Friday, January 11, 2013

'It is I, your piano'

There is this funny and sweet old audio show put out by Capitol Records, "Sparky's Magic Piano," that I ran across because of my research on Leonard Pennario. They made the radio show into an animated film in the 1980s, with Mel Blanc, and Pennario played the piano for it.

The show, and the cartoon, seem to have something of a cult following. And I can see why!

What happens is, this little boy Sparky gets frustrated with practicing, and his piano comes to life and does the playing for him, allowing him to come off sounding like a great virtuoso. Meaning, in the movie, he suddenly, magically sounds like Pennario. In the audio show, made in the 1940s, they had another pianist.

There is nothing like the moment when the piano talks.

"Who's calling me?" Sparky wonders.

"It is I, your piano."

Check it out in the clip up above.

You will be laughing all day!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Mary,
    Here's a little more info about Sparky (which, unfortunately, was never a radio show).

    "Sparky's Magic Piano" was a children's record written and produced by Alan Livingston, who had created Bozo "The Capitol Clown" in 1946 before creating Sparky. He would go on to sign Frank Sinatra as a vice-president of A& R and, as president of Capitol Records, would approve the signing of The Beatles and many other acts. It was the second Sparky recording, the first being "Sparky And The Talking Train" recorded in August of 1947.
    "Sparky's Magic Piano" was recorded over two sessions at Radio Recorders' studios in Hollywood, California. The first three parts were recorded on October 29, 1947 and the final three parts on November 6, 1947. Henry Blair supplied the voice of "Sparky", Verne Smith was the narrator, and Ray Turner was the pianist. The music was composed and arranged by Billy May. The "voice" of the piano was an effect created with a Wright-Sonovox device. Capitol Records issued the song as children's album (BC-73).

    Livingston, after leaving Capitol in the '60s, and after for starting his own company, Mediarts, Inc. and then working for 20th Century Fox, would go on to start his own production studio, Pacific Rim Productions, Inc, reacquire the rights to Sparky, and produce the cartoon version.

    Here's a short bio for Alan Livingston