Baby Elephant Walk

Baji J. Ram Rao
10:19 +0530 Sun. 31-May-2015

Back in 1962, Howard Hawks made his movie, “Hatari!” starring John Wayne, Lisa Martinelli, Michelle Girardon, Red Buttons and Hardy Kruger.
My friend “Kishor” Krishnamurthy and I were elementary school boys in the 1st standard. We saw the film at Natraj cinema, Chembur, more than once.

Henry Mancini(1921-1994) composed and arranged a song that would become famous.
He combined a brass section from trumpets, trombones, French horns and even repeated blasts from the Tuba, with a real steam calliope, flutes and woodwinds. The main lead is carried by a clarinet. The brass whistles of the calliope (esp. the small high ones) often go off-pitch because of the heat of the steam, and this is part of the magic of the calliope.

The music conveys the sense of infant elephants plodding unsteadily but elated at the prospect of bathing in the local water hole.
Lisa Martinelli leads the babies to the water, while big John Wayne stands by with a hunting rifle.

In 1962, this song earned Henri Mancini the Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement.