Comedienne/ actress/ singer Carol Burnett with her madcap cast took to television on September 11, 1967, on CBS's new variety series that combined sketch comedy, singing, and dancing. Little did they expect that The Carol Burnett Show would become an Emmy Award winning program, and survive the changing television tests of time to last 11 seasons (with an additional offer from CBS to continue for a 12th season).
Success of her "family" cast consisted of Carol herself, comedian Harvey Korman, whose comedy was without dimension, according to Carol. Harvey and Carol could not go wrong, and there was no character that either of them could not portray, especially watching Korman's "Mother Marcus." Then, there was the young look-alike teenage fan who wrote a letter to Carol about herself, and became a regular "sister" on the show. Carol showcased Vicki Lawrence's singing talents, and in 1973, her song "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia" reached #1 on the Billboard Top 40 List. And, the golden voice of announcer Lyle Waggoner was topped only by his extremely good looks. Lyle also sang on The Carol Burnett Show with "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" in 1968. Then there was Tim Conway, who was such an innovative comedian that could never be ignored. He was a master of the unexpected, and often brought audience and cast to uncontrollable laughter. He joined as a regular in 1975. This group was magnetic comedy for America, and it was the most beloved show watched by all America. The bond of this nucleus was constant for eleven entertaining years.
The Best of The Carol Burnett Show celebrates their 50th Anniversary in this one collection. All of your favorite sketches are here: "Mrs. Wiggins," "Carol and Sis," "The Oldest Man," "The Family," "As the Stomach Turns," "The Old Folks," "George and Zelda," "Mama's Family," Carol's special "Charwoman," and a long list spoofing television commercials, as well as Hollywood stars and movies, and some side-splitting bloopers. Movies parodied are "The African Queen," "Love Story," "Laura" and other favorites. There's also salutes to the Olympics, the silent movies, and all the guests she sang duets with such as Liza Minnelli, Rock Hudson, Bing Crosby, Ray Charles, and many others.
The Carol Burnett Show always began with Carol's Question and Answers with her studio audience where she was often asked to do her "Tarzan yell." And, no show would be complete without the fabulous outfits created by the one and only designer Bob Mackie. Her show was graced by the Ernest Flatt Dancers, and Carol was always extremely grateful and honored to have her guests perform. The show would often close with Carol dressed as the "Charwoman" reminiscing or pretending she's an entertainer to an absent audience. Then Carol welcomes her guests on the stage to sign her Memory Book. Some guests she remembers through photos are Lucy Ball, Sammy Davis Jr., Jerry Lewis, Gloria Swanson, and Emmett Kelly. Next, the show's closing theme would play as Carol sings "I'm So Glad We Had This Time Together," while she bids farewell with that familiar gesture of pulling on her ear as a secret sign-off.
Most of the Bonus materials are bloopers including "Dog's Life," "Brown Derby" and many others. Also included are the featurettes 11 Years of Laughter on The Carol Burnett Show and The End of 11 Years Saying So Long. There's an entertaining interview with Carol about the cast and shows, and she explains why they are closing out the series in a graceful manner.
Due to the age and nature of the film elements, there may be occasional flaws in the image and sound, but these take a backseat to the entertainment value of this wonderful set, The Best of The Carol Burnett Show: 50th Anniversary Edition. Because it includes the very last show of the entire series, this particular collection brings the warmest of memories with a slight pause and regret that this pure, original comedy no longer is available in normal programming; it's lost forever except for Time Life's The Carol Burnett Show's release of not only wonderful comedy, but remembrances of a wonderful time in our lives!