to be wonderful. The songwriters did an amazing job, and “When You Wish…” has been covered by countless musicians, both lyrically and instrumentally.

However, the original version is the one that remains with me. It’s the version that still plays in the walkway to Sleeping Beauty’s Castle at Disneyland. It still makes me slow my pace as I walk through, because I hear that voice, and feel… home.

That voice. Belonging to one man: Cliff “Ukelele Ike” Edwards.

The Man…. The Cricket… The Legend

On this day (June 14th) in 1895, Cliff Edwards was born in Hannibal, Missouri. Before he was known as the voice of Jiminy Cricket, as well as Jim Crow in Dumbo, and his appearances on The Mickey Mouse Club in the 50’s, he was a well known vaudevillian, singer and actor. He was the first person responsible for singing this familiar little tune on the silver screen:

Life, sadly, was not kind to Ike. Despite his resurgence as a voice fixture with Disney, he was also a drinker and drug addict with many financial difficulties, a grim reminder that dreams in the real world didn’t always come true. When he died, penniless and unknown in 1971, his body lay unclaimed for several days; no one knew who he was.

I’m hoping that today, many of you, dear readers, will remember and spread the word of who he was: A man who touched the world with his voice. Although his face may not be recognizable, any time you watch Pinocchio or Dumbo; whenever you think “I’m No Fool” as you cross the street; as you pass under Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, I hope you remember Ukelele Ike.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Edwards. Your life on Earth was not always the easiest, but your voice helped define generations of Disney lovers around the world. For that, we are eternally grateful.