Stories of Standards: "Someday My Prince Will Come"

Jan 26, 2018

Tune in to Jazz with Victor Cooper - weekdays from 6-9 a.m. MT - for Stories of Standards to hear our favorite versions of this song all week long starting Monday, January 29!

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Frank Churchill and Larry Morey wrote “Someday My Prince Will Come” as part of the score for the 1937 Disney movie “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”. They wrote seven other songs for the film, including “Whistle While You Work” and “Heigh Ho”. Both cast and crew were uncredited, Adriana Caselotti counting double (voice of Cinderella and vocal on songs), as was Larry Morey (lyrics and sequence director). “Snow White”, Disney’s first feature-length animated film, was also the first to have the original soundtrack released as a recording.

Originally written in waltz time, the first known jazz version was performed by “The Ghetto Swingers” at Theresienstadt concentration camp in 1943. That concert originally had the title “Music from Frank Churchill”, which the performers regarded as too dangerous under the circumstances, so they called it “Music from the film 'Snow White’ by Walt Disney". Miles Davis’ 1961 recording is one of the best known jazz arrangements, but not the first, as trumpeter Donald Byrd (1957), Bill Evans Trio (1959) and Dave Brubeck (1957) had preceded Davis.

Frank E. Churchill (1901 - 1942) moved from Maine to California to study medicine; he then played piano in theaters until he joined the Walt Disney organization in 1930 as a composer. An accomplished pianist, interested in classical music, he became known for his spritely, cheerful songs and easy-going pranks who received an Oscar for his work on the 1941 film “Dumbo”. He was also depressed and suffering from deteriorating eyesight, a bitter artists’ strike and the deaths of two of his closest friends. While he died before completing his work on 1942’s “Bambi”, his music formed the basis for the score of the movie.

Larry Morey (1905-1971), born in Los Angeles, joined Disney in 1933 and wrote 25 songs with Frank Churchill for “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, with eight used in the film, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Score. He was also a sequence director, adapted Felix Salten’s book “Bambi, A Life in the Woods” for the screen, created the characters Thumper the rabbit and Flower the skunk. He joined ASCAP in 1938.