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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • PROTECT HER FROM TUBERCULOSIS

Sid Caesar: 1922-2014

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Sid Caesar: 1922-2014

Sid Caesar, Pioneer of Television Comedy, Is Dead at 91

        A list of Mr. Caesar’s writers over the years reads like a comedy all-star team -- Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, Neil Simon, Carl Reiner, Larry Gelbart ... -- New York Times

New York, February 1952. "Your Show of Shows comedians Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca doing a skit about a couple watching 'The Continental'." From photos by Charlotte Brooks and Earl Theisen for the Look magazine assignment "Takeoff on 'The Continental'." View full size.

 

Grindl!

I had the incredible pleasure of meeting Imogene Coca when she was appearing in "On the Twentieth Century" opposite Rock Hudson when it was playing in San Francisco in about 1979 or 1980. As manager of a local theatre production, I was able to go backstage on several occasions and chat with her. Once I told her that I should have asked her to autograph a program as "Grindl." She laughed, and said I was too young to remember that! But I actually remember her in Show of Shows, when everyone came over to our house to watch one of the only TVs in the neighborhood.
She was a delightful woman, and I miss her!
Rock Hudson, on the other hand, was brusque, and not really suited to the part he was playing on stage. The best performance I saw of that show (I saw MANY!) was with his stand-in.

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

Worth watching to catch all those wonderful comic actors doing their cameos. Caesar was a hoot, especially in the basement of the Hardware Store! He will be missed, thank goodness for YouTube and DVDs.

Live TV blooper

One night during his live broadcast, the Continental mixed up his nouns and supposedly said "the stockings do for your face what the powder does for your legs."

First Shirley

And now Sid! It is strange how we seem to lose the greats in clusters of three! I wonder who will be soon to follow?

A true pioneer in television comedy

Uncle Miltie might have been first funnyman on the airwaves, but Sid took it to the next level.

His trusty sidekick went on to play Aunt Edna in the first 'Vacation' movie.

What a pair! Back when you had 3 channels to pick from, think of the percentage of American homes that were laughing along with them.

The camera

That's a nice close-up of an RCA TK-10 camera. The knob and the hole at the lower left corner are not factory. Back then, studio engineers did a lot of actual engineering, making the equipment work better than new.

Uncomplicated TV

The Continental was an early 1950s TV show. The host, a European seductive type, invited women into his apartment for Champagne and and evening of pleasure, which included a movie. It lasted only one or two seasons. It was reincarnated on Saturday Night Live with Christopher Walken as the Continental. It was a lot funnier, but the 1950s show was, for its time, a bit risque, but tame by today's standards. Sid & Imogene's take on it must have been riotous at the time.

[Obscure fact I had to look up: The Continental was played by one Renzo Cesana. - Dave]

 
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