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SilverStormm

The Carol Burnett Show

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Yay! There's a thread for the show! I've been watching the reruns lately and I'd forgotten how much I love the show. One of the reasons specifically being because of Tim Conway and Harvey Korman. The Fireman sketch was on this week and the fact that Harvey can't stop cracking up kills me. Practically every sketch with the two of them is a gem. 

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I hated the "Family" sketches. Mama was a mean, nasty bitch; Eunice had serious emotional problems, and the rest of the family treated her like shit.

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Someone should mention what an incredible mimic she was on this show. In the 'Broad' spoof [which spoofed 'Maude'], not only did she get Bea Arthur's tone of voice [if not pitch] but also her pauses and breathing perfectly. Also, who could forget 'Mary, Mary Quite Contrary' [which spoofed 'Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman'] in which she got Louise Lasser's tone and onscreen habits perfectly! The only problem now with watching her spoofs is that it's not always easy to remember what she was supposed to be spoofing back in the 70's and 80's [especially true of commercials- and her parody of what ads for doctors and lawyers would be proved quite accurate].

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Actually, I LIKED these sketches because the humor came from the situations rather than the dialogue and the folks didn't seem too unfamiliar to me. Yes, I admit that Mama was a nasty witch but thats how many older women got perceived by their families back then AND there were times when Eunice actually put one over on her.

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Yeah, I didn't enjoy the Mama sketches either, cause I just ended up feeling bad for Eunice. Especially when Betty White guest starred as the sister. Vicki Lawrence did a great job though, you could she gave it her all.

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I always have to hand it to Carol in that she was always willing to let others have the spotlight. So many of the great skits either don't involve her, or have her in them but playing second to someone else. Don't get me wrong, she was hilarious in many skits and more than capable of handling them on her own, but you can really tell she wasn't an egomaniac and it really showcases the cast as a whole.

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The Family sketches are fascinating and cathartic to me; I come from one of those families who have people in it who can turn the simplest conversation into a complete train wreck. Seeing the utter ridiculousness of it from a distance helps one cope.

And Carol Burnett just goes for it as Eunice-- she isn't afraid to get shrill and ugly. Viki Lawrence's stone faced passive aggression is a perfect counterbalance.

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Good points, ChaseMCP! I totally agree. Her willingness to share may be  one reason why such diverse talents such as Lucy and Julie Andrews became fast and lifelong friends with her!

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The Family sketches are fascinating and cathartic to me; I come from one of those families who have people in it who can turn the simplest conversation into a complete train wreck. Seeing the utter ridiculousness of it from a distance helps one cope.

And Carol Burnett just goes for it as Eunice-- she isn't afraid to get shrill and ugly. Viki Lawrence's stone faced passive aggression is a perfect counterbalance.

 

 

         I agree- and even though IMO, Harvey Korman did the least believable job re the Southern US dialect, he did a good job as the hapless Ed whom the audience could both dislike and feel sorry for- often at the very same time!

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Yes, she si an incredibly generous performer. 

I realized recently that Carol was my first really big real-life hero (my first imaginary hero being Underdog.) When I was about 4, my grandmother asked me what I would like to be when I grew up,and I said,. "I wanna be a funny lady like Carol Burnett."
Well, I'm a preschool teacher,and the kids laugh at my jokes...

If you have the means, do pick up One More Time ( http://www.amazon.com/One-More-Time-Nonfiction-Classics/dp/0812969723). I jut did last week, and am loving it.  She tells the most heartbreaking stories in the most frank, earthy way.

Edited by bunnywithanaxe

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I didn't like these at first, but they grew on me. I loved Eunice's crazy eyes when she said, "I've had just about all I can take out of you, old woman!" As horrid as the family could be to Eunice, she was no picnic either. She thought her stint on the Gong Show would translate to a great show business career and she would never have to come home. But I did feel sorry for her when it was obvious that Mama preferred Ellen, simply because Ellen married money and could afford a fancier home and nicer presents.

