Monday, May 28, 2018
In early 1967, folksinging comedians Tom and Dick Smothers kicked off their own variety show on CBS. Their competition was stiff -- NBC's "Bonanza," the one show that CBS could never seem to dislodge from its top-10 spot in the ratings. But the brothers beat "Bonanza" with a combination of topical comedy and musical guests like the Turtles, Buffalo Springfield and the Who. The only problem was that the show's anti-war humor and social satire often ran afoul of CBS censors -- and even prompted protests from the White House, leading to a series of conflicts between the Smothers Brothers and Big Brother.
Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour," by David Bianculli
"Smothered: The Censorship Struggles of 'The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour' "
"The Smothers Brothers Redux: A Bittersweet Reunion at CBS," Andy Meisler, The New York Times, January 31, 1988
Friday, May 11, 2018
In 1969, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were arguably the world's most famous married couple, and they became even more well known when Burton bought his wife a 69-carat diamond ring that cost over a million dollars. At a Hollywood party, their paths crossed with Lucille Ball and an unlikely idea emerged -- within weeks the Burtons were taping an episode of "Here's Lucy" as themselves, with the ring as a special guest star. This is the story of a very large diamond, two very popular movie stars and one of America's favorite comic actresses -- and how they all came together to make TV history.
" 'All I Could See Was Elizabeth and That Rock': What Happened When Taylor and Burton Were Filmed for Next Week's Lucy Show," James Bacon, TV Guide, September 5, 1970
"The Taylor Burton Diamond," worthy.com
Loving Lucy: An Illustrated Tribute to Lucille Ball, by Bart Andrews
Elizabeth Taylor: A Private Life for Public Consumption, by Ellis Cashmore
The Richard Burton Diaries, edited by Chris Williams