The Ugly Duckling

Album: Hans Christian Andersen (1952)

Songfacts®:

  • Like "The King's New Clothes," this Frank Loesser composition appears in the 1952 adaptation Hans Christian Andersen; the song - sung herein by Danny Kaye as Andersen - is faithful to the original story, which was first published, in Danish, in November 1843, as Den Grimme Aelling.

    Although a children's story in spite of the obvious moral at its heart, at least one Andersen biographer has suggested that it is rooted in personal experience, the man himself was a tall, ugly boy with a big nose and big feet, and suffered all too typical childhood cruelties on account of this. Although no one could ever have called Andersen a handsome man, it is a truism that just as beauty is only skin deep, so too does true beauty lie within; Andersen's beauty is of course his literary legacy, which has been translated into all the world's major languages and both entertained and educated successive generations.
  • "The Ugly Duckling" has been recorded by numerous artists over the years including by the British character actor, television narrator and one-time recording artist Bernard Cribbins, and by Gracie Fields; the sheet music appears in Songs From The Golden Years Of Gracie Fields, which was published by Chappell of London in November 1975; herein it is copyright Frank Loesser, 1951.

    Although Andersen's feathered friend was a swan, whose egg had somehow ended up in a duck's nest, it is a sad fact of life that all too often the little ugly duckling grows up into a great big ugly duck.

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