 

There was one line from Mama that I always remembered, about her own mother: "I never could do anything to please that woman. She once asked me to stick a stamp on an envelope. I couldn't even do that right!" You see that she was a bitch to Eunice because that's what her own mother was to her.

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I was surprised at how athletic Tim actually was. He always looked like such schlemp, but he was very athletic for those stunts he used to do. One that stands out to me is playing the old man in the hospital, at one point he's shot out of bed and catches the bar and hangs there. But, he just doesn't hang there, his body is curled. He did things like that so effortlessly.

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I'll put this here, since the info came from a Q&A she did:  dvds! I just hope they are the actual shows as aired, and not chopped up bits grouped thematically, or the hack job that is Carol Burnett and Friends.

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The elephant story is my all-time favorite Tim moment. I still laugh every time he explains how the Siamese elephants can't make noise with their trunks like regular elephants.

Edited by Lukeysboat
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What was great is that you felt sorry for them all and wanted to slap them all silly at the same time. Amazing writing and performance.

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Williams would definitely laugh first, but Conway would probably  be thoroughly exhausted by then. :D


This is one of my favorite Tim Conway ad-libs that get's Carol Burnett to where she can't cheat the camera.  It's a spoof of the Exorcist.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ymi0-jfbIwQ

That was the best.  Note he is using the Tudball voice, too. 
I remember my grandma barking at me for referring to somebody as "possessed  by John Wayne"  when I was little.

Edited by bunnywithanaxe
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There have been a lot of Family skits on lately and while watching them I've realized the main reason I didn't like them was because they ran too long. There were other skits on the show that would run long, but it seemed like EVERY Family skit just dragged after a while and I can only stand watching this obnoxious family for so long. However I have been appreciating the performances more with each skit. It's almost like the more obnoxious the character, the more oomph the performer can give so I do have fun watching that.

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I loved these skits (maybe because I never knew people like this?) and thought the writing and acting were outstanding.  You don't see this type of dialogue on today's shows, unfortunately (where every script seems to be: snarky comment, pause, and then the characters stare at each other).   Vicki Lawrence was amazing as Mama because she really became that "old woman".  It was always a bit of a shock in close-ups to realize that she had no wrinkles!

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I loved these skits (maybe because I never knew people like this?) and thought the writing and acting were outstanding.  You don't see this type of dialogue on today's shows, unfortunately (where every script seems to be: snarky comment, pause, and then the characters stare at each other).   Vicki Lawrence was amazing as Mama because she really became that "old woman".  It was always a bit of a shock in close-ups to realize that she had no wrinkles!

 

And that she was only 24 when she originated the character.  That speaks volumes about how talented she was in the part.

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I caught the last 20 minutes or so of Carol's appearance on Howard Stern this morning.  I'll have to listen again on my way home to see if I can catch the part I missed.

 

She mentioned that she's currently writing her 4th book -- this one is her memories from doing the show, behind-the-scenes stuff, etc.  She was also promoting new DVDs that are coming out -- I think she said they were lost episodes.  

 

During the part of the interview that I heard, she talked a bit about how talented Harvey, Tim, Vickie and Lyle were....how they came up with the idea of doing the Q&A at the beginning of episodes...why she decided to end the show after the 11th season...and a bit at the end about the death of her daughter Carrie.  

 

Howard was fawning over her -- stressing over and over how much of an icon she was, how it seemed like, even as popular as her show got, she always treated people nicely, people love her, etc. 

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On the latest Onion AV Club Random Roles: Richard Kind(Mad About You, Spin City and the recent Pixar movie Inside Out) talks about his time as castmember on the short lived half hour anthology Carol and Company from 1990-1991(I loved that show):

 

Carol & Company (1990-1991)—cast member

RK: Yeah! I just saw Carol [burnett] recently. Carol & Company was one of the best times I’ve ever had. It was like a repertory company where we would do different plays every week, in different genres. They were funny, they were serious, they were silly, they were musical, whatever it was that week. And I believe she actually liked doing it, but it was a very difficult show to because, like a pilot, you had to introduce the characters, have something happen, and then wrap up the story, all in 22 minutes. That’s why pilots are very difficult to do. And this was like doing a pilot a week. It was more like a short story, but you’re only given a short amount of time to do it. But I loved doing it. I thought it was great. And she is one of the finest human beings to walk the planet.

