Snow White's Grotto and Wishing Well is by far my favorite tucked away hidden treasure. In front of Sleeping Beauty Castle, take the first path and travel to the right of the drawbridge. Once you find the locale, you can hear Snow Whites beautiful voice singing, I'm Wishing from some mysterious place deep within the well. The voice you hear is that of Adriana Caselotti, the person who was the original speaking and singing voice of the princess for the 1930's film. However, she re-recorded the song not too long ago with her sweet, one-of-a-kind voice. There is an enchanting story behind all of this, as told by Al...
The last take...
There's a wonderful story about Adriana Caselotti's re-recording of the soundtrack now used at Snow White's Wishing Well at Disneyland - that was done back during the 50th anniversary theatrical re-release of Snow White. [A magazine writer friend related it to me, and this seems like the perfect part of the site to finally tell it.]
Apparently, Adriana used to take the greatest of pride that until her very last days she could still do the famous "voice" - and usually she sounded just about as fresh then as she did back in the late thirties.
As you may well know, I'm Wishing, the song you hear every few minutes at the well requires a very solid, almost operatic, voice to perform well. Over the years for the more demanding studio work, Adriana had been increasingly replaced by several other actresses who were a little bit more reliable whenever it came time to do Snow's voice.
For this little project, apparently the forces that be at Disney thought it would be a nice touch to give her one last shot to digitally record and replace the patched together film soundtrack they were using at the grotto since it was originally installed. They wanted to capture her performance as Snow for posterity as the years went on.
Anyway, the day for the session came, and sadly, try as she may, Adriana just could not reach the high notes required of her for the song. Take after take came and then went - and she just couldn't make it. People who had pushed so very hard for her to do this little project were heartbroken to say the least.
Finally, apparently just as she sensed they were going to call the session over, she asked if she could go ahead and ask someone for help. Rather puzzled, (since she was alone in the studio) the engineer and producer went ahead and gave her the go-ahead.
She turned away from the mike - looked up skyward - and very quietly asked:
Mr. Disney, if you are up there - please help me find Snow White's voice.
After a moment, she turned back around and asked for a last take. The engineer crossed his fingers, hit the start button, and the tape began to roll. She got each and every note absolutely perfect that one last time.
[And yes... those tears welling up in your eyes now are just what happened to everyone who was in the studio too upon the completion of the track.]
So, the next time you stop by Snow White's Wishing Well at Disneyland do take a careful listen won't you? It's quite a heavenly performance they have playing there if you ask me.
- Al Lutz Cinderella's Wishing Well at Walt Disney World rests in a small side area high on the path that leads from the castle toward Tomorrowland. Like its Disneyland cousin, it is a wonderful place to take a short break in the afternoon or to enjoy a romantic moment late in the evening.
Snow White's Grotto, Disneyland USA