Sunday, October 10, 2021

Reconstructing the Carol Burnett Show: Part 18: Season 8 Movie Parodies

The Paley Center still has not reopened since the COVID pandemic, so I have not been able to view missing portions of pre-season 6 Carol Burnett Show episodes. However, I have found some interesting segments from Season 8 on Amazon and The show was really at its near height of hilarity at this point. In two of these episodes, the only regular was Harvey Korman. Lyle Waggoner had left to star as Steve Trevor on Wonder Woman. I believe Vicki Lawrence may have been having a baby (?). Tim Conway was not yet a regular. But Harvey alone is a strong enough supporting actor to carry the burden. Many of these shows featured priceless movie parodies.

Season Eight: March 8, 1975: Buddy Ebsen, Wayne Rogers
Wayne Rogers with Carol
in West Dakota County Fair
Both guest stars were headlining CBS series--Ebsen had gone from The Beverly Hillbillies to Barnaby Jones and Rogers was starring opposite Alan Alda on MASH. For some reason, the version of this episode available on Amazon and runs for 40-odd minutes while all the other segments only run 22 minutes and are part of the Carol Burnett and Friends chopped-up syndication package. Maybe none of the segments fit into the short segments and only now have they released a near complete version on the various streaming platforms. But there are still pieces missing. At one point Carol introduces a sketch wearing a 1940s outfit with blonde hair. But the scene with her in that costume is nowhere to be found.

The show starts with Carol introducing Wayne to the studio audience. A giggly girl asks to kiss him and gaining permission from his wife in the audience, the lucky young woman plants one on Wayne's cheek. He was very hot at the time because of MASH. We then get a rather routine vignette with Carol repeating her accident-prone schtick as she and Harvey prepare for a night out. It's all physical humor as Carol slams her fingers in a door, burns her mouth on a cigarette, smashes her hand through a TV screen, sits down on a light bulb, and inflicts other injuries on herself. Then, the Old Folks get trotted out for more prune juice and geriatric sex jokes. After these tired tropes are played out, we finally get some fun movie stuff.

Saturday, October 9, 2021

B'way Update: Buffalo, Funny Girl, Pal Joey

Laurence Fishburne, Sam Rockwell
and Darren Criss will star in
American Buffalo
Credit: Matthew Murphy
With recent announcements of firm openings, casting and theaters, the 2021-22 Broadway season appears to be solidly set. American Buffalo and Funny Girl have solidified their locations and performance dates. That leaves only Sing Street dangling. The musical had announced a Broadway transfer from its New York Theater Workshop run before the pandemic, but that doesn't seem likely now since almost all of the theaters have been snapped up. Many shows have reopened and a few new ones have opened their doors. There have been bumps on the road--Aladdin had to suspend performances due to a breakthrough outbreak of COVID in the company and Lackawanna Blues cancelled a few shows due to the back injury of Rueben Santiago-Hudson, the playwright and sole performer. But, Broadway is definitely back and open for business.

American Buffalo, David Mamet's gut-punch of a play about three petty thieves planning a burglary of a rare coin collection, had been in rehearsals when COVID shut down all the theaters. The show, directed by Neil Pepe, will now begin previews at the Circle In the Square (currently the home of Chicken and Biscuits) the week of March 22, 2022 and open on April 14. Tony and Emmy winner Laurence Fishburne, Oscar winner Sam Rockwell, and Emmy winner Darren Criss will star.