I remember one of the producers had been at a taping of a show called Anything But Love that I had a guest spot on. I did pretty well, and it was one of the first things I ever did. It was with Jamie Lee Curtis and Richard Lewis… and Joe Maher, as a matter of fact! But the producer was there, she saw that I was good, and she thought that I would probably be good in this ensemble. So usually when you’re going in for an audition, you sit out in a hallway, the casting director comes out and says, “Come on in!” And you come in, and they’re all sitting there with their arms folded, going, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, okay, yeah.” Not breaking a smile, nothing. So here I am, out in the hallway, waiting to go in, and out comes Carol Burnett, her arms open as if in wait to give me a hug, to say, “Come on in! I hear you’re terrific! Let’s play!” That’s how great she is. In other words, she wants me at my best. She wants me to do my best so that I can do my best for her. Most auditions are like, “All right, let’s see what you’ve got. Go ahead, do it.” But from that moment ’til we wrapped the show, she was just so positive and so gracious.

She was having a tough time because her ex-husband, Joe Hamilton, used to run her old show, and he was the bad cop and she was the good cop. And she didn’t have Joe. And it was very difficult for her to not only make decisions but also to employ them and direct them to the others. It was not a position she liked. She’s very non-confrontational. So that was tough. I also think one of the reasons we were canceled was because Burt Reynolds and Julie Andrews were her best friends, and they didn’t particularly love the show. They were, like, “What are you doing? Why are you doing this?” I don’t know whether or not they liked the whole format, but she pulled the plug on it. She said she didn’t want to do it, and it was very tough on her. But, you know, later on Julie Andrews tried a TV show, and I don’t think it lasted a season. Burt Reynolds did a TV show called Evening Shade, and needless to say, that thing has not exactly stayed in our memories. I don’t think they realized how hard it was to do a half-hour show.

But it was a wonderful, wonderful show, and Carol used to laugh about it and say, “It’s The A-Show. It’s a bad word, The A-Show.” Because it was an anthology. Like The Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits or Alfred Hitchcock Presents. But this was comedy, and it had never really been done before, and I thought it was a noble try, and I actually thought it was a great and noble success. I think it only failed because she pulled the plug.

 

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It's weird seeing the "Mama" sketches where she's such a horrible person because I grew up watching "Mama's Family" especially the ones in syndication. There Thelma, while cranky is kind of lovable. She can be mean and snarky but she also has a heart.

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Does anyone know why Eunice was always costumed in such an out-of-date style?  The sketches take place in "the present," IOW the 1970s.  Yet her look is pure  1950s.  Even the hair is 1950s. I swear that there's a picture of my mother floating around somewhere that shows her wearing the same dress in 1959.  Vicki is dressed exactly the way my grandmother dressed in the 1970s, so I wonder about Eunice.

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I expect she picked up those cute little dresses at the local Gemco, cause ain't it a sin that folks waste good money on some scrap of satin at Judy's when you can get right purty Sunday go tuh meetin dresses two for five dollars?

That's in her up phase, when the manic phase hits it's, " That skinflint husband of mine gets his paisley ties at Bollock's, and I have to wear the same old rag scraped out of the bottom of the bargain bin at Ben Franklin's "

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The ep with Madeline Kahn as Mavis "Cat Woman on Mars" Danton was on this week.  I love Mama's interjections:

 

"Was Ingrid Bergman in that movie?"

 

"I never will forgive her for running' off with that foreigner the way she did."

 

"Yessirree, I crossed Ingrid off my list in 1949."

 

"I'll tell you what, you couldn't pay me to see an Ingrid Bergman movie today!"

