Editorial Review of The Sid Caesar Collection – The Fan Favorites – 50th Anniversary Edition, courtesy of Amazon.com
“When we worked together,”reminisces Sid Caesar, “it was magic, and you don’t question magic.” So just enjoy this essential three-disc collection of vintage sketches from Your Show of Shows and Caesar’s Hour. To work on these programs was to attend “the Harvard of Comedy,” and this “great amalgamation of talents,” which included Carl Reiner, Imogene Coca, Howard Morris, Nanette Fabray, Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, Larry Gelbart, and Neil and Danny Simon, were at the head of their class. “We did everything,” Caesar notes at one point, and the proof is on these discs: domestic sketches (“Life Begins at 7:45″ ), game show parodies (“Break Your Brains” ), spoofs of foreign films (“U-Bet-U” ), opera (“Gallipacci” ), and classical music (and a pantomime of “the 1812 Overture” ). It is a testament to the knowledge, technique, and taste of those who created the show that these 50-year-old sketches hold up as well as they do. This was the golden age of live television, when anything could happen, and the cast would have to go with it. In “Gallipacci,” Caesar’s make-up pencil breaks when his character, a heartbroken clown, is applying make-up to his face. Without missing a beat, Caesar rises to the potentially disastrous occasion with one of the most inspired ad-libs in television history.
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