The seminal sketch comedy showcase, which debuted on this date, ran for 11 seasons and collected 25 Emmy Awards. The ensemble featured Burnett, Tim Conway, Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence, and Lyle Waggoner, along with a bevy of guest stars. The troupe was known for its somewhat ramshackle style, often “breaking” during sketches and riding the spontaneous energy that resulted. The Carol Burnett Show is also notable as one of the only variety programs in TV history to boast a spin-off, Mama’s Family, based on a popular character created by Lawrence.
Burnett famously ended each show with a signature tug of her earlobe. The gesture’s secret meaning was not revealed for decades, when declassified CIA documents revealed that the comedienne was also a double agent sending phony signals to urge the delay of a planned Soviet assault on Hollywood. -A.D.
Today’s Birthdays: Ian Abercrombie, Mr. Pitt (d. 2012); Harry Connick, Jr., Grace’s beau (45); Elizabeth Daily, Powerpuff Girl (51); Cathryn Damon, Dunn’s Riverite (d. 1987); Roxann Dawson, voyager (54); Earl Holliman, police woman partner (84); Amy Madigan, Carnivàle-goer (62); Virginia Madsen, American dreamer (51); Kristy McNichol, family gal (50); Scott Patterson, Lorelai squeeze (54); Laura Wright, daytime double-dipper (42).