Legacy Content

Review: Walt's Time: From Before to Beyond
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by Doobie Moseley
May 4, 2000
Walt's Time: From Before to Beyond chronocles the life and career of the Sherman Brothers starting with their songwriting father Al Sherman through the Walt Disney years and up to their contributions to the New Tomorrowland. This review of the book tells you just how good it is.

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Walt's Time: From Before to Beyond
Robert B Sherman and Richard M Sherman
Edited by Bruce Gordon, David Mumford and Jeff Kurtti
Camphor Tree Publishers Retail: $65
Deluxe Box Set including a CD with 10 never-before published songs and 24 page lyric and lead sheet booklet for the songs: $135
Hardcover. 252 full-color pages.

Rating: 4 out of 4

The Book
What do the following songs have in common, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, Makin’ Memories, Strummin’ Song, Winnie the Pooh and “it’s a small world”? If you guessed they were all written by the Sherman Brothers, you know your Disney history. The Sherman Brothers have been contributing songs to Disney films, television shows and theme parks for 40 years. The Brothers - Richard and Robert - have now released Walt’s Time: From Before to Beyond, a book that chronicles their careers with Disney along with their pre- and post-Disney endeavors. The book also gives a history of Al Sherman, the Sherman's famous father who wrote such songs as 99 Out Of a Hundred Wanna Be Loved and Livin' in the Sunlight. But luckily for Disney fans, much of the book focuses on their Disney years, especially their years with Walt Disney, the years they call “Walt’s Time.”

Walt’s Time is, for the most part, organized as a series of stories. For example, on pages 28 and 29 you’ll read about their experience working on Sword in the Stone and they spend 26 pages chronicling the creation of Mary Poppins devoting plenty of space to each song. The book is written scrapbook-style. The majority of the pages include some text and several pictures with captions that tell more of the story. Each section of one or two pages is more or less independent of the rest, so you can easily dive into the development of your favorite movie or attraction without feeling lost. A index is provided to aid you in doing just that.

The book is divided into three major sections. The first, "Walt’s Time", describes the Sherman’ years with Walt Disney at the Walt Disney Company starting with their first song, Annette Funicello’s Strummin’ Song and continuing through 1969’s The Jungle Book. The middle section, called “Al’s Time” talks about the other influential person in their life, their father Al Sherman. Al was a well known songwriter in the 30s and 40s. Walt’s Time spends quite a bit of time discussing Al’s life from a Russian immigrant to a successful songwriter for some very famous musicians including Louis Armstrong, Al Jolson, Lawrence Welk and Maurice Chevalier. This section also talks about the Sherman’s early days growing up in Beverly Hills, their college years, Robert's tour in World War II and their early, separate careers. The section ends where the first section starts, their first meeting with Walt Disney.

The final section of the book, “Our Time”, talks about life after Walt and includes many more Disney projects including Winnie the Pooh and Epcot. This section also includes their many and varied non-Disney projects including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Snoopy, Come Home and Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer: A Musical Adaptation. The section concludes with their work on Disneyland’s 1998 New Tomorrowland. The book also includes appendices with a song list, video list and some notes on their unpublished material. Walt's Time also includes preface by The Walt Disney Company's Vice Chairman Roy E. Disney, a foreword by the Vice Chairman of Walt Disney Imagineering Marty Sklar and introduction by Disney film historian Leonard Maltin. Also included are three afterwords by Imagineers Bruce Gordon and David Mumford who also co-edited the book and co-editor Jeff Kurtti.

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