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Pachy's avatar

Who would like to help me bid a final farewell to the TV comic pioneer Sid Caesar?

Asked by Pachy (13865 points ) February 12th, 2014

Caesar and other classic funnymen like Jackie Gleason and Milton Berle made the late ‘40s, ‘50s and early ‘60s the golden age of TV, of which you can get a good taste in the very funny 1982 movie “My Favorite Year” (in it, Joe Bologna portrays a Caesar-like character King Kaiser). Or you watch the real thing on YouTube. Comedy like Caesar’s and Gleason’s wouldn’t play today—but boy, “how sweet it was” back in the days when my dad insisted we be the first in our neighborhood to own a TV (black & white and tiny screened, of course). If you remember the great Sid Caesar, please help me give him a good sendoff.

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16 Answers

ucme's avatar

I only ever saw him in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, expressively very funny guy.

marinelife's avatar

He was a pioneer!

filmfann's avatar

He also surrounded himself with talent. His writers? Woody Allen, Neil Simon, Larry Gelbart (M*A*S*H), Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks. A virtual who’s who of comedy writers.

janbb's avatar

Interesting how we only know they were still alive when they’ve died. My folks loved him and I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen of him.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

It’s a sad loss for us all. Caesar was a legend and rightly so.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@filmfann did he surround himself with talent or did he bring it out of his writers? I think he was the master and they were the students.

glacial's avatar

Your Show of Shows played in rerun in the after-school slot when I was growing up… it was great stuff. I’m glad you mentioned My Favorite Year – what an excellent send-up that was.

Actually, I’ll take that back… not so much a send-up as a tribute.

Pachy's avatar

Absolutely so, @glacial. A fond tribute.

Blondesjon's avatar

Over the coming days we will hear many great stories about Sid but I thought I’d offer one that came to mind when I heard the news, a story told by Carol Burnett.

Back when she was starting out she used to sneak backstage and watch Sid and company do dress rehearsal and then she’d run home and watch the live broadcast.

One day she watched them do a courtroom sketch. Although Sid was mostly known for comedy they also did drama. In this scene a jury foreman comes out and declares a defendant guilty.

Sid as the attorney then delivers an impassioned speech on behalf of his client and the jury changes their mind.

When the show went live the young actor playing the foreman got nervous and blew his line, declaring the defendant not guilty. This left Sid hanging but he was a pro and quickly recovered, ad libbing to make the scene work.

Then they went to commercial after which Sid would come out to say good night. So he had maybe 2 minutes. He looked around and asked where the actor was. Told that the man, humiliated, had left Sid ran out onto the street and caught up to him.

Putting his hand on the young man’s shoulder he looked him in the eye and said

“It’s ok…. it’s ok…. come back next week”

Then he rushed back and did his goodbyes.

Now that is class. – Source

stanleybmanly's avatar

I was very young, but my mother worshiped Sid Caesar and Imogene as well. I can just remember watching “Your show of shows” on that tiny little screen in the big wooden console.

ibstubro's avatar

Applause, applause, @Pachy. Thanks for making memories of him.

Blondesjon where the FURK have you BEEN!? We NEED you!

ibstubro's avatar

He was a bit before my time, but I understand and acknowledge the contribution he made, especially to early TV. His influence on comedy will never die.

RIP Sid…I’m off to watch you a bit on You Tube.

Pachy's avatar

Thank you, everybody, for participating in this thread. Glad to know that you, like I, feel a little stab in your heart knowing Mighty Caesais gone. In case you missed it, here is a really nice NPR piece on him.

glacial's avatar

@Pachy Thank you for posting that – I will definitely tune in when I have the time to listen to it properly.

Pachy's avatar

… er… I meant “Mighty Caesar is gone” ... but you already knew that, right?

Yetanotheruser's avatar

I remember as a kid, watching the show with my parents. I thought he and Imogene Coca made a perfect comedy pair. This picture in the New York Times is a testament to his versatility. He could not only look like different characters, but his mannerism were just as versatile.

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