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Live, original comedy originally featuring Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca. Carl Reiner and Howard Morris joined the show later. Two of the great skits on the show were "The Hickenloopers", a battling husband-and-wife team and the clock in the Bavarian town of Baverhoff which always broke when the hour was struck.Written by
J.E. McKillop <email@example.com>
This was one of the first television shows I remember viewing when we got our first set in 1953. I was only a kid but my entire family enjoyed it. We seldom missed it on Saturday nights. A few of the funniest shows are available on VHS. Hopefully more will be released on DVD. What talent both before the cameras and behind the cameras. With writers of the caliber of Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, and Neil Simon, expect to see some of the zaniest routines ever. Add to this the most gifted comedians around at the time, Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, Carl Reiner, and Howard Morris and you can't help but have a masterpiece of wit and satire. Even though in black & white Kinescope, the humor is just as rambunctious today as it was those many years ago.
The show was live, so expect a lot of ad-libbing, bloopers, and extemporaneous hilarity. At times, even though promoted as a family series, the buffoonery got a little risqué, especially for the early days of TV Land. I remember one scene when Caesar was playing a babe in the woods type character to Imogene Coca's more experienced woman about town. The two were dining together with another couple. Caesar dropped his spoon. In retrieving it, he poked his head under the table. He was confronted by Coca's feet and legs which were spread apart. Caesar looked up her dress, gave a double take, looked at the camera with a confused stare, got back in his chair with the same dopey expression on his face. Coca asked, "What's the matter?" Caesar blubbered, "I've just seen something that I've never seen before." The routine continued along those lines as the audience cracked up in gales of laughter. At times the chorus girls who performed during interludes between sketches wore extremely abbreviated costumes for those days. Kicking their legs in the air often gave the male viewers an extra treat.
I agree with critics that the funniest skit of all was the spoof on the popular TV show of the day "This Is Your Life," with Carl Reiner parodying the role of Ralph Edwards, the MC. This classic episode is preserved on the VHS copy that was released several years ago. If you get a chance don't miss it. You'll literally howl with laughter.
"Your Show of Shows" also did lampoons of popular Hollywood films. There are two skits that stand out in my mind. One was a burlesque of the Academy Award winning "From Here to Eternity," with Caesar and Coca mimicking the roles of Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr doing the beach scene with the tide coming in. In the travesty the ocean water keeps hitting the two would-be lovers in the face until it nearly drowns both of them. The other parody that I recall was of "On the Waterfront," when Caesar and Reiner do a takeoff of the famous backseat scene between Marlon Brando and Rod Steiger playing brothers when Brando coins the phrase, "I could've been a contender." Wait till you see how they fracture this Academy Award winner.
Though I relate some of the finest moments, there really were no weak or boring spots. This is amazing when one realizes the show was in a 90 minutes time slot every week, even allowing for the commercials. Truly one of the gems from the Golden Age of Television.
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