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The Carol Burnett Show

Updated on October 1, 2012
Gary Moore, Carol Burnett, and Durwood Kirby
Gary Moore, Carol Burnett, and Durwood Kirby | Source

Introducing Carol Burnett

One of the funniest TV shows ever was The Carol Burnett Show....if you've never seen it you don't know what you're missing. I don't care how old or young you are, if this show doesn't make you laugh, nothing will. Oh, I know a lot of you have never heard of Carol Burnett or Harvey Korman much less some of their guest stars but even taking that into consideration this was one funny, funny show!

Let's start with a look at Carol Burnett herself. Carol was more than a comedienne, she was a song writer, director, a very talented singer, and an actress....not a bad list of accomplishments. She was born on April 26, 1933 in San Antonio, Texas to alcoholic parents. When they divorced in the thirties Carol and her half-sister moved in with her grandmother. Her first job was as an usherette in a local theater.

After graduating from high school she won a scholarship to UCLA and it was there she discovered not only acting, but comedy. It filled a void she felt growing up and the laughter provided her with a warmth she had never known.

Broadway Plays

Hollywood Arms[Play, Drama, Original] Written by Carol Burnett

  • Based on a memoir by Carol Burnett

Oct 1, 2002 - Jan 5, 2003

Putting It Together[Musical, Revue, Original]

  • Starring: Carol Burnett [The Wife]

Nov 21, 1999 - Mar 20, 2000

Moon Over Buffalo[Play, Comedy, Original]

  • Starring: Carol Burnett [Charlotte Hay]

Oct 1, 1995 - Jun 30, 1996

Fade Out - Fade In[Musical, Comedy, Original]

  • Starring: Carol Burnett [Hope Springfield]

May 26, 1964 - Apr 17, 1965

Once Upon a Mattress[Musical, Comedy, Original]

  • Starring: Carol Burnett [Princess Winnifred]

May 11, 1959 - Jul 2, 1960

(Information from the Internet Broadway Database)

Carol Burnett in the entertainment world

Her first TV appearance was on The Paul Winchell and Jerry Mahoney show. I know you young folks reading this don't know Paul Winchell or Jerry Mahoney...Jerry Mahoney was Paul Winchell's dummy...he was a ventriloquist. Back to Carol...her short appearance in that show led to a role in a show called "Stanley" , a sitcom with Buddy Hackett (another well known comedian from the 60s). This show didn't last too long and Carol wound up doing nightclub acts. During those acts she wrote and performed a song called "I Made a Fool Of Myself Over John Foster Dulles" (he was the Secretary of State at the time). She went on to perform this song on The Tonight Show and The Ed Sullivan Show.

She then went to Broadway and appeared in "Once Upon a Mattress". She won an Emmy for that one, but her big break came when she appeared on The Gary Moore Show...I know you don't know him either but trust me, his shows were funny and everyone loved to watch. She won an Emmy for her performance on this show and started her famous "Cleaning Lady" character. She appeared on the "Lucy" show (and Lucille Ball became her mentor), did more Broadway and more TV comedy shows.

Tudball & Wiggins

The Carol Burnett Show

And now ladies and gentlemen, The Carol Burnett Show! This was an hour long variety show...the type you don't see on TV anymore. According to Wikipedia, this show "won or was nominated for multiple Emmy Awards and Golden Globe Awards every season it was on the air."

Carol began each show by stepping onto the stage and answering questions from the audience, live, and often the fun began right there. The questions and Carol's answers were something you just couldn't make up! Wikipedia lists this example:

Sample question from young woman in audience: "Have you ever taken acting lessons?" Carol: "Yes, I have." Audience member: "Do you think it did any good?"

But, the show itself was a masterpiece. Carol was not an egotist and allowed her regular cast (and guests as well) to shine. Her regular cast included Harvey Korman, Tim Conway, Lyle Waggoner and then a teenage Vicki Lawrence. If none of these names ring a bell you should check them out!

Each show was different, ergo...a variety show. They did skits that parodied famous movies, a parody of a then famous soap opera called "As the World Turns" was called "As the Stomach Turns", there were musical numbers, skits called "Momma's Family", there were "kitchen commercials", Carol's cleaning lady skits, and the famous "Tudball and Mrs. Wiggins"..and I cannot forget her famous 'Tarzan yell'...that started in a skit on the Gary Moore Show and later (along with the Cleaning Lady) became one of Carol's most recognizable acts.

