News from the Archive

Everybody Loves Phil

November 4th, 2016
Phil Rosenthal

Phil Rosenthal created Everybody Loves Raymond. And he's got a great piece of writing (and life) advice for you:

Thanks for that, Phil, and for the Barones.

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Remembering Hazel Shermet

October 31st, 2016
blog post image

We’re sad to learn that actress Hazel Shermet has passed away at the age of 96. She began her acting career on stage and in radio, appearing as “Miss Duffy” on Duffy’s Tavern, where she met her husband, the late writer Larry Rhine. In the 1940s she appeared on television shows including The Morey Amsterdam Show and hosted her own television program, Songs You’ve Never Heard Before. She was a regular on Blondie and New Zoo Revue, and had guest appearances on many shows including Mister Ed, The Addams Family, and That Girl. Shermet also had a long and successful career in both commercials and films, including “A Star Is Born” and “Gypsy.”

Below are some selections from her 2000 interview:

On her greatest career achivement:

On auditioning for New Zoo Revue:

On how she would like to be remembered:

Watch Hazel Shermet's full Archive interview and read her obituary in The Hollywood Reporter.


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Remembering Robert Mott

October 17th, 2016
Robert Mott

We’re sad to learn that sound effects specialist Robert Mott has passed away at the age of 92. Mott began his career in radio working as a freelance sound technician and went on to provide sound effects for early “live” television shows including Playhouse 90 and Studio One. Mott created character sounds and sound effects for Captain Kangaroo and worked with Dick Van Dyke early in Van Dyke’s career and Jack Benny late in Benny’s career. He provided sound effects for many other shows, including Days of Our Lives, The Ed Sullivan Show, and The Honeymooners

Below are some selections from his 2003 interview:

On working with Jackie Gleason:

On the hardest sounds he had to recreate:

On advice to aspiring sound effects professionals:

Watch Robert Mott's full Archive interview and read his obituary in The Hollywood Reporter.
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I'm So Glad We Had This Time with Carol

October 11th, 2016
Carol Burnett

Growing up, I never saw The Carol Burnett Show on CBS because it aired at 10pm, which was past my bedtime. Then, suddenly, when I was about 7, Carol Burnett and Friends, a truncated, half-hour version of the show began to air daily in syndication. It was love at first sight for me. Carol and each of her co-stars were so brilliantly funny, and the writing so perfect. The show inspired many a performer to get into show business. Including recent interviewee Geri Jewell.

As a 7 year old, I hadn’t seen any classic movies. But I adored The Carol Burnett Show’s movie parodies. To this day, I will start watching an old movie and about twenty minutes in suddenly realize, “Wait a minute! I know this movie from Carol Burnett!” They did as many obscure, Late-Late Show type movies as they did classics. Examples of movies I saw parodied on Carol Burnett before I ever actually watched them were “Mildred Pierce” (“Mildred Fierce”), “All About Eve,” and “Rebecca” (“Rebecky”). Carol Burnett made me love old movies before I ever even saw one!

The all-time classic Carol Burnett Show movie parody was their version of “Gone with the Wind” (“Went with the Wind!”), yes another case where I saw the parody before I ever saw the movie.  It wasn’t until I saw the actual movie that I fully appreciated how wonderful Harvey Korman’s imitation of Clark Gable or Vicki Lawrence’s take on Butterfly McQueen were. And I also couldn’t fully get the central joke of the sketch, “Starlet’s” curtain rod dress, created by interviewee Bob Mackie. The dress is funny, and Burnett’s line, “I saw it in the window and I just couldn’t resist it,” is sublimely hilarious.

Beyond the movie parodies, my favorite part of the show was the myriad of characters. Examples include Mrs. Wiggins, Nora Desmond, and Marion, the lead character on the recurring soap opera parody “As the Stomach Turns.” The best of them all was Eunice Higgins in “The Family” sketches. Eunice and her family became to The Carol Burnett Show what Ralph and Alice Kramden were to The Jackie Gleason Show: breakout characters that became as popular in their own right as the show they originated from. There was so much pathos, so much yelling, and it was so very funny. Like “The Honeymooners” sketches, Eunice’s family would eventually get their own series, Mama’s Family.

When you talk about The Carol Burnett Show, you have to talk about the guest stars. There were many who shined brightest with Carol on Stage 33 at Television City in Hollywood. Among them were Steve Lawrence, Bernadette Peters, Jim Nabors and Alan Alda. The greatest of these was so good that they eventually had to make him a member of the cast, Tim Conway. Another man who could do it all (sing, dance, comedy), and used the show to display these talents was the amazing Mr. Ken Berry

The Carol Burnett Show’s popularity persists. A November, 2001 reunion show, aired nearly thirty-five years after the show debuted, was number 1 for the week with a whopping thirty million viewers. Recent DVD sets are selling well, and various sketches and performances from the show have had millions of hits on YouTube. When we talked to Carol, she was hopeful about a return of the variety show format. I think if the genre ever does make a comeback, it won’t be like The Carol Burnett Show. To me, Carol, Lyle Waggoner, Vicki Lawrence, Harvey Korman, and Tim Conway captured lightning in a bottle for eleven years.

I’ve only begun to scratch the surface! For more information about the lives and careers of The Carol Burnett Show cast, search the collection. We’ve got it very well covered!

- by John Dalton

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National Coming Out Day

October 10th, 2016

In honor of National Coming Out Day, the Archive has once again partnered with the Google Cultural Institute to create a brand new exhibit. Check it out below!

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