Songs Of The Day 2/20/2015: John Cleese & the 1948 Show Choir - "The Ferret Song" + "The Rhubarb Tart Song"

None of the Puns I Came Up With For "Pye" Felt Right: At Last the 1948 Show was a direct antecedent of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, exec-produced by David Frost and airing in 1967. “Its title was a satirical dig at the BBC’s tendency to let shows sit on the shelf for months before airing,” according to Ramsey Ess of the Splitsider website. Frost, it should be noted, did a program in England called That Was The Week That Was, a satirical news program. I suppose in a way you could even call it “fake news.” In 1977 Frost interviewed Richard Nixon post-Watergate, which caused quite a big stir. So you can see how it’s not such a stretch to go from fake news to, say, Meet the Press, eh? Eh?

The 1948 Show featured two future Pythonites, John Cleese and Graham Chapman, who had come straight from their radio comedy show I’m Sorry, I’ll Read That Again. For the TV show they also brought in Marty Feldman – who up to that point had only been a writer for Frost – and Tim Brooke-Taylor. Later on they brought a woman, “The Lovely” Aimi MacDonald, and they proceeded to lay the groundwork for humor that would endure in the hearts of suburban American boys for the next 25 years. The first episode in fact contains the first airing of the enduring “Four Yorkshiremen” sketch, in which four millionaires try to one-up each other’s tales of abject poverty. It was a bit Python did several times throughout their career. Now I’m outing myself as a suburban American boy, aren’t I?

There was an accompanying album of songs for At Last the 1948 Show on good ole Pye Records, released between the show’s first and second seasons. “The Ferret Song,” which actually features John Cleese singing, was on the A-side. “The Rhubarb Tart” song adorned the B-side. They’re fairly catchy, somewhat educational chanties with important bits of nasal humor and philosophical roll-calling, respectively.

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