A look back at the Dem convention

Sept. 20, 1968
GOOD MORNING: CBS censors nixed the Smothers Bros.’ attempts to include footage of the Democonvention in their currently taping show. The boys planned to back the Chi-nannigans musicked with “Don’t Stop the Carnival” … However, the web OK’d a takeoff by the Smothers of NBC’s “Bonanza” in a skit titled “Bonanza-rosa” with Harry Belafonte playing “Little Jerk,” Mama Cass as “Haas,” Pat Paulsen, “Paw,” and Tom and Dick as “The Smut Brothers” working on the kidnapping of the “Nielsen Family.” … Belafonte also chirps the what’s happening tune “I Wish I Knew” with the freres joining in … 2008 Update: The Smothers Brothers, celebrating their 50-year partnership, are playing this weekend at the Sun Coast in Las Vegas. Last Saturday they wowed the TCA conclave at the BevHilton with a 20-minute turn. They play more than 100 dates a year and are booked through all of 2009. I spoke to them separately on the phone before they met up for this weekend’s gig. Tom (71), lives in a Sonoma Valley vineyard, Dick (69), in Sarasota, Fla. “Everywhere we go, we sell out,” Tom said, “And we still work as much as we want to — and we get along great.” About the 1968 column, above, he said, “When I see what’s going on I see the same thing — only scarier. It’s economic fascism. And I’m still pissed off.” Dick said CBS took out the Harry Belafonte “Stop the Carnival” seg and replaced it with a Nixon for President commercial … Upcoming is a five-disc set of DVDs of their shows as well as “Smothered,” the documentary about their battle with CBS and the “Pat Paulsen for President” special of 1968. A book about the brothers by former New York Daily News TV critic David Bianculli will be published next year. The brothers will be honored with a lifetime achievement award at the Boston Comedy Festival Sept. 20. Dick said, “We’d never quit, but we thought about it — we are so lucky to have each other. When you’re new, everyone comes to see you — now they’re coming to reaffirm. Our show is civil. We don’t beat up on anyone. Sometimes I feel like the Perry Como of comedy.” Tom says, “We’ll keep performing until our fans can’t get their walkers to their seats.”

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