Mom always liked you best!

As proof, Dick got a dog, and Tom got a chicken. It's true, according to Tom.

But that's not too unusual. Tom was the older of the two. And it's a well known fact that moms pamper the baby of the family. Hence, Mom always liked you best.

Thomas and Richard. Tom and Dick. Tommy and Dickie. The Smothers Brothers. Tommy was the idiot older brother and Dickie was the smarmy, know it all younger brother. And together, they were one of the funniest comedy duos of the 60's.

They were actual brothers. And their act consisted of them portraying folk singers who's songs always broke into sibling squabbling. They were actually fairly talented as musicians and singers. Tom played the guitar and Dick the stand up bass. They were able to create some decent harmonies that folk music required.

However, they really shone when something would go wrong. Such as Tom interrupting Dicks singing by laughing and calling it a stupid song. (The song was 'I Talk to the Trees'.) Or getting historical figures mixed up. (Tom insists it was Joan who built the ark while Noah led the armies of France)

Advertisement

I was introduced to the Smothers Brothers in the mid 70's by my parents. They had a copy of 1968's record, "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour". It was a recording of one of their variety show episodes. And it taught me my favorite insult; "Looking at you, I can understand why some animals eat their young."

In the late 60's CBS took a risk and put them on prime time tv. Why was it a risk? Because the Smothers Brothers were members of the counter culture. They dressed like hey were part of 'the establishment', but it was all a disguise. They were hippies. And they used their act to question everything from religion to politics.

And, in case you forgot, the era when they were on tv was the height of the Vietnam War. And many of their skits were thinly veiled criticism of the war. And it got them in trouble. But CBS kept them going because they were insanely popular.

Advertisement

And with good reason. The people who wrote their show every week included Steve Martin, Rob Reiner, Don Novello, (Fr. Guido Sarducci), Bob and Albert Einstein, (you know them as Super Dave Osbourne and Albert Brooks). In the late 60's, you couldn't ask for a better set of writers.

True! All true! So far.....

Because it's MONDAY! That day where you don't have to choose between sittin in the front seat or chillin in the back....

Advertisement

Nope. Today is Made Up Monday and you get to guess if I'm telling you the truth or lying to your face.

Even though The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour was an emmy winning show and was the continual leader against shows like Ed Sullivan and Bonanza, CBS cancelled them.

Why?

Because as CBS says, part of the contract was the brothers would tape their show at least 10 days in advance so the censors could review and edit it. The brothers were constantly late, and their content matter was not fit for prime time viewing. (they were, and the content would be considered rated 'G' these days).

Advertisement

However, when the Smothers Brothers were cancelled, they sued CBS for breach of contract and won.

So, what was the truth behind CBS's move? Why would they cancel the most popular show in it's time slot?

It's a well known fact that Tommy Smothers is a world class yo-yo champion. He has played with a yo-yo since he was a small boy, and the tricks he can preform are amazing.

Advertisement

The president and CEO of CBS was William Paley. He saw Tom doing tricks in between takes one day during their first season. He asked Tom to do some tricks. So, Tom being the nice guy he is, agreed. Tom started doing all sorts of tricks and he impressed the guy running the network.

Paley had a grandson who was 9 at the time. He thought it would be a fine thing if he could bring his grandson down to the studio to learn how to do some of those tricks.

Too bad he didn't check with Tom first. One day, out of the blue, he brought his grandson to the studio and introduced him to Tom and Dick. He then said it would be great if Tom could teach his grandson some tricks. Tom said he would love to, but since they just finished filming their first season, he and Dick were on their way back to New York to spend time with their mother.

Advertisement

And that was a snub William S. Paley would never forget. And in April 1969, Paley finally pulled the plug on the show. In the two years since Tom had snubbed his grandson, Paley had been looking for an excuse to can the brothers. And when he received a complaint about them not turning in their final product on time, he jumped at the excuse. (even thought it had a shortened season, it still won the emmy for best comedy writing that year).

So my homies and my shorties, is Otter pulling your leg, or did the Smothers Brothers get cancelled because they were heading home and didn't have time to teach a kid how to yo-yo?

Be back tomorrow with your answer! (if you're lucky....remember, I'm on vacation, and who knows what's going to happen!)

Advertisement

*Authors Note*

Never heard the Smothers Brothers? Treat yourself.