Tuesday, February 13, 2007

VINTAGE SID CAESAR



Here are a couple of sketches featuring Sid Caesar, Carl Reiner and Howard Morris. If you're seeing them for the first time then I envy you.



I love sketch comedy and it breaks my heart that we so infrequently see this kind of thing in animation. I'd love to do some short cartoons that are built around funny sketches. Avery's "King-Size Canary" was a arguably a sketch cartoon as was the "Shampoo Master" and lifeguard sequences of John K's "Naked Beach Frenzy."

Before I close here's a tip of the Theory Hat to Steve Worth, the erstwhile wizard of the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive. Steve just won a well-deserved Annie for his work on the archive, escorted on stage by the famous "Annie Trophy Girls." Way to go, Steve!

24 comments:

Shawn said...

Sid Caesar and the Show of Shows is THE single greatest comedy show of all time! There aren't any entertainers like that anymore.

btw, congratulations to Steve Worth.

chrisheadrick said...

Your Show of Shows featured Neil Simon, Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner on the writing staff.

They used to meet at Brooks' house on Sunday nights to go over material.

One day, a new kid was coming to work for them for the first time: he was a greenhorn from New York named Woody Allen.

The three hatched a plot: they'd have this kid Woody come to Brooks' house to meet them on a Sunday night.

When Brooks answered the door, he was buck naked. Imagine a very young Woody Allen greeting Mel Brooks in the buff.

Mel led him into the living room, where Carl and Neil rose from their chairs...they too were buck naked. Nobody acted as if anything was out of the ordinary.

Eventually, they asked an incredibly nervous and horrified Allen what was wrong. After Woody expressed his horror, they explained that this was how they wrote together--in the nude. If Woody wanted to join the group, he should shed his clothes, too. They goaded him on, saying it was a requirement of the job.

Once Woody started to slowly, shamefully shed his clothes they finally let him in on the joke.

Sean Worsham said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sean Worsham said...

Oh and by the way. Congrats on the award Steve. I'm glad to see you're feeling better. Maybe I'll stop by ASIFA in LA w/ those Playboys you wanted and I'll be sure to bring you more Diet Coke with Chad Coyle! :)

Sean Worsham said...

Funny story Chris :). I feel like eating a sandwhich in the buff after doing a little tap dance now ( hahaha). Good stuff Eddie! It's great to see all these gems for the first time!

Mad Taylor said...

These are terrific! I like your idea of animation in the vein of sketch comedy and would really like to see something like that. That Woody Allen story is hilarious too!

Kali Fontecchio said...

That tap dancing part is hilarious! I want to see more now!

Yay Steve!

Craig D said...

Actually, I think "erstwhile" means "former."

Sid and crew were/are DA BOMB! Have you read Carl Reiner's "My Anecdotal Life?"

Thnaks for sharing and congrats (again) to your buddy, Steve. He now has a nice silver-plated hot dog steamer, by the looks of things...

Max Ward said...

That was my first time seeing that. That business meeting video is super funny!

cableclair said...

congrats Steve!!!!

William said...

Only the indomitable Steve Worth can wear a shirt like that and look inscrutably manly. Congrats, man!

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Craig: Erstwhile means former!? Oops! Thanks for the correction!

Matthew Cruickshank said...

Superb Steve!! Love the new A.S.I.F.A recruits.

Need help archiving them?

Vincent Waller said...

Yaaaaa! Steve! Well deserved sir. Well deserved.

Pat McMicheal said...

Man...That's some funny sh**. For years, my father urged me to watch Sid Caesar..I used to enjoy the Jack Benny show and my dad said "if you like that, you'll love Sid Caesar".
My father was amused that a little kid (in 1970) would like old shows like Honeymooners and Jack Benny! I was a weird kid.

Anonymous said...

Hey Steve,

Way to go! Could you get me the blonds phone number for me? Thanks.

Stephen Worth said...

Sorry, I only got their email addresses...

Here is a page I did on Sid Ceasar on my defunct Vintage Tips site...

http://www.vintagetips.com/2005/05/tv-comedy-sid-caesar.html

About halfway down, there is a link to the classic sketch, BREAK YOUR BRAINS. Don't miss it.

Thanks everybody for your kind words!
Steve

Stephen Worth said...

Ack! Here ya go...

Sid Caesar on Vintage Tips

PCUnfunny said...

Congrats to Steve !

mike f. said...

That's my hamhock, sir!"

...Genius!

I've never met Sid Caesar - I would be speechless if I ever do, I'm so in awe of him. I never met Howie Morris or Imogene Coca, either - cuss the luck. But one of the fondest memories I have is when I met Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks at Barnes & Noble in Beverly Hills!

They performed an impromptu (and hilarious) 2,000 Year-Old Man skit in front of startled spectators, and signed books and joked with fans for a couple of hours that seemed like minutes.

I got to talk with both of them, and they couldn't possibly have been any nicer.

I told Reiner "I finished the whole book while waiting on line," and he said "Aw, now you haven't got anything left to read on the toilet!"

Great!

Jenny said...

Hey Mike--remind me to tell you about sneaking into 20th and being befriended by Mel(after basically running him to ground--er, office) just after "Young Frankenstein". True story. I idolized him so.
My best pal used to see Mel & Carl(and Howie Morris, sometimes) at Factor's deli in B. Hills all the time, way back in the 70s; she said that they'd do their old routines as well--they loved the attention(as you well know). Those were the days!
If Mel walked in front of me now I'd throw my coat or my person in front of him to step on.

mike f. said...

Yeah, Jenny, you and me both.

Another golden age comedy giant who loves to have fun with his fans is Jonathon Winters. He used to set up a seat at the entrance of the Toluca Lake HoneyBaked Ham, and greet the folks walking in in different voices. Everybody loved it! What a cool guy - completely nuts, but cool as hell!

Sad story: One day some animator friends asked me if I wanted to go with them to the Disney commissary for lunch. I had too much work to finish and I declined.

Big mistake - as I was soon to find out. They sat at a table next to Mel Brooks dining with Howard Morris. Mel had just seen FARGO, and spent the lunch acting out the whole movie for Morris. My pals, eagerly eavesdropping, were in stitches the whole time.

And I could've gone with them, cuss the luck!

Joel Bryan said...

I love me some Howard Morris. One of my all-time heroes!

Mike Smith said...

The physicality in You Are So Rare kills me-- all that jumpy cuff-adjusting and the (kind of) synchronized wing-flapping. I'm guilty of not thinking much about the pioneer TV comics, so this was a revelation. Thanks Eddie.