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 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.
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
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.
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).
Danny Kaye, Bill Lee, Thurl, and
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)
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.
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).