Tim Conway, among many other accolades, was a very successful sketch guest on the Carol Burnett Show, appearing more than any other guest (12 times) in that variety show's first 3 years (1968 70). CBS decided to build a similar variety show around Tim, and what a cast, including:
Art Metrano (the "da-da-DAH-da" Magic Guy fingers shaped in a zero, bumped together, then connected . . . graduating to the Police Academy series)
Sally Struthers (before "All in the Family")
MacLean Stevenson (before M*A*S*H)
And among the writers, future writer for All in the Family and the Mary Tyler Moore Show (and actress) Mary Kay Place.
Tim insisted on very little and often no rehearsal with the actual cast before the weekly filming (a famous Dean Martin habit). He felt that it stayed fresher that way. The truth, of course, was that Tim was far more likely to catch cast members unaware and make them crack up in front of a live audience.
I only remember one skit from the show in detail(I was 14 at the time): a locker room, with a row of lockers facing the camera and a door in the middle of that row, was filled with dejected uniformed football players seated on the benches in front. The narrator for the skit set-up said something to the effect of: many a football team has found itself losing at half-time, on its way to certain defeat when the right words of their coach could inspire and pull a victory out of disaster.
Just then, Coach Conway appears in the doorway, standing silently, waiting for a team member to yell "ten-hut" which Art Metrano did, and the team stood to its feet. But the team obviously was not prepared to see Coach Conway dressed not as a football coach but as Hitler(!) - with the hair, mustache, uniform and swagger stick! Art Metrano was the first to see Conway, and immediately burst into uncontrollably loud belly laughter, followed by the rest of the cast/team. The team members were literally doubled over laughing, and although Conway attempted several times to finish his first Hitler-imitating sentence, the skit simply devolved in to a laugh-fest. Since no one was able to regain enough composure to continue, the skit went to commercial without finishing.
Sadly, the show was canceled after 4 months.
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