Dick is a rising young business executive who life is turned upside down when his younger brother Tom reenters his life. This wouldn't be too unusual, but Tom had died two years earlier in ...
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Dick is a rising young business executive who life is turned upside down when his younger brother Tom reenters his life. This wouldn't be too unusual, but Tom had died two years earlier in a boating accident and is now an apprentice angel always trying to help others, but frequently only makes things worse, which forces the young angel to call upon his earthly brother to sets things aright. Written by
This program was originally up for renewal when CBS had the idea to put them in a 1 hour variety show format on Sunday nights. The brothers Smothers agreed to move on to the new format, which gave a whole different set of catch phrases. Had the half hour continued, that generation wouldn't have said "Mom always liked you best", but, instead, would be saying "Ralph wouldn't like that." See more »
Man's Preoccupation With The Hereafter, Smothers Brothers' SITCOM STYLE!
PREOCUPATION with our life and the anticipation of the hereafter is what certainly separates Man from Animal. The knowledge that we are here on Planet Earth, but for a short visit, is the most powerful of motivators that we will encounter. This has always been, is now and always will be so; be one a Believer, Agnostic or even an Atheist.
WRITERS of all fields and persuasions have found this to be an ever popular subject and, in addition to countless intellectual dissertations, thesis, term papers and position papers (for the Politicos), the field proved also to be fine fodder for both the serious playwright as well as the comedic and farcical scribes.
AND it would seem that the less serious side has many more entries into the area than do the serious authors. For every work such as Thornton Wilder's OUR TOWN, we have a multitude of comically slanted stories and situations. From HERE COMES MR. JORDAN ( Columbia, 1941) to Henry Travers as Clarence, Angel Second Class in Frank Capra's IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (Liberty Pictures/RKO Radio Pictures, 1946) and even up to Paramount Pictures' Famous Studios Character of CASPER THE FRIENDLY GHOST, humor has been used as a sweetener to get the bitter notions of Death get down into our psyches in a more palatable manner.
ODDLY enough, this might seem to be an unlikely vehicle for The Smothers Brothers to use as an entrance to weekly television; for the Brothers Smothers, Tom & Dick were first and foremost musicians & folk singers. Their careers took a bit of a turn when they discovered that the largely improvised banter that they did between songs in their Stage Act was rapidly becoming the high point of their show. Instead of being wise-cracking Folk Singers, they were transformed into a singing Comedy Team. Tom Smothers tagline of "Mom always liked you best"* was soon a national pheom.
AS for the sitcom, it had a simple enough, albeit highly fantastical. It seems that little Dickie Smothers is rapidly becoming a bad boy here on Earth; both in business and when it comes to the Ladies. Enter his brother, Tommy, with a mission to reform and save his younger brother from his own sinful ways. (They don't actually say "sinful", but you know what we mean.)* THE only trouble is that Tom had drowned in a boating accident two years prior. It seems that he had now returned to Earth; but as an Angel, a sort of Guardian Angel to Dick.
GAGS ran the whole gamut from subtle and surprising down to the obvious and expected. Generally speaking, they were funny, well received and appropriate to the premise and parameters of the series. Although it never gained a long run nor became remembered with "Classic" Status, we enjoyed it in our house.
ANOTHER striking similarity to another field that we believe exists is that to the Comics Magazines published with Super Heroes and their first cousins, the Costumed Crime Fighter. It was during this period that serious interest was surfacing about the history of the likes of Superman, Batman, Captain Marvel, the Human Torch, Sub-Mariner, etc., etc., etc., ad en infinium.
IT was around this era that perhaps the first book was published as both a History and a serious examination of the Comic Book as a separate medium from its cousin, the Newspaper Comic Strip. It was Jules Pfeiffer's THE GREAT COMIC BOOK HEROES and we well remember that when it hit the booksellers' shops it caused quite a stir. In Kroch's & Brentano's on Wabash Avenue in Chicago's Loop, they did not know where to put their copies; as there was no such subject nor classification up to that time. They eventually settled for 'Humor', until the field became a tad more filled-out.
NEXT up, the ABC TV Network and 20th Century-Fox Television brought us the William Dozier Greenway Production of the BATMAN TV Series (1966-68), which forever changed our perceptions of the Comic Book Hero, "Camp" Humor and the Filmed Adaptations of the Super Hero Genre in general.
TO our way of thinking, a lot of the situations, gags and defined supernatural powers of the Tommy/Angel character were just redoing what many a "Joke Book" writer and illustrator had done so many times before. And there were many a Comic Hero, then and now, whose origin and preternatural abilities were due to the fact that the character had died and returned as an Earth Bound spirit. We had The Spectre, Kid Eternity, Sergeant Spook, Ghost Rider and a number of others who fit the bill.
IN a typical situation, there would be a situation wherein brother Dick would need the Police and the camera's eye would take us to the inside of a Prowl Car, where we would see the 2 Cops heading to Dick's aid; suddenly we would realize the mustachioed Policeman was Tommy, who was barking out the orders.
ANOTHER running gag involved Tom's on going reference to his Boss, "Ralph." In an airplane, for example, Tommy Angel shouts and points, "Ralph likes to sleep behind that Cloud!" This "Ralph" business went on for some time before we stopped and thought about it. Ralph is often short for Raphael. Isn't there a more famous Angel named Raphael written about in the Bible.
DO you suppose this was an attempt at being a little "serious", or imparting a "message"? At any rate, an awful lot of folks don't seem to have any recollection of this Smothers Sitcom; with THE SMOTHERS BROTHERS COMEDY HOUR of a couple of years later overshadowing it nearly completely.
WELL, we liked it and wish it were available on video for the home market, both yours and mine, Schultz.
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