On January 22, 1968 – forty-one years ago today – NBC introduced a totally new type of variety show… Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-in. With all the sit-ins by young folks in the sixties, having a laugh-in seemed like a welcome respite. In fact, it was.
The new format for a TV comedy-variety show was an instant hit and ran for five years. The show had originally aired as a one-time special in September of 1967. It was widely accepted with rave reviews from fans and critics. That led to it becoming a series several months later.
The previously unknown cast members included Goldie Hawn, Lily Tomlin, and Eileen Brennan. To be honest, I don’t remember Eileen, but both Goldie and Lily went on to have fantastically successful careers.
Arte Johnson, Jo Anne Worley, and Ruth Buzzi were some of my favorite cast members. As far as I know, they are still in the entertainment business; they may be doing quite well but I’ve not followed their careers very closely. Come to think of it, I haven’t intentionally followed anyone’s career.
The things I remember most about the show were The Cocktail Party, Laugh-In Looks at the News, and the Flying Fickle Finger of Fate Award.Of course, the most famous line to come out of the show was “Sock it to me” which was recited by many celebrities including then President Richard Nixon.
One thing I learned today was that the show basically ended when many of its stars moved on to bigger and better things. I also learned that the network tried to resurrect it a few years later. While the new version of the show failed, one man – another unknown comedian – came out smelling like a rose from the planet Ork.
In 1978, Robin Williams catapulted to fame in Mork and Mindy, which was a spin-off of Happy Days.
When I began this blog and promised to add something new every day, I had no idea how difficult that is at times. Some days find me with a whole list of things to write about; other days find me staring at a blank piece of paper for hours at a time. Thus, I’ve come to rely on other sources.
One of my favorite sources for subject matter is the History Channel’s website. I can usually find something to bring back memories that I, as well as many of my ‘older and wiser’ friends can dwell on for a while. Besides, many of these topics can be educational for the younger readers of this blog.
Isn’t it interesting that when I studied history in high school, it was all so abstract. Now, many years later, so much of it seems so real… simply because I was there to experience it first-hand.
No wonder I forget things. My brain is filling up.