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Tom and Dick Smothers were rising, hip comedy/folk-singing duo that were the hit of the west coast and comedy records [long time ago, comedy records were really popular—mushroom cloud? Ha-ha-ha.]. Dick (acoustic bass and lead vocals) was also an excellent race car driver and wine-maker. Tom (acoustic guitar and trouble-maker) was quite clear on his stand about the war and other issues of the day. Dopey guy on TV was the smartest of the bunch.
After starring in a failed sitcom in the 65/66 season for CBS, they were given the "opportunity" to host a variety show against the #1 (two years in a row) western, Bonanza, on February 4, 1967. The show took off as it feaured sharp writing that satirized politics and the Vietnam War. Writers included Steve Martin, Albert Brooks and Mason Williams. Who wouldn't want to "Share A Little Tea With Goldie" (Leigh French). One contributor
Pat Paulsen For President

even ran for President in 1968. A more complete discussion of this candidate is on another Easter Egg page.
The musical guests were the best part of many shows—Buffalo Springfield, Jefferson Airplane (twice), The Byrds, and The Doors, among others. It was Pete Seeger's choice of the anti-war song Waist Deep In The Big Muddy, that really riled up the CBS censors.
On the second show of their second season (9/17/67), The Smothers Brothers had as their musical guests The Who. Ooopsy! Big Bang Theory explained for over 10 million Americans to see: complete performance.
The summer fill-in show for 1968 was called The Summer Smothers Brothers Show . They hired Glen Campbell, former temporary Beach Boy, Wrecking Crew guitarist and newly minted country star, as host over the objections of CBS brass. Surprise hit, as Glen soon got his own show! The show also featured folk and rock stars, like Cream (live rendition of Sunshine Of Your Love) and Judy Collins.
Among the then-groundbreaking features Tommy brought to the American viewers was a film made by Chuck Braverman. In just over 3 minutes an American Time Capsule presents the history of America from settler days to the fall of 1968. Chuck was one of many LA-edition Committee members employed by the brothers.
At the end of the third season CBS had announced a fourth season, but CBS President Paley (with assistance from the new Nixon administration) later cancelled the top ten show. Lawsuits were exchanged. They were replaced by Hee Haw.
Selected shows, Season One, Sundays 9:00-10:00 PM:
2/12/67The Turtles 
2/26/67Buffalo Springfield
4/9/67Blues Magoos
4/16/67Electric Prunes
5/7/67Jefferson Airplane
5/14/67Simon & Garfunkel
5/28/67Hamilton Camp
6/25/67Jefferson Airplane
Selected shows, Season Two, Sundays 9:00-10:00 PM:
9/10/67Pete Seeger
9/17/67The Who
10/15/67Simon & Garfunkel
10/22/67The Byrds
10/29/67Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
11/26/67Janis Ian
12/10/67The Hollies
12/17/67The Temptations
12/31/67Judy Collins
2/11/68Ravi Shankar
2/25/68Pete Seeger
Selected shows, Season Three, Sundays 9:00-10:00 PM:
9/29/68Mama Cass
10/6/68Beatles video(US premiere of Hey Jude)
10/13/68Beatles video(US premiere of Revolution)
10/27/68Everly Brothers
11/10/68Jefferson Airplane
11/17/68Donovan, George Harrison (cameo)
1/5/69Steppenwolf
12/8/68Cast Of Hair
12/15/68The Doors
12/22/68Spanky & Our Gang
1/19/69Ray Charles
2/2/69The Chambers Brothers
3/2/69Judy Collins
3/23/69Peter, Paul & Mary, Donovan
3/30/69Joan Baez
4/13/69Ike & Tina Turner, Biff Rose
4/20/69last show
Selected shows for, "The Summer Smothers Brothers Show," Sundays 9:00-10:00 PM:
7/14/68Cream
7/14/68The Everly Brothers
8/4/68Judy Collins, Hamilton Camp
8/25/68Johnny Cash
"The Smothers Brothers Summer Show" was an ABC 1970 summer fill-in show.
7/8/70Harry Nilssohn 
7/29/70Delaney & Bonnie & Friends
8/5/70Judy Collins
8/12/70Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Seals & Crofts

 

And they released an album of highlights, including some barbed quips towards President Johnson

Smothers Comedy Brothers Hour
Mercury SR-61193
9/68 BB
Back Cover

Side One
Morons staff writers 0:58
Troubador Song staff writers 7:54
Smart Juice staff writers 0:57
President Johnson staff writers 0:47
You Didn't Come In staff writers 3:42
Tommy's Song staff writers 1:32
Tom's Party staff writers 0:58
Side Two
Caught In The Draft staff writers 1:00
The Impossible Dream (The Quest) staff writers 7:52
Spread Of Democracy staff writers 1:50
United Nations staff writers 1:15
Controversial Material staff writers 6:12

 

Dig deeper!

