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"Cliff Edwards/Ukelele Ike (1895-1971)"

(Click here for picture):

Maybe you’ve never heard of Cliff Edwards,
also known as Ukulele Ike.
He’s one of our all-time favorite singers.
He’s the voice of Jiminy Cricket in the movie “Pinocchio”.
He’s the singer you hear on the Academy Award winning song
“When You Wish Upon a Star”,
which has become the Disney theme.
His name does not appear anywhere in the movie credits.
That’s wrong,
and Disney should correct it.
Cliff finally gets his proper respect in 1977,
with the release of Steven Spielberg's movie
“Close Encounters of the Third Kind”.
Cliff is heard over the closing credits
singing his trademark song “When You Wish Upon A Star”.
His name also appears in the closing credits.
Ukulele Ike sold over 74 million records in his lifetime,
in a time when there were a lot less people to buy them.
As an actor, he’s appeared in about 135 movies,
had his own radio show,
and an early TV program.
He was a ukulele genius
and his uke instruction books are still around.
OK. That’s all good,
but here’s what’s important to Misty and me:
His singing makes us laugh one minute and cry the next.
There is humor and sadness in his voice
that makes him great.
This morning we listened to a Cliff Edwards CD.
They are rare.
This one is called simply “Ukulele Ike”,
is on Sony Special Products,
and was produced by our old friend Nick Shaffran.
The CD has 10 tracks
recorded from 1924 to 1934.
Some people won’t hear the beauty.
You have to have soul.

Copyright © March 12, 2004, Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission.


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