‘Leagues’ apart

Letter to the editor

To the Editor:

A few weeks ago, I received a call inviting me to the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood to be part of the celebration of the release of the new DVD package for the Walt Disney classic “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.”

I declined.

Al Hoffman and I wrote words and music for “A Whale of a Tale,” the now-famous song from that picture. Kirk Douglas sang it on screen twice and the song’s music was used 14 times in the scoring of the film, yet no credit at all was given to the writers of that song. I called the studio immediately after I learned of the situation but was told it was too late.

When the phone call inviting me to the El Capitan event, my resentment and anger were rekindled. I had some naïve notion that maybe the new DVD would recognize our work and give the late Hoffman and myself our long-overdue credit. No way!

I’ve heard it said many times in the past that Walt Disney Studios has little respect for the creative community. My experience with Disney makes me believe it’s absolutely true.

Norman Gimbel