The Carol Burnett Show ran for eleven years. The 'live' audience was that but the show was 'taped' before a live audience.

Harvey Korman and Tim Conway were hysterical. It seems neither could decide who was the straight man in any sketch they did ... often Tim Conway would reduced Harvey to fits of laughing he couldn't control. Laughter among the cast while they were doing skits made the audience laugh all the more as the actors and comedians on this show became more live and lovable.

Carol ended each show by tugging on her left ear...it is said it was for her grandmother. Before her ear tug she sang a song, "I'm so glad we had this time together.." When you heard Carol start singing it you were sad because you knew the show was over.


Carol Burnett with Roddy McDowall

Carol is now appearing on talk shows to promote her new DVD showcasing her favorite Carol Burnett Shows, a set of four DVDs. To my knowledge this show was never in syndication and didn't play all over the place ad nauseum...This is the way to see it. I also read somewhere the cast is reuniting on Sirius Radio.

I am not promoting the DVD (though I'm sure it'll be a laugh riot). For those of you who remember the Carol Burnett show I hope I brought a smile to your face. Those of you who've never seen the show, it was from a simpler time, no dirty jokes, some slapstick humor and a lot of laughter. You can watch many of the skits and some entire episodes on Youtube. "I'm so glad we had this time together...."

May you always have a smile in your heart.

Copyright Tillsontitan - All Rights Reserved

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    • tillsontitan profile image
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      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      Thanks Audra. If Carol Burnett can't bring a smile to your face you'd better check your pulse (not you personally of course). Glad you stopped by and enjoyed.

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      Audra Fisher 4 years ago

      Hi Mary! I am not familiar with CBs "Cleaning Lady" character. However, I love her and the cast of TCBS!!! You are right...no matter who or how old you are...everyone should know and check out her show! Never a dull moment! Nice to see you and this cool piece today!!

    • tillsontitan profile image
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      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      I know what you mean aviannovice, they were great shows and yes, those were the days!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Oh, now many of the shows are running through my head, including all those wonderful "Mama's Family" shows. Those were the days, eh?

    • tillsontitan profile image
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      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      I totally concur, this show was a masterpiece xstatic!

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 5 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      Up and everything on this one Mary! It made me smile just reading it.

      I had forgotten about the DVDs being released, so thanks for the reminder. That cast was so funny! The show was a masterpiece, as i your hub about it!

    • tillsontitan profile image
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      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      I think everyone loved that show and I have a feeling the DVDs will sell very well.

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      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      One of my very favorite shows -- actually, it was about two hours of the best TV ever when it was showing live. I'm glad to hear that she has a DVD out -- I'll look for that. Voting this Up and Awesome.

    • tillsontitan profile image
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      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      You are so right epigramman and I think I'm in very good company as well! I'm sending warm wishes back to you....judging by our temperature here in Ulster County, NY it must be getting pretty chilly in Ontario!

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 5 years ago

      ...well at 54 years old I am in the right age demographic to remember the Carol Burnett show so lovingly paid tribute by you in this world class hub presentation. They certainly don't make them like that anymore so I am glad I lived through that era - of course you are only as good as the company you keep, I always say, and Carol had a legendary group of supporting players with her.

      Sending you warm wishes and good energy from lake erie time ontario canada 3:30pm

    • tillsontitan profile image
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      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      Askme, sometimes I think we enjoyed the show so much because they enjoyed doing it so much. It was fun to watch and then to see who made who laugh first!

    • Askme profile image

      Pritchard 5 years ago

      Great hub! Carol Burnett and Johnny Carson were the best and shaped my childhood with their sense of humor! The best Carol Burnett episode was the Gone with the Wind one. I am sure you've seen it, Carol pulls a very heavy velvet drape off the window with the rod still attached and wears it for her dress....too funny. I loved the way Harvey and Tim would start laughing during a sketch. The BEST.

      Voted up and funny.

    • tillsontitan profile image
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      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      Steph I so totally agree with you! You are most welcome.

    • StephSev108 profile image

      Stephanie Marie Severson 5 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Thanks for sharing. I love this show and all of the characters. They just don't do comedy like they used to...Thanks again.

    • tillsontitan profile image
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      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      You are right Lady, she is a funny lady with a lot of grace.

