Ten From Your Show of Shows (1973)

“I didn’t join this here army to fight.”

Ten From Your Show of Shows Poster

Synopsis:
Ten sketches from Sid Caesar’s television program “Your Show of Shows” are highlighted in this theatrical release.

Genres:

Review:
Ten sketches from Sid Caesar’s 90-minute television variety show “Your Show of Shows” (1950-1954) — co-starring Imogene Coca and Carl Reiner, among others — were selected for a 1973 theatrical release entitled, aptly enough, Ten From Your Show of Shows. Included in this film were the following titles:

1. Auto Smashup
2. Big Business
3. The Recital
4. Bavarian Clock
5. German General
6. From Here to Obscurity
7. This is Your Story
8. At the Movies
9. The Sewing Machine Girl
10. Airport Interview

While “Ten From…” is no longer widely available to purchase or rent, most of the above sketches are available to watch either on YouTube or one of Sid Caesar’s recently released DVD compilations (from his personal archives). “From Here to Obscurity” (a spoof of From Here to Eternity, featuring a hilarious riff on the infamous beachside scene) and “The Sewing Machine Girl” (a silent movie spoof) will likely be of most interest to film fanatics, for obvious reasons, but all are enjoyable; in fact, I’d be hard pressed to pick a favorite. With that said, those truly interested in getting a sense of what “Your Show of Shows” was like should simply check out one of the compilation DVDs; fortunately, there’s plenty available for fans to enjoy.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • An enjoyable glimpse at highlights from a classic television series
    Ten From Your Show From Here
    Ten From Auto Smashup

Must See?
No — but I think most film fanatics would enjoy checking out this classic variety show, which was a forerunner of both “The Carol Burnett Show” and “Saturday Night Live”. Listed as a Personal Recommendation in the back of Peary’s book.

Links:

One Response to “Ten From Your Show of Shows (1973)”

  1. Agreed; not a must – but certainly not a waste of time at all, and some of it is very funny indeed.

    Perhaps because I lean toward ‘snob’ when it comes to comedy, it’s a little easier for me to pick out my favorites in this collection. I have two: First is ‘At The Movies’, as poor Caesar – who really just wants to sit back and eat his popcorn as the film is about to begin – unwittingly becomes involved in a charged dispute between a warring couple (Coca and Reiner). Sure, there’s some slapstick (which is not a lesser form of comedy when done with this much style) but overall the sketch has impeccable timing, and seeing Caesar eventually getting his clothes ripped to shreds or torn off him by both Coca and Reiner is priceless.

    My second favorite is ‘This Is Your Story’ (the final sketch). Caesar is ‘chosen’ from the studio audience to come up on-stage to hear voices from his past that he may remember. (Caesar is so reluctant to do this that he has to be forced on-stage by studio ushers.) This sketch builds with delightful intensity (and includes – though very unintentionally – some homoerotic overtones, including kissing) but what puts it over the top is Howard Morris as ‘Uncle Goofy’. ‘Uncle Goofy’ is so incredibly happy to once again see his nephew (Caesar) that he cannot contain himself for a single moment – and repeatedly goes so far as to wrap his entire body around his nephew’s leg in unbridled reunion joy. It’s an absolutely and brilliantly shameless performance and Morris had me beside myself with giggles.

    I would imagine Mel Brooks led the way with the writing of both ‘Big Business’ and ‘German General’ – well, because Caesar appears to be doing a Brooks impersonation in both…and Brooks could never get enough of writing German characters, could he?

    Seeing Coca again, I was reminded of how influential she was for Carol Burnett – amazing comediennes, both.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.