As someone who appreciates the gift of being able to sing a little morning song and have woodland creatures scamper to help me dress, I couldn’t wait to see Disney’s new live-action movie, Cinderella. Cindy was “my” princess, from a generation that knew if nice girls had a good heart and believed, the dreams that they wished would come true.
P.C. in those days stood for, “Prince Charming,” not “politically correct,” in a time where there was no need for equal opportunity princesses to slash with swords or duel with dirty dragons. Cinderella only had to exude her natural charm and kindness to mice in order to be rescued from her life of oppression — with a little help from a magic wand and a pumpkin.
Since I was raised in the medieval days and my castle had no VCR or TiVo, I really didn’t get to see much of the animated movie, but instead, familiarized myself with the story from listening to the songs on the big vinyl album, which I obsessively played. I memorized the details of the album’s cover artwork which portrayed a humble Cinderella, extending her tiny foot while the dashing prince knelt before her with the holy grail of shoes, the glass slipper.
Studying the cover, I learned the proper way to point my toe when the gangly teenaged shoe salesman knelt before me at Kenny’s Shoe Store and regally presented my Buster Browns.
The songs on the album were my link to the magical world of real princesses. Pirouetting around my pink canopy bed, I would Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo myself into dizziness, and then bring it on down again with, “So this is love,” a dream duet between me and the Prince.
When I first saw the Rodgers and Hammerstein version of Cinderella, it rocked my world. The songs were new and entirely different than the Disney flick. Since I was already partial to the well named star of the show (ahem), Lesley Ann Warren, I was predisposed to love these songs as well . . . from my own little corner in my own little chair.
There was recent talk at the Princess Primping Parlor that several of the old Cinderella songs were being re-recorded for this new 2015 live-action movie. Oh, joy! But when the long awaited day arrived, and I had popcorn in hand, the story had barely unfolded when I realized, “Hey, there’s no singing in this movie!” What? Cinderella without songs? Don’t they know all princesses sing? More precisely, they sing with perfect pitch, accompanied by coordinated dance moves, and it’s always to the delight of flittering birds and any wee folk in the general vicinity.
In all fairness, there was one little scene where the troubled Cinderella sat in her gloomy attic and sang a few lines from a common nursery rhyme, “lavender blue, dilly-dilly,” but it paled in comparison to the original tunes which weren’t mentioned, including Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 1950 for “Best Original Song.”
And the big royal question haunting the palace is . . . why do I care?
The songs mattered to me because once upon a time, they were a part of my childhood — a very happy part, and don’t we all long to revisit good memories? What was it for you, The Mickey Mouse Club? Roy Rogers? Sesame Street? Our childhood music history imprints itself on our brains and sets the literal tone for experiences yet to come.
As the sun set on the kingdom, I left the theater thrilled with the acting and costumes, but disappointed by the lack of magical crooning. And now, in true princess tradition, I am comforted because no matter how my heart is grieving, if I keep on believing, the dream that I wish will come true . . . and also because the songs are now downloaded onto my royal iphone.
Go ahead — click on it. You know you want to dance around your canopy bed.
This story first appeared in my column, Southern with a Gulf Coast accent at Gulf Coast Newspapers.
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