In 2002, an excellent documentary about the series was released: Smothered—The Censorship Struggles of the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. Before you watch it, however, pick up a copy of David Bianculli's history of the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour". It's required because of the important background history of the brothers rise to stardom.

 


Links!  

Official Smothers Brothers web site
The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour @ TVParty
History of The Committee

 


One week before The Who incident (Sep 9, 1967), a special was shown on NBC that was fast-paced sketch comedy named like the hipies named things "-in" - Laugh-In was born.
The success of the special led to a permanent slot on Monday, replacing The Man From UNCLE on Jan 22, 1968. Instead of music, the show was more like vaudeville: quick sketches, fast-paced dialog, most with sexual innuendos or political stabbings. Laugh-In Looks At The News poked fun at current and future events and awarded: The Flying Fickle Finger Of Fate
Flying Fickle Finger Of Fate

which was a statue of a hand with a single digit pointing. It sat on a base and rotated in a "Whoopee!" circular motion. AKA The Rigid Digit, Winged Weenie, Wonderful Wiggler, Friendly Phalange and Nifty Knuckle (among others) were given out for the dumbest news item of the week. Recipients conservative William F Buckley for his philosophy, "Never clarify tomorrow, what you can obscure today." The Pentagon won five times.
If you want to remember Laugh-in as a quasi-counterculture joke machine and not the conservative media workover primarly written by Nixon friend Paul Keyes, DO NOT GO to this story. However, things are in a much different light when the back story is told.
Cast Members
Dan Rowan & Dick Martin, hosts; Gary Owen, announcer
1967 Eileen Brennan, Roddy Maude-Roxby, Ruth Buzzi, Henry Gibson, Arte Johnson, Judy Carne, Goldie Hawn, Jo Anne Worley
1968-1969 Ruth Buzzi, Henry Gibson, Arte Johnson, Judy Carne, Goldie Hawn, Jo Anne Worley, Alan Sues, Chelsea Brown, Dave Madden

 

Original cast recordings were issued as well, and even Ruth Buzzi & Atre Johnson teamed up for a single!

Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In
Epic FXS-15118
10/68 BB
Back Cover

Side One
Cuckoo Laugh-In World Judy Carne, Arte Johnson, cast 2:13
Monologue And Cocktail Party Dan Rowan, Dick Martin, cast 4:13
New Talent Arte Johnson 2:52
Personality Of The Week Dan Rowan, Barbara Feldon 3:43
Etcetera Cast 1:51
Side Two
Half Time Arte Johnson, Gary Owens, JoAnne Worley 0:38
Here Comes The Judge Roddy Maude-Roxby, Henry Gibson, male cast 1:27
The Other Cocktail Party Cast 2:39
Sock It To Me-Potpourri Judy Carne, cast 2:36
Mod Mod World Dan Rowan, Dick Martin, cast 3:53
The Cuckoos Arte Johnson, Henry Gibson, Ruth Buzzi 1:49
Goodnight Dick Dan Rowan, Dick Martin, cast 3:29

 

Judy Carne
Sock it To Me (2:57) / Right, Said Fred (2:27)
Reprise 0680, 4/68
 
Arte Johnson & Ruth Buzzi / Ruth Buzzi & Arte Johnson
Very Interesting (2:07) / Don't Futz Around (2:20)
Reprise 0793, 7/68
 

Laugh-In '69
Reprise RS-6335
3/69 BB
Back Cover

Side One:  Laugh-In Salutes The Establishment
The Big Cocktail Party Full Cast 4:15
Laugh-In Strikes Again Full Cast 1:24
Poem By Henry Gibson 0:35
An American Institution Full Cast 3:42
Children of Laugh-In Full Cast 2:13
The News featuring JoAnne Worley, Dave Madden, Alan Sues and the Ladies of the Ensemble 2:37
Well, Ring My Chimes! Full Cast 2:22
Side Two:  Beautiful Downtown Burbank
Vacation In Beautiful Downtown Burbank Judy Carne, Connie Stevens 1:30
Beautiful Downtown Burbank Chamber of Commerce Full Cast 1:55
Beautiful Downtown Burbank Trading Center Dave Madden, Arte Johnson, Henry Gibson, Alan Sues 1:42
Beautiful Downtown Burbank Swingers Full Cast featuring Arte Johnson and Ruth Buzzi 2:35
Beautiful Downtown Burbank Mecca Dick Whittington, Henry Gibson, Arte Johnson 0:58
Beautiful Downtown Burbank Bus Stop Full Cast 2:25
Up Town Beautiful Downtown Burbank Full Cast 2:33
Beautiful Downtown Burbank Broncos Dave Madden, Henry Gibson, Arte Johnson, Alan Sues 1:46
Down Town Beautiful Downtown Burbank Gary Owens, Judy Carne 0:58
Beautiful Downtown Burbank Dum-Dums Goldie Hawn, Henry Gibson 1:55

 


Links!  

Rowan & Martin's Laugh In fan web site
Laugh-In montage @ NPR Morning Addition, 2008

 


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