We have referenced “song-stories” in the past. Now it is time to share one. As the name suggests, “song-stories” were Soundies in which the band does not appear on screen, and where the lyrics are “acted out” by the vocalists or other sideline performers.
Sailboat In the Sky is a piece of musical piffle by future publisher Michael (Mickey) Goldsen. With Hal Borne leading the studio orchestra, the song is sung former big band vocalist and radio favorite Johnnie Johnston. His partner, Anne Carmichael, is better known as film and television star Anne Jeffreys. (Many of us grew up with her portrayal is the “ghostess with the mostess,” Marian Kirby, on the television hit Topper.)
I was able to share the short with Ms. Jeffreys in the 1980s. While she did not recall much about the production, she did comment, “I was a real cutie, huh?”
What makes this song-story particularly interesting is the use of clever (if very inexpensive) visual effects by Neil McGuire. This was McGuire’s specialty, and he put it to use in a large number of Soundies and jukebox shorts by his own Phono-Films.
The three hitchhiking females have not been identified, and Don Kent gets screen credit for one extended kiss with unknown girlfriend in a hot air balloon.
While this film is, in many ways, less essential than others, “song-stories” were an important part of the Soundies output, and they were used to balance the weekly program of eight shorts.