Simply Mad About the Mouse: A Musical Celebration of Imagination
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Simply Mad About the Mouse: A Musical Celebration of Imagination (ISBN 1-55890-217-1) is an 1991 direct-to-video release featuring top contemporary singers performing "classic Disney songs". Released 27 September 1991, the 35-minute-long series of music videos was released on VHS and LaserDisc. The music videos were exclusive to the video and the Disney Channel.
On the disc are these performances:
- Billy Joel, "When You Wish upon a Star"
- A Disney animator working on drawing a semi-realistic illustration of Joel is confused when the drawing comes alive. The sketchy, comic-book like Joel proceeds to saunters in-and-out of various scenes Disney features like Peter Pan, Fantasia, Sleeping Beauty, Pinocchio, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The character never truly interacts with the existing animation. Joel even flies out of the animator's drawing board, blowing papers around in the animator's studio in his wake. A rotoscoped trumpet player also appears, coming down the animator's staircase. When the animator calls it a day, he starts to walk out of the room, ending up as a rotoscoped character on a Disney background painting himself. Twice in the video does Joel appear in live-action. There is also a black-and-white sequence of filmmakers in a studio at the start of the video, which relates little if any to the rest of the video. One of the songs nominated for a Grammy in both song and music video categories.
- Ric Ocasek, "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah"
- There is little true plot to Ocasek's video, beyond the fact he appears in scenes from Fantasia, Alice in Wonderland, Song of the South, and even Dumbo's drunken hallucination from Dumbo. At least one short film is edited in. In the video is a non-speaking, non-interacting woman and a guitar player. He is transported in a computer-generated boat.
- LL Cool J, "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?"
- Perhaps the most unusual adaptation musically, LL Cool J's rapping about the Three Little Pigs, taking on the persona of both the wolf and third pig in first person, at various points in the rap. He is backed up by three African-American singers dancing, each with blonde wigs on, as well as one male backup dancer appearing in shots by himself. Cool J's lyrics mention he has no time to "dance or sing", contradictory to the fact he's appearing in a music video doing just that. Cool J adds lyrics of how he'd deal with the wolf, if the wolf broke in his house; he'd "punch him in the nose, tie him in a knot", as a reference to the original 1933 cartoon where those lyrics originated. It is one of the few times a major rapper has included the word "gay" in his rapping, and not meant "homosexual". The word is a relic of the song original lyrics, which described the first pig as gay, suggesting he was too happy and contented to build a proper house.
- Gipsy Kings, "I've Got No Strings"
- Features a series of boldly colored animated sequences, with simplifed figures dancing to the Latin music. Most of the song is performed in Spanish.
- Harry Connick, Jr., "The Bare Necessities"
- Connick appears as a nouveau-riche, happy-go-lucky millionaire in a house full of women and fancy parties. When repossessed, he remains care-free, claiming he can survive with the "bare necessities of life". In the video, the crew repossessing his house sings along with Connick, and dolly carts away some of the female guests. This video is by far the most elaborate in terms of set, extras, and choreography. The whole music video was shot at a location in Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills, California.
- Bobby McFerrin, "The Siamese Cat Song"
- One of the most visually unique pieces on the album, an array of special effects create otherworldly environments to complement McFerrin's exceptional adaptation and performance. Nominated as one of several songs from this album for a Grammy, it blends music and state-of-the-art animation effects. Includes scenes from Lady and the Tramp, and Fantasia with McFerrin singing.
- Soul II Soul featuring Kofi, "Kiss the Girl"
- A man and a woman sing on a desert island with a parrot, a group of people dancing in the ocean water, and a beautiful girl dancing with fishes in the background, as clips from The Little Mermaid, Bedknobs and Broomsticks and Fantasia with are shown.
- Michael Bolton, "A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes"
- This music video uses animation and special effects as projected landscapes that Michael Bolton performs in. A full orchestra supports his rich rendition while cascading classic images of the best of the Disney Vault wash the stage transforming the viewer inside the classic movies Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia, and Sleeping Beauty footages intermixed with performance and live action.
As evidenced in the descriptions of the music videos, while Simply Mad included new animation, it made great use of existing animated footage. Most new animation in Simply Mad is rotoscoped, a technique highly disregarded by Disney's animators, who while refer to video footage for reference, prefer to create their character's motion from scratch.
The video begins in a set created of "the Disney Vault", where the camera pans around various objects and pictures, including "props" from the animated movies, such as Cinderella's glass slipper, or the submerged skull from The Rescuers. An animator's pencil drawing of Sorcerer Mickey slowly comes alive, and enchants five musical notes out of a baton; the notes proceed to whip around the room at varying speeds. The vault is entered through a dark and slightly industrial side; at the end it exits onto an English garden.
An album of the music was created by Columbia Records, and released on LP, cassette and compact disc. Also on the record was En Vogue with "Someday My Prince Will Come" and Kirk Whalum with "Mad About The Wolf".
The title is not currently in stores, but is available though digital download distribution.
- Based on material idea by B. A. Robertson
- Executive producer: Scott Garen
- Producer: Rhaz Zeisler, B. A. Robertson
- Executive music producer: B. A. Robertson
- Co-executive music producer: Rick Chertoff
- Animation effects: Rhaz Zeisler
- Choreography: Rhaz Zeisler
- Writer: Scott Garen, Rhaz Zeisler
- Director: Scott Garen
- Supervising Producer/ 1st AD: Morgan D. Smith
- Simply Mad About the Mouse: A Musical Celebration of Imagination, videocasette.
- "Music: Simply Mad About The Mouse", Rhapsody, accessed November 8, 2010.