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January 4

January 4, 1918 – Composer and Disney Legend Norman “Buddy” Baker is Born

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“During the 28 years I worked at the Studio, Walt never came to a recording. He had confidence in me and everyone else. He trusted his people. He also knew what kind of music worked – not the notes, the kind.”

On January 4, 1918, Norman Baker was born in Springfield, Missouri. He earned his Doctorate in music at Southwest Baptist University, and was brought to the Disney Studios in 1954 by staff composer George Bruns. Bruns asked Baker to help compose for the new Disney anthology serial Davy Crockett. Baker would stay at the studio, composing for nearly 50 films, including The Fox and The Hound and Donald in Mathmagic Land. Baker kept contributing to Disney’s television ventures, but was eventually tapped to help with the musical scores of the attractions at the 1964 World’s Fair, particularly Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln and the Carousel of Progress. With X Atencio, Baker would write the popular tune “Grim Grinning Ghosts,” heard at the Haunted Mansion. He then became the musical director for EPCOT, composing for the Future World pavilions and the World Showcase, including Innoventions, Impressions de France, and Adventure Thru Inner Space. In 1983, Baker retired from the studio, as one of the last staff composers on contract for a major Hollywood studio. He continued to score for Disney attractions, and was named a Disney Legend in 1998. Baker passed away on July 26, 2002.

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