CAROLE LOMBARD - My Favorite Actress

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Greatest TV Comedies - The Carol Burnett Show (1967 - 1978)

I remember watching The Carol Burnett Show every weeknight at 6:35 pm on the cable channel TBS during the 80's while in my teens. And it was one of the funniest shows I had ever seen. When it originally aired back in the late 60's through the late 70's, it was variety show unlike any variety show before it. Filled with skits, musical interludes and guest stars by the buckets. The crack ensemble cast was led by Carol Burnett, who for my money is the funniest woman on TV. Sorry Lucy and Mary. Carol would come out at the beginning of each show and talk to the live audience directly. She would answer questions and sometime bring guests up on stage with her. One of her most frequent requests was for her to do her famous Tarzan yell. She nailed it everytime, much to the delight of the audience. She also had the lovely habit of always tugging on her ear. Those two things quickly became her trademarks, much like Elizabeth Montgomery's nose twitching as Samantha on Bewitched or Telly Savalas licking a lollipop as Kojak.
Carol was backed by a wonderful supporting cast including Harvey Korman, Tim Conway, Lyle Waggoner, and relative newcomer Vicki Lawrence (she was only 18 when cast on the show). The skits were so hilarious, sometimes it was hard for everyone to keep a straight face, especially Korman. He would dang near laugh before the punchline was delivered. One of the more popular recurring skits was Mama's Family, which cast Lawrence as the head of a Southern family who constantly bickered. Carol played Eunice, the daughter who loved being the center of attention and berating her lazy husband Ed (played by Korman). The skits proved so popular that it begat a series of its own for 7 seasons and 130 episodes.
I love this photo, especially with Vicki cracking up

Another popular recurring skit was the office centered one with Tim Conway as the befuddled boss Mr. Tudball and his secretary Ms. Wiggins (Burnett). Carol's slow and inept secretary constantly got on her boss last nerve.
Another popular recurring motif was spoofs of classic movies. Notable send-ups included Gone With The Wind, Pillow Talk, Snow White (with a terrifiic Ruth Buzzi as a demented fairy godmother) and a truly hilarious take off on Norma Desmond (with Carol having a field day taking the star to an even further level of craziness).
The Carol Burnett show ran for an astounding 11 seasons for an impressive 278 episodes. Winning tons of Emmys and Golden Globes and setting a new benchmark for all variety shows that followed. There is a loyal fan following of this amazing series and rightfully so. It was the perfect mix of entertainment for people of all ages. 

Here's a perfect example of a hilarious skit, only one minute long but very funny...


Tom said...

Monty, my favorite skit was Mama's Family. I even loved the spinoff show that followed. It never fails to crack me up.

Desiree said...

I think I've already mentioned this, but I really loooove the movie spoofs hahaha... and soap opera spoofs....


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