Search - Carol Channing, Eddie Bracken, David Wayne :: Archy and Mehitabel / Carnival of the Animals

Archy and Mehitabel / Carnival of the Animals
Carol Channing, Eddie Bracken, David Wayne
Archy and Mehitabel / Carnival of the Animals
Genres: Special Interest, Pop, Soundtracks, Children's Music
  •  Track Listings (3) - Disc #1


Larger Image

CD Details

All Artists: Carol Channing, Eddie Bracken, David Wayne
Title: Archy and Mehitabel / Carnival of the Animals
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: Drg
Release Date: 6/29/2004
Album Type: Soundtrack
Genres: Special Interest, Pop, Soundtracks, Children's Music
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 021471906424

CD Reviews

J. T Waldmann | Carmel, IN, home to the fabulous new Regional Perf | 07/09/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"My younger sister and I used to know every word of ARCHY & MEHITABEL by heart! We'd go around the house singing "Cheerio, my deerio, prance and pirouette. Cheerio, my deerio, there's life in me yet!" And "Her left ear is ragged; there are lumps on her hide, and she limps on her hind leg on the starboard side." Yes, it's the story of Archy the Cockroach and his attempts to reform Mehitabel the Cat ". . . with a soul too gay and a conscience too frail." Archy writes of her exploits by jumping head first from the carriage onto the typewriter keys below. Based on the stories and vignettes of Don Marquis, ARCHY has music by George Kleinsinger and words by Joe Darion, who some years later would write the lyrics for MAN OF LA MANCHA. David Wayne narrates the story and Eddie Bracken and Carol Channing appear in the title roles. AND THEY ARE WONDERFUL!! Especially Carol Channing. It's hard to imagine anyone else playing Mehitabel. (We have no recording of Eartha Kitt's SHINBONE ALLEY performance.) Just listen to Miss Chandler deliver the following lines, after Mehitabel returns from her fling with Bill, the Tom Cat. "Oh, Archy. What have I done to deserve all these brats? Not that I don't love the cursed things, but why does life have to be one darn litter after another? After all, Archy. I'm an artist. This constant parade of kittens interferes with my career. It's not that I'm shy on mother love, Archy. My heart would bleed if anything happened to them and I found it out. But is isn't fair! The eternal struggle between life and art is wearing me out!"Wonderful piece of theatre. Rush out and buy it. Good mono sound and DRG's usual expert remastering with original liner notes. Also included is ECHOES OF ARCHY, with David Wayne filling us in about the further adventures of the literary cockroach, including his depression and attempted suicide. Filling out the CD is Andre Kostelanetz's recording of Saint-Saens "Carnival of the Animals" with Ogden Nash's witty verses narrated by none other than Noel Coward.All in all, a marvelous reissue. Thank you, thank you, thank you, DRG."
"It's cheerio, my deario, prance and pirouette...."
Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 12/27/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"ARCHY AND MEHITABEL is the delighful George Kleinsinger-Joe Darion `back-alley opera' based on the stories of Don Marquis. The story concerns a cockroach called archy who writes about his experiences and friends in the big city, on a typewriter in a deserted newspaper office at nighttime. He can't work the shift key so all of his writing is in lower-case, hence the title "archy and mehitabel". archy writes about many things but most of all his friend mehitabel the cat, whom he wishes would stop her heedless homeless lifestyle and get a job as a house-cat.

The 26-minute recording has always been an endless delight, with Eddie Bracken and Carol Channing (in her beatnik phase) perfect for the roles of archy and mehitabel. David Wayne serves as narrator. The musical was later expanded into a full evening of musical theatre - SHINBONE ALLEY - which again starred Eddie Bracken with Eartha Kitt as mehitabel (a double-disc live recording of the show is available on Legend-6009/6010 and is highly-recommended). This CD is filled out by ECHOES OF ARCHY, a sequel again narrated by David Wayne; with the legendary Noel Coward-Andre Kostelanetz recording of CARNIVAL OF THE ANIMALS thrown in for good measure."
Two classic memories of the LP days--and about time!
F. Behrens | Keene, NH USA | 07/27/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Too many years ago, I lent a certain LP to a young student I was tutoring; but they moved and it disappeared into history. Since then, I have been eagerly awaiting its reappearance on a CD and that day has finally come. I speak of the cult off-Broadway show named "archy and mehitabel: a back alley opera" based on the vers libre writings of Don Marquis with words by Joe Darion.

You see, archy, a cockroach, is the reincarnation of a poet and is now in love with the free-wheeling alley cat mehitabel. And the reason for these lower-case letters is that archy was able to jump from key to key on a newspaperman's typewriter at night, but he could not control the shift key. Cute.

Well, this 25-minute show was composed by George Kleinsinger and starred David Wayne as the newsman-narrator, Eddie Bracken and Carol Channing as the title characters, and Percival Dove (I am not sure that name is for real!) as the basso tomcat who seduces (without much trouble) mehitabel. The jazzy music is never less than enjoyable and archy's lament towards the end is quite beautiful.

Bracken's pipsqueaky voice is just right for the roach and Channing's voice is from another planet for starters. I cannot picture any other singer in that role. And yes, this was the basis of "Shinbone Alley" with Eartha Kitt that came along in 1957 and closed quickly. There is a cartoon version of this show on video tape, if you are interested.

So you can hear this all for yourself on a DRG CD (19064) and a lot more to boot. The original LP's second side, "echoes of archy," is included, giving us Wayne's reading of several of Marquis' archy poems. And then, as if this were not enough, we also get a classic LP restored to CD, this one being Saint-Saens' "Carnival of Animals" with Ogden Nash's verses read to perfection by Noel Coward. How's that for a good deal? The music for this feature is conducted by Andre Kostelanetz.

One negative. The original LPs had no separate bands and so each of these three features is on a single CD track. Meaning, of course, you cannot cut directly to any part unless you first make a list of the timings and simply fast forward to the correct spot on the disc. I do hope DRG can reissue this with some more user-friendly tracking. But even so, this is a Grabbit.