Thursday, February 13, 2014

Good night, Sid

In my pre-teen years, I found nothing funnier on television than Sid Caesar's 90-minute Your Show of Shows, which I looked forward to every Saturday night. That was a great TV night, kicking off with Jackie Gleason's original one-hour program, followed by the 30-minute Your Hit Parade, featuring a singer who lived in the apartment next to ours. Dorothy Collins, and capping off with Caesar's own particular brand of hilarity.

Perhaps you had to be familiar with another show that was popular during this time, This Is Your Life, hosted by Ralph Edwards to really get to the core of the humor in the bit contained in the video that follows. All I know is that I laughed hysterically when I saw it the first time, live on television, and I laughed again when I re-watched it for at least the 20th time this evening.

And no one performed mime better than Caesar and his troupe.

No one could deliver a movie satire better either

Woody Allen and Mel Brooks were among the writers Caesar hired to come up with the material for his weekly program. The movie My Favorite Year was created by another one of Caesar's writers to illustrate what it was like working on Your Show of Shows.

Sid Caesar died in his California home Wednesday. He was 91 and largely unknown to today's television viewers. You can read all about him here. I know we'll never see his equal.

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