Things were very different in the early years of television. Most programs were broadcast live, which requires a level of performance discipline that’s unnecessary when tape is available. One of the first blockbuster shows that brought Americans together around their new black and white televisions was a great sketch comedy show that’s become legendary.
Your Show of Shows starred Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca along with a great supporting cast that included Carl Reiner and Howard Morris (whom you probably remember better as Ernest T. Bass on The Andy Griffith Show). That’s a terrific cast, and it was supported by some equally amazing writers, including Neil Simon and Mel Brooks. The program was created by one of the greatest creative forces in TV history, Sylvester L. “Pat” Weaver – Sigourney’s dad. With that kind of accumulated talent, it’s no wonder that the show is so fondly remembered as a major stepping stone in the new medium’s development.
Your Show of Shows lasted just four seasons, the pressure of doing so many live broadcasts took its toll. Carl Reiner acknowledges that his experiences as one of the show’s writers/performers were the basis of another Great American Thing – The Dick Van Dyke Show. Also in the early years of the industry, Your Show of Shows won Emmy Awards in 1952 and 1953 as Best Variety Show.