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:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqriMwc53es

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

Learn more at the National Coalition Against Censorship here.

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