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      Joanna Chandler 5 years ago from On planet Earth

      yeah Carol sure is a funny character the first time i saw her was in "Annie the Orphan" she acted crazy as hell LOL.

      Thanks for sharing

    • tillsontitan profile image
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      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      As they say Cogerson, "those were the days"....you are so right about Sat. night Tv now...hundreds of channels and nothing to watch. Thanks for reading and sharing my memories (we watched the Lawrence Welk Show too).

    • Cogerson profile image

      Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

      Wow this really brings back some memories. Back then Saturday night actually had some popular tv shows on ...compared to now when Saturday night is the graveyard for many shows. Anyway I used to spend the weekend with my grandmother and she would let me stay up and watch the Carol Burnett Show....I loved Tim Conway back then I thought he was the funniest person on Earth back then. Saturday night would be Hee Haw, The Lawrence Welk Show(my grandmother took over the tv for that hour...lol)...with Carol and company breaking up the rear....those were fun days.....my grandmother liked Carol Burnett when she sang....but many of the skits she really did not like(especially Mamma's Family...I can still hear her..."All they do is yell at each other"...yet for years she watched the show with me because she knew how much I liked it.....good memories....thanks for helping me remember those days as a kid. Voted up and awesome.

    • tillsontitan profile image
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      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      I don't think anyone has bad memories about The Carol Burnett Show...everyone loved her and the show....one funny skit after another. Love that you enjoyed it....also glad you like my new Avatar, thought it was time for a change. Hugs back at ya!

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      Maria Jordan 5 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      I have been spellbound sitting here watching Mrs Wh...ig...gins... oh my gosh, our family was glued to the tube to see the CB Show.

      I must have seen every episode and then some and the skits are emblazened in my mind... I find myself saying "As the Stomach Turns" quite a bit, hmmmm...??

      Fabulous job and will be back when I need a giggle. UP & all over!

      I also want to say that your avatar is very kewl... Hugs, Maria

    • tillsontitan profile image
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      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      Thanks Michelle, it surely was "a hoot"!

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      Michelle Liew 5 years ago from Singapore

      Mary, I watched Carol Burnett when I was very small. Mum's favorite and I used to accompany her while watching! Harvey Korman was a hoot! Thanks for this lovely share!

    • tillsontitan profile image
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      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      Well Bill, we can't always be the first to see a hub or get a notification, it happens to me sometimes too, the main thing my friend is you are here and as always your comment is appreciated!

      I agree Genna, she was certainly another generation but a wonderful comedienne, the likes of which I don't think we'll see again.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Till, I was so happy to see this hub on Carol Burnett. She has always been a favorite of mine; such a creative and giving heart. Her humor along with Tim's and Harvey's, was hysterical, and warmly human. I will never forget Carol as she sauntered down that long, sloping stairway wearing a curtain rod and curtains, al’a Scarlett O’Hara. Thanks for the memories. :-)

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm really annoyed with HP right now; I'm still not getting notifications on the people I follow....some of them sometimes, others sometimes, but not everyone. So I apologize, but there is no way I miss one of your hubs if it can be helped.

      Great hub about one of the great comediennes in our history. This woman was right up there with Lucy in my book, and they are both American icons!

    • tillsontitan profile image
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      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      Hmm, should we be moving North ;)

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      Joseph De Cross 5 years ago

      Agreed! Well, what can you expect from the "Y" and "Z" generations. Disrespect and lack of ethics is the norm, which certainly is diminishing our status as a superpower. We are on 4th place, and curiously Canada is on first.

    • tillsontitan profile image
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      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      Wouldn't it be a breath of fresh air though if 'clean' comedy did return Lord? A fun time seems to have been had here, by all.

    • Lord De Cross profile image

      Joseph De Cross 5 years ago

      From Vaudevilles and I love Lucy, The Carol Burnett show was a classic of clean comedy. It had it all and it was taped with not much rehearsal. I guess the writers got paid good. Those times will never come back, unless we connect with our YouTube account. Great comments though, which leave us ending reading the hub with a smile.

    • tillsontitan profile image
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      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      Okay Effer, so we have to edit a few things to keep our hubs on hubpages ;) I truly understand. Hey GF I don't want you getting whacked, sued I can live with :)

      I think that is one of the draws of The Carol Burnett Show Jools, even here in the US, it was a family show we watched with family!

