Tuesday, October 4, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: "In Such Good Company" by Carol Burnett

Once again, working in a library worked to my advantage, because one day while I was shelving returned books, I took notice of a brand-new tome on the shelf: In Such Good Company by Carol Burnett. And while it's been said not to judge a book by it's cover, I found it impossible to resist the adorable image of Carol standing next to the Charwoman, a character she created that became the mascot of her successful television variety show, The Carol Burnett Show.

In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox is Carol Burnett's latest memoir, a fond look back on her successful musical variety show The Carol Burnett Show that ran from 1967-1978. Full of memories, stories, and even some bits of juicy behind-the-scenes gossip, to say I enjoyed this book would be an understatement! 

I feel the Carol did a great job putting this book together, compiling a wonderful insider's look into the musical variety show she created that went on to garner 25 Emmy awards and recognition by both TV Guide and Time magazine as one of the greatest shows of all time. There are a lot of chapters to this book, but everything - and everyone - gets recognized, including the individual members of the cast and crew, Carol's favorite Q & As, and the best movie parodies and recurring sketches through the years; Carol also shares embarrassing moments, memories from some of Carol's favorite guest stars, and even the story of filming an episode of The Carol Burnett Show in London.

It was so incredibly fun for me to read about how Carol came to meet Vicki Lawrence, who was a mere seventeen years old when she first came on board; to learn backstories of familiar characters like the Charwoman, Eunice, and Mrs. Wiggins and Mr. Tudball; to go behind-the-scenes with famous sketches like "Went With the Wind" (and learn how Carol's famous curtain rod costume came about!); and to discover that Carol once actually had to FIRE Harvey Korman!

In addition to Carol's narrative, the book also includes other great "extras" that made the book even more special for me, and that I think fans will really enjoy. There are many black-and-white photo stills from various episodes, showing Carol onstage with legends such as Rock Hudson, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Lucille Ball. Carol also divulges what a typical week was for the cast and crew, explaining each day's schedule was and why it worked so well (and why that would never work on television today). 

What was, for me, the piece de resistance: In the name of "research" for her book, Carol went back and re-watched all 276 episodes of The Carol Burnett Show, and then compiled a list detailing each show's individual broadcast date as well as the regular cast members and guest stars who appeared on that show. I thought that was not only awesome of Carol to do, but it is a great resource for fans both new and old who might be looking for more information about specific episodes, sketches, or stars they enjoyed, or to find out which episodes featured their favorite entertainers.

Once again, to say that I enjoyed In Such Good Company by Carol Burnett would be an understatement. I loved, after having closed the cover of this book, going back and watching episodes of The Carol Burnett Show and seeing sketches, stars, and stories that Carol talks about within its pages. It's the perfect companion for any fan of Carol Burnett and her esteemed musical variety show.

You can get your own copy of In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox by Carol Burnett from Amazon.

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