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By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | February 12, 2014
By now you probably know that comedian Sid Caesar died today at the age of 91. But judging by the paper-thin pieces I have been seeing on the web this afternoon, I am guessing many readers might not understand how seminal he was to the history of television and sketch comedy. Caesar deserves some cultural context and honor for the fearless and pioneering figure he was. Live television burned him up within a decade, leaving behind a guy addicted to amphetamines, downers and alcohol.
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By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | February 12, 2014
By now you probably know that comedian Sid Caesar died today at the age of 91. But judging by the paper-thin pieces I have been seeing on the web this afternoon, I am guessing many readers might not understand how seminal he was to the history of television and sketch comedy. Caesar deserves some cultural context and honor for the fearless and pioneering figure he was. Live television burned him up within a decade, leaving behind a guy addicted to amphetamines, downers and alcohol.
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By David Zurawik and David Zurawik,SUN TELEVISION CRITIC | March 28, 2002
Milton Berle, television's first superstar and the man who came to be known as "Mr. Television," died at his home yesterday afternoon at the age of 93. With Mr. Berle at the time of his death were his wife, Lorna, and other family members, according to longtime Berle publicist Warren Cowan. The performer was diagnosed with colon cancer last year and had been in hospice care the past few weeks, according to the Associated Press. Mr. Berle's death, like the birth of his Tuesday-night television variety show in 1948, is a milestone moment in the history of the medium that has come to so dominate American life.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | September 18, 2013
After a brief hiatus that had people feeling downcast all over the globe, Midweek Madness returns with a nod to the opening of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's 2013-14 subscription series . The big news of the concert is the US premiere of John Adams' Saxophone Concerto, but there's something else a little newsy about it. An old war horse,Tchaikovsky '1812 Overture,' mostly confined these days to pops concerts or outdoor patriotic events, will...
NEWS
November 29, 2007
MEL TOLKIN, 94 Comedy writer Mel Tolkin, the head writer for Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows, which defined the art of sketch comedy during early television, died Monday of heart failure at his Century City home, said his son, writer-director Michael Tolkin. Mr. Tolkin spent nearly a half-century in show business, beginning in the 1930s when he wrote revues and played piano in Montreal jazz clubs. He wrote comedy for Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, Danny Kaye and Danny Thomas, and in the 1970s was a writer and editor for All in the Family.
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By David Zurawik and David Zurawik,Sun Television Critic | September 26, 1990
MIKE WALLACE was widely enough known as an interviewer in 1957 to be parodied by Sid Caesar and Carl Reiner on "Caesar's Hour," a prime-time variety show. The skit featured Reiner as Wallace grilling Caesar, who set a record for prime-time sweating.Tonight, some 33 years later, Wallace is still widely enoughknown as an interviewer to be the subject of a CBS prime-time retrospective, "Mike Wallace Then & Now," at 10 p.m. on WBAL-TV (Channel 11).The report spans 40 years of broadcasting by Wallace -- from celebrity talk shows, such as "Night Beat" in New York in the 1950s, to "60 Minutes" today.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | September 18, 2013
After a brief hiatus that had people feeling downcast all over the globe, Midweek Madness returns with a nod to the opening of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's 2013-14 subscription series . The big news of the concert is the US premiere of John Adams' Saxophone Concerto, but there's something else a little newsy about it. An old war horse,Tchaikovsky '1812 Overture,' mostly confined these days to pops concerts or outdoor patriotic events, will...
FEATURES
By Mike Giuliano and Mike Giuliano,Special to The Sun | February 26, 1995
Howard Hesseman has worked in TV comedy for so long that the star of "WKRP in Cincinnati," "One Day at a Time" and "Head of the Class" seems a natural to play a TV comedian in Neil Simon's "Laughter on the 23rd Floor," opening Tuesday at the Morris Mechanic Theatre.His character, Max Prince, is no run-of-the-mill comedian, though. Max lords it over the team of comedy writers who supply him with material for a live weekly program of the 1950s that closely resembles Sid Caesar's "Your Show of Shows."
