Making a Disney wunder-list

A note from a box of Disney scores that were found offsite.

In my last post I introduced my process of locating the scattered Disney copyright deposits – one of research, comparing, digging, and list-making. At this point in my project, I have almost finished inventorying all of the scores that were already located in the Madison building, and now I have to coordinate with the offsite facility in order to locate and bring all of the other scores to my cubicle!

I’ve mentioned this earlier, but in theory, the Library of Congress should have the score for every bit of copyrighted music that Disney registered from the beginning of the company until the late 1970’s. For each year, the U.S. Copyright Office publishes a comprehensive list of all copyright registrations received and renewed in that year – both published and unpublished. For me, this means that in order to know how many scores we should have for any given film, I have to search within these massive registration volumes for all times that film is mentioned. This can range anywhere from five entries (The Reluctant Dragon or The Three Caballeros) to over twenty (Snow White and Pinocchio). Once I find evidence of every unpublished music registration for a film, I compare those registration numbers to the list of scores that are already at the Library and find out which ones we are missing. This process leads to yet another list! My “To Find” list of missing scores then gets sent to Tom – the official ‘finder-of-things’ at LOC’s offsite storage facility, who then delivers a box full of the missing scores to my desk.

Receiving those scores is always really exciting for me, because I never know what I’m going to find. This last delivery of missing scores had at least seven handwritten, manuscript vocal scores of unused and early-version songs from Pinocchio!

As detail-oriented as this whole process is – of figuring out which scores we currently have, which scores we should have, and which scores we need to search for – it is so rewarding! Not only do I get to handle scores that haven’t been seen for 60-80 years, but I get to know that I’m doing something that hasn’t been done before in compiling a wunder-list (if you will) of every piece of unpublished Disney TV and film music. Every day I am so thankful for this awesome opportunity!

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