Friends, with the passing of Kirk Douglas this last Wednesday – many of his fans have been sharing their favorite films that the iconic actor appeared in over these last few days. As I pointed out in my own article, one of my favorite roles of the late Douglas was in 1954’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea from the Walt Disney studio’s adaptation of Jules Verne’s novel. Much like he would do with his character of Archie Long in the 1986 action comedy Tough Guys – Douglas as Ned Land in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea managed to be charming, athletic, and quite funny- although in the classic Disney film he was also able to sing the jaunty and catchy tune entitled ‘A Whale of a Tale‘.
You might be interested to know that Decca released a 10-inch record that featured Douglas singing both ‘A Whale of a Tale‘ as well as ‘And The Moon Grew Brighter And Brighter‘ in ’55 – although online I have read that the record might have been released in 1954. Which would be rather odd as ‘And The Moon Grew Brighter And Brighter‘ was featured in the 1955 film Man Without a Star – wouldn’t it be strange to release a song for a movie that hadn’t been seen yet?
By the way, ‘A Whale of a Tale‘ was written by Al Hoffman and Norman Gimbel, who were both quite successful as songwriters – between them having penned the likes of ‘I’m Gonna Live Until I Die‘, ‘It Goes Like It Goes‘, ‘Sway‘, and ‘Mairzy Doats‘ to name just a few of their popular songs.
For ‘A Whale of a Tale‘, Douglas was backed up by the Mellomen, the singing quartet founded by Thurl Ravenscroft – who you might know best from his work on 1966’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas or possibly as the voice of Tony the Tiger – a role he performed for 52 years until his passing in 2005. The Mellomen which I read online were sometimes credited as The Mellow Men performed in such Disney films and shorts as Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, The Jungle Book, and Paul Bunyan to point out a few. In addition they even managed to back up some incredibly popular singers of the day – including appearing along with Elvis Presley in 1969’s The Trouble with Girls, singing ‘Swing Down Sweet Chariot‘!