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When I was in 5th grade, this was my favorite show, and I even wrote an
essay about it for school. Great interaction between Tom and Dick, and
Roland Winters's comic timing as Dickie's boss was an extra bonus, and
Harriet McGibben as his wife was hilarious.
Would love to see it again, although I don't need to in order to sing the title song: "My brother Tom, was lost at sea, without his water wings . . . "
And the cartoon opening credits are forever etched in my memory, too. It wasn't political like the Comedy Hour, but it sure was fun. And Tom was the best angel since Henry Travers's Clarence in It's A Wonderful Life.
...there was a sitcom.
A black and white half hour series on CBS. (I think it was the last season the networks had B&W during primetime). It lasted only one season, but had 32 episodes.
Drowned at sea many years earlier, Tom Smothers returns to earth as an apprentice angel, and takes up residence in the bachelor apartment of his living brother, Dick. Inept and ordered to assist people in distress, Tom reluctantly assisted by Dick, struggles to complete his assignments and acquire the status needed to become a full-fledged angel.
Tommy Smothers, lost at sea and dead for two years shows up at Dick
doorstep (with a life saver around his neck) saying he is an angel, sent
back to earth to perform angel assignments every week in the hopes he can
get into heaven. They play Tom and Dick Smothers.
I remember watching this half-hour sitcom when in second or third grade. It was my favorite show at the time, and came out right about the time their "Mom Always Liked You Best" comedy album did.
I seem to remember my Mom telling me at the time that this was originally a "summer replacement" program for Summer 1965 that proved so popular, they extended it (apparently into 1966). The popularity of the show also fueled the creation of their Variety Show, but as a kid I did not like the variety show near as much as the sitcom.
I was finally able to see the show 25 years later on British Satellite TV ("Lifestyle"?), and still remembered the theme song. I would imagine the shows are quite rare in the states seeing as how they only made one season of the sitcom and most people remembered their variety show that immediately followed.
All in all a good show featuring Roland "Charlie Chan" Winters as Dick Smothers boss in the advertising business.
I was also in the fifth grade when this show was on CBS and watched it
every Friday night. Then I probably liked the angel gimmick but in the
1980s, when Nick at Nite reran the show, I found that the only funny
parts are when Tom and Dick go into their basic routine--bickering with
one another--which I had forgotten occurred at least once a show.
However, the show does not appear as dated as "The Smothers Brothers
Comedy Hour," no doubt because the sitcom did not rely on political
The way I remember the theme lyrics:
Tonight you'll meet two brothers who Just happen to be us. But Tom is slightly different, a problem we will now discuss. My brother Tom was lost at sea Without his water wings. And now he is an angel And he tries to do amazing things. That's right. Brother Dick, it's no trick if you see Lots of different faces that look a lot like me. An angel on a visit to his brother here below Can cause a lot of trouble. There's miracles to start but they always come apart On The Smothers Brothers Show. There's miracles to start but they always come apart On The Smothers Brothers Show.
Tom Smothers is an incompetent apprentice angel,sent back to earth by
angel supervisor "Ralph" to earn his spurs(er..wings?),by helping
people,using "angel powers",usually roping his frequently exasperated
living brother Dick into his adventures. This was the first of the
Smothers brothers TV shows of their own,a half hour black and white
sitcom,which lasted a year,the premise of which was hardly uniquely
"whacky" in the era of "I dream of Jeannie","the Munsters" and the
notorious "My mother the car".The brothers' status in the TV comedy
pantheon is based on their later "satirical" variety-sketch show "The
Smothers brothers comedy hour",and they seem embarrassed about,and
dismissive of this predecessor.However,the show is a perfectly
acceptable example of the "fantasy" sitcom,so popular at this time,and
is by no means unworthy as a showcase for their talents.Each episode
starts with a short stand up routine by way of an introduction to the
story.Then Tom-reluctant Dick often in tow-launches into his latest
"angel assignment"-to end a hillbilly feud,make sure an ex con doesn't
return to crime,or whatever.Like its contemporaries,sometimes silliness
threatens to overwhelm the whole thing,and Tom's comic persona can
become irritating if allowed too much leeway.But the presence of fine
supporting casts,especially co-star Roland Winters-as Dick's blustering
boss at "Pandora publications"-and guests like Edward Andrews,Gerald
Mohr and Percy Helton,good production from the reliable "4 Star"
television company and interesting stories,all complement the likable
brothers,helping to make a very watchable show.
