A jolly holiday with the Sherman Brothers

My love of things Disney is no secret, so imagine what a thrill it was to get a chance to talk with Disney songwriter Richard M. Sherman about his long-running rift with songwriting partner and brother Robert B. Sherman and about the just-released documentary about their lives and careers, The Boys: The Sherman Brothers’ Story, which was made by Richard’s son Gregory V. Sherman and Robert’s son Jeffrey C. Sherman. The cousins grew up mere blocks from one another in Beverly Hills but didn’t get to know each other until adults because their fathers did not socialize, nor did they allow their families to socialize.

Ah, families.

I wrote a feature on Richard M. Sherman and the movie for the San Francisco Examiner. Read it here.

I also reviewed the movie (four stars) for the Examiner. Read it here.

Both pieces are pretty short, so here’s some bonus Richard M. Sherman.

On his and Bob’s love of Walt Disney: “We were under the wing of a genius. He pushed us that much further, gave us these giant assignments. We adored him, and he was fantastic to us. Let it never be said that Walt was just a figurehead. He was an inspiration to everyone he worked with and was totally a hands-on producer no matter who was directing, writing or composing.”

On his son and nephew collaborating on the film: “It’s another Sherman partnership. Fate has wonderful twists and turns. They came to us about five years ago and asked for permission to do the story of our careers and our life together. I thought, `Sounds good to me.’ I didn’t realize they were going to get so in depth. It’s really an intense documentary.”

On the lesser-known work: “There are songs in a lot of different pictures I’m fond of. I love Shelby Flint’s recording of `Do You Remember me?’ from Snoopy Come Home. It’s a gorgeous, gorgeous recording. She sang it with all her heart. There are other obscure things I like: 1Tell Him Anything But Not That I Love Him’ from The Slipper and the Rose — that’s a very mature piece. We’ve written a lot of songs people don’t know. They tend to remember the funny, clever ones.”

On Busker Alley, a Broadway-bound musical that never got to Broadway: “It’s a great show. I’d love to see it re-mounted. I always keep a little prayer in my heart. Who knows? Tomorrow is another day. I’m an optimistic guy. Always have been. There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow!”

On a favorite memory: “It was the opening of Mary Poppins, a gigantic party. My folks were there, and when they went over to Walt, my dad said, `Thank you for the opportunity you’ve given my sons.’ Walt shook my dad’s hand and said, `Al, I want to thank you for your sons.'”

Here’s a preview of the documentary:

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