Your Show of Shows was a live 90 minute variety show starring comedy legends Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca. It ran from 1950 to 1954. The writing staff had a staggering talent pool that included; Mel Tolkin (All in the Family), Carl Reiner (Dick Van Dyke Show, The Jerk), Mel Brooks (Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, Space Balls), Michael Stewart (Bye Bye Birdie, Hello Dolly!), Joseph Stein (Fiddler on the Roof), Lucille Kallen (worked on Broadway) , Danny Simon (The Carol Burnette Show, Diff’rent Strokes) and Neil Simon (The Odd Couple, Murder by Death).
Wow. Now that’s a writing staff. Each one has done so much to shape comedy through the years. Their influence is like ripples in a pond.
A widely spread misconception is that Larry Gelbart (M*A*S*H) wrote for the Show, when he actually wrote for the Caesar’s Hour that followed years later. Another misconception was that Woody Allen (Annie Hall) also wrote for the Show, when he actually wrote for several Sid Caesar TV Specials later on.
Your Show of Shows inspired many great productions through their talented staff for years to come. My favorite TV show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, was based off of Carl Reiner’s time as a writer for Sid Caesar. Mel Brooks cited My Favorite Year as being inspired by his time working as a writer on the Show. Also, Neil Simon says that his award winning play, Laughter on the 23rd Floor was also inspired by his time there.
So, here’s to Your Show of Shows for helping to mold comedy thanks to a very special team of writers!