Tuesday, July 26, 2011

This Time Together: Laughter And Reflection

This next book was written by another LEGEND of comedy, Carol Burnett. Beginning at the mere age of a young toddler, Carol realized where she was going in life after seeing idol/later friend, Jimmy Stewart, on the Big Screen.

Even though she came from Texas to California, after saying good-bye to her Grandmother "Nanny", mother, her sister, Crissy and pet bird, "Tweety". Working her way through school, UCLA, she KNEW she was going to Broadway in New York City. But none of it would've been possible w/o a wealthy benefactor who made a deal to make this possible.

It was after Carol had gotten a room in town w/ 4 roommates that they had ALL pitched their money together for open casting calls that they shared a dress and after an incident, carol changed her choice. After an incident in the rain, she got to an audition just right before closing an just spouted her information for an agent. After the news, Carol was given the advice to put on her own show. 'The Rehearsal Club Revue' came in 1955, which was how she met husband, Donn. 

Her job in 1957 was the Blue Angels Nightclub performing a John Foster Dulles joke - which BOMBED w/ "crickets" in the audience. Carol's lifelong dream of having her FIRST show - "Once Upon A Mattress" came true when directed by Mr. George Abbott and became a hit. Paying off her benefactor 5 years to the day to that loan. After 4 of marriage, in 1960, Carol and Donn divorced.

As a newcomer to the scene, in the 1950s, 'The Gary Moore Show' was Carol's first introduction to comedy writers and her BIG BREAK when being called in to replace an ailing Martha Raye. But it was after a stint appearance on the 70s game show, "Password", that took the show LIVE to being taped after a misspoken bleep. Early on what/how the infamous/trademark ear tug began was a signal for Nanny as a way of saying hello.

The Tarzan yell was infamous something she just taught herself from a young age. playing movies movies w/ he cousin, Janice. Janice was Jane to her Tarzan along with other games.

1963 was the year Carol had daughter Carrie w/ husband Joe Hamilton. After being on 'The Gary Moore Show' for a few seasons, CBS asked Carol to sign w/ them offering 10 yrs. and a one year TV special each year along w/ 2 regular guest appearances. But, if she wanted an hour show, she'd get 30. After a meeting w/ Mike Dann and Oscar Katz, in the end, she walked away w/ a show concealed on a card w/ what would be - Burnett Show! Now to find a repertoire TV family of her own.

Carol & Vicki
After tending to the mail one afternoon, Carol noticed a forwarded letter from a 17-yr-old senior asking for show biz advice and more. The picture that came w/ the letter amazed her by how much this girl looked like Carol at age 17. Something about the letter grabbed her attention. Hurrying to an event this girl was to be at that night, after a shocking phone call received by the unknown girl, Carol caught her act at her high school's 'Miss Fireball Contest'  in Inglewood, CA. On Jan. 18TH, Carol gave birth to a girl, Jody. After one audition, Vicki Lawrence got the job.

opening credits
Harvey Korman took Vicki under his wing. Giving her more to do and more confidence, Vicki was becoming a very good character actress .     .     . Then came "Mama".  Harvey Korman signed on after 'The Danny Kaye Show' finished. After Harvey came Lyle Waggoner. Then came the ESSENTIAL Tim Conway. Thus, 'The Carol Burnett Show' began.

One LEGENDARY standout was the 'Wiggins Walk' and THE DRESS made from curtains. Talking to the audience (Q/As) began idea from co-executive producer suggested they lift from 'The Gary Moore Show' - just being yourself. One of Carol's BIG dreams came to life one night at a party when the meeting of her idol, Cary Grant, came to life and a flabbergasted Carol tells a FUNNY story. Lucielle Ball was also a great friend as well. Julie Andrews was one to have a good time with, as well as pen pals w/ the LEGENDARY Joan Crawford. Carol also delves into her obsession w/ 'All My Children.'

After 10 seasons of  'The Carol Burnett Show', although asked to renew, Carol thought it was time to say good-bye. So in 1978, after one last ear tug, it was over. Although divorcing later in a friendly manner, Joe Hamilton died in 1991. In 1981, when Carol was given the chance to work w/ director John Huston for the film version of 'Annie' she jumped at the chance.

Carrie Hamilton (1963-2002)
In 1993, while performing a musical in LA, Carol had met a contractor/drummer, Brian Miller and married him in 2001. In 1998, Carrie had pitched an idea to her mother for a play 'Hollywood Arms' to her and began collaborating from Colorado to LA and put it together and everything became a real play. But then Carrie got sick in 2001 w/ lung cancer, initially losing the battle in 2002.
Carrie Louise Hamilton (1963-2002).

It was shortly after Carrie's passing that 'Hollywood Arms' opened to remarkable reviews.

This is just where the book ends in the life of this comedic legend. But here is a serious questions for fans of who remember:

What was your FAVORITE skit from 'The Carol Burnett Show' or favorite movie role of her's? And for those of you who would remember, out of ALL that was seen /asked during Q/As on her show, if EVER given the chance, BESIDES the Tarzan yell, what would you HONESTLY ask Ms. Burnett?

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