St. George and the Dragonet

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"St. George and the Dragonet" is a short audio satire recorded August 26, 1953 by Stan Freberg for Capitol Records. It was released September 21, 1953 as a 45 rpm single (Capitol F2596), and reached #1 on both the Billboard and Cash Box record charts.

Scripted by Freberg and Daws Butler, the spoof combined the tale of "St. George and the Dragon" with the popular 1950s radio-TV series Dragnet. The recording was a #1 hit, selling over one million copies in the first three weeks. The cast featured Freberg, Butler, June Foray and Hy Averback. Freberg used the line "Just the facts, ma'am," which entered popular lexicography associated with Dragnet despite never being used in the series.[1]

Freberg wanted to use the original Dragnet opening theme music by Walter Schumann. Capitol Records insisted he get the permission of Dragnet star and creator, Jack Webb. Being a Freberg fan, Webb liked the idea, approved the use of the theme and allowed Freberg to use the same orchestra from the Dragnet series with Schumann conducting.[2] The recording had to be restarted several times because the trombone players were laughing so hard at the jokes that they were unable to play their instruments. Schumann's music was issued on sheet music with a front cover photograph of Freberg (minus his glasses), a humorous close-up with noir lighting as if it were a still from Dragnet.

"St. George and the Dragonet" was issued as a recording through the same channels as the distribution of popular songs, and in 1953 it was #1 on both the Billboard and Cash Box record charts. The B side was another Dragnet spoof, "Little Blue Riding Hood," based on the fairy tale "Little Red Riding Hood".

Freberg and Butler would later issue a Christmas-themed Dragnet parody, "Christmas Dragnet" (aka "Yulenet"), concerning a character named Grudge who was picked up by the squad for refusing to believe in Santa Claus.

It was later made available in a 1991 CD set, Dr. Demento 20th Anniversary Collection (Rhino R2 70743, May 21, 1991); a 1998 CD The Very Best Of Stan Freberg (Collectables COL-CD-2733; reissue of 1990 CD The Capitol Collector's Series); and a 1999 CD set Tip of the Freberg: The Stan Freberg Collection 1951-1998 (Rhino R2 75645, August 3, 1999).

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mikkelson, Barbara and David (13 December 2008). "Dragnet: 'Just the Facts'". Urban Legends Reference Pages. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  2. ^ Freberg, Stan. It Only Hurts When I Laugh. New York: Times Books, 1988.