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      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Mary, what a great hub and a lovely walk down memory lane. I was a wee thing when I watched this, only about 5 or 6 but my nana babysat us and it was shown on British TV on a Thursday night I think and she always watched it with me and my younger sister. I think she is a very rare talent indeed - she has it all. I love her in Annie too when she sings that great song 'Little Girls'. Voted up, shared etc.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Til....If I wrote "what I know," I could get sued or whacked, GF!!! LOL

    • tillsontitan profile image
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      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      Janshares, according to Carol the Mrs. Wiggins skirt was so tight she could hardly walk, but the butt of the skirt was big...someone suggested she pad it and she said, no I can 'bump' out my butt to fill it in AND she did!

      Mohan, I am sorry you missed this one...she was a great lady and a great comedienne with a great cast. I don't think I've ever met anyone who didn't like her. Thank you for stopping by and reading though.

      Effer, you know the old saying, 'write what you know' :)

      Thanks Mary, everyone seems to have a favorite from this show.

      FaithReaper, Thank you for nice compliments...good clean fun just isn't around anymore. God Bless.

      Whonunuwho yes, Red Skelton was another great!

      Vocalcoach you couldn't help but laugh watching this show. Harvey Korman was the consummate showman.

      Sunnie you are most welcome. Family time and Carol Burnett, what more could we ask for ;)

    • profile image

      Sunnie Day 5 years ago

      Thank you for reminding me of a very special family time as we gathered around watching the Carol Burnett show. I loved it and that Tim Conway and her always left me crying because I was laughing so hard..She is such a talented lady. Thank you for the memories.

      Sunnie

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      Audrey Hunt 5 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      I never missed one of her shows. I especially liked her side-kick, Harvey Korman. What a fun hub this is. Thanks for the memories. Up and sharing.

    • whonunuwho profile image

      whonunuwho 5 years ago from United States

      A nice hub. Carol and Red Skelton were my two favorites of days gone by. Nice memories,tillsontitan.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 5 years ago from southern USA

      Mary,

      You said it, if The Carol Burnett Show does not make you laugh, then nothing will! You have brought back a lot of great memories growing up watching that show, dear one. The whole hour was just hilarious, and you are right, they just don't make them like that anymore. When I saw the title of this hub, I knew it would be awesome, no doubt, as the subject is so awesome, like you. Voted Way Up across the board. Excellent write. Loved the videos. In His Love, Faith Reaper

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      Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

      I always loved this woman. I loved her in "Mama's family", too. I wish there were reruns on her good old shows. Carol was a funny lady, that's for sure.

      I voted this Up, and will share.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      WoW.....I am impressed, Til.....you know your Carol Burnett stuff! Bravo......come to think of it, I can see where people would have said that to you!!

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      I haven't seen this particular show but it sounds a hoot! I remember watching many variety shows as a child and they were such wholesome fun. Here in UK there were old stalwarts such as The two Ronnies, Morecambe and Wise and others who did regular variety shows in the sixties and seventies the likes of which have gradually waned... I am sure in a wave of nostalgia some other performer may reinvent the concept again. I'm going to look for some Carol burnett sketches... thanks for the wonderful intro Mary. up/shared.

    • janshares profile image

      Janis Leslie Evans 5 years ago from Washington, DC

      Thanks for this hub, honoring the greatest comedienne of all time (ranking with Lucy). I absolutely love this show, was in my household as well. My favorite was the way they would fall out of character trying not to laugh at Tim Conway. It was side-splitting humor. Also loved how Mrs. Wiggins walked with her butt hiked up. Thanks for recalling those memories.

    • tillsontitan profile image
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      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      Janine, its good that we're old enough to remember good television ;) the Mama's family skits were a laugh riot!

      Jaye I don't think anything will compare to the Carol Burnett Show. The cast was just such a perfect match and worked so well together. I know you'll enjoy the DVDs, we're thinking of getting them too!

      Carol, of the same name, Carol Burnett certainly deserves to be in the front, definitely one of the greatest comediennes.

      bdegiulio I was smiling almost the whole time I was writing this hub. Not when reading about Carol's sad childhood and definitely not when I was watching the final video in this hub ;)

      Thanks Audrey...

      Ah Richard, have I made you feel old :) I remember the Gary Moore Show as well, always thought "Durwood" was a weird name. The best thing about it was there were no dirty jokes and no sexual innuendos just good clean fun...oh no, I'm showing my age I think.

