In 1973, Hanna-Barbera’s animated adaptation of E.B. White’s beloved children’s novel Charlotte’s Web was released; over time, it became a multi-generational classic. 45 years later, a major milestone occurs with the first ever CD release of the film’s winning soundtrack, courtesy of Varese Sarabande.
Though White professed to not care for the film, condemning it as “a travesty” and admitting “I don’t care much for jolly songs,” Charlotte’s Web has incredibly gained fans with time. The story of Wilbur, a timid pig (Henry Gibson) saved from slaughter by the kind arachnid Charlotte (Debbie Reynolds) and a host of colorful, helpful barnyard creatures (including Agnes Moorehead’s ditzy Goose and Paul Lynde’s deliciously goofy Templeton the rat), continues to be a favorite among children – particularly with the advent of home video. The colorful Hanna-Barbera animation that television audiences had loved on The Jetsons, The Flintstones and Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! certainly helped, but a large chunk of its acclaim lay in the “simple, singable and sincere” original songs written for the film by the duo of Richard and Robert Sherman.
The Sherman Brothers were well-known in the 1960s for creating winning song scores for Disney films (including the live-action Mary Poppins (1964), The Jungle Book (1967) and many of Disneyland’s premier attractions), and, after Walt Disney’s passing in 1966, began to branch out with projects like the song score to another popular kids’ book-turned-film: Ian Fleming’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968). That perfectly potent, Shermanesque mix of fun, upbeat songs (“Chin Up,” “A Veritable Smorgasbord”) and tender, moving tunes (“Mother Earth and Father Time”) keeps this one of their most classic projects – and after not one but two vinyl reissues from Varese last year (including a color variant for Barnes & Noble stores), it’s exciting for this score to finally bow on the CD format.
Charlotte’s Web weaves into stores on February 16 – pre-order your copy below!
Charlotte’s Web: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (originally released as Paramount Records PAS-1008, 1973 – reissued Varese Sarabande 302 067 512-2, 2018)
- Main Title – Orchestra
- There Must Be Something More – Fern
- I Can Talk – Wilbur & Goose
- Chin Up – Charlotte & Wilbur
- Mother Earth and Father Time – Charlotte
- We’ve Got Lots In Common – Wilbur, Barnyard Animals & Charlotte
- A Veritable Smorgasbord – Templeton & Goose
- Deep in the Dark – Charlotte & Charlotte’s Web Male Choir
- Chin Up March – The Marching Band
- Zuckerman’s Famous Pig – Barbershop Quartet, Chorus & Band
- Charlotte’s Farewell (Mother Earth and Father Time) – Charlotte
- End Title – Orchestra & Chorus