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Anne Elk
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PostWed Dec 27, 2023 3:34 pm 
The Smothers Brothers show was must-see TV at our house. They were what passed for "subversive" on TV networks at the time. They showcased a lot of great musicians and entertainers not often seen elsewhere on TV. Lots of clips available on Youtube. The NYT obituary is longer by at least half: Tom Smothers dies at 86
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Tom Smothers, the older half of the comic folk duo the Smothers Brothers, whose skits and songs on “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” in the late 1960s brought political satire and a spirit of youthful irreverence to network television, paving the way for shows like “Saturday Night Live” and “The Daily Show,” died on Tuesday at his home in Santa Rosa, Calif., a city in Sonoma County. He was 86. The Smothers Brothers made their way to network television as a folk act with a difference. With Tom playing guitar and Dick playing stand-up bass, they spent as much time bickering as singing. With an innocent expression and a stammering delivery, Tom would try to introduce their songs with a story, only to be picked at by his skeptical brother. As frustration mounted, he would turn, seething, and often deliver a trademark non sequitur: “Mom always liked you best.” Hoping to reach a younger audience, CBS gave the brothers creative control over “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” a one-hour variety show that made its debut in February 1967. For the next three seasons it courted controversy as it addressed American policy in Vietnam, religious fundamentalism, racial strife and recreational drug use. “During the first year, we kept saying the show has to have something to say more than just empty sketches and vacuous comedy,” Mr. Smothers said in a 2006 interview. ... Tom, more liberal than his brother and largely responsible for the production of the show, brought in writers attuned to the thinking of the Baby Boom generation — among them Rob Reiner, Steve Martin, Pat Paulsen, and Mason Williams — and stretched the boundaries of taste at every turn. “Easter is when Jesus comes out of his tomb, and if he sees his shadow he goes back in and we get six more weeks of winter,” Tom said on one show. Far more combative than his mild-mannered brother, who survives him, Tom fought network executives and censors until CBS, tired of complaints from its rural affiliates, especially in the South, abruptly canceled the show in April 1969 and replaced it with “Hee Haw” ... “In any other medium we would be regarded as moderate,” Tom Smothers told reporters at a news conference the day after the show was canceled. “Here we are regarded as rebels and extremists.” Robert Shelton, reviewing the show in The New York Times, compared Tom’s delivery to “a frightened 10th grader giving a memorized talk at a Kiwanis meeting.” He added, “He speaks in a nervous, distracted sort of cretin double-talk that has him stumbling over big words, muffing lines with naïve unconcern, singing off-key, committing malapropisms, garbling lyrics and eternally upstaging his younger brother.” The brothers reunited on television in 1975 for a new, tamer version of “The Smothers Brothers Show,” broadcast on NBC, and a 1988 reunion show. In an interview for the Archive of American Television in 2000, Mr. Smothers looked back on the show and its impact. “It was the ’60s that we reflected,” he said. “The country was going through a revolution — a social revolution, a political and consciousness revolution, about government and its part. We tried to reflect that.”

"There are yahoos out there. It’s why we can’t have nice things." - Tom Mahood

hikerbiker, RichP, gb, Waterman
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Waterman
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PostWed Dec 27, 2023 4:53 pm 
On their return to tv one of the 1st jokes was a riff on getting fired by cbs. Definitely must see tv back then. Very funny guys.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference. Robert Frost
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sams rapids
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PostWed Dec 27, 2023 4:58 pm 
What a treat. Thank you for posting it. Tom and Dick were a part of our lives for a really long time. Tommy was a stage announcer at Monterrey. I was lucky enough to see Donovan play 5 different shows in Seattle. Each time alone, no opener. The first two times at the old arena and he had everyone sing along with him and everyone did sing. I have never seen anything like it. The brothers were on TV a lot during the 1960's. I can never sit through Abraham, Martin and John without tearing up. Thanks for putting this up. Gordy Mom always liked you better.

Anne Elk
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Slugman
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PostWed Dec 27, 2023 8:39 pm 

Anne Elk
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Anne Elk
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Anne Elk
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PostWed Dec 27, 2023 8:56 pm 
sams rapids wrote:
I was lucky enough to see Donovan play 5 different shows in Seattle.
Five shows, eh? You hippie! biggrin.gif (I liked him, too!)

"There are yahoos out there. It’s why we can’t have nice things." - Tom Mahood
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Kim Brown
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PostThu Dec 28, 2023 11:11 am 
Boil that cabbage down is my favorite skit. Pumas! Cracks me up.

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Waterman, gb, RichP, hikerbiker  Anne Elk
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Slugman
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PostThu Dec 28, 2023 11:43 am 
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PostFri Jan 05, 2024 6:02 am 
PUMAS!

"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."

Anne Elk
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Anne Elk
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PostFri Jan 05, 2024 12:33 pm 
My NYT monthly "free share" chits are back up to ten, so I updated the link in my first post for anyone who wants to read the whole obit. The Times followed up with another remembrance: Simpleton? Genius? Who was Tom Smothers? YouTube has some complete shows along with skit clips. What a memory trip they are. At the time it felt reassuring to us kids who were a bit too young to be "war protesters" to have the hosts of a mainstream TV show protest the war without scaring us by looking like hippies and having street battles with the police. cool.gif (I wasn't in h.s. yet, but was aware of current events.)

"There are yahoos out there. It’s why we can’t have nice things." - Tom Mahood
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