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A Symposium on Popular Songs (1962)

Professor Ludwig von Drake plays a variety of popular music, all of which he wrote. First, ragtime: the Rutabaga Rag, with vegetables dancing in stop-motion. Next, the Charleston, with ... See full summary »




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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Paul Frees ...
Gloria Wood ...
The Andrews Sisters singing The Boogie Woogie Bakery Man / Helen Kane (voice)
Billy Storm ...
Man Singing Puppy Love Is Here to Stay (voice)
Skip Farrell ...
Bing Crosby (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ray Bauduc ...
Danny Best ...
Musician-Trumpet and Cornet
Nick Fatool ...
Justin Gordon ...
Musician-Tenor Sax
Manny Klein ...
Abe Lincoln ...
Matty Matlock ...
Eddie Miller ...
Musician-Tenor Sax
Miff Mole ...
Allan Reuss ...
Musician-Banjo and Guitar
Willie Schwartz ...
Musician-Tenor Sax


Professor Ludwig von Drake plays a variety of popular music, all of which he wrote. First, ragtime: the Rutabaga Rag, with vegetables dancing in stop-motion. Next, the Charleston, with cut-out animation of a singer and dancers. Dixieland and more cut-out animation; the crooner/love ballad; 50's doo-wop; and finally, rockabilly. Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A NEW TWIST ON THE OLD "RAGTIME" (original print ad-all caps) See more »


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

19 December 1962 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Symposium de chants populaires  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)


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Did You Know?


The singers caricatured in this short are: Helen Kane (1920s jazz), Al Jolson (1930s jazz), Bing Crosby (romantic ballad), The Andrews Sisters (boogie woogie), and Paul Anka (rock 'n' roll). See more »


Ludwig Von Drake: Around the turn of the century, I was a starving musician, and I was down to my last rutabaga. And anybody knows what that means: I was dressed in rags all the time.
Ludwig Von Drake: Even my clothes was in rags. And I said to myself, "That's it! I will call my new syncopation... ragtime!"
See more »


Charleston Charlie
Written by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman
Performed by Gloria Wood
See more »

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User Reviews

The concept was great and the execution is even greater
18 October 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Not sure whether it is among Disney's best, but it has quickly become one of my personal favourite Disney shorts. Not just because the concept is so unlike any other Disney short but because A Symposium on Popular Songs is so entertaining, especially those who love music(as music is practically my life A Symposium on Popular Songs appealed to me instantly). The stop-motion animation is colourful, smooth and very skilfully designed, nothing came across as cheap and it still holds up well now. It isn't particularly flashy or exactly challenging, neither is it simplistic, and it meshes with the music very well especially in the Rock, Rumble and Roar number. All the scenes are so much fun and while there's not an awful lot of history involved, you are likely to find yourselves- providing that this appeals to you, I know that there will people who find that the short doesn't work for them- learning a lot and in a way that felt fun and not in a talk-down-to-people way. The scene with the love note being revealed to Von Drake was hilarious and I just adored the zaniness of the script-writing. Von Drake is a great host, he is extremely funny and has a presence that feels inviting and makes you want to see more. To me he wasn't grating or used too much but at the end of the day it all comes down to personal taste. Paul Frees- one of the voice actor greats- voices him brilliantly although it is not the voice for the character that is the most familiar to me(that would be Corey Burton). But what makes A Symposium on Popular Songs is the music(some of the Sherman Brothers' most under-appreciated work), not only is it so catchy to listen to with melodies that are beautiful and stick in your head easily but the songs are stylistically diverse- which is to be appreciated- and is meshed really well with the visuals. The highlights are Rutabaga Rag and Rock, Rumble and Roar, I'm Blue for You was the one that comes off least personally in the memorability factor but it still works and is sung in a lovely Bing Crosby-like crooning style. All in all, great concept and even greater in the execution, it's not going to be for everyone but it is of now a personal favourite and deserves to be seen as more than a Disney rarity. 10/10 Bethany Cox

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