A French Story Album

This luxurious French two-disc 78 rpm album contains a recording of the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, with condensed versions of the songs from Walt Disney’s film. The illustrations on the album and on the disc labels are taken directly from the British soundtrack album. On the back of the album, an inscription invites the owner of the album to write his or her name: “Dear…, Snow White sends you her love and best wishes. She hopes you enjoy the records of her adventures with the seven dwarfs.” At the bottom, it reads “R. C. Seine 74.361 – R. Prs Seine C. A. 14.902 “. “R. C.” stands for “commercial register”.

It seems that this album was recorded in September 1938, in time for its Christmas release as a gift for all French toddlers. In fact, the record is mentioned in the “Christmas records” section of the December 22, 1938 issue of “Le Jour”.

Robert Desnos

On December 20, 1938, in the newspaper “Soir”, the famous poet Robert Desnos wrote about it, underlining the novelty of the approach, both in content and form. Until then, this type of recording was rare, if not non-existent, and records were not presented in personalized sleeves, as here: the record shop slips your purchase into a sleeve advertising the record brand. Here’s an extract from his article:

“La voix de son Maître” has released a shortened phonographic version of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” on two discs. This is a welcome initiative, and one that should not go unheeded. How desirable it would be to have similar versions of “The Threepenny Opera” and “Gold Diggers”, to name but two films from the past, both of a different genre. Élyane Célis lends her beautiful voice to the role of “Snow White”. Robert Buguet is the prince and Adrien Lamy the narrator. Marcel Kariven (sic) conducts the chorus and orchestra. Beneath their attractive cover presentation, these two discs truly represent the most charming sonic gift for children and their parents.

Paul Locard went one better in “L’art Musical” of December 26, 1938: “The staging is most ingenious. A magical spectacle emerges from this concise and picturesque prose, and from this alert, direct music, whose rhythmic plasticity evokes the vision of a set.”

The record was broadcast on Radio Paris on February 9, 1939 at 11:30 am. It was reissued many times, sometimes even with the text, on LP, then on CD.

The Album

Track listing

Disc 1 (SP.1)

  • Side 1: Part 1 – OLA. 2782 (3:20)
  • Side 2: Part 2 – OLA 2783 (3:18)

Disc 2 (SP.2)

  • Side 1: Part 3 – OLA 2784 (3:20)
  • Side 2: Part 4 – OLA 2785 (3:04)