Thurl in Films

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Not Thurl

Thurl did not appear on film very often. Much of his work in the film industry involved being a member of a large ensemble of studio singers. More often than not, it is difficult to discern his voice within the larger group, but occasionally, he provided the singing voice for an on-screen actor. Even more occasionally he appeared on-screen. This page will focus primarily on films where Thurl can be heard easily or seen.

The Sportsmen in Lost CanyonLost Canyon (1942)
The Sportsmen Quartette [sic] appeared in this Hopalong Cassidy western. About 15 minutes into the film, the Sportsmen are seen singing "Jingle, Jangle, Jingle" (1:43) at a party. They are featured on-screen for the duration of the song. Thurl even sings a couple verses solo.

Thurl as a singing farm hand in Lost CanyonAbout 20 minutes further into the film, they reprise the song, though this time they are only seen briefly. They continue to sing in the background while Hopalong Cassidy (William Boyd) is talking with rancher Tom Clark (Herbert Rawlinson) and his daughter Laura (Lola Lane). Hopalong Cassidy made the jump from film to television in 1948. The television show used the same theme song used in the films, which was sung by the Sportsmen. For more details  on Thurl's TV work visit Thurl on Television.
The Mellomen in The Glenn Miller Story
Glenn Miller Story (1953)

The Mellomen appeared in The Glenn Miller Story starring James Stewart and June Allyson. In the film, Glenn Miller (Stewart) is playing trombone in the orchestra pit for the stage production of the musical Girl Crazy. During that segment, the Mellomen (dressed in cowboy gear) perform the song "Bidin' My Time" (1:02). If you look for him in the film, Thurl is the tallest one (second from the right, as seen in picture to the right).

Rose Marie (1954)
NOTE: This is the version starring Ann Blyth and Howard Keel, not Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy.
Thurl as the Indian Medicine Man Originally, Thurl was supposed to dub the voice for the Medicine Man (0:32). However, the actor could not synchronize his lip movements to Thurl's recording, so the studio called in Thurl at the last minute to play the role on-screen. He has quite an elaborate costume and lots of make-up, so it is a little difficult to tell that it is Thurl, but the voice leaves no doubt.

Daddy Long Legs (1955)
Thurl does not appear on-screen in this film. Julie Andre (played by Leslie Caron) tries to imagine what Jervis Pendleton III (Fred Astaire) might be like. Julie is attending a college in New England courtesy of Jervis. Though she has never met him, she writes letters to him. She makes up possible images of him and in one sequence imagines him to be a rich oil baron from Texas (0:15). During this segment, Fred Astaire dances and Thurl provides his voice. It was the only time during Astaire's career that he was ever dubbed.

South Pacific (1958)
Thurl is the singing voice for the character Stewpot, played by Ken Clark. He is heard best in the song "There Is Nothin' Like a Dame" (3:50).

The quartet from The Five Pennies

Danny Kaye, Bill Lee, Thurl, and Delos Jewkes

The Five Pennies (1959)
Thurl appears in only one sequence, about 25 minutes into the film. Red Nichols (portrayed by Danny Kaye) is working odd jobs on various radio programs to make a living. One program is sponsored by a pineapple company and during the show's introduction, Danny Kaye, Bill Lee, Thurl, and J. Delos Jewkes are all dressed in Hawaiian garb. Thurl appears on-screen for less than a minute. Here is a sound clip from The Five Pennies (0:29).

Gay Purr-ee (1962)
In this animated film featuring the voices of Robert Goulet, Judy Garland, and Red Buttons, the Mellomen provide much of the backup singing. "The Money Cat" (2:17), is a particularly good song in which to hear them, backing Paul Frees.

The Man From Button Willow (1965)
Another animated film for which Thurl provides a character voice is The Man From Button Willow. Thurl does the voice for the Reverend and only has a couple lines. Other veteran Disney voice artists also have credits, including: Verna Felton, Pinto Colvig, Cliff Edwards, and Clarence Nash.

The Phantom Tollbooth (1968)
In this film, which was a combination of live action and animation, Thurl is the voice of one of the Lethargians, who sing a song about doing nothing and wasting time.

The Trouble with Girls (and how to get into it) (1969)

Elvis and the Mellomen

Bill Cole, Gene Merlino, Elvis, Bill Lee, and Thurl

The Mellomen appeared with Elvis in this film, set in small town America during the 1920s. They appear about 30 minutes into the film as The Bible Singers who perform the song "Swing Down, Sweet Chariot" (2:13). Elvis's character is called upon to replace their lead singer. 

Along with their only on-screen appearance, the Mellomen provide the singing accompaniment for Maude, the long distance swimmer, as well as the singing voices for the college boys who perform snippets of college songs as a stalling tactic near the end of the film.

Snoopy Come Home (1972)
Thurl sings "No Dogs Allowed" (1:33) in this animated film.

Other Films
Thurl sang in the chorus on many more films, including: Isle of Destiny (1940), Road to Bali (1952), High Noon (1952), White Christmas (1954), The Ten Commandments (1956), King of Kings (1961), How the West Was Won (1962), Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967), and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969).

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