Monday, February 18, 2008
Happy Presidents’ Day, Mr. Lincoln
In honor of Presidents’ Day, here is the spectacular cover for the Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln LP album, painted by acclaimed illustrator Neil Boyle, whose artistry has been commissioned by such disparate showcases as The Saturday Evening Post and the U.S. Postal Service. Originally released in 1964 to accompany the opening of Walt Disney’s Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln attraction at the State of Illinois pavilion at the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair, this splendid recording, produced by James Algar, includes the soundtrack from the attraction, with narration written by Mr. Algar and a stirring score composed and conducted by Buddy Baker. The long-playing record also includes additional material not experienced in the attraction, including the Lincoln-Douglas Debate and the Gettysburg Address. With typical Disney showmanship, the LP was encased in the elaborate album cover pictured here, which included a booklet in the classic Disney Storyteller tradition. In addition to transcripts of some of the Lincoln material heard on the recording and more masterful illustrations by Neil Boyle, the booklet also incorporates the Gettysburg Address in nine languages, including Hebrew and Latin, with the English language version in Lincoln’s own hand. The Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln album in content, scope and scale is, while certainly child- friendly (or at least student-friendly), no kiddie album, and was very appropriately eventually released on Disney’s prestige label, Buena Vista. Also included on the inside cover of the album is an introduction by Walt Disney (most probably ghostwritten, perhaps by James Algar, but undoubtedly approved by Walt and reflective of his thoughts and feelings), featuring these words: “Most Americans will agree with me that no man has had more of a positive impact on a nation than Abraham Lincoln has on our country.... Yet I have always felt that too few people realize that Lincoln’s concepts and philosophies are as useful, as necessary, as applicable today as they were when he pronounced them [years] ago. His analysis of freedom and its true meaning, his approach to justice and equality, his own courage and strength—all are as vital [today] as they were in the mid-1800s.”
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Thanks, Jim, for this fine President's Day tribute.
I can remember the Lincoln exhibit very well. As a 6 yr old my family took me to the NY World's Fair six times. I particularly remember the Great Moments with Mr Lincoln exhibit due to the fact that my cousin, who was 5 yrs old at the time,was so scared to death of "Mr Lincoln" that he had to restrained by his parents. Ah, it seems like another lifetime now,say four score and seven years ago.
I salute you.
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