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The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band: Wikis


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The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band is a 1968 musical film based on the novel Nebraska by Laura Bower Van Nuys, produced by Walt Disney Pictures (their first musical following Walt Disney's passing two years earlier) and directed by Michael O'Herlihy. The song score is provided by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman. The story is set against the backdrop of the 1888 presidential election.


Story origins and the making of the motion picture

In the years following Walt Disney's death, several films were produced and released by the Walt Disney Company that are particularly noteworthy for their music. One such film is The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band. The project, which was originally planned as a two-part television show titled "The Family Band", was based on the book Nebraska 1888 by Laura Bower Van Nuys about her family's band that performed at the 1888 Democratic convention. Walt Disney had asked the Sherman Brothers for their help on the project because he felt the story was too flat. The Shermans came up with the "The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band", which was then used as the title of the motion picture. After hearing the song, Disney decided to add more songs to the film and turn it into a musical. In all, the Sherman Brothers wrote eleven songs for the film (though Robert Sherman did so under protest, believing the subject matter too mundane to justify being made into a feature-length, musical film).


The Bower Family Band petitions the Democratic National Committee to sing a Grover Cleveland rally song at the 1888 convention, but decide instead to move to the Dakota Territory on the urging of a suitor to their eldest daughter. There, Grandpa Bower causes trouble with his pro-Cleveland ideas, as Dakota residents are overwhelmingly Republican, and hope to get the territory admitted as two states (North and South Dakota) rather than one in order to send four Republican senators to Washington. Cleveland opposed this plan, refusing to refer to Congress the plan to organize the Dakotas this way. When Cleveland wins the popular vote, but Republican nominee Benjamin Harrison wins the presidency due to the Electoral College votes, the Dakotans (particularly the feuding young couple) resolve to live together in peace, and Cleveland grants statehood to the two Dakotas before he leaves office (along with two Democrat-voting states, evening the gains for both parties).



The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band

"The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band", the title song from the film, is sung at the beginning of the film, inviting all within earshot to "hear the hullabaloo of our tuba," and be part of the audience.

Ten Feet off the Ground

"Ten Feet off the Ground" is a song about the feeling which music gives to the Family Band, figuratively lifting them "ten feet off the ground." This was one of two songs from the film covered by Louis Armstrong later in 1968.

The Happiest Girl Alive

"The Happiest Girl Alive" is sung by actress Lesley Ann Warren. The film is Warren's second Disney musical in which she plays an ingénue character, the first being The Happiest Millionaire (in which she also co-starred with fellow cast member John Davidson).

'Bout Time

"'Bout Time" features John Davidson and Lesley Ann Warren in a duet. This was the other song covered by Louis Armstrong and was later featured in the 2005 film, Bewitched.

Let's Put It Over with Grover

"Let's Put It Over with Grover" is meant to be a campaign song for Grover Cleveland. In reality, the song was written nearly eighty years after that election took place.

The songwriters' father, Al Sherman (who was also a songwriter) wrote two songs which were used as campaign songs for two different Presidential candidates in the mid-twentieth century. In the 1948 election, Republican candidate, Thomas Dewey usurped the Al Sherman/Charles Tobias/Howard Johnson collaboration, "(What Do We Do On A) Dew-Dew-Dewey Day" for his campaign. Four years later Sherman wrote a song specifically for Dwight D. Eisenhower's campaign called "I Like Ike."


"Dakota" is similar in style to the title song of the 1943 musical, Oklahoma! by Rodgers and Hammerstein. It was once considered as a candidate for "state song" for South Dakota. South Dakota currently does not have a state song.

Drummin' Drummin' Drummin'

"Drummin' Drummin' Drummin'" is a song that is supposed to be a song in the world of the musical, similar to The Lonely Goatherd. It tells the story of a military drummer boy who bravely drummed while the enemy approached.

Oh, Benjamin Harrison

"Oh, Benjamin Harrison" is meant to be a campaign song for Benjamin Harrison.

West o' the Wide Missouri

"West o' the Wide Missouri" is about the American expansionism which took place during the period in which the film is set, 1888.


Literary sources

  • Sherman, Robert B. Walt's Time: from before to beyond. Santa Clarita: Camphor Tree Publishers, 1998, pgs. 148-149.

External links


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