A living puppet, with the help of a cricket as his conscience, must prove himself worthy to become a real boy.A living puppet, with the help of a cricket as his conscience, must prove himself worthy to become a real boy.A living puppet, with the help of a cricket as his conscience, must prove himself worthy to become a real boy.
- J. Worthington Foulfellowas J. Worthington Foulfellow
In some of the animated features of recent years we've come full circle in the fact that a lot of well known Hollywood figures have sought to lend their voices to animated productions. Coming to mind immediately are Mel Gibson as Captain John Smith and Eddie Murphy as the donkey in the Shrek movies. It wasn't as chic a thing to do back in Disney's day, still Walt came up with several good ones like young Dickie Jones as Pinocchio, Walter Catlett as J. Worthington Foulfellow, Frankie Darro as Lampwick, and most important Cliff Edwards as Jiminy Cricket.
These folks lend their voices to one of Disney's best musical scores with Catlett making immortal the thespians ballad An Actor's Life For Me, Jones celebrating the fact he's been liberated from all manner of restraint with I've Got No Strings and Cliff Edwards talking about his new responsibilities as the puppet boy's conscience in Give A Little Whistle.
Most important though is the Academy Award given to that most plaintive song of yearning When You Wish Upon A Star as introduced by Cliff Edwards. Edwards was a major performer in the Twenties and early Thirties with his ukulele Ike character and introduced many popular songs like It's Only A Paper Moon and Singing In The Rain. But he had come up on hard times with a lot of substance abuse problems when Walt Disney offered him the part of Jiminy Cricket's voice. The movie Pinocchio and the songs he sang there resurrected his career and even when down and out, Edwards could always get work at the Disney Studio because of Jiminy Cricket's enduring popularity.
Animation never really dates and the best animation in the world was pioneered at Disney Studio. People can see Pinocchio on the same bill as Shrek even today and I daresay the audience would be equally responsive.
And you can appreciate Pinocchio today as much as your grandparents and great grandparents did through the magic of YouTube or Amazon. If not wish upon a star and fate will step in and see you through.
- Aug 16, 2009