Who but Carol Burnett herself has the timing, talent, and wit to pull back the curtain on the Emmy-Award winning show that made television history for eleven glorious seasons?
In Such Good Company delves into little-known stories of the guests, sketches and antics that made the show legendary, as well as some favorite tales too good not to relive again. Carol lays it all out for us, from the show’s original conception to its evolution into one of the most beloved primetime programs of its generation.
Written with all the charm and humor fans expect from a masterful entertainer like Carol Burnett, In Such Good Company skillfully highlights the elements that made the show so successful in a competitive period when TV variety shows ruled the air waves. Putting the spotlight on everyone from her talented costars to her amazing guest stars—the most celebrated and popular entertainers of their day—Carol crafts a lively portrait of the talent and creativity that went into every episode.
This book is Carol’s love letter to a golden era in television history through the lens of her brilliant show which won no less than 25 Emmy Awards! Get the best seat in the house as she reminisces about the outrageous tales that made working on the show as much fun as watching it.
In Such Good Company (Amazon US) (Amazon UK) (Audible) (AbeBooks)
I grew up watching Carol Burnett and her variety show when it was in syndication. My cognitively disabled older sister used her camera to take pictures of the TV screen of all the different characters Carol portrayed. As you can imagine with a show that lasted 11 seasons, there were a lot of characters! There were so many skits and sketches that are burned into my memory because they were just so fantastic. In Such Good Company doesn’t cover Carol’s whole life, just the years of the show. The audio version won the Grammy award for Best Spoken Word Album in 2017. Audible recently had a sale and I bought the audiobook.
The genesis of The Carol Burnett Show was something of a miracle. Burnett had a five-year deal with CBS who promised to find something for her to do, and if they didn’t, she could exercise an option to do a one-hour variety show. And that’s just what happened. But the brass at CBS had little faith in the show and stuck it in a terrible time slot to begin with. Over the course of the show’s run, it would have 4-5 different time slots.
I’d heard the stories of how Carol discovered her cast players before, but I especially loved how she “discovered” Vicki Lawrence. Carol and Co. were looking for someone to play her kid sister for a sketch, and one day a fan letter appeared with a picture of Vicki, saying how everyone thought they were sisters because they looked so much alike. Vicki also mentioned she’d be competing in a pageant on a certain night and invited Carol to come and see her during the talent portion. Carol, very pregnant and trying to go incognito, sat in the back, but the organizers found out she was there and invited her on stage to present the prize to Vicki, who won. Carol was so impressed with Lawrence that she hired her for the show, and TV veteran Harvey Korman taught his new co-star all she needed to know about hitting a mark and camera angles.
All the stories in the book are great, delivered with Burnett’s impeccable timing. There’s even a breakdown of particular skits and how they were or weren’t meant to be performed. Also included are interviews with castmates Harvey Korman, Tim Conway and Vicki Lawrence. Carol shares some of her favorite memories with guest stars like Lucille Ball, Roddy McDowell, Betty White and more. And she tells us how some parodies were taken by the famous people she was imitating, like Rita Hayworth, Betty Grable, and Joan Crawford. There’s even a big nod to famed designer Bob Mackie, who would, for 11 years, create 50-60 costumes every week, including some iconic costumes like the Went with the Wind curtain rod costume, that now sits in the Smithsonian Institution.
Highly recommend if you watched The Carol Burnett Show like I did growing up and want some great nostalgic memories.
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