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Sunday, February 18, 2024

When The Who (Actually) Blew Up The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1967

From 1967 to 1969, Tom and Dick Smoth­ers host­ed The Smoth­ers Broth­ers Com­e­dy Hour, a well mannered­ly edgy com­e­dy present that check­ed the sure­aries of essential­stream tele­vi­sion and the endurance of CBS exec­u­tives. Play­ing to a youthful demo­graph­ic, the present took posi­tions in opposition to the Viet­nam Battle and for the Civ­il Rights Transfer­ment, whereas fea­tur­ing musi­cal acts that chal­lenged the norms of the period–everybody from Joan Baez and Pete Seeger, to the Doorways and Jef­fer­son Air­aircraft, to Buf­fa­lo Spring­subject and Simon and Gar­funkel.

Then got here The Who in Sep­tem­ber 1967. Mak­ing its Amer­i­can internet­work TV debut, the band picked up the place they