A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Friday, April 10, 2020

FLASHBACK FRIDAY- In Such Good Company by Carol Burnett- Feature and Review


Comedy legend Carol Burnett tells the hilarious behind-the-scenes story of her iconic weekly variety series, The Carol Burnett Show.

Who but Carol Burnett herself has the timing, talent, and wit to pull back the curtain on the Emmy-Award winning show that made television history for eleven glorious seasons?
In Such Good Company delves into little-known stories of the guests, sketches and antics that made the show legendary, as well as some favorite tales too good not to relive again. Carol lays it all out for us, from the show’s original conception to its evolution into one of the most beloved primetime programs of its generation.

Written with all the charm and humor fans expect from a masterful entertainer like Carol Burnett, In Such Good Company skillfully highlights the elements that made the show so successful in a competitive period when TV variety shows ruled the air waves. Putting the spotlight on everyone from her talented costars to her amazing guest stars—the most celebrated and popular entertainers of their day—Carol crafts a lively portrait of the talent and creativity that went into every episode.

Here are all the topics readers want to know more about, including:
 • how the show almost didn’t air due to the misgivings of certain CBS vice presidents;
 • how she discovered and hired Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence, Lyle Waggoner, and Tim Conway;
 • anecdotes about guest stars and her close freindships with many of them, including Lucille Ball, Roddy Mcdowell, Jim Nabors, Bernadette Peters, Betty Grable, Steve Lawrence, Eydie Gorme, Gloria Swanson, Rita Hayworth, and Betty White;
 • the people behind the scenes from Bob Mackie, her costume designer and partner in crime, to the wickedly funny cameraman who became a fixture during the show’s opening Q&A;
 • and Carol's takes on her favorite sketches and the unpredictable moments that took both the cast and viewers by surprise.

This book is Carol's love letter to a golden era in television history through the lens of her brilliant show which won no less than 25 Emmy Awards! Get the best seat in the house as she reminisces about the outrageous tales that made working on the show as much fun as watching it.



In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the SandboxIn Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox by Carol Burnett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In Such Good Company by Carol Burnett is a 2016 Crown Archetype publication.

I have been a fan of Carol Burnett all my life, and her variety show was a staple during my growing up years, especially as a teenager, when I would come home from school and watch ‘The Carol Burnett Show’ in its trimmed down half hour syndication. I never got tired of watching it, no matter how many times I’d seen the comedy sketches.

This book is about the eleven years, Carol’s show aired in prime time, from 1967-1978, and is NOT an autobiography or memoir. But, the book is narrated by Carol and has the feel of someone looking back on a very fond period of time in their lives and wishing to share those memories with you personally.

The way the show was filmed and the work ethic these consummate performers exhibited is simply incredible. They went in, got the job done in record time, in front of a studio audience, and still managed to work reasonable hours and have time for their families.

Carol recalls how the recurring cast of characters was chosen for the show, the numerous guest stars that appeared, the way the opening Q&A got started, and the instant camaraderie the crew had with stars.

Bloopers and behind the scene pranks were finally revealed, and many of them made me laugh out loud. The show may have been hard work, but mostly it sounded like a fun place to be.

Carol recalls the many guests who appeared on the show and how she met people who became lifelong friends. The musical guests were often given acting roles in the comedy sketches, but sadly when the show went into syndication, the musical numbers were cut out, as the show was trimmed down from one hour to thirty minutes.

The most famous skits, of course, are ‘Mamma’s Family’ and the movie spoofs. “Went with the Wind’, the funniest movie spoof ever performed went down in history, and remains one of the most well -loved comedy sketches of all time.

On occasion, Carol appears to get a little too caught up in her memories and would ramble a bit too long while describing the plotlines of the various skits or add too much detail. However, overall, it was simply delightful to recall all those wonderfully talented people who appeared on the show and the hilarious sketches they performed, many of which I had forgotten, and was happy to be reminded of.
So many of the stars who made guest appearances have passed away over the years, and I enjoyed reminiscing about some of these forgotten greats.

The show had a certain spontaneity to it, as the actors, especially Tim Conway, had a tendency to ablib, which caused even more hilarity. The question and answer sessions never used ‘plants’, and while Carol was often asked some of the same questions repeatedly, there were some very original and sometimes offbeat questions that were hysterically funny, and Carol was always a wonderful sport.

Remarkably, there was very little drama behind the scenes, with only two exceptions. One with a guest and one with a regular cast member. I had never heard this story and I loved the way Carol handled the situation.

This book is very detailed, jam packed with inside information and backstage shenanigans. If possible, get this book on audio to complement your reading pleasure. I checked this one out of the Overdrive library and added audio, and am so glad I did. You definitely do not want to miss Carol doing her Tarzan yell!!

I had a lot of fun with this book and am happy Carol decided to keep it mostly focused on the show and the challenges and rewards that came from it.

The shows are available in DVD format, but the entire collection may give you sticker shock. Many of the skits are up on YouTube, and Carol even seems to give the service a nod of approval for keeping the love for the show alive and helping it reach new and younger audiences.

If you love nostalgia, pop culture, or you are a fan of Carol Burnett and her variety show, you really need to check this book out! Carol, as always, is classy, funny, open and honest, and will at times make you feel sad for a bygone era, but mostly she just made me smile.





CAROL BURNETT has been an actor on Broadway, on television, and in the movies. She has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, The Mark Twain Prize for Humor and the Kennedy Center Honors, among other singular achievements of a woman comedian who was nothing less than a pioneer and a role model for stars like Tina Fey, Amy Pohler and Amy Schumer.

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