Fifty years ago, a comic force shook the whole world. Carol Burnett arguably changed the landscape of sketch comedy.
Although she says that she hasn’t done it alone. Her chief comic conspirators were the late Harvey Korman, Lyle Waggoner, Vicki Lawrence, and the great Tim Conway.
Tim Conway was not from the original cast. He had done a variety of work on television sitcoms, but his time on Burnett’s show allowed him to flourish.
He became popular for his ability to go through over the top bits that caused his co-stars to double up in laughter.
In one of his more famous sketches, he played a dentist attempting to help a patient, played by Korman. Conway caused Korman to laugh so uncontrollably that he wet himself. But Korman, ever the consummate professional, continued on with the sketch until the very end.
People used to love watching the show for such moments.
Conway’s most lasting character on the show may have been “The Old Man.” The Old Man was a doddering, often silent, shuffling character who used to try his hardest but always ends up…well…perhaps it is best if you see for yourself.
Conway had an impressive ability to turn a small bit into something more than that. Burnett was very accommodating and the credit totally goes to her. Burnett once said that they would often film segments twice, once scripted and once more open to allow the actors to improvise.
The show ran for a course of 11 years in which it parodied movies, commercials, television shows, and other topical items. Some of the most popular sketches were more familiar. For example the “Family” sketches that eventually spun off onto their own show – Mama’s Family.
Source – Western Journal