Friday, September 9, 2016

In Such Good Company

In Such Good Company by Carol Burnett
Crown: 9/13/16
eBook review copy; 320 pages
ISBN-13: 9781101904657

In Such Good Company by Carol Burnett is a highly recommended collection of reminiscences from the shows 11 year run on TV.
If you fondly remember the Carol Burnett Show or remember highlight clips from the show, then you will likely enjoy these glimpses into the variety show that ran from 1967 to 1978. Burnett shares many outstanding memories of what occurred during a regular show week,  anecdotes about the cast members, some guests, recurring characters, favorite movie parodies, some of the funny and off-the-cuff questions from the audience and her responses.

CBS scheduled the debut show to run Monday, September 11, 1967. The show featured comedy sketches and musical performances. The original cast members included Lyle Waggoner, Vicki Lawrence and Harvey Korman. Tim Conway was a frequent guest who permanently joined the cast later. The schedule for preparing for the show was like a school schedule and never varied, week to week. The cast always knew what was next and when to report.

Burnett gives credit to all the various people who helped make the show the success it was, especially the writers. Appendix 1 lists the shows and the guests for each season. Appendix 2 lists all the writers of the show by the season. Along with an outstanding variety of guests, there were others that helped with the show who were less well known. Bob Mackie designed as many as sixty to seventy costumes a week for eleven years. Don Crichton soon became the lead male dancer. Ernie Flatt was the brilliant choreographer. Artie Malvin was the special musical material writer. Harry Zimmerman conducted and orchestrated a live twenty-eight-piece orchestra. Ross Murray handled all the sound effects. Their censor was Charlie Pettyjohn, who came to every run-through and taping.

Recurring sketches that many people will recall include: The Charwoman; Carol and Sis; George and Zelda; The Old Folks; As the Stomach Turns; The Queen; Stella Toddler; Mrs. Wiggins and Mr. Tudball; Mary Worthless; Fred and Marge; and The Family. Burnett shares many memories of guest stars who appeared and their performances. The list of artists and entertainers is incredible. The long run ended when the final two hour special was was taped on March 17, 1978, and aired March 29. At the end, the show had won twenty-five Emmy awards.

Although it is full of memories of the show, this is not a negative tell-all slam of people who behaved poorly. It is positive and upbeat even when there are problems. The only bad guest is never named, an accomplishment that should be applauded alone in this time of tell all about everyone. This might not be the tell-all book some people would hope for, but it is an excellent trip down memory lane on what Time magazine listed as one of the "100 Best TV Shows of All Time." Thoroughly enjoyable!

Disclosure: My advanced reading copy was courtesy of the publisher for review purposes.

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