Wednesday, August 07, 2013

The Pops Gallery: LAUGH-IN!

When I was a kid (in the 1960s and '70s), I watched a lot of tee-vee. Cartoons, game shows, sitcoms, old monster movies, afternoon repeats of ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN, and oh, so much more. Debate over damage done aside, there are certain shows that cemented themselves into my id in such a way that their imagery instantly evokes overwhelming nostalgia. One of those programs was NBC's bizarre melding of vaudeville and counterculture, ROWAN & MARTIN'S LAUGH-IN. Running for six seasons from 1968 to 1973, the sketch comedy show was hosted by two middle aged comedians, Dan Rowan & Dick Martin, overseeing a cast of mostly young, hip comedians and actors including Ruth Buzzi, Judy Carne, Arte Johnson, Alan Sues, Lily Tomlin, Jo Anne Worley, Flip Wilson, and Goldie Hawn (among many others). The mix of painfully corny gags with sometimes subversive content hinting at sex and drugs (I can remember feeling that there was something naughty about what I was watching, even when I didn't understand all of it) created a sensibility that was unforgettably unique.

Here's a Pops Gallery of LAUGH-IN imagery from the era, including examples of the flood of merchandise that the show inspired.