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      Rich 5 years ago from Kentucky

      Mary -

      You've gone back way too far on this one! lol I remember Carol on the Gary Moore show, and then getting her own show. It was a staple in my house. The laughter was continuous, without need of any of today's ridiculous standards. I watched the TV infomercial just the other night again, and the laughs are still as great as they were back then. I did hear that she has a spat going on with Joan Rivers as of late, and actually got up and left Joan flat in a restaurant. Good for her! Great Hub!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 5 years ago from California

      One of my all time favorite!!! Lots of memories !

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Oh the memories. Boy do I remember the Carol Burnett Show. Absolutely hilarious. This show had me in stitches week in and week out. Tim Conway was just so funny, I'm smiling now thinking about him. They sure don't make shows like this anymore. Thanks for the memories. Awesome, VU, sharing, etc...

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      there is no one like Carol Burnett. I always remember her in her skit of Gone with the Wind when she put the draperies on...Very funny lady. Thanks for writing all about her and bringing her to the front.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 5 years ago from Deep South, USA

      I always loved watching Carol Burnett's show, as well as her specials with Lucille Ball. Like many other viewers, including Paula, the skit that pops into my mind when thinking about favorites is the GWTW parody.

      Her supporting cast was terrific--Tim and Harvey so hilarious--and Vicki Lawrence looked so much like Carol it was easy to believe they were sisters. I think I'll get the DVDs and lose myself in a little nostalgia every now and then.

      Great hub, til...Voted Up+++ and shared.

      Jaye

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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Mary, I guess I am old enough, because I do very much remember The Carol Burnett Show and my favorite of her skits was when she played Eunice from Mama's Family. I loved that character and would always end up cracking up by the end of those skits. Thanks for sharing and indeed bringing back some great memories. I have voted up and shared all over as usual!!

    • tillsontitan profile image
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      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      Bob, glad I could bring you some happy memories. (Lily Tomlin did one ringy dingy....) Wouldn't it be nice if we could bring back that innocence? (BTW my closing video DID have me in tears!)

      CM, if you watched the closing video, Carol said Tim was a genius and was just as nice as he was funny. Thanks for stopping by and for the vote.

      Effer the parody of which you speak, "Went With the Wind" was hysterical from beginning to end. Believe it or not the dress was designed by none other than Bob Mackie and is now in the Smithsonian! Thank you for sharing GF! (Can you tell I like Carol Burnett? Once upon a time people said I reminded them of her!!)

      Catfish you are so right...imagine them doing that today? They can't even get it right on tape..besides it's a far cry from the Jersey Shore ;)

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      Jeffrey Yelton 5 years ago from Maryland

      I liked that it was more or less shot live without retakes, and how Tim Conway would ad lib on purpose to get everybody else to crack up.

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      Paula 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Til...This covers "all and everything Carol"....you deserve a vacation after the research done on this...just wonderful and about one of the all time, funniest ladies ever. I can still recall details and dialogue of skits, so hysterically funny, I would still be laughing the next day.

      She is/has been so much more than a comedienne. Her talents and brilliance off camera are a testament to her long and successful career in the Entertainment Industry.

      Harvey Korman, Tim Conway......2 of the funniest men, ever. To put them in a trio with Carol? Absolute genius. The 3 of them were classic.

      One of my very favorite scenes/skits from the show was Harvey as Rhett Butler and Carol as Scarlet........when she comes walking down the mansion's staircase with (Scarlet's) infamous dress made from draperies.....huge curtain rod across her soldiers......even Carol and Harvey couldn't hold back the laughter. .........Excellent Til, another perfect piece of work.......Up and shared

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      Chris Merritt 5 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Tilly, that was awesome! I loved Carol Burnett. Tim Conway may very well be the funniest person to ever live. That show was always fun to watch, and you are right if that show didn't make you laugh...nothing will.

      up and awesome!

      Chris

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      diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Tilly - what a flood of memories! I first went to the USA in 1969, after her show had been running for two years and saw it many, many times. LIke many, I loved Carol and her supporting team. She represented a much more innocent time in the US, one long gone in 2012. I loved her skits of the cleaning lady...did she do the telephone girl...no that was that other great comic.

      Her closing speech on your video had me in tears.

      Great article

      Bob