America in the 1960s and ‘70s was in turmoil, but at 10 o’clock every Saturday night, in dorms and dens, in living rooms and bedrooms across the country, Americans watched “The Carol Burnett Show.” For 11 years, the wacky performer yelled like Tarzan, winning — and sometimes breaking — our hearts with her edgy yet always sympathetic characters. Burnett could fall down a flight of stairs as deftly as she held her own in a duet with Julie Andrews. Her antics, her creativity and her business smarts were groundbreaking, and inspired not only her TV contemporaries, but also generations of younger comediennes who followed her.
Tuesday April 9, witf and PBS present an evening dedicated to Carol Burnett:
American Masters “Carol Burnett: A Woman of Character” airs Tuesday, April 9 at 8:00pm on witf. The show salutes this one-woman army of comedic characters who seduced countless Saturday night friends to fall in love with her and her wacky creations. The film is directed by Kyra Thompson, who frames the 90-minute film with one of Burnett’s signature devices: the audience Q&A that faithfully opened her weekly show (which won 25 Emmy Awards from 1967 to 1978). The questions — and Burnett’s hilarious improvised responses — provide the spine for a story of her life and career. Interviews with those who knew her best reveal the personal side of the public personae.
Pioneers of Television “Carol Burnett and the Funny Ladies” airs April 9 at 9:30pm on witf, and is built around Carol Burnett, Lucille Ball and Betty White — three leading ladies of television comedy. The episode includes reflections from Carol Burnett, Betty White, Tina Fey, Dick Van Dyke, Tim Conway, Vicki Lawrence, Cloris Leachman, Joan Rivers, Margaret Cho and the late Phyllis Diller, recounting stories about the featured funny ladies and discussing their impact on American television and entertainment. The episode includes iconic clips and photos to offer an insider’s look at these beloved celebrities.
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