Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Disney Song #3: Journey Into Imagination (One Little Spark)

Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.  ~Albert Einstein

To Listen:  Full Ride / One Little Spark

The Facts:
  • Composers: Richard and Robert Sherman, Buddy Baker, George Wilkins
  • Year: 1983
  • Key: several

Heard In: 
Journey Into Imagination (1983 - 1998)

This could easily have been my #1 song -- my top 3 are all so razor-thin close that I've shuffled the order a million times already during internal debates with myself.  As it is, Figment is my #1 all-time favorite Disney character and the original ride is my all-time favorite Disney ride, so don't mistake the "low" #3 ranking as any disrespect toward this monumental piece of my childhood.

Where to begin when talking about Journey Into Imagination?  One place is my December interview with Tony Baxter, the creative force behind Disney's most creative ride.  We covered a lot of what made the original Imagination a uniquely special, right-brained, whimsical, joyful, transcendent experience and also talked about its tragic removal and its staggeringly inferior replacements.

Musically, the centerpiece of the ride was the Sherman Brothers' "One Little Spark," but this post is a celebration of the score from the entire ride.  I've read online that Buddy Baker was involved with the score but Tony Baxter told me it was George Wilkins, so I included both of them in the credits.

The score, quite simply, is incredible from beginning to end.  The beautifully crafted "One Little Spark" origin story and musical number is preceded and followed by variations on the theme, and that leads into one of my favorite parts of the score: the white room where Figment is holding the rainbow jar (8:23 mark in the video above).  As a kid, this room took my breath away.

This is followed by the scary monster part, the upbeat performing arts room and laser show, the memorable "what about science science science science" section,  and it's topped off by my other favorite moment from the score: the glorious grand finale with all the Figments doing silly things (in the Baxter interview I call out the weightlifting Figment as my favorite).  The music here was as uplifting, energizing, and inspiring as it gets.  And as is the case for each song in my top 3, it crosses over into the rarified air of the spiritual and the sacred (why don't I tell you how I really feel about this music?!).

Imagination 2.0 (which I never went on out of protest) removed Figment and One Little Spark, and Imagination 3.0 added them back in after much public outcry.  But Figment became less of a lovable underdog and more of a brat, and while it's nice to hear One Little Spark again, the new score is light years away from the original.

It's nice that there are videos out there with the old ride and music, but even if there weren't, it would always live on in my imagination.

No comments:

Post a Comment