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Guide to the Norman "Buddy" Baker Collection
ca. 1958-1998
 MSS 158

Fales Library and Special Collections
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012
Phone: (212) 998-2596
Email: fales.library@nyu.edu


Fales Library and Special Collections

Collection processed by Gillian B. Anderson, 2005.

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on January 09, 2015
Description is in English.

Biographical Note

The Norman "Buddy" Baker Collection, consisting of nearly 12,000 pages, chronicles the celebrated career of Norman "Buddy" Baker in his roles as composer, orchestrator, conductor, and musical director with Walt Disney Studios - much of it spent in daily collaboration with Walt Disney. Initially hired as an orchestrator for the 1954 television series Davy Crockett, and appointed as the musical director of the original Mickey Mouse Club in 1955, his twenty-eight years with Disney Studios featured 40 films, 125 television shows, and music for the Disney theme park attractions worldwide, including The Haunted Mansion, Pirates of The Caribbean, and It's A Small World at Disneyland. Among his scores for live-action and animated theatrical features were The Monkey's Uncle (1965), the Cannes award-winning featurette Donald In Mathmagicland, the Oscar-nominated Napoleon and Samantha (1971), and The Fox and The Hound (1981).

He was awarded the accolade Disney Legend in 1998, the Walt Disney Corporation's most prestigious creative award. Honoring his multifaceted career as composer and pedagogue, Buddy was the recipient of the ASCAP Foundation's Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999. Buddy Baker's pre-Disney years, as jazz trumpeter and composer/arranger in the big-band era, featured collaborations with jazz legends Harry James and Stan Kenton. His 1944 arrangement of Stan Kenton's And Her Tears Flowed Like Wine became a Top 10 hit. Buddy also served as music director for the live radio shows of Bob Hope and Jack Benny.

Buddy's music is embedded in American culture through television in The Wonderful World of Color, The Mousketeer Club, and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. In the years following Disney's death in 1966, Buddy Baker continued to compose music for many of the attractions and rides throughout the Disney theme parks, including The Haunted Mansion and Pirates of The Caribbean. At one point, Buddy had composed the lion's share of all music heard in the Disney parks worldwide.

Buddy Baker was a pioneer and great proponent of the study of film scoring in higher education. His teaching career began in the 1940's at Los Angeles' City College, where one of his students was Jerry Goldsmith. From 1987 until his death on July 26, 2002 at the age of 84, he was the driving force and Chair of the USC Program in Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television.