Release the Original Score of The Little Engine That Could (1991)

Release the Original Score of The Little Engine That Could (1991)

Started
July 5, 2022
Signatures: 20Next Goal: 25
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Why this petition matters

Started by Cayby Elbourn

The Little Engine That Could was a joint production of Siriol Productions (formerly The Dave Edwards Studio) and Kalato Studios, co-financed by Universal City Studios (under its MCA Home Video arm) and S4C in Wales, and released on VHS on November 22, 1991. It was based on the popular children's book of the same name by Watty Piper, and the adaption took inspiration from the 1976 reissue with illustrations by Ruth Sanderson.

With its surprisingly nuanced direction, familiar casting and beautiful music, it was deemed a cult classic for children in the early 90s, as direct-to-video media was becoming a mainstay on the market. The film even holds up for adults, whose fandom of the already popular Thomas & Friends series also grew a fondness of how the film greatly expanded the original story with a steady pace and an inspiring moral of determination and not letting doubters get the best of you.

For the music, apart from the film's only musical number "Nothing Can Stop Us Now" by Mark Mueller, it should be noted that the musical score was provided by Fieldgate Studio founders Ben Heneghan and Ian Lawson; who are best known for composing the theme song of the original Fireman Sam series. The samples were based on a set of CDs by Prosonus (a Big Fish Audio library), and programmed on an Akai S1000 digital sampler; resulting in an exquisite soundtrack, where its sweeping strings and pretty piano melodies rival Alan Silvestri and more than makes up for being played by a synthesized orchestra. Fans who grew up with the film cite it as the biggest reason they still remember it as adults.

While we're on the subject, as many of you music enthusiasts/collectors know, not a single release of the film's soundtrack was considered. While there was an attempt to sample the score on Heneghan and Lawson's old website in 2011, they were quickly dropped when the duo renamed their site to Fieldgate Music. Fast forward to 2019, the closest we got to an official instrumental release was when a YouTube user (name retracted as of 2022) uploaded a version of the film with only the music and sound effects, isolated from a rare Croatian-language dub. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sXA65sE69Q) Sadly, after 3½ years of surprising fans (including myself) with its dialogue-free instrumentals, the video (along with the channel uploader) was taken down for unknown reasons; presumably, due to copyright violation.

It's important to spread the word to the original composers at Fieldgate Studios to get the score released as a fan exclusive, so that all of us who grew up watching the film as children in the early 90s, can either give young music enthusiasts a chance to listen to its dialogue-free instrumentals, or give content creators an opportunity to reuse (or at least re-orchestrate) the score for a possible fandub with newly-designed sound effects and new voiceovers.

With your support, we'll be able to bring the original film's popularity back on track (no pun intended) and appreciate the historical value of Heneghan and Lawson's compositions on bringing the world of the little blue steam engine to life.

Contacts:

Fieldgate Studios on Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/fieldgatestudio

Ben Heneghan on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100063839685533

Ian Lawson on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/composerian/

Fieldgate Music on SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/fieldgatemusic

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Signatures: 20Next Goal: 25
Support now