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Thurl Publicty Photo

Not Thurl

Thurl was part of Disney television from the very beginning. The second episode of Disneyland from November 3, 1954, was a slightly shortened version of Alice in Wonderland, which includes the Mellomen as the voices of the card painters. Throughout the first season, the Mellomen were heard often on the Disneyland show. They sang the theme song for Davy Crockett (1:42) for shows airing December, 16 1954, January 26, 1955, and February 23, 1955.
The Mellomen from Cavalcade of Songs

The Mellomen: Max Smith, Bill Lee,
Thurl, and Bob Stevens

Their first on-screen appearance for Disneyland came February 16, 1955, an an episode called "Cavalcade of Songs". Part of the show is devoted to the film Lady and the Tramp, and features the Mellomen and Peggy Lee. The Mellomen sing a couple of songs as the Pound Hounds, including "Home Sweet Home" (1:44).

Thurl's voice was heard on the show Dateline Disneyland, the 90 minute special, broadcast live on opening day at Disneyland July 17, 1955.

In addition to singing the theme for Davy Crockett, the Mellomen sang the theme song for many other popular Disney shows including  Zorro (0:58) and The Mickey Mouse Club (2:42). Thurl also sang the theme for the Hardy Boys (0:38) and The Boys of the Western Sea, both serials on the Mickey Mouse Club.

The Mellomen from The Fourth Anniversary Show

The Mellomen on the Fourth Anniversary Show

The Mellomen also showed up on "The Fourth Anniversary Show", on September 11, 1957. During this show Walt Disney highlights some of the new episodes planned for the coming season. Fess Parker, who had played Davy Crockett a couple of years earlier, introduces a new western called the Saga of Andy Burnett. Fess sings the theme song and the Mellomen appear on-screen as his backup group.

When the Disneyland show had changed networks in 1961 and it was renamed The Wonderful World of Color. Thurl's voice is easy to hear on the new theme for the show.

The Mellomen from "Gallegher"

Max Smith, Thurl, Walt Disney, Bill Cole, and Bill Lee in the introduction from Gallegher

The Mellomen also appeared on-screen for The Wonderful World of Color. The three-part series "Gallegher", which first aired January 24, 1965, opens with Walt Disney in a turn-of-the-century barber shop. He introduces the show, but can't seem to remember the name of the title character. The Mellomen, playing the part of a barbershop quartet, sing the theme song "Gallegher" (1:58) to help remind him. It should be noted, the the Mellomen only appeared at the beginning of the first episode of the three-part series of "Gallegher".

Many of these programs were broadcast again in subsequent years. For example, "Cavalcade of Songs" aired three times in 1955, again in 1962, and again in 1971. The portion of the show devoted to Lady and the Tramp which features Peggy Lee and the Mellomen is available on the Platinum Edition DVD released in 2006.

Undoubtedly, Thurl and the Mellomen performed on many other Disney television projects. Many of the short animated films featuring Thurl were also shown on the Disneyland television show. One example is Donald and the Wheel, which was part of the program "Man on Wheels" first broadcast March 26, 1967. For more details about the Disney films on which Thurl worked, see the Disney Films page.

Much more information about the history of Disney television is available in the book The Wonderful World of Disney Television by Bill Cotter.

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