It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
The release of "Ten from Your Show of Shows" - a collection of 10 sketches from the legendary Sid Caesar TV show - has inspired a flood of nostalgia from those who remember when Caesar was the most incredibly popular star on the infant medium.
I cannot join in the nostalgia, alas, because I never saw the original "Your Show of Shows." Television came belatedly to my hometown (I think there was some kind of court battle over who would get the license), and by the time we got TV, Sid Caesar was already off the air. I spent the early 1950s still listening to radio and going to the movies, which possibly accounts for the fact that MY nostalgia - for Jack Benny, Johnny Dollar, Bob and Ray, Your FBI in Peace and War and, yes, even the Lone Ranger - draws a lot of blank stares from people who were watching television then.
The fact that I never saw Caesar at the time didn't mean I wasn't a fan of his. On the contrary, there was nothing I wanted more desperately than to see "Your Show of Shows." There was one kid in school whose uncle had put up an enormous TV antenna in his back yard, and was able to bring in Peoria and even Indianapolis on good nights. Every week after the Caesar show, this kid would do imitations of the skits. Without ever having seen Caesar, I knew by hearsay he was the funniest man in America.
That instinctive opinion turns out to have been mostly true; "Ten from Your Show of Shows" recreates the moments when television was inventing itself. Today it would seem impossible to do a weekly 90-minute live comedy program in front of an audience; in 1950, they did it because there wasn't any other way to do it. After all, wasn't radio usually live, too?
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One of the most audacious American films from the 1960s is now available via the Criterion Collection.