Smothers Brothers

Wed Feb 12 15:10:42 PST 2003

On Wed, Feb 12, 2003 at 05:03:23PM -0600, Mia McDavid wrote:

> Well, the nice, clean-cut guys got on the air at the critical point when 
> a lot of the youth of the country was getting upset about Vietnam.  They 
> found that they were getting upset, too . . . their comedy took on a 
> political edge.  They had guests on that the censors (oh, yeah, you 
> won't know from censors either.  CBS had censors that were supposed to 
> make sure all the shows were nicey-nice.  The Smothers Brothers had a 
> *lot* of trouble with the censors) didn't like and they wrote skits that 
> the censors cut up or just cancelled . . . then the brothers would get 
> up there and show the camera the *script* of the skits and talk about 
> how they couldn't *do* the skit . . . there was an excellent special 
> about them on one of the cable networks just this winter.

A pretty good summary.  Some of the things that got the network
censors so upset including such now-tame items as an interracial
kiss - only the second one ever on television to that point.  The
original Star Trek was first, and the network censors didn't like
it -- but passed it because it was 'forced' on participants against
their will by mind-controlling aliens.  The one on the Smothers
Brothers was considerably more enthusiastic.  The Smothers' got
theirs past the censors by simply not telling them.

At this point it's an open question as to whether or not they
*could* have gotten it past the censors, but as they mentioned
on the Carson show, it was typical of their habit of giving the
networks a sharp stick in the eye.