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Burnett’s gift: laughing matters

UCLA receives comedienne's collected works

Carol Burnett has taken her collected works out of hibernation and given them to Bruins.

At a press conference Monday, the actress/comedienne announced that materials from the 284 episodes of “The Carol Burnett Show,” which aired on CBS from 1967 to 1978, will be given to her alma mater, UCLA.

“I thought I shouldn’t just be having all this in storage,” said Burnett. “They should be used. What better way than UCLA?”

The gift comes in three parts: music, videotapes and scripts. Burnett said the combination of materials could be used “by students who saw a number Sammy Davis and I had done and then decided to do it in a class. They could look at the tape, get the orchestration, get the script and put it together.”

The music materials, which are donated to the UCLA Music Library Special Collections, include original arrangements of orchestral scores and parts for musical numbers that were performed by, among others, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Rita Hayworth and Marilyn Horne. Also included are musical arrangements from other performances, including “Julie and Carol at Lincoln Center” and “Once Upon a Mattress.”

The original orchestrations include more than 1,850 titles totaling more than 350,000 pages. It includes roughly 7,000 titles of published sheet music.

The videotapes, which will be housed in the UCLA Film and Television Archive, comprise 145 cassettes containing every episode of “The Carol Burnett Show.” Accompanying the tapes are two notebooks that contain detailed breakdowns on guest stars, skit types and character appearances.

The third component is Burnett’s own scripts from her television programs, which are housed in the UCLA Arts Library Special Collections. The scripts include rehearsal, tech schedules and rundowns for each episode as well as notes by the script supervisor.

The sheer quantity of materials being donated was enough that Burnett joked “it was either this or move.”

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