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Sights & Sounds at Disney Parks: Who in the World is Osh Popham?

posted on June 16th, 2011 by Greg Ehrbar, Writer/Author, Disney's Yellow Shoes Creative Group

This week’s blog post ties into a beloved Disney film classic with songs by Disney Legends Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman.

The Emporium on Main Street, U.S.A., at Magic Kingdom Park

Next time you visit us, take a closer look at the Emporium on Main Street, U.S.A., one of the original Magic Kingdom Park merchandise landmarks. Like its neighboring shops, it’s themed to an idyllic small town setting of the early 20th century.

The Emporium on Main Street, U.S.A., at Magic Kingdom Park

If you look closely at the windows alongside the southwest corner Emporium entrance, you’ll see the words, “Osh Popham” named as the proprietor of the happy, bustling shop – which, of course, offers Disney Parks treasures from key chains and plush characters.

1963 Walt Disney Feature Film, ‘Summer Magic’

But who is Osh? He’s actually a character played by Oscar-winning actor/singer Burl Ives in the charming 1963 Walt Disney feature film, “Summer Magic,” co-starring Hayley Mills.

In the film, Osh was a shopkeeper, postmaster and good-natured meddler. He helped the struggling Carey family find a new home in the little town of Beulah, Maine. For the character of Osh Popham, the Sherman brothers wrote two of their most memorable tunes: “Ugly Bug Ball” and “On the Front Porch,” which is Robert’s personal favorite Sherman Brothers song.

“Ugly Bug Ball” became an international success, with several cover version by other artists and years of airplay on British radio. It also became the title song of a nice little show in “a bug’s land” at Disney California Adventure park.

B’gosh, Osh! You may have even noticed hearing “Summer Magic” songs during your leisurely strolls down Main Street, U.S.A., as part of the instrumental background music!

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Filed: Disney History, Disneyland Resort, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort



Josh on June 16th, 2011 at 3:39 pm

It’s sad that anyone wouldn’t know that. Summer Magic is delightful and a severely under-rated movie.


Greg Ehrbar on June 17th, 2011 at 4:22 pm

It also has a screenplay by Sally Benson, who also scripted the MGM classic “Meet Me in St. Louis.” And there’s even a reference to it in another Disney film — in “The Barefoot Executive,” the first TV show the chimp picks for high ratings is called “Mother Carey’s Chickens,” which is the book from which “Summer Magic” was adapted.


Jennifer Fickley-Baker on June 16th, 2011 at 4:09 pm

Just popping onto Greg’s comment area to say that I love “Ugly Bug Ball.” That song’s hilarious!


Dean on June 16th, 2011 at 4:24 pm

Osh is Burl Ives’ character on “Summer Magic”!


Stephen on June 16th, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Didn’t Hayley Mills’ character from Summer Magic have her name on the hat shop across the street from the Emporium? And if so, is it still there?


Greg Ehrbar on June 19th, 2011 at 10:20 pm

That’s a really good question, so I went to the hat shop the next day and could not find the specific names of Nancy Carey or Julia. However, there is a vintage framed print of two ladies with the caption, “Les Journal de Printemps” that might be a reference. I’m still checking.

By the way, between the hat and candy shops, take a look at the wonderful “rabbit hole” window display. I loved it — filled with details like shelves and chairs out of nowhere, hands holding cups, and even a tray with the rabbit’s watch and gloves — plus plenty of that spiffy Wonderland Tea. NEVER noticed this window before. That’s why it’s so much fun to explore Disney Parks!


Darren from CT on June 17th, 2011 at 8:59 am

These little fun facts are wonderful. Please keep them coming!


Rebecca on June 17th, 2011 at 11:30 am

“Summer Magic” is one of my favorite movies!


Allison on July 12th, 2011 at 5:38 pm

Ossium Popham is one of my very favorite Disney characters, from my favorite Disney movie (right beside Mary Poppins). I watched this move till the tape broke. I’m 34 and blessed that my father is very nostalgic and shared movies he liked from his day or I just might have missed it! Ugly Bug Ball is often sung in my house and my little boy likes to sing along. Thank you Disney for this nod to “Ole Osh”, the Careys would be mighty proud!