Little Toot is based on a children’s story written and illustrated by Hardie Gramatky, featuring a young tugboat who does not want to tug. Instead, he’d rather make figure eights in the harbor and bother all the other tugboats. But when he ends up all alone on the open water as a storm is rolling in, it’s up to him to save a stuck ocean liner.
The story appeared in an animated segment of the Walt Disney Studios film Melody Time in 1948, with the story being sung by the Andrews Sisters, with Vic Schoen providing the background musical score. In this version, Little Toot carelessly disgraces his father (Big Toot) when he unintentionally causes an ocean liner his father was towing out to sea to crash into the city, and is banished to exile from the harbor as a result. Little Toot learns that he must give up his foolish behavior and learn to grow up in order to earn the respect of the other boats, including his father’s. When Capitol Records produced a record with the Little Toot song, it was the first children’s record to hit the 1,000,000 sales mark on Billboard, according to then-president Alan Livingston.
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