The Library of Congress is an amazing institution and works hard to preserve just about everything, but even they need to prioritize.
To that end, they have registries of films and other media that they take extra care to preserve. Every year, about 25 works are added to these registries due to their cultural significance.
This year, the National Recording Registry added 25 songs and assorted audio works. Their selection is always eclectic, but two items caught our eye in their recent announcement.
One was a hard-hitting episode from the first year of Gunsmoke called “The Cabin.” Written by John Meston, it involves Marshall Dillon taking refuge in the titular cabin during a blizzard, only to encounter two very bad men. We won’t go into any more detail than that for people who haven’t heard it, but rest assured, this was a great example of how Gunsmoke wasn’t going to be about a fanciful, happy-go-lucky West.
The second selection that caught our eye was the whole album Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America Volume One: The Early Years. If you’ve never heard it, you are in for a treat. As Mark Evanier says, “…it’s either the best history lesson disguised as a comedy album or the best comedy album disguised as a history lesson.”