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the otto files

where the classics never go out of style

This past weekend, the Screen Actor’s Guild honored Carol Burnett with their Lifetime Achievement Award. The SAG Lifetime Achievement Award seems to me to be one of the more meaningful of the myriad prizes that Hollywood enjoys giving themselves. A quick perusal of the past 50+ years of winners boasts some of the best and brightest the acting field has ever offered to the world. As a HUGE fan of Carol Burnett, I was very happy to watch her receive this award . . . particularly since it was presented to her by the two women who I personally think are the funniest women that TV has seen since Carol Burnett!

“The Carol Burnett Show,” which ran on CBS from 1967 – 1978 was the very definition of appointment television. When I was a kid, Friday and Saturday nights were just filled with TV shows that I loved: “The Odd Couple,” “Room 222,” “The Rockford Files,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “The Bob Newhart Show,” and the cherry on top of my weekend sundae, “The Carol Burnett Show.”

Ms. Burnett employed a strategy that enjoyed its first success with Jack Benny 30 years prior to her variety show. She allowed room for all of her players to be funny and showcase their talents. Her lack of insecurity and megastar ego created an atmosphere of loving creativity that burned brightly in every show. The proof is not only in the pudding of all the sketches and revue’s her company produced during those 11 years but also in the universal praise and gratitude she has always received from those who worked for, and with, her.

Watch the above video from the SAG Award ceremony again and take notice of a rare occurrence. Every single person in that audience, from living legends to relative newcomers, all appeared to be thrilled to have the opportunity to honor and celebrate Carol Burnett. If you’ve watched as many award shows and tributes over the years as I have, you know this is not always the way. In fact, you almost always see audience reaction shots of people who obviously don’t care for the star being honored or else just don’t care. If you watch the segment above, all you see are people who are enthralled by Carol Burnett . . . and with good reason.

This next sketch is beyond description.

On some “comedy/variety” shows, the only funny material is on the blooper reel. However, when the show itself is hilarious, the bloopers are just that much funnier.

I think we all remember this “Gone With the Wind” spoof. I never cared for the movie but I loved Burnett’s version!

Burnett, Korman, Lawrence, Conway and Waggoner were, without question, one of the greatest comedy/variety ensembles in the history of television. In addition to their late show movie parodies, the show also offered plenty of commentary on the culture of the 1960s and 1970s as well. “As the Stomach Turns” was, no doubt, a nod to Burnett’s own obsession with soap operas. She has appeared numerous times on the daytime soap opera, “All My Children.” Personally, the only soap opera I EVER cared for was “As the Stomach Turns.”

There’s really only two things any audience member or fan of Carol Burnett’s can ever say to her – congratulations and Thank You!!!!




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