Here are publicity photos of Eddie Bracken and the inimitable Carol Channing taken during the studio recording of “archy and mehitabel: a back-alley opera,” a concept album by writer Joe Darion and composer George Kleisinger.
Darion and Kleinsinger recorded the album (Columbia ML 4963) in February 1954, but Columbia wasn’t sure it would sell and didn’t release the album until January 1955. They got behind the album after the Little Orchestra Society staged a successful, one-night performance at New York’s Town Hall theater on Dec. 6, 1954, though without Channing or Darion. It took another two-plus years before the renamed “Shinbone Alley” finally premiered on Broadway as a full-cast musical production. The Broadway show had been partly rewritten by an up-and-coming comic talent, Mel Brooks, and starred Bracken and Eartha Kitt. (Channing was pregnant when the show was being cast.) “Shinbone Alley” ran for only 49 performances, but several songs remained in Kitt’s repertoire for the rest of her life.
Channing and Bracken were reunited as lead vocal talents in the 1971 animated movie “Shinbone Alley.” Visit my Archy & Mehitabel page for more on the production’s enduring appeal, and click on the images above to see larger versions. The photos come from the Masterworks Broadway website, part of Sony Music Entertainment, which also has a link to buy a digital copy of the album from Amazon.com and Apple’s iTunes.