Monday, May 26, 2008

Say Good Night Dick

Dick Martin, who created and co-hosted Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In with Dan Rowan, died May 24 of respiratory complications at 86.

Meeting in 1952 and inspired by Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin, Martin and Rowan did Vegas, nightclub and New York shows before breaking into TV. Perry Como, Ed Sullivan and "The Hollywood Palace" featured then numerous times. Martin, in a solo role, was a regular on "The Lucy Show" in the early 60's. A summer replacement for Dean Martin's show catapulted them to eternal fame.

"Rowan and Martin's Laugh-in" was born out of the successful summer show, but the NBC network was not convinced of the show's merit. Critics loved it, and the audience voted by soon making it the # 1 show, despite being on the same time as popular "Gunsmoke" and "Lucy".

Not surprising, Lucy and Gunsmoke were getting long in the tooth. "Laugh-in" far fresh, timely, funny and controversial; a sure fire combination for success.
No doubt it forever changed the face of television by championing timely satire as media for comedy. I mean really, who can forget the night Richard Nixon, a sitting President, appeared on a comedy show and said, "sock it to me??" It ran from 1968-1973, itself then getting out of step with the changing culture of the times.

Martin went on to produce TV shows, Rowan died in 1987.

Good Night Dick, I hope you are socking it to Nixon as we speak!

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