Q&A Disney's Tunesmith

Disney songwriter Richard Sherman

Can it really be a small world for the cowriter of “Supercalifragilistic-
expialidocious?”

When Walt Disney needed a sound track for his new ride at the 1964 New York World's Fair, he called on the Sherman brothers. Richard and Robert Sherman—whose songs set audiences humming in Disney classics such as Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, and The Parent Trap—came up with "It's a Small World (After All)." Walt was so happy, he paid it his highest compliment: "That'll work." It became one of the most translated and performed songs ever. We recently talked with younger brother Richard.

Q What's the secret to writing a pop song?
A Three things: Make it simple, singable, and sincere. Do that and stay original and you can make it in this business.

Q What was it like working with Walt?
A The man was such a creative genius. He had a way of visualizing a story in his head that I've never seen before.

Q Have you taken a ride on It's a Small World?
A Are you kidding? Till this day, it's our very first stop every time we bring the family to the park.

Q Is it still a small world?
A Oh, smaller than ever. Which is why the song's message is still so relevant. "There's so much that we share / That it's time we're aware." You know? So let's not blow each other up.

The newly face-lifted It's a Small World reopens in November. To save on Disney vacations, visit AAA.com/travel.

Photography courtesy Tim O'Day/Disney

This article was first published in September 2008. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.

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