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By David Bianculli and David Bianculli,Special to The Sun | April 12, 1994
Most of the good sitcoms tonight are showing repeats -- as is "NYPD Blue," which automatically makes it a can-miss Tuesday night. The night's biggest draw is Sharon Gless in a dual role on a new CBS telemovie, but as star turns go, it's more flashy than sturdy.* "The Good Life" (8-8:30 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- NBC is pulling the curtain, at least for the season, on some of its new sitcoms tonight. This is the last first-run episode of "The Good Life," for example, unless it's renewed, which isn't all that likely.
FEATURES
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | September 20, 2002
In 1952, the screenwriter Cesare Zavattini, who had already collaborated with Vittorio De Sica on a succession of classics (the best known is The Bicycle Thief), declared that he hoped to create a movie so full of "truly significant and revealing" details that it would seem like "90 minutes in the daily life of mankind." That same year, De Sica and Zavattini came as close as anyone ever has to achieving this goal. Their eruptively moving Umberto D., the story of a debt-ridden retired civil servant who's forced from his home by a cruel landlady, is neorealism at its peak.
NEWS
By Mary Johnson and Mary Johnson,Special to The Baltimore Sun | December 18, 2008
Prince George's Little Theatre Company is offering up for holiday cheer some golden age television comedy with the production of Neil Simon's Laughter on the 23rd Floor, opening tomorrow and running this weekend and next. This is PGLT's first production in the newly refurbished Bowie Playhouse in Whitemarsh Park. First on Broadway in 1993, Simon's semi-autobiographical comedy takes a nostalgic look at 1953 when Simon was one of the team of top comedy writers that included Mel Brooks, Woody Allen and Carl Reiner who wrote for Sid Caesar's weekly 90-minute Your Show of Shows.
NEWS
November 29, 2007
MEL TOLKIN, 94 Comedy writer Mel Tolkin, the head writer for Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows, which defined the art of sketch comedy during early television, died Monday of heart failure at his Century City home, said his son, writer-director Michael Tolkin. Mr. Tolkin spent nearly a half-century in show business, beginning in the 1930s when he wrote revues and played piano in Montreal jazz clubs. He wrote comedy for Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, Danny Kaye and Danny Thomas, and in the 1970s was a writer and editor for All in the Family.
FEATURES
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | September 20, 2002
In 1952, the screenwriter Cesare Zavattini, who had already collaborated with Vittorio De Sica on a succession of classics (the best known is The Bicycle Thief), declared that he hoped to create a movie so full of "truly significant and revealing" details that it would seem like "90 minutes in the daily life of mankind." That same year, De Sica and Zavattini came as close as anyone ever has to achieving this goal. Their eruptively moving Umberto D., the story of a debt-ridden retired civil servant who's forced from his home by a cruel landlady, is neorealism at its peak.
NEWS
By David Zurawik and David Zurawik,SUN TELEVISION CRITIC | March 28, 2002
Milton Berle, television's first superstar and the man who came to be known as "Mr. Television," died at his home yesterday afternoon at the age of 93. With Mr. Berle at the time of his death were his wife, Lorna, and other family members, according to longtime Berle publicist Warren Cowan. The performer was diagnosed with colon cancer last year and had been in hospice care the past few weeks, according to the Associated Press. Mr. Berle's death, like the birth of his Tuesday-night television variety show in 1948, is a milestone moment in the history of the medium that has come to so dominate American life.
