24 August 2012 | drystyx
Defining an era
Hard to believe this show isn't spoken about more. It was the defining show of middle American during the late sixties and early seventies. Let no one fool you. It was that popular. This comes from someone who wasn't a hippie or ardent fan, but purely an observer.
They were the "cool". Everything else was cast aside by middle American during this era. Unless you lived by yourself, you were going to watch this show when it came on. The ratings mean nothing. For middle America, with their black and white TVs and makeshift antenna that sometimes got 3 stations, this was revered by the heads of household.
Part music, part comedy, part social statement, it was the culture of the times. Naturally, it wouldn't be the straight man, Dick, but the lovable Tommy who would dictate the order.
They would usually start serious, with a song being played in traditional style, and Dick would continue, but Tommy, you could see it in his eyes, he had an itch to scratch, and he would scratch it.
It would last about 30 seconds before Tommy would start doing something silly with the song, and about 50 seconds before he was doing slapstick. Dick would be the annoyed straight man.
In the era of Richard Nixon, no one, and I mean no one, didn't know about "Pat Paulsen For President". Paulsen was a comic who pretended to run for office, but people were seriously considering him.
The social commentary was just the right level. There was talk of censorship, but the brothers weren't really that outspoken. They stood at about 75% on the left.
There were some "magical" moments on the show. Paul Simon was a guest one time, and Tommy tried to do a duet with him in an Art Garfunkel wig. What followed was priceless.
Then there was "Mr Bojangles", sang by Dick,while a silhouette of Bojangles tap danced. Another priceless moment.
Then there was the famous episode where musical guest Guthrie was lauded with being a great rhymester, and he made the word that would rhyme with "orange" for Tommy.
This was the special show of the lower middle class of America during that era. It was mandatory viewing for many such families. And we weren't disappointed.