Wednesday, November 09, 2005

'Pioneers of Primetime' - PBS Historical TV Special

'Pioneers of Primetime'

Sid Caesar and Steve Boettcher
Television Entertainer, and Producer/Director
Wednesday, November 9, 2005; 3:00 PM

Milton Berle, Red Skelton, Sid Caesar, Bob Hope, Steve Allen, Sammy Davis Jr., Buddy Ebsen, Donald O'Connor and Rose Marie return to primetime television in the PBS documentary "Pioneers of Primetime," which airs on Wednesday, Nov. 9, at 8 p.m. ET.

The film chronicles television comedy's long-forgotten pedigree -- from vaudeville through radio to the golden age of television. Berle, Caesar, Skelton, Hope and many others provide firsthand accounts of what it was like to launch the new medium of television.

Sid Ceasar and producer/director Steve Boettcher will be online Wednesday, Nov. 9, at 3 p.m. ET to discuss the lives and careers of the TV legends and the PBS film.

Submit your questions and comments before or during the discussion.

"When we started in this business, there was nothing to copy," Caesar recalls in Pioneers of Primetime. "There was nothing on TV -- unless you count bowling and wrestling."

Skelton added, "I told the network executives, I know as much about TV as any of you guys do -- we've all been in it for 20 minutes."

Son of a Yonkers restaurant-owner, Caesar learned first hand the variety of dialects and accents he would later mimic as a comedian. He was cast in the Broadway review "Make Mine Manhattan" in 1948, and, in 1949 he appeared on Milton Berle's "Texaco Star Theater." Caesar is best-known for his breakthrough work on "Your Show of Shows." The program was a Saturday night fixture for four years, adopting a format of comedy monologues, skits, and parodies of movies and plays. Caesar was supported by the comics Imogene Coca, Carl Reiner and Howard Morris. The writers were a who's who of post-World War II American comedy: Larry Gelbart, Mel Brooks and Neil Simon, among others.

Boettcher is a five-time Emmy-winner. He shot and directed the PBS documentaries "The Gold Rush" and "The Oregon Trail." In 2003, he produced "legend of Lambeau Field" for the Green Bay Packers. Boettcher has also produced pieces for a wide variety of networks and syndicated programs, including "20/20," "Nightly News," "This Week in Baseball," MTV's "The Cut," "CBS Sunday Morning," "The Late Show with David Letterman," "The Today Show," ESPN, CNN and "Dateline."
"Those were the days - when we had double digit inflation / mortgage rates, and gas lines, and the freedom to express "as a people with one voice" a political agenda and a more positive direction for our Nation. Then the tragic loss(es) of multiple slain leaders who beleived in peace, in love for one another, and respect for your fellow man. Then onto Watergate - and one Whitehouse / Congressional scandal after political scandal - one starts to wonder how the poeple's business will ever get done with all the political in-fighting in WASH?"

Wow - those were the days when we needed Television just to keep "our chins up, our tears back, and to provide some glimmer of hope for our children's future(s) as we fought to save democracy around the world."
SRene -
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"Thank You Bob Parsons - You Saved My Life"


Anonymous said...

Why was Larry Storch not included?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing - but that would be a question you need to pose to PBS or the Wash Post - I would imagine?

Keep this site in your fav's - so we can keep you and yours updated accordingly.

Thank you again for your post.