The LaughingPlace Store
An Interview with the Sherman Brothers
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Robert (standing) and Richard Sherman
There are many components to Disney Magic. First comes the dream, then the people that make the dream a reality - animators, writers, ride designers, actors and, in many cases, songwriters. When it comes to Disney songwriters, one name stands above all others as the cream of the crop, Sherman. More specifically, the Sherman Brothers, Robert and Richard.
The Sherman Brothers began their career at Disney in 1961 with Annette Funicello's Strummin' Song. Since that time they've written hundreds of songs for Disney films, television shows, theme parks and attractions. The Shermans went on to write a total of 36 songs for Annette Funicello. Their first Disney film work was for The Parent Trap. Some of their other film work includes Summer Magic, 101 Dalmatians, The Sword in the Stone, The Happiest Millionaire, Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, The Tigger Movie and perhaps their greatest work, Mary Poppins.
Their television work includes The Wonderful World of Color theme song, Mister Piano Man, Welcome to Pooh Corner and numerous songs for the various Disneyland television shows. For the theme parks they've created The Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Room, There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow, The Best Time Of Your Life and maybe their most famous song of all, It's a Small World. And there are many, many more.
Speaking about the Sherman Brothers Walt Disney once said:
" ... they're really a very important part of our organization here. They're wonderful. Well, they go for the 'team play,' you know. That's the way we work here. It's the team that gets together and builds those things. The Sherman Brothers are not only very talented but very cooperative."
Though they are usually referred to as one, the Sherman Brothers are most certainly two different individuals. The older brother, Robert, was born in 1925. Known as the quiet one, Robert was a decorated soldier during World War II and unfortunately received a serious knee injury. Afterwards he attended Bard College with his brother before embarking on a quest to write the great American novel. In 1953 Robert married Joyce and eventually teamed up with his brother for songwriting.
Richard was born in 1928 and is known as the extrovert. He attended Bard College with his brother and in 1953 served two years in the Army. While Robert was busy creating the great American novel, Richard was trying to create the great American musical. Richard married his wife Ursula in 1956.
I interviewed the Sherman Brothers separately via telephone. Both interviews are published here in their entirety. Following the interviews is a list of Sherman Brothers related links and shopping links.
Before I end here I'd like to thank Robert and Richard Sherman for their time. I'd also like to thank their wonderful wives Joyce and especially Ursula for being so kind, patient and gracious every time I spoke with them.