Wednesday, November 20, 2013

November 20: Dick Smothers, the younger of The Smothers Brothers, is 74-years-old today.

Born Richard Remick "Dick" Smothers in New York City in 1939, Dick, along with brother Tom (who  was born two years earlier), appeared on numerous television shows over the years. These included two variety shows of their own, The Smothers Brothers Show from 1965 to 1966, and The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1967.

Without Tom, Dick also appeared in the 1995 Martin Scorsese-directed film Casino in an uncharacteristically serious role as a dishonest Nevada State Senator.

The Smothers Brothers have been the longest-running comedy team in history. Originally a folk duo, the brothers tempered their childlike, irreverent musical humor with enough sly satire and subtle political commentary to earn both an ardent following from the counterculture and considerable backlash from more conservative quarters. Their best known tag line was Tom saying to Dick, "Mom always liked you best!"

(Continued below...)

(... Continued) 
Dick and Tom first performed together professionally while attending San Jose State University. After a tenure in a folk group dubbed the Casual Quintet, the Smothers broke off as a duo in 1959; while their act initially consisted of straightforward folk tunes, audiences responded even more favorably to their between-song banter, and gradually all of the brothers' material reflected their offbeat comic sensibility.


Pat Paulsen for President!
Tea with Goldie (Leigh French)
By the time of their 1961 live debut At the Purple Onion - along with their season-long tenure as regulars on The Steve Allen Show - the Smothers' act still skewed towards straight songs, and the comedic content of their performance limited to introductions to the musical performances. As indicated by its title, 1962's Top 40 hit The Two Sides of the Smothers Brothers one half of the record was devoted to serious, if lightweight, songs while the remainder focused on comic numbers like "Cabbage" and "Chocolate," the latter penned by frequent accomplice Pat Paulsen.

With 1963's (Think Ethnic!), their transformation into pure comedy was complete; all of the songs were performed with tongues planted firmly in cheek, punctuated by breezy banter and light-hearted bickering. Curb Your Tongue, Knave! followed later in the year and was the duo's biggest hit, falling just short of the Top Ten, while 1964's It Must Have Been Something I Said! reflected their continued growth as performers.

After a TV sketch satirizing organized religion drew fire from the nation's clergy and forced an on-air apology, CBS cancelled their show despite high ratings and an Emmy Award for writing. A year later, the program resurfaced on ABC, but it to was cancelled a few months later.

(Continued below CDs...)

HIGHLY Recommended (Links to Amazon):
Sibling Revelry: The Best of the Smothers Brothers The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour: The Best of Season 2Smothered - The Censorship Struggles of the Smothers Brothers Comedy HourThe Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour: Season 3

(... continued)

The controversies hurt the Smothers' career; they did not return to recording, and toured sporadically over the next several years. Another variety series, The Smothers Brothers Show, debuted on NBC in 1975, but lasted only 13 weeks.

After over a decade of low-visibility touring and nightclub performances, CBS brought back The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1988; after little more than a year on the air, it too was cancelled, and the team returned to the live circuit.

Besides performing, Dick Smothers has also been very
active in amateur automobile racing, both road racing and drag racing.

No comments:

Post a Comment