FEATURES
By David Zurawik and David Zurawik,SUN TELEVISION CRITIC | May 26, 2001
Showtime is promoting "Laughter on the 23rd Floor" by saying, "You can't get a ticket to see Nathan Lane on Broadway, but you can see him on Showtime." The Broadway reference is to Lane's starring role in Mel Brooks' "The Producers," the hottest ticket in the theater world these days. But that's not the only reason to focus the promotion on Lane; his performance in "Laughter on the 23rd Floor" is spectacular. Even if you don't know anything about comedian Sid Caesar and his seminal "Your Show of Shows" - the live NBC program in the early 1950s on which this made-for-cable movie is based - thanks to Lane's performance, you will still understand the man and the way in which network television almost killed him. As an added treat, Showtime is also premiering an 80-minute documentary, "Hail Sid Caesar!
FEATURES
By Mike Giuliano and Mike Giuliano,Special to The Sun | February 26, 1995
Howard Hesseman has worked in TV comedy for so long that the star of "WKRP in Cincinnati," "One Day at a Time" and "Head of the Class" seems a natural to play a TV comedian in Neil Simon's "Laughter on the 23rd Floor," opening Tuesday at the Morris Mechanic Theatre.His character, Max Prince, is no run-of-the-mill comedian, though. Max lords it over the team of comedy writers who supply him with material for a live weekly program of the 1950s that closely resembles Sid Caesar's "Your Show of Shows."
NEWS
By Mary Johnson and Mary Johnson,Special to The Baltimore Sun | December 18, 2008
Prince George's Little Theatre Company is offering up for holiday cheer some golden age television comedy with the production of Neil Simon's Laughter on the 23rd Floor, opening tomorrow and running this weekend and next. This is PGLT's first production in the newly refurbished Bowie Playhouse in Whitemarsh Park. First on Broadway in 1993, Simon's semi-autobiographical comedy takes a nostalgic look at 1953 when Simon was one of the team of top comedy writers that included Mel Brooks, Woody Allen and Carl Reiner who wrote for Sid Caesar's weekly 90-minute Your Show of Shows.
FEATURES
By David Zurawik and David Zurawik,SUN TELEVISION CRITIC | May 26, 2001
Showtime is promoting "Laughter on the 23rd Floor" by saying, "You can't get a ticket to see Nathan Lane on Broadway, but you can see him on Showtime." The Broadway reference is to Lane's starring role in Mel Brooks' "The Producers," the hottest ticket in the theater world these days. But that's not the only reason to focus the promotion on Lane; his performance in "Laughter on the 23rd Floor" is spectacular. Even if you don't know anything about comedian Sid Caesar and his seminal "Your Show of Shows" - the live NBC program in the early 1950s on which this made-for-cable movie is based - thanks to Lane's performance, you will still understand the man and the way in which network television almost killed him. As an added treat, Showtime is also premiering an 80-minute documentary, "Hail Sid Caesar!
FEATURES
By David Bianculli and David Bianculli,Special to The Sun | April 12, 1994
Most of the good sitcoms tonight are showing repeats -- as is "NYPD Blue," which automatically makes it a can-miss Tuesday night. The night's biggest draw is Sharon Gless in a dual role on a new CBS telemovie, but as star turns go, it's more flashy than sturdy.* "The Good Life" (8-8:30 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- NBC is pulling the curtain, at least for the season, on some of its new sitcoms tonight. This is the last first-run episode of "The Good Life," for example, unless it's renewed, which isn't all that likely.
NEWS
By Neil A. Grauer | May 19, 1991
WOODY ALLEN: A BIOGRAPHY. Eric Lax. Knopf.377 pages. $24. Laughter, wrote Christopher Fry, is the "surest touch of genius in creation."That is not enough for Woody Allen.As Eric Lax, a longtime friend, makes clear in this first full-scale biography of the writer-comedian-filmmaker, Mr. Allen is dissatisfied with his success as a humorist and creator of funny films. He disparingly calls his jokes "verbal cartoons"; dismisses his hilarious stand-up routines of the 1960s and early 1970s as "nauseating," "loathsome" and "disgusting"; and complains that by becoming an extraordinarily popular film comedian, "I succeed at my second choice."
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