This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Buddy Baker" composer – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (December 2015) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Buddy Baker
Birth nameNorman Dale Baker
Born(1918-01-04)January 4, 1918
Springfield, Missouri, U.S.
DiedJuly 26, 2002(2002-07-26) (aged 84)
Hollywood, California
GenresSoundtrack
Occupation(s)Composer
Years active1934–1994

Norman Dale "Buddy" Baker (January 4, 1918 – July 26, 2002) was an American composer who scored many Disney films, including The Apple Dumpling Gang in 1975, The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again in 1979, The Shaggy D.A. in 1976, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh in 1977, and The Fox and the Hound in 1981.[1] He also composed the scores of classic Disney theme park attractions, including Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln and The Haunted Mansion.

Biography

Baker was born and raised in Springfield, Missouri, and got his degree in music from Southwest Baptist College. He moved to the West Coast in the 1930s to arrange music scores for radio, and became the musical director for Bob Hope's radio show.

Career

One of Baker's first hits as a big band arranger was "And Her Tears Flowed Like Wine" for the Stan Kenton Orchestra. He later became a professor at L.A. City College in the early 1950s. Among his early students were film composer Jerry Goldsmith and jazz drummer Louis Bellson, with whom he composed and arranged Journey Into Love (Norgran, 1954).[2]

At about this time, his friend George Bruns asked him to compose music for the Disney television show Davy Crockett and the River Pirates. He stayed on at the Disney studio, and eventually became its music director, as well as chief composer for Disneyland and other Disney theme parks.

Baker was nominated for an Academy Award for his score for the 1972 film Napoleon and Samantha. His work is heard in many Disney cartoons and featurettes, including Donald in Mathmagic Land, which was nominated for a 1959 Academy Award (Best Documentary - Short Subjects). In 1978, he composed the music for the first Walt Disney Home Video logo, known as the "Neon Mickey" logo—a loud string and brass fanfare with a piano and timpani beats.

Baker arranged and conducted most of the Winnie-the-Pooh musical featurettes. He also conducted the music for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh theme park attractions in 1999, at age 81.

The eerie music heard throughout The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland was another of Baker's works, as was the infectious theme to Walt Disney World's If You Had Wings. He arranged the medley of French classical music that accompanies the film Impressions de France at EPCOT Center, which artfully integrates works by Camille Saint-Saëns, Claude Debussy and Erik Satie, among others. He also wrote the music for the Tokyo DisneySea theme park attraction Journey to the Center of the Earth, which opened in 2001.

Baker was named a "Disney Legend" in 1989. He has an honorary Main Street window over the Car Barn at Disneyland Park, which reads: "Plaza School of Music - Sheet Music – B. Baker."

Later years and death

Baker retired from Disney as the last staff composer still on contract at any studio. Although he occasionally returned to work on theme park, film and television projects, he spent most of his later years teaching film scoring at the USC Thornton School of Music in Los Angeles, where he remained until his death from natural causes at age 84 in 2002. He was interred at Forest Lawn – Hollywood Hills Cemetery. In 2004, his wife Charlotte donated his papers to the Fales Library at New York University.

Selected filmography

Year Title Director(s) Studio(s)
1953 Wicked Woman Russell Rouse United Artists
1960 Toby Tyler Charles Barton Walt Disney Productions
1963 Summer Magic James Neilson Walt Disney Productions
1964 A Tiger Walks Norman Tokar Walt Disney Productions
The Misadventures of Merlin Jones Robert Stevenson Walt Disney Productions
1965 The Monkey's Uncle Robert Stevenson Walt Disney Productions
1967 The Gnome-Mobile Robert Stevenson Walt Disney Productions
1969 Rascal Norman Tokar Walt Disney Productions
Guns in the Heather Robert Butler Walt Disney Productions
1970 King of the Grizzlies Ron Kelly Walt Disney Productions
1971 The Million Dollar Duck Vincent McEveety Walt Disney Productions
1972 Napoleon and Samantha Bernard McEveety Walt Disney Productions
Run, Cougar, Run Jerome Courtland Walt Disney Productions
1973 Charley and the Angel Vincent McEveety Walt Disney Productions
Superdad Vincent McEveety Walt Disney Productions
1974 The Bears and I Bernard McEveety Walt Disney Productions
1975 The Apple Dumpling Gang Norman Tokar Walt Disney Productions
1976 No Deposit, No Return Norman Tokar Walt Disney Productions
Treasure of Matecumbe Vincent McEveety Walt Disney Productions
The Shaggy D.A. Robert Stevenson Walt Disney Productions
1977 The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh Wolfgang Reitherman
John Lounsbery
Walt Disney Productions
A Tale of Two Critters Jack Spears Walt Disney Productions
1978 Hot Lead and Cold Feet Robert Butler Walt Disney Productions
1979 The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again Vincent McEveety Walt Disney Productions
1980 Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don't Come Back!!) Bill Melendez

Phil Roman

Paramount Pictures

Lee Mendelson-Bill Melendez Productions

Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates

United Feature Syndicate Inc.

1981 The Devil and Max Devlin Steven Hilliard Stern Walt Disney Productions
The Fox and the Hound Ted Berman
Richard Rich
Art Stevens
Walt Disney Productions
1987 The Puppetoon Movie Arnold Leibovit Arnold Leibovit Entertainment

References