Captain Kangaroo

Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf

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Rich, plumy, and earnest with a touch of awe in its tone and no trace of irony in its accent, the voice of Captain Kangaroo thrilled the hearts of one generation the way the voice of Mister Rogers thrilled the hearts of another. In this 1960 recording of Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf, the voice of his generation tells the oft-recorded tale with gusto, panache, enthusiasm, and no hint of condescension. All by itself, Bob Keeshan's narration is worth the price of admission...which is a good thing because pretty much everything else about the performance, the recording, and the repackaging for this reissue is second rate at best. Leopold Stokowski, beyond all argument one of the great conductors of the twentieth century, sounds like he's flying on automatic pilot here, zooming through the score without paying attention to its many felicities of color, charm, and wit. The Stadium Symphony Orchestra of New York (at that time a summer incarnation of the New York Philharmonic) is too often out of sync, out of tune, and out of step. The recording is close, dry, drab, and dreary and the repacking is shoddy -- the coloring of the liner note paper is so heavy on the edges that the text is nearly unreadable. For listeners who grew up with Captain Kangaroo, this disc will bring back warm memories. But for listeners who listen to more than just his narration, this disc will be a disappointment.

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