1969 April 4

CBS Cancels Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour


CBS Television President William Paley on this day cancelled the popular Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, accusing the brothers of failing to meet pre-broadcast deadlines for the show. The real reason was the fact that the show had increasingly featured anti-Vietnam war skits and other political commentary.

For a time, The Comedy Hour was one of the few prime-time shows featuring any political commentary. An episode in early March 1969 was censored because it featured folk singer and anti-war activist Joan Baez; CBS substituted the program with a rerun rather than broadcast it. See also the controversy over Pete Seeger singing “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy,” an allegory about the Vietnam War, on February 25, 1968.

Watch the Smothers Brothers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIfl2o44zb0

Watch the Smothers Brothers discuss the cancellation of their show:

Read: David Bianculli, Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (2009)

Learn more at the National Coalition Against Censorship here.

Find a Day

Abortion Rights ACLU african-americans Alice Paul anti-communism Anti-Communist Hysteria Birth Control Brown v. Board of Education Censorship CIA Civil Rights Civil Rights Act of 1964 Cold War Espionage Act FBI First Amendment Fourteenth Amendment freedom of speech Free Speech Gay Rights Hate Speech homosexuality Hoover, J. Edgar HUAC Japanese American Internment King, Dr. Martin Luther Ku Klux Klan Labor Unions Lesbian and Gay Rights Loyalty Oaths McCarthy, Sen. Joe New York Times Obscenity Police Misconduct Same-Sex Marriage Separation of Church and State Sex Discrimination Smith Act Spying Spying on Americans Vietnam War Voting Rights Voting Rights Act of 1965 War on Terror Watergate White House Women's Rights Women's Suffrage World War I World War II Relocation Camps


Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear your comments, criticisms and suggestions!