||Rowan & Martin's|
January 22, 1968 - May 14, 1973
NBC Comedy-Variety Series - 124 Filmed Episodes
Dan Rowan and Dick Martin
Gary Owens, Ruth Buzzi, Judy Crane, Eileen Brennan,
Goldie Hawn, Arte Johnson, Henry Gibson, Alan Sues,
Roddy-Maude Roxby, Jo Anne Worley, Donna Jean Young,
Pigmeat Markham, Chrlie Brill, Dick Whittington,
Mitzi McCall, Chelsea Brown, Dave Madden, Ann Elder,
Teresa Graves, Jeremy Lloyd, Lily Tomlin, Tod Bass,
Byron Gilliam, Nancy Phillips, Barbara Sharma,
Johnny Brown, Dennis Allen, Pamela Rodgers,
Harvey Jason, Richard Dawson, Moosie Drier,
Patti Deutsch, Jud Strunk, Brian Bressler,
Sarah Kennedy, Larry Hovis, Betty Ann Carr,
Muriel Landers, Elaine Beckett,
and Willie Tyler & Lester.
The Beautiful Downtown Beauties:
Janice Whitby, Rosetta Cox, Joy Robiero, Adele Yoshioka,
Kyra Carlton, and Meredith Bernhart.
Laugh-In provided the first showcase for Tiny Tim and "Tiptoe Through the Tulips."
Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In was one of TV's classics,
one of those rare programs which was not only an
overnight sensation, but was highly innovative,
created a raft of new stars, and started trends in
comedy which other programs would follow. Laugh-In
crystallized a kind of contemporary, fast-paced,
unstructured comedy "happening" that was exactly
what an agitated America wanted in 1968.
Laugh-In was first seen as a one-time special on
September 9, 1967. It was such an enormous hit that
it inevitably led to a series. Its lightning-fast
pace took full advantage of the technical capabilities
of television and video tape. Blackouts, sketches,
one-liners, and cameo appearances by famous show-
business celebrities and even national politicians
were all edited into a frenetic whole. The regular
cast was large and the turnover high, and of the 40
regulars who appeared in the series only four were
in it from beginning to end, the two hosts,
announcer Gary Owens, and Ruth Buzzi.
The essence of Laugh-In was shtick, a comic routine
or trademark repeated over and over until it was
closely associated with a performer. People love it,
come to expect it, and talk about it the next morning
after the show. All great comedians have at least one,
but what was remarkable about Laugh-In was that it
developed a whole repertore of sight gags and
catchphrases using little-known talent exclusively
(though some of them became quite famous later).
Among the favorites: Arte Johnson as the German Soldier,
peering out from behind a potted palm murmering,
"Verrry interesting!"; Ruth Buzzi as the little old
lady with an umbrella, forever whacking the equally
decrepit old man who snuggled up beside her on a park
bench; Lily Tomlin as the sarcastic, nasal telephone
operator named Ernestine; Gary Owens as the outrageously
overmodulated announcer, facing the microphone, hand
cupped over ear; Alan Sues as the grinning moron of a
sports announcer; Goldie Hawn, as the giggling dumb
blonde; Lily Tomlin as Edith Anne, a child philosopher
whose catchphrase was "and that's the truth," and so on.
Some of the devices of the show were the Cocktail Party,
Letters to Laugh-In, The Flying Fickle Finger of Fate
Award, Laugh-In Looks at the News, the gags written on
the undulating body of a girl in a bikini, and the
joke wall at the close of each show, in which cast
members kept popping out of windows to throw each
other one-liners--or a bucket of water.
Some of the classic catch phrases were:
"Sock it to me," "You bet your bippy,"
"Look that up in your Funk and Wagnails,"
"Here come de judge!," and
"Beautiful Downtown Burbank."
The pace never let up. If it wasn't a short clip of a
raincoated adult falling off a tricycle, it was a shot
of Richard Nixon solemnly declaring "Sock it to me."
It didn't even end at the closing credits, as jokes kept
flying and, finally, one pair of hands was heard
clapping until a station break forcibly took over.
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By Jane Wagner
Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In
By Internet Movie Database
Sound America - Laugh-In
By LinkAmerica Communications, Inc.
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