One in a series of evenings and special screenings presented at The Paley Center for Media in New York. This evening celebrates actress and comedian Carol Burnett and the DVD release of the previously-unavailable first five seasons of "The Carol Burnett Show." Host Ron Simon (curator, The Paley Center for Media) offers opening remarks and introduces moderator Elie Kemper (actress, "The Office" and "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"), followed by Burnett.

The conversation touches upon the following topics: Burnett's first television appearance on "Omnibus" in the 1950s; her career at the Blue Angel Nightclub and work with vocal coach Ken Welch; her hit song "I Made a Fool of Myself Over John Foster Dulles," written by Welch and parodying many young women's adoration of the famous Elvis Presley; her decision to leave UCLA for a Broadway career in New York and landing the lead in "Once Upon a Mattress" in 1959 after many failed auditions; a funny story about her young daughter's encounter with her celebrity crush, Ray Charles, when he appeared on "The Carol Burnett Show"; her love of the soap opera "All My Children," as parodied in the sketch "As the Stomach Turns"; the "Doily Sisters" sketch, which parodied "The Dolly Sisters" (1945), and Burnett's excitement at receiving praise for it from idol Betty Grable; casting the young Vicki Lawrence after receiving a fan letter from her in 1966; her nervousness at having to briefly fire the "moody" Harvey Korman; inspiration from Eydie Gormé and her strong-willed attitude with directors; a funny anecdote about Tim Conway and his strange driver's license photo; the generosity of her mentor Garry Moore in giving funny jokes and lines to other actors; her enjoyment of the off-the-cuff audience Q&A section at the beginning of every show, which served as useful "padding" when the show ran short; a memorable incident in which Burnett decided to perform a song written by an audience member, with added orchestration and choreography; hiring the handsome and funny Lyle Waggoner on Carl Reiner's recommendation; Bob Mackie's creation of sixty to seventy new costumes every week, including the infamous "Went With the Wind" dress, complete with curtain rod; being "in awe" of her many prestigious guest stars, including Jimmy Stewart, who made a surprise appearance in the series finale in 1978; and her somewhat slapstick first encounter with Stewart on the set of "The FBI Story" (1959).

Questions from the audience then lead to a discussion of the following topics, among others: the show's many funny movie parodies and Burnett's longtime love of cinema; the generous anonymous donor who funded her first trip to NYC on the promise that she would conceal his name and help others as she had been helped; why she chose to end the show in 1978 after eleven seasons; gaining a new generation of fans thank to clips of her show on YouTube; a quick lesson in her famous "Tarzan yell"; memories of mentor Lucille Ball, who passed away on Burnett's birthday in 1989; and why "good-luck charm" Jim Nabor was a guest in the first episode of every season.

Clips from the "lost" years of "The Carol Burnett Show" are interspersed throughout the program, including an installment of "As the Stomach Turns" featuring Ball; "The Doily Sisters"; "The Oldest Man," featuring Conway; "Hugh Handsome," featuring Waggoner; "Mother Marcus," featuring Korman in drag; and "Sonja Honey," parodying Norwegian figure skater and actress Sonja Henie.


  • DATE: 6:30 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 1:32:02
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: 123461
  • GENRE: Seminars


    • Ron Simon … Host
    • Elie Kemper … Moderator
    • Carol Burnett … Guest
    • Lucille Ball
    • Ray Charles
    • Tim Conway
    • John Foster Dulles
    • Eydie Gormé
    • Betty Grable
    • Sonja Henie
    • Harvey Korman
    • Vicki Lawrence
    • Bob Mackie
    • Garry Moore
    • Jim Nabors
    • Elvis Presley
    • Carl Reiner
    • Jimmy Stewart
    • Lyle Waggoner
    • Ken Welch