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Walt Disney’s ‘Boys’: Beautiful Music, Brotherly Disharmony

An entertaining and poignant documentary sheds light on the lives and work of the Sherman Brothers.

Chris Queen


August 15, 2013 - 4:30 pm
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Robert, Walt, and RichardAfter his wife’s death in 2001, Robert moved to London until his own passing in 2012, while Richard still lives with his family in California, so the interviews for The Boys took place separately. Because of these separate interviews, it’s fascinating to hear each brother relate the same stories in his own inimitable way. My favorite example is hearing Richard and Robert tell of Walt Disney’s offering the brothers a job and an office at the studios. Both brothers shed tears at their remembrances of Walt’s generosity and friendship decades later!

The Boys sheds light on the brothers’ style of collaboration. Richard would bang out ideas manically on the piano, often repeating phrases and trying new combinations of words. Robert would patiently wait for a break in Richard’s action, raise his hand quietly, and suggest lines of lyric or melody.

Oddly enough, the same disparate styles of creative work drove Richard and Robert apart personally. The brothers, so close in age, rarely spent time with each other outside of the studio and would often express irritation with each other in public. Cousins Greg and Jeff Sherman, who directed and produced the film, admit in the beginning that they barely knew each other until they grew up.

In addition to the extensive interviews with Richard, Robert, and other Sherman family members, The Boys features interviews with Dick Van Dyke, Julie Andrews, Ben Stiller (who also served as executive producer), Alan Menken, Sam Goldwyn, Jr., and many others. For anyone who is interested in Disney lore, pop music history, the songwriting process in general, or the Sherman Brothers specifically, I highly recommend this documentary.

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All Chris Queen wanted to be growing up was a game show host, a weather man, or James Bond. But his writing talent won out. By day, Chris is a somewhat mild-mannered church communications director, but by night, he keeps his finger on the pulse of pop culture and writes about it. In addition to his Disney obsession (as evidenced by his posts on this website), Chris's interests include college sports -- especially his beloved Georgia Bulldogs -- and a wide variety of music. A native of Marietta, GA, Chris moved with his family as a child to nearby Covington, GA, where he still makes his home. He is an active charter member of Eastridge Community Church and enjoys spending time with family and friends. In addition to his work at PJ Media, Chris spent nearly a year as a contributor to NewsReal Blog. He has also written for Celebrations Magazine and two newspapers in Metro Atlanta. Check out his website,

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