Recording information: Beagle Studios, Montecito, CA.
Jonathan Winters gets a chance to explore a variety of characters on this studio recording in which each track is set up as an interview with a different person. Almost invariably, the interviewer will begin, "I'm here with...," and the track titles reveal the interview subjects: "100 Year Old Man," "Animal Trainer," "Country Western Singer," etc. Winters speaks in a variety of accents including British, French, Italian, and Swedish, portraying everything from a man who's lost 700 pounds to the "Pope's Haberdasher." His most familiar character, "Maude Fricket," turns up in a segment concerning gun control. That and "World's Leading Terrorist," in which the terrorist manages to kill the interviewer, are the most inventive efforts. For the most part, the scenes sound as though they are being improvised after the scenario is set, and they don't last long. They tend to be amusing, but not laugh-out-loud funny, and the enjoyment lies in hearing Winters and his partner spin out the unlikely story lines as long as they can. ~ William Ruhlmann