Sid Caesar, Alice Kramden and Moses - VIDEO
Do you like television? Yes, you do, otherwise you wouldn't be on a television blog reading about TV. I'm sure some a few farsighted readers think they're on eBay right now and are trying to figure out how to place a bid, but for the most part, you're here because you love TV as much as we do.
As lovers of TV entertainment, we owe a big thanks to Sid Caesar, who created Your Show of Shows, a comedy variety series that aired in the early 1950s and boasted some of the best comedy writers in the business: Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Woody Allen, Lucille Kallen, Mel Tolkin and Larry Gelbart. The series starred Sid Caesar, Carl Reiner and Howie Morris.
Watching it now, the sketches seem almost quaint, but that's only because it was one of the first series to do the kind of comedy that is now prevalent on everything from Saturday Night Live to Mad TV to Late Night with Conan O'Brien (though O'Brien probably owes more of a debt to Ernie Kovacs). The personalities behind Your Show of Shows were more than just funny people, they were master artisans who piled joke upon joke into their sketches. The video below is NOT from Your Show of Shows --it's from a '60s Sid Caesar special-- but it's a chance to see some great comedic actors at work (plus Charlton Heston). The "Keyhole Courtroom" sketch features Caesar, Audrey Meadows, Howie Morris and Paul Reed. Almost every possible gag is used in the eleven-minute sketch: there's satire, parody, sight gags, throw-away gags and moments of improv. Caesar standing up to serve as his own lawyer is one of the funniest things I've ever seen.
I've placed the clip below. I hope you like it as much as I did.
[via Mark Evanier]