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performing arts

Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour

David Bianculli.
Publisher Touchstone  
Format paperback
Product Dimensions 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.05 inches
ISBN 9781439101179
Pages/Publication Date 405/2009
Daedalus Item Code 42612
This item is not available.
Decades before programs like The Daily Show, in an era when three major networks ruled the air, Tom and Dick Smothers introduced television to no-holds-barred political comedy with a decidedly anti-authoritarian point of view. Veteran entertainment critic David Bianculli (author of Teleliteracy: Taking Television Seriously and a commentator on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross) gives us a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the rise and fall of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, yanked off the air in 1969 by a nervous CBS. Based on decades of original research and extensive interviews with Tom, Dick, and dozens of key players, Bianculli chronicles the show's three-year run and its broad and lasting cultural impact.

"It is hard for many of us to remember—back when there were only a handful of stations on the dial—just how profoundly influential and controversial the Smothers Brothers were. But David Bianculli's brilliant new book has brought it all back to vivid life.... This is a superb, at times moving, portrait of an entire age—seen through the dramatic careers of two endlessly interesting entertainers."—Ken Burns

"Bianculli interviewed scores of producers and performers. He reveals what went on behind the cameras and also probes the generational, artistic, and moral duels being fought in the '60s. He opens with the childhood of the brothers (and sister) when their father became a WWII POW fatality. After high school and college bands, the brothers rode the folk music wave into San Francisco's Purple Onion, switched to comedy at Aspen, and recorded their debut comedy album in 1960, exploding into fame on Jack Paar's Tonight show. After the failure of their 1965–1966 CBS sitcom, they went full throttle when their variety series, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, began taping in 1967, pushing boundaries musically, comically, satirically, politically and courting controversy. They strove for topicality while CBS scrambled to avoid it: For CBS, almost every mention of religion, sex, drugs, politics, and war was anathema. Reviewing each episode, entire sketches and individual gag lines, the book probes internal battles, with Tom Smothers fighting censors, executives, affiliates, and increasingly his own managers and staff members.... He concludes this entertaining and well-researched bio with the duo's huge influence on today's TV troublemakers and iconoclasts."—Publishers Weekly

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From Rocks to Rockets: A Humorous History of Warfare
William Gilkerson.
Publisher: Osprey.   Format: hardcover. ISBN: 9781846034978.  Daedalus Item Code: 40180
List Price: Import Sale Price: $4.98 $2.98
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