A Tribute To Comedy Writing Pioneer Lucille Kallen (co-head writer on Sid Caesar's "Your Show Of Shows") - An interview with Lucille's son, Paul Engel

A Tribute To Comedy Writing Pioneer Lucille Kallen (co-head ...

This Is Not A Bit

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In this episode, we pay tribute to the late, great Lucille Kallen, a true pioneer in television comedy writing.  Born in Los Angeles and raised in Toronto, Lucille’s first love was piano, but she soon showed her comedy chops writing live sketches at a “borscht belt” resort in New York’s Pocono Mountains. Based on the strength of her live sketches, she was recruited in 1949 to serve as co-head writer for Sid Caesar’s “Admiral Broadway Review” (later “Your Show Of Shows”), the very first nationally televised comedy sketch program.  Her fellow head writer was Mel Tolkin, and the writing staff soon included Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Neil Simon, Larry Gelbart, and Woody Allen.  After leaving television, Lucille wrote the novel “Outside There, Somewhere!”, which is widely considered the first comic feminist novel.  In this episode, Lucille’s son Paul discusses how she viewed the changing nature of television comedy throughout her life.  Paul recalls meeting original "Tonight Show" host Steve Allen, who bemoaned having been “number 2” behind the Sid Caesar show.  Lucille would tell Paul about needing to have a strong voice in Sid Caesar’s writers room, where she was the only woman.  Paul recalls the time her mother appeared on "The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson," her close friendship with Caesar co-star Imogene Coca, her portrayal in Neil Simon’s play “Laughter on the 23rd Floor,” as well as her role as the inspiration for the Sally character on “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” created by Carl Reiner. 
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In this episode, we pay tribute to the late, great Lucille Kallen, a true pioneer in television comedy writing.  Born in Los Angeles and raised in Toronto, Lucille’s first love was piano, but she soon showed her comedy chops writing live sketches at a “borscht belt” resort in New York’s Pocono Mountains. Based on the strength of her live sketches, she was recruited in 1949 to serve as co-head writer for Sid Caesar’s “Admiral Broadway Review” (later “Your Show Of Shows”), the very first nationally televised comedy sketch program.  Her fellow head writer was Mel Tolkin, and the writing staff soon included Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Neil Simon, Larry Gelbart, and Woody Allen.  After leaving television, Lucille wrote the novel “Outside There, Somewhere!”, which is widely considered the first comic feminist novel.  In this episode, Lucille’s son Paul discusses how she viewed the changing nature of television comedy throughout her life.  Paul recalls meeting original "Tonight Show" host Steve Allen, who bemoaned having been “number 2” behind the Sid Caesar show.  Lucille would tell Paul about needing to have a strong voice in Sid Caesar’s writers room, where she was the only woman.  Paul recalls the time her mother appeared on "The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson," her close friendship with Caesar co-star Imogene Coca, her portrayal in Neil Simon’s play “Laughter on the 23rd Floor,” as well as her role as the inspiration for the Sally character on “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” created by Carl Reiner. 
...Read More