This sitcom may well wear better today than the "Smothers brothers comedy hour",where the agitprop comedy is very much anchored in the political and societal concerns of the late 60s(nothing dates like satire!).Modern audiences who enjoy the escapist fantasy sitcoms of the 60s,and have exhausted the likes of "Bewitched",might enjoy discovering this "lost" show-rarely seen since its original transmission.A colorized version would do no harm to the "integrity" of the series,and enhance the slick "Madison Avenue 60s" clothes.
Perhaps ADULTS in this time era did not enjoy the show as much as KIDS
did! It was a shame children in this period of time did not have as
much impact as children do today. There was not any show then, or now
that carried these aspects of "Life after Death" in the same way that
this show portrayed it.
The show also carried a special and personal meaning to me. This was due to my brother had drowned in March 1961, (I was 6 years old, and my brother was 7 at this time) and the thought that he was an Angel and could see me, helped me cope with his death.
When The Smothers Brothers became a variety show years later, I was already in tune to their type of comedy.
For this reason, I would like to thank this show and it's cast members.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This sitcom developed by Aaron Spelling happened years before Spelling
would decide women made better angels. In this case I don't agree that
they did, but ratings success happen more for the women than they did
This sitcom took a classic brother comedy team, and built a sitcom around their act with fantastic results. Tommy and Dickie Smothers are perfectly cast here with Tommy as the apprentice angel who comes back to haunt Dickie with hilarious results. This show deserved more than it got in the ratings. It is pure funny.
It blends the brothers comedy with others in the cast perfectly. CBS for some reason hit a Saturday night slot with this one that just did not produce the desired results in the ratings. It is too bad because if this one had run for 10 years, it would have been a classic sit-com, it was that good.
The only sitcom near this one in idea was Leo G Carroll's Topper, based on the movies, which was another sitcom in the late 1950's that should have done better too. If you are desperate for some laughs, get a hold of both of these sitcoms and enjoy them. In the case of the Smothers Brothers, I liked this even better than the Variety Series that was later because this one had straight comedy without the music interruptions.
Mom liked this angel best.
I barely remember this show. I remember looking forward to it, because
the brothers were good when they did their musical stand-up routines.
This show was OK, but did not make the best use of their talents. It was not particularly popular, and only lasted one season; it appears that the Smothers Brothers were among the folks happy to see it go. Their later variety show format suited them much better.
On the other hand, other than a single episode of Burke's Law, this is the first acting exposure for the brothers, so was probably instrumental in their careers.
The rest of the cast - was there really a 'rest of the cast'? Roland Winters was in less than a third of the episodes. No one else in the credits comes close to that.
Props for the opening cartoon sequence, no biggy, but cute.
Perhaps this has potential for replay on Nickelodeon, but sixties sitcoms seem dated on replay - the pacing is slower, the acting and conversation stilted, the laugh track forced. Never again mainstream.
Try it once, if you've got nothing better to do.
I didn't think there were that many people who actually remembered this
show. I do not recall too many of the episodes, but, yes, the theme
song still sticks in my head......or most of it. I seem to remember it
this way, but please, anyone feel free to correct:
Tonight you'll meet, two brothers who, Just happen to be us
Though Tommy is an angel, A problem we will now discuss.
Brother Tom was lost at sea, Without his water wings,
And now he is an angel, And tries to do amazing things.
Brother Dick gets so sick as you'll see, Lot's of different people, Who look a lot like me!
.....and that's as far as I can go (out of useless brain cells, I guess)
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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