There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow

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"There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow"
Song by Rex Allen from the album The Music of Disney: A Legacy in Song
Published 1964
Genre Show tune
Label Walt Disney
Composer Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman

"There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" is the theme song to two Disney attractions, Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress at the Magic Kingdom of Walt Disney World (formerly at Disneyland) and Innoventions at Disneyland. It was also used in one scene of the Epcot attraction Horizons.

History[edit]

The song was written by Richard and Robert Sherman for the Carousel of Progress, one of four attractions Walt Disney and his Imagineers developed for the 1964 New York World's Fair. The lead vocal was by Rex Allen, a frequent Disney narrator who also provided the speaking voice for the Audio-Animatronic host of the attraction. When the Carousel of Progress moved to Disneyland after the fair, the song came with it. The attraction opened at Disneyland in 1967.[1] In 1973, the Carousel of Progress closed and moved to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World to make way for Disneyland's new attraction, America Sings.

In 1974, General Electric, the sponsor of the Carousel of Progress, commissioned a new theme song, "The Best Time Of Your Life", also written by the Sherman Brothers. In 1982 GE commissioned a third song from the Sherman Brothers called "New Horizons", but in the end, opted not to use it. GE's CEO wrote a song instead. This change disappointed many fans of the attraction. When General Electric dropped sponsorship of Carousel of Progress in 1986, the newer song initially remained. But in 1994, Disney brought back the original theme, "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow," and renamed the attraction Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress. At that time, the song was rerecorded to feature the current voice cast, including Jean Shepherd as the Father character, as can be heard on the theme park's web site.[1] The song was also used in one scene of Horizons, the former Epcot "sequel" attraction to the Carousel of Progress.

At Disneyland, the attraction that had replaced the Carousel of Progress, America Sings, closed in 1988. The building, known as "Carousel Theater," sat empty for ten years, until the new Tomorrowland opened on May 22, 1998. The new occupant of the Carousel Theater building, Innnoventions, pays tribute to the older attraction by reviving the 1964 song. Tom Morrow (the audio-animatronic host of Innoventions) sings it at the beginning, end, and during transitions of sets. This version of the song features new lyrics written by the Sherman Brothers in 1998, and is sung by Nathan Lane. The attraction is updated periodically to include newer elements, but still uses the original theme song between each transition. However, the different Tom Morrow scenes are not directly linked in a continuous show as the old attraction was. The original Rex Allen recording is the current exit music for the ASIMO show inside Innoventions.

Walt Disney's "beautiful tomorrow"[edit]

"There's a great big beautiful tomorrow/Shining at the end of every day."

(Left to right) Robert B. Sherman, Richard M. Sherman and Walt Disney sing "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow"

The song's optimism and enthusiasm about technological innovation reflects the themes of the attractions with which it is associated, as well as the way the Shermans perceived Walt Disney himself. Richard Sherman has been quoted as saying, "The theme song, `Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow,' had a wonderful positiveness about it. In a way, it was Walt's theme song, because he was very positive about the future. He really felt that there was a great big beautiful tomorrow shining at the end of every day."[2]

"Walt Disney was the eternal optimist, and he really believed that things could be better. And Bob and Dick Sherman wrote that song as a personal ode to Walt. They really meant it.... That was Walt's anthem, and they recognized that."

Marty Sklar[3]

Other uses[edit]

Walt Disney and the Sherman Brothers sang "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" together in a short promotional film sent to General Electric before the New York World's Fair. This can be seen in its entirety in an Easter egg on the Walt Disney Treasures Tomorrow Land DVD set. The same DVD also contains Walt Disney's filmed introduction to his original 1966 plans for EPCOT, made to convince Florida legislators, industry and the public of the value of the project. An instrumental version of "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" is heard during much of this short film.

The band They Might Be Giants recorded a cover of the song for the soundtrack to the Disney film Meet the Robinsons.[4][5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress. Walt Disney World Resort web site, accessed 2008-02-10.
  2. ^ Persistence of Vision article on the Carousel of Progress
  3. ^ Interview, Tomorrow Land box set
  4. ^ Yahoo music page for the song
  5. ^ quote about the song on the TMBG wiki

External links[edit]