Photos From ‘archy and mehitabel’ (1954)

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 1954 concept album by writer Joe Darion and composer George Kleisinger.

Photo from "archy and mehitabel" 1954 recording Photo from "archy and mehitabel" 1954 recording Photo from "archy and mehitabel" 1954 recording
Photo from "archy and mehitabel" 1954 recording Photo from "archy and mehitabel" 1954 recording Photo from "archy and mehitabel" 1954 recording

Darion and Kleinsinger produced the album (Columbia ML 4963) and staged a one-night performance at New York’s Town Hall theater in December 1954 to draw attention to their new work, but 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.

"archy and mehitabel: a back-alley opera"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.