“From Beautiful Downtown Burbank”

A Critical History of Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, 1968–1973


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About the Book

Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In was one of the most unusual programs on television, defying definition as simply comedy, variety, or burlesque. The show had audiences laughing for six seasons and continues to make appearances in revivals, reunions, and salutes.
This critical history of Laugh-In includes background details on the creation and creators, as well as information on lookalike shows. An appendix contains a complete program history with principal production credits and episode guides.

About the Author(s)

Hal Erickson is the author of numerous media-related books and was for many years a primary editor of the All-Movie Guide website. He lives and works in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Bibliographic Details

Hal Erickson
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 341
Bibliographic Info: appendix, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009 [2000]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4049-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0078-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments      1

Introduction      3


Events Leading Up to the Comedy

An Archeological Expedition      23

Assorted Nuts (Dan and Dick; Crazy F. George; The Wolfe at the Door; Many Fathers, No Orphans)      41


From “Practically Anywhere” to “Beautiful Downtown Burbank”

The Laugh-In Special (1967)      89

The Show Goes On; Or, So Much for the Monday-Night Blues      99


A National Habit

Getting It Together      123

Cuckoo Laugh-In World: Season One (January–April 1968)      138

Keeping It Up: Season Two (1968-69)      155

Merchandising, Look-alikes, Spin-offs and Cash-Ins (1968 Onward)      176


The Crest of the Wave

Some Goodbyes and a Big Hello: Season Three (1969-70)      201

Good News, Bad News: Season Four (1970-71)      222

Bye-Bye, George: Fifth Season (1971-72)      235


Final Bows

Laughed Out: Sixth Season (1972-73)      251

Reunions and Revivals (1973-98)      262

Appendix: Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In (Program History)      291

Principal Cast and Production Credits      291

Episode Guide      292

Selected Bibliography      313

Index      319

Book Reviews & Awards

“provides a chronological history of the quirky television series”—Classic Images; “well-written, highly detailed text”—Copley News Service; “interesting…crammed full of facts and figures”—Accessibly Live Off-Line.