FILE - Cast members of “The Carol Burnett Show”, from left, Carol Burnett, Tim Conway, Harvey Korman and Vicki Lawrence pose for a photo before attending a discussion of the former television show at the Director’s Guild Theater in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles, on March 3, 2000. Sixty-five episodes of “The Carol Burnett Show” have been restored and expanded and are streaming for the first time on services including Hulu and Tubi. (AP Photo/Neil Jacobs, File)

FILE - Cast members of “The Carol Burnett Show”, from left, Carol Burnett, Tim Conway, Harvey Korman and Vicki Lawrence pose for a photo before attending a discussion of the former television show at the Director’s Guild Theater in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles, on March 3, 2000. Sixty-five episodes of “The Carol Burnett Show” have been restored and expanded and are streaming for the first time on services including Hulu and Tubi. (AP Photo/Neil Jacobs, File)

Carol Burnett puts variety, and music, back in her show

Episodes streaming for the first time on services including Tubi and The Roku Channel

LOS ANGELES — Carol Burnett is so glad we had this time together, as she sang in her signature song. Now, she’s added a lot more time, and a lot more songs, to be glad about.

Since its original run from 1967 to 1978, most viewers have only seen heavily chopped versions of “The Carol Burnett Show,” and many fans had no idea that singing and dancing were an essential part of a series that was actually more classic variety show than modern comedy sketch show.

“What we were doing in essence was kind of like a Broadway musical revue every week, kind of like vaudeville, with sketches and then musical numbers. And of course in television the “v” of vaudeville became the “v” of variety show,” Burnett told The Associated Press this week. “The problem was, when we went into syndication all those years ago, they cut it down to a half hour, and all the music was cut out.”

But now, 65 episodes drawn from the show’s 11 seasons on CBS, which brought it 25 Emmy Awards, have been revived and expanded, most to their original hour length under the title “The Best of The Carol Burnett Show,” and can be seen streaming for the first time on services including Tubi and The Roku Channel.

Along with its guest star, each show typically had a musical guest, who would perform in a simple setting early in the show then sing and dance in a big, costumed, Broadway-style finale at the end alongside Burnett and often singing co-stars Vicki Lawrence and Lyle Waggoner.

It was on Broadway that Burnett, now 87, had her breakout role at age 26 in 1959, singing in the musical fairytale spoof, “Once Upon a Mattress.”

“My first love was musical comedy,” Burnett said. “I wanted to be on Broadway, so I was always singing loud, like Ethel Merman. Then what was great fun was that when I got my own show, I got to do some of that.”

Merman would be among the show’s musical guests, as would Ray Charles, Bing Crosby, Helen Reddy and the Jackson 5.

One restored episode from the show’s first season ends with Burnett, Lawrence, comic Phyllis Diller and dancer Gwen Verdon wearing psychedelic “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” regalia and singing a medley of songs from the Beatles album the year it was released.

Burnett liked to stick musicians into sketches too, as she did when she gave Charles a rare acting gig as a bar piano player talking to a sad drinker played by Burnett. He was delighted to do it, telling Burnett, “Nobody ever asks me to do stuff like this.”

There are also lost sketches in the expanded episodes, which Burnett brought back along with distributor Time Life, with more comedy from the show’s classic core cast of Burnett, Waggoner, Harvey Korman, Tim Conway and Lawrence, who was just 18 in the first episodes.

“They would never let me hire Vicki now,” Burnett said. “Just 18, with no experience? No way.”

Burnett and Lawrence remain close.

“We’re in touch, we talked yesterday on her anniversary, she’s been married 46 years. She married our makeup man,” Burnett said. “It’s hard to believe, she was such a kid when we hired her.”

The expanded shows also stand as a tribute to the members of the cast who have died, a couple very recently. Korman died in 2008, Conway died last year, and Waggoner died in March.

“It’s just me and Vicki now,” Burnett said with a sigh. “We miss our gang.”

By The Associated Press

Entertainment

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lieutenant Commander Nicole Robichaud welcomes Members of the Liberian Coast Guard aboard Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) MONCTON for training with Royal Canadian Navy off the coast of Monrovia, Liberia, Africa on NEPTUNE TRIDENT on March 25, 2017. (Contributed photo by Corp. Ryan Moulton).
Red Deer-raised woman finds her sea legs as commander in the Royal Canadian Navy

Cdr. Nicole Robichaud started out as a local sea cadet

Rode
Feddema adds size and grit to RDC basketball Queens

Iris Feddema has known for several years what she wanted her future… Continue reading

A local photographer captured the contrails of two planes that crossed in the sky over north Red Deer on Wednesday. (Photo contributed by Eric Fischer)
Photo: Planes criss-cross over Red Deer

A local photographer captured the contrails of two planes that crossed in… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools will not pilot the new draft curriculum at its elementary schools. (File photo contributed by Red Deer Public Schools)
UPDATED: Red Deer Public Schools says no to piloting new curriculum

Alberta Teachers’ Association support school boards

Evan Siddall is pictured in Ottawa on September 21, 2017. Former head of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. Evan Siddall has been named as the next chief executive for Alberta Investment Management Corp. He will succeed Kevin Uebelein. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
AIMCo names former CMHC head Evan Siddall as next chief executive

AIMCo names former CMHC head Evan Siddall as next chief executive

A for sale sign is shown in by new homes in Beckwith, Ont., just outside Ottawa, on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canadian home sales up 76% year-over-year, set new March record: CREA

Canadian home sales up 76% year-over-year, set new March record: CREA

WestJet president and CEO Ed Sims addresses the airline's annual meeting in Calgary, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
WestJet CEO Ed Sims finds Air Canada aid package ‘bittersweet’ as talks drag on

WestJet CEO Ed Sims finds Air Canada aid package ‘bittersweet’ as talks drag on

The TMX broadcast centre is shown in Toronto on May 9, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese
S&P/TSX composite, Dow Jones and S&P 500 set record highs as mood rises on economy

S&P/TSX composite, Dow Jones and S&P 500 set record highs as mood rises on economy

A man wearing a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 checks his phone as the sun sets in English Bay in Vancouver on April 5, 2021. Canada's existing mobile phone services and consumer groups will get a landmark ruling from the CRTC this afternoon. The regulatory ruling could shift some of the market power held by Rogers, Bell and Telus, which collectively have more than 90 per cent of the country's subscribers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
CRTC to allow smaller wireless players better access to national networks

CRTC to allow smaller wireless players better access to national networks

In this photo taken Sunday, May 17, 2020, U.S. and Canadian flags fly atop the Peace Arch at Peace Arch Historical State Park on the border with Canada in Blaine, Wash. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Elaine Thompson
A electric car is seen getting charged at parking lot in Tsawwassen, near Vancouver B.C., April, 6, 2018. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
‘Wrong signal:’ Federal ministers protest Saskatchewan’s electric vehicle tax

Two federal ministers are protesting Saskatchewan’s plan to bring in a tax… Continue reading

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s charities are looking to next week’s federal budget with hopes the Liberals will extend their sector a helping hand as they face the possibility of a prolonged and protracted road to recovery even after the economy reopens. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Charities hope Liberals’ budget lends helping hand as sector eyes long recovery

OTTAWA — Canada’s charities are hoping the Liberals extend them a helping… Continue reading

Most Read