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An Incidental Easter Weekend Anniversary: 41 Years Ago, CBS Fired the Smothers Brothers
April 3, 2010  | By David Bianculli  | 2 comments
vegas-tom-dick-and-I.jpgOn Easter Weekend in 1969, CBS refused to air the program Tom and Dick Smothers had supplied for telecast on Easter Sunday -- the one containing David Steinberg's second comic sermonette -- and fired off a memo which also fired the Smothers Brothers. So unhappy anniversary, guys, but thanks for letting me tell your story...

I'm a bit premature in wrapping up the entire post-publication experience of Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of 'The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.' Even though it's been out for four months now, I'm still doing media interviews and the occasional lecture and book signing. But I can say, even at this point, that for a guy whose default setting is "worst-case scenario," I'm very, very happy with how the book was published, publicized and received.

I'm happier still that the brothers themselves, Tom and Dick, are pleased with the results. Well, Tom is -- Dick still hasn't read it, though he says it's the fourth book in the pile on his night stand. (I'm kind of amazed, and amused, and enchanted by that lack of vanity.)

But I'm sad that, at least for a while, the Smothers Brothers have decided to disband, after 50 years as a performing duo. According to Tom, their last concert appearances will be next month, May 15-16, at the Orleans hotel and casino in Las Vegas. That's 50 years, and a few months, since they stopped being a trio, and went to Aspen to perform as a duo at the Limelite.

Thanks for the ride, gentlemen. Be proud of yourselves.




Marlark said:

What a great book; it really took me back to those years. (I could almost feel the form-fitting hole of the dialer on my folks' avocado colored rotary phone.) One only wonders what the Brothers would've mustered in the freedom of cable and the web here in the early 21st century -- and during the last administration.

[Thanks! And I can't stop imagining what TV would have been like had they just managed an extra YEAR, to produce their fourth season as per their renewal contract. They would have still been on the air for the final Beatles hits, for he full first year of the Nixon administration, and for Kent State. Sigh. -- David B.]

Comment posted on April 3, 2010 11:34 AM

Rich said:

But They're still here!!!

Comment posted on April 4, 2010 11:41 PM

Phillip R. Crabb said:

Hello Dave,

Sad to hear the potential sunset for Tom & Dick. They were the ones who introduced me (as a 10-year old) to political satire and the realization that the world wasn't going to end up exactly like "Leave it to Beaver".

Wonder if it's too late for them to be considered, and for them to consider, being hosts on the final Saturday Night Live broadcast this year.

What a coup that would be, not only to have the Brother's perform, but if it's to be their last hurrah...let it be not in a casino hall but rather in the medium that they made so much of an impact on, and in front of the people they touched so completely, and who cherish those moments to this day.

One can only hope...will have fingers crossed.

Franklin, NJ

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Really enjoyed this article post. Much obliged.
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j4Ib7m A big thank you for your article. Really Cool.
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