Edited by Sarcastico
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Last night [June 3,2016], Miss Burnett helped host a PBS special highlighting some of her personal fave skits. Yeah, they were quite hilarious (and I liked how two of them were with Tim Conway and Harvey Korman with her being NOT  part of   them- which I thought showed how  she wanted to promote what she thought were the funniest altogether of the show rather than just blowing her own personal horn).

 

    The only downside of it was that she seemed as though she was a bit tired when she taped this. I know she's now in her 80's and one can't expect her to stay a bundle of youthful energy forever but it was sad to see.

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19 hours ago, stewedsquash said:

I have the show programmed to record on ME TV. I always get a little smile when I watch her walk out in her Bob Mackie outfits. She looks so glamorous and elegant and I wish that the red carpet showed those kinds of styles now. I find it interesting that he worked with Cher and Carol and had distinct styles for both of them. Carol seemed to have a great body for a designer to showcase. 

That's interesting that they had the same costume designer, because there was an episode where Cher guest starred, and Carol and Cher impersonated each other!

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On 10/9/2015 at 8:13 PM, VCRTracking said:

On the latest Onion AV Club Random Roles: Richard Kind(Mad About You, Spin City and the recent Pixar movie Inside Out) talks about his time as castmember on the short lived half hour anthology Carol and Company from 1990-1991(I loved that show):

 

I LOVED Carol and Company, and I was just out of college, and remember that it was something my whole family sat down and discussed. We loved that it was both serious and comedic (one of the sketches that surprised me most was the one in which Carol shows up to meet the young man who is (I think) about to blind-date her daughter or something, only the two of them get to talking, and we realize that, age difference be darned, they are perfect for each other. 

It was one of the rare moments that let Carol be really elegant and attractive (which she must have enjoyed), and I remember she and the guy having palpable chemistry (was it Peter Krause? I'm not sure after all these years...). I just remember it as a very elegant, nicely written piece.

Anyway, I loved the broad humor of "Carol Burnett & Friends," but I also really enjoyed the subtlety and elegance of "Carol and Company."

Also, while I was a little hit or miss on Carol's daughter Carrie Hamilton initially as an actress (I found her a bit awkward and over the top early on, on "Fame"), but I thought she really became a quiet and underrated actress there and elsewhere (I absolutely loved her in a guest stint on "Thirtysomething," in which Melissa went to L.A.) It was that much sadder to see and hear about what an amazing and positive person Carrie turned out to be even when facing terminal cancer. I love that Carol has worked so hard to keep her daughter's legacy and memory alive.

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We have bamboo chairs....whenever I have to say bamboo, I pronounce it like Ed did when they played Charades and my equally sick family knows what I am referring to.

I LOVED the Family sketches, it is the only reason that I watch the current CB in syndication shows.

I always felt for Eunice and hoped for once she would catch a break. 

Edited by Vixenstud · Reason: wrong word
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How many brothers did Eunice have? I was watching last week and was startled to see Tommy Smothers playing her brother, in the hospital and about to undergo an operation.  Never saw that sketch before. Alan Alda and Roddy McDowell played her brothers too.  And of course Betty White was her sister Ellen.  Were there any other siblings?

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On Eunice's siblings according to Wikipedia:

Quote

In "The Family" sketches, Mama has five children (in the subsequent series, she has only three): in addition to Ellen Harper (played by Betty White) and Eunice, there were three sons: Larry Harper (Alan Alda), Phillip Harper (Roddy McDowall), and Jack Harper (Tommy Smothers). All three were replaced by Vinton Harper, played by Ken Berry, in the spin-off television series. Berry played Phillip in the made-for-TV movie, Eunice (precursor to Mama's Family).

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I was looking for the first sketch of Mama's Family, but came across this one. with Mama, Eunice and her hubby, Ed (played by Harvey Korman) playing Sorry!.  Carol breaks character around the 13:00 mark. Not as funny as the one with Tim Conway telling the elephant story, but this one also has some gut-busting moments!

Edited by GHScorpiosRule
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