Buddy Baker

Composer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his two-hour Archive interview, Buddy Baker (1918-2002) discusses his early music influences and performances as a child and teenager. He talks of his early radio work for Bob Hope and Eddie Cantor, and recalls how he came to work for Disney studios. He describes Walt Disney as a person and as a professional, and recounts arranging music on many Disney television series (Davy Crockett, The Mickey Mouse Club, The Wonderful World of Color), television movies and shorts ("Donald in Mathmagic Land"), and feature films ("The Fox and the Hound" and "Napoleon and Samantha"). Baker also speaks of his music compositions for Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and EuroDisney and comments on his post-retirement, college teaching career at USC. Jon Burlingame conducted the interview on April 30, 2001 at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA.

"I used to get aggravated when someone would say, 'Well, you can knock this out. It's just a television show.' I always said, 'I write the same 'C' for television that I write for a motion picture. So if you don't have time to get it right, you better get somebody else to do it. I'll do something else.'"

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Buddy Baker on first meeting Walt Disney
Buddy Baker on arranging music for the first attractions at Disneyland
Buddy Baker on arranging music for "Donald in Mathmagic Land"
Buddy Baker on the Disney sound
Buddy Baker on how Walt Disney's death affected the company
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early influences; on his early interest in music; on attending college, writing and performing music, and working at a radio station
On moving to California; on the quota system for musicians; on his start in radio and becoming musical director for Bob Hope's radio program
On other radio shows for which he arranged and directed music; on his early memories of television and making phonograph records
On getting into the film business; on scoring the film "Wicked Woman"; on teaching at LA City College

Chapter 2

On working for the radio version of "The Eddie Cantor Show"; on working on radio's "The Standard Hour"
On his harmony system of arranging music and how he came to work for Disney
On orchestrating for Disney's Davy Crockett; on first meeting Walt Disney; on the staff composers at Disney and Walt Disney's respect for them
On arranging music for The Mickey Mouse Club; on meeting Annette Funnicello
On arranging music for Disneyland

Chapter 3

On working with the cast and arranging music for The Mickey Mouse Club
On arranging music for the first attractions at Disneyland; on the challenges of writing music for a theme park
On the Disney sound; on writing music for Disney animated shorts; on writing music for television and film
On the opening and the music of The Wonderful World of Color; on working with the Sherman brothers (Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman)

Chapter 4

On arranging music for 1960's Disney shows and nature documentaries; on his inspiration for music for nature documentaries
On how Disney composers got assignments; on arranging music for all of the programs with "Ludwig Von Drake" and for "Donald in Mathmagic Land"; on being wary of using contemporary music in his arrangements
On being nominated for an Oscar for scoring "Napoleon and Samantha"; on becoming Musical Director of WED Enterprises (WED - Walt Elias Disney) and his involvement at Epcot Center; on continuing to be involved with music for Disney theme parks and the complications of composing for several rides at once
On interacting with the casts, staff, and voiceover talent on Disney television shows
On teaching at USC; on being named a "Disney Legend"; on receiving an ASCAP Lifetime Achievement Award
On how Walt Disney's death affected the company
On the "Buddy Baker" style of music
Shows

Davy Crockett

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Buddy Baker on orchestrating Disney's Davy Crockett

Mickey Mouse Club, The

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Buddy Baker on arranging music for The Mickey Mouse Club
Buddy Baker on pre-scoring music for The Mickey Mouse Club by the second year of the program
Buddy Baker on Jimmy Dodd writing "The Mickey Mouse Club March" for The Mickey Mouse Club
Buddy Baker on meeting Annette Funnicello on The Mickey Mouse Club
Buddy Baker on the music in the shorts (like "Spin and Marty") on The Mickey Mouse Club
Buddy Baker on the demands and production schedule of The Mickey Mouse Club
Buddy Baker on working with the cast and arranging music for The Mickey Mouse Club
Topics

Pop Culture

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Buddy Baker on Jimmy Dodd writing "The Mickey Mouse Club March" for The Mickey Mouse Club

TV Theme Songs

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Buddy Baker on Jimmy Dodd writing "The Mickey Mouse Club March" for The Mickey Mouse Club

Technological Innovation

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Buddy Baker on the opening of The Wonderful World of Color
Professions

Composer

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Buddy Baker on his harmony system of arranging music
Buddy Baker on the process of composing for film and television
Buddy Baker on the Disney sound
Buddy Baker on writing music for television and film and budgets for each

Music Director

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Buddy Baker on becoming Musical Director of WED Enterprises (WED - Walt Elias Disney)
Buddy Baker on the "Buddy Baker" style of music

Music Professionals

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Buddy Baker on his harmony system of arranging music
Buddy Baker on the process of composing for film and television
Buddy Baker on the Disney sound
Buddy Baker on writing music for television and film and budgets for each
Buddy Baker on becoming Musical Director of WED Enterprises (WED - Walt Elias Disney)
Buddy Baker on the "Buddy Baker" style of music
Genres

Children's Programming

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Buddy Baker on arranging music for The Mickey Mouse Club; on meeting Annette Funnicello
Buddy Baker on working with the cast and arranging music for The Mickey Mouse Club
People

Walt Disney

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Buddy Baker on first meeting Walt Disney
Buddy Baker on how Walt Disney's death affected the company

Jimmy Dodd

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Buddy Baker on Jimmy Dodd writing "The Mickey Mouse Club March" for The Mickey Mouse Club

Annette Funicello

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Buddy Baker on meeting Annette Funnicello on The Mickey Mouse Club

Jerry Goldsmith

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Buddy Baker on Jerry Goldsmith being one of his music students

Bob Hope

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Buddy Baker on his start in radio for "The Bob Hope Show" and becoming the show's musical director

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