7 March 2001 | consortpinguin
Best of the Comedy - Variety Shows
"The Andy Williams Show" was the best of the comedy - music - variety shows that were so popular in the 1950s and 1960s. And it was almost the last -- I think the Carol Burnett Show, another excellent program, went a few seasons longer. This type of show was very entertaining, hosted by a singer or comedian, and some of the more popular ones I remember were Perry Como, George Gobel, Garry Moore, Red Skelton, and Dean Martin. It's a shame that genre is gone now.
I liked the Andy Williams Show because it kept the traditional format yet was hip, using with some of the comedy techniques from "Laugh In." Andy Williams always sang a few numbers and acted in comedy skits. One running gag featured a bear who would always try to mooch a cookie form the easy-going Andy, who would always get mad and send the bear packing. Ray Stevens sang either one of crazy comedy songs like "The Streak" or one of his nice songs like "Everything is Beautiful." Charlie Callas, another regular, did his crazy "Captain Weird" routine. Andy always had good guest stars, a few whom I remember are Little Richard, Gladys Knight and the Pips, and the Bee Gees.
I remember one show right after congress enacted the Cable Television Act which mandated public access stations. The Nelson family were the guests and they put on a great skit about what local access programming might be like in a small town. It was a riot, with no script and performers who kept forgetting their lines and camera operators who kept moving the camera. Far from Hollywood quality - not exactly Ozzie and Harriet. Years later I became active in local access TV in a small town and I hope we did a better job than that. Congress later removed the access requirement.
I kept rooting for the bear, but he never got a cookie!!