Wednesday, February 3, 2021

"Burnett" Beefcake

There's an unlikely post title for you... While it is an all-time classic comedy-variety program, The Carol Burnett Show is not exactly noted for its beefcake outside of Lyle Waggoner impersonating Olympic swimming champ Mark Spitz or perhaps a slave ship galley sketch. Both of these events have been covered here in the past, naturally...! 

Many of us grew up watching Burnett in reruns with a truncated half-hour rendition of the show (dubbed Carol Burnett & Friends), which removed nearly all of the show's weekly musical numbers along with other sketches. So, unless one caught all the episodes when they first aired, getting a glimpse of the full presentations was a pipe dream unless they were ordered (none too cheaply I may add) through a special TV offer. But as of late, PBS has been running a collection of full, one-hour installments, with all the material intact. (This has certain camp value as well, such as witnessing Ethel Merman try to make her way through "By the Time I Get to Phoenix!" or other nuggets!) When you realize that each of the episodes you've ever seen exist at exactly double the length, that's a lot of long-hidden stuff; some of it lame, some of it amazing and some of it mind-boggling. Today, I'm going to highlight a few instances where unexpected men on display popped up.

This parody of Beach Blanket Bingo (1965) and the like, was riddled with fun li'l swimsuits on the Ernie Flatt Dancers, who help populate many of the show's sketches.

I was born too late to enjoy the times when suits like these were the norm at the pool and beach.

Sadly, the show's guest star Steve Martin (shown here with Burnett as Annette) not only didn't wear an abbreviated pair of swim trunks, but they cruelly covered his chest up with a tank-top, to boot!

Maybe Steve's chest was deemed too hairy. They covered up this hirsute dancer, too.

Dancer Don Crichton, in the orange trunks, seemed to appear in featured bit roles more than any of the other dancers over the years. I love Vicki Lawrence's wig, eyelashes and white lipstick, even if she was trying to make fun.

Tim Conway appears in biker drag, a la Harvey Lembeck.

That's Betty White as his biker chick behind Chastain.

Sometimes when I'm in the right mood, the "real" Beach Party movies are fun to watch, with plenty of clean, tan physiques on display.

The show got a lot of mileage over the years with it's daytime soap opera parody (which notably targeted As the World Turns.) Now this next series of pics could hardly be called "beefcake" but it was too hilarious not to include.

Same guest stars, Betty White and Steve Martin, join Vicki Lawrence and Carol Burnett wait in awe for an alien visitor (based upon Close Encounters of the Third Kind, 1977) to come down from the second story of Burnett's suburban home.

Eerie light and strange music herald the arrival of the alien being.

It's Tim Conway in a hysterical get-up that refuses to hide any figure flaws (though I really didn't realize he was as slim as he looks here! His old man and Mr. Tudball disguises tended to add pounds.)

When Conway finally makes his way down the stairs, his ludicrous costume and makeup have an effect on his costars.

The generally indefatigable White looks like she is right on the verge of losing it here. 

Even he can hardly keep it together...!

I wouldn't exactly file that last skit under M for Macho, but this song and dance routine came off as one of the gayest things I have seen in a while! A group of men are relaxing after a hard day on the tennis court...

Up comes guest star Ken Berry in, like all the rest, the tiniest shorts imaginable, to sing to them!

As sometimes happens in certain adult videos (so I'm told!), I had trouble at first figuring out whose hand was on whose leg at first! LOL

Hey, at least he has their attention!

The song ("Love Stolen" from The Robber Bridegroom) is all about grabbing an unsuspecting gal, though you'd be lucky to guess that from the look of things here!

Berry, who was straight, prances about with his half-dozen "raqueteers."

Things wind up with him going ass-over-ankles for a towering female who gives him a little of his own medicine.

These next scenes weren't shown on PBS. I found them online later. Here we have Vicki Lawrence in a TV commercial parody. She's about to have a karate lesson and hopes to give her instructor some mouthwash for his staggering bad breath.

The instructor is none other than Mr. Burt Reynolds (who I never even knew appeared on TCBS!), shirtless.

His breath is horrendous, as Lawrence learns when he continually hollers, "Hiii-yah!"

She hands over the mouthwash...

...and he informs her that he uses it every morning.

But as he soon demonstrates by slathering it all over his chest (as the audience squeals), he may not be using it for its intended purpose!

In the same ep, Reynolds stars in one of the show's famous movie parodies. In a take-off on The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934), he essays the role of Charles de Gay in "The Lavender Pimpernel!"

Burt appears dwarfed by costar Lyle Waggoner here.

With his shirt open to the waist (a 1970s staple in any case!), he tosses himself into the part, both through his mincing performance as well as his former stuntman physicality.

This was just before Deliverance (1972) opened. After that movie's stunning success, you would be less likely to see Reynolds doing guest appearances like this.

At one point, after confusion over his beauty mark, he has the distinction of cracking Burnett up, something it was tougher to do than to, say, Harvey Korman, who often had trouble keeping his composure in all the absurdity.

In the same ep, Nanette Fabray appears in another ad parody, this one for a sleep remedy.

Turns out she puts hubby Harvey Korman to bed (immediately!) because she's got Lyle Waggoner stashed behind the bedroom drapes. The quality of pics from this episode is poorer because it was from an online version rather than a restored TV broadcast.

We wrap up with another sketch featuring "As the Stomach Turns" and Mr. Waggoner.

He plays a timid man scared to death of women. Burnett, naturally, tries to cure him of this, but isn't having much luck. Eventually, she sends him upstairs for a shower...

...but he's soon on the scene again in a teensy towel.

In the meantime, a saucy acquaintance of hers has shown up.

The gal (Valerie Harper) seems to be just the thing to melt Waggoner's female fears.

Burnett has had about enough of this development and gives Waggoner some tea!

(There really was some - cold? - water in that pot!)

While I generally go in for a brawnier type, I nonetheless always appreciate the sight of Lyle's fit & trim physique.

The next time we see Waggoner, he's confronted with the sight of his mother (Harvey Korman in his Mother Marcus drag!)

These sketches always ended with a series of unanswered questions, which promised (in vain) to be answered on the next day's episode of "ATST."

The End!


Scooter said...

Love this. Terrific walk down memory lane!

mac20 said...

The popular dancer in the orange trunks is Don Crichton, not Don Chastain. (You might be thinking of the cute actor who played Debbie Reynolds’ husband on her TV show in 1969.) But thanks for all the hunky screen caps. Always a treat to see Ken Berry's furry legs.

A said...

Burt Reynolds and Lyle Waggoner in the same episode. I'll be in my bunk.

mdw6275 said...

Awesome post!

Shawny said...

I bought one of the dvds when the series first was issued a while back. I was surprised to see the completely awful musical numbers, and a bit dismayed at how long and difficult the show was to get through. Exhausting really. I put it aside after the first episode. The skits are still a joy though. The close encounter skit looks hilarious. I’ll have to get back and watch the show again.

Poseidon3 said...

Glad you liked this, Scooter! Thanks.

mac20, UGH...! You what what's crazy? There was an ep in which Carol introduced each dancer - and each had a director's chair with his or her name on it - and I held onto that for reference and then winged it and messed it up! LOL And God knows I heard the announcer on the show say, "The policeman was played by Don Crichton" or some such dozens of times. It's fixed. Thanks for letting me know. I was struck by how hairy Ken's legs were...! And that number showed them in their entirety. Ha ha! BTW, I was stunned to see that Crichton choreographed the ballet sequences on "The Colbys" (when Sable was sponsoring a Russian dancer played by Adrian Paul!)

A, RIGHT?? I was fascinated to see them together. But I thought it was really something to see Burt doing the show in general. Not something I associate with him. He was very game, throwing himself into all sorts of stuntwork in an opening number while singing ala Dean Martin.

Thank you, mdw6275. Glad you liked this!

Shawny, it must be said that some of the music on the shows is just dreadful. I recall watching one and thinking, "You're doing a solo on The Carol Burnett Show and THIS is what you picked to sing??!" Still, I love camp and unintentional absurdity so much that I really like getting to witness things like Bing Crosby doing "Put a Little Love in Your Heart" or the like. And on one, Carol did a fully credible rendition of "Ladies Who Lunch" in a really eye-catching wig. Some of those "extravaganzas" at the end do wear thin, though.

Gingerguy said...

I still have the biggest crush on Lyle, what a honey he was. You find beefcake in the most amazing places. Now that it's all here though it seems there was a lot of it. Someone recently told me Ken Berry was a Broadway dancer and he really had a hot little body. I would kill for that lemon yellow tennis outfit. I am impressed in retrospect at how many parodies of movies this show did. I only remember SNL doing beach party movies spoofs but this one looks epic. Same with Valley of The Dolls, I thought I knew everything there was to know about that movie, but Carol did that one too. Oddly I just saw The Scarlet Pimpernel for the first time and loved it. It's a classic stereotype of a fashion obsessed mincer. Like me! Great photos of my childhood crush, thanks for that Poseidon

Unknown said...

My PBS station started playing a full one hour Carol episode every Saturday night. Not to be Debbie Downer (well maybe just a little) I'm with Shawney, it did not age well and some of them are outright dogs. I wish they'd play these ones!

Unknown said...

Debbie again. I read an interview with Carol that said those 30 min. shows on MeTV are put together because of the music rights, the royalties were to expensive to play the musical numbers. I guess they worked something out.

Poseidon3 said...

Gingerguy, that yellow tennis get-up seared the screen it was so vivid! I recall when shorts that abbreviated were the norm on the court. Miss those days... ;-) The Burnett Show "Valley of the Dolls" parody I saw was only of the gals situated on the bed and thinking things while a voiceover played. I don't know if there was another, more elaborate one, but it's something they could have done well, I'm sure! Thanks.

Unknown/Debbie, yeah... a lot of variety shows have gone unseen over the music rights. Not too long ago, I watched (on "Tubi" - a smart TV app) some of "The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour." It was fascinating to see. One number had Dionne Warwick almost buried under columns of heavy plants! I always enjoy checking out the costume and set design decisions for numbers on these programs! Thanks.

jobj69 said...

Hey Poseidon! Hope all is good with you...

Thanks for another fun post, on one of my favorite programs growing up. Though some of the skits haven't aged well - perhaps eliciting a little grin or chuckle instead of a guffaw - my favorites were always the mini-musical and movie spoofs they would undertake such as the Beach Blanket Boo-Boo you have posted, The Doily Sisters, Babes in Barns, Torchy Song and Mildred Fierce (she made a fun Crawford), just to name a few. It is really a shame that the royalties and fees have made these so scarce.

And those Ernie Flatt Dancers (variety show dance troops were always such fun)! They were such a delight to watch - especially the guys in their tight pants! lol...they certainly were trim - not the beefy muscular dancers of today. I remember one dance number where the guys were costumed as construction workers - and this was pre-Village People - and their pants were painted to give the illusion of impressive bulges. My young eyes popped out of my head. I knew what I liked way back I would love to watch that number today. I don't even remember what song they were dancing to...

Thanks again. Take good care!

Poseidon3 said...

jobj69, I like the movie parodies, too. What movies today, honestly, even merit a parody? Maybe an occasional one... I really like the Tim Conway as an old man skits and when Carol played that clumsy old gal Stella Todler, too. Sometimes, as I'm learning late, Carol would give those dancers a huge specialty number all their own, with no guest stars taking focus. They each had a chance to strut his or her stuff. And they were talented (in a wide variety of styles.) I LOVE any sort of "tacky" production number. I had a moment similar to the one you describe when I was a tyke watching "The Captain & Tennille Show" and she sang "Shop Around" while bodysuit-clad dancers in various colors with bulges popping came to life in a futuristic store....! Charge it! I'll take one of each. Ha ha ha!!

Frederic Kahler said...

Kudos, Jon aka Poseidon3, is that right? I'm working on a Lola Brewster album for Kim Novak's 88th birthday today for FB's Hollywood Babylon II group. I somehow got sidetracked, deliciously so. All the best on your continued management and filing of Tinseltown! - Frederic Kahler, Apalachicola F-L-A

Frederic Kahler said...

I reckon this comment needs to go elsewhere, sir, but I've long longed to find the Sonny & Cher political dance number that ends with "Spiro Agnew eat you heart out." It opens with "We're gonna have fun, fun, fun for the next four years" and continues with (I'm recalling this 40 years later) "Underneath the Capital rotunda/ I'm under your spell/ I'll be your sidekick, you'll be my sport/ You'll be forever Italian and short".... "maybe even gonna paint the White House red/We simply won't have anytime for tears/ Just fun fun fun fun son of a gun fun... frivolity and absolute hilarity [?] ... Fun, fun, fun in Washington, D.C."

There was also a musical sketch to the song "Only You" wherein statues of men came to life for, I think, Teri Garr. and the whole song is classic 50s doo-wop. At the end they all revert to statuary. My inspiration comes from the mentions of insipid music and stuff not aging well. Cher's bitchiness and confidence seem timeless and perhaps aged better. I laughed when I read comments on youtube re Cher recording ABBA (which she found unexpectedly difficult music to cover): that some Gay men were just not ready for something like this, i.e., CHER X ABBA = ??? Apocalypse?

I crushed on Ken Berry until I heard of the alcoholism and he WAS rather hairy. Not a judgment just a turn-off. Lyle Waggoner was in Playgirl (although I preferred the man from Mission: Impossible - Peter Loomis??? What bugged me about Waggoner was the way his stomach always looked sucked in or caving. (The gay community does seem the worst for empathy and letting people down gently. We can be cutthroat when it comes to being aesthetes and critics, so why can't we get it out of our systems when it comes to people? It's why i prefer the company of hetersexual males - whatever that means, since we are all of us on a sexual continuum and no one likes to have their label shaken.) Thank you for your tireless work/research/spreading joy. Your contribution to society via this Poseidon Underworld is like an ink stain spreading across a tablecloth: fascinating to absorb -- "I am one with the tablecloth" -- and no matter what life does to distract you, it'll still be here when you get back. And as per DEATH ON THR NILE even if someone were to attempt its elimination there'd still be a pale pink stain. The pale pink stain. The pale pink stain... hmm. Anyway, again: kudos.

Frederic E. Kahler
Apalachicola, F - L- A

Poseidon3 said...

Hello, Frederic, and thanks! As some have mentioned, the music rights have a tendency to mess up rebroadcasts of so many of the great (and not so great) variety shows of the '60s and '70s. There were a ton of them and they can be fascinating time capsules. And then there were all those countless SPECIALS that people like Lynda Carter, Cheryl Ladd and others had! There was a while several years back when an over-the-air channel was rerunning Cher's solo show (the one where she would have on a cape or wrap or something, then fling it off to reveal a skimpy Bob Mackie creation underneath!) I could watch a marathon of just those moments! Like an updated version of Loretta Young swirling on through her doors. Ha! Lyle did suck it in. I do, too, but I never got to be concave! Ha ha! Peter Lupus went ALL the way in his Playgirl spread. The early ones were only semi-nude. Anyway, thanks very much for your compliments and remarks about P.U. <--- ha ha! As long as I can, I'll continue to dredge up entertainment debris for everyone to sift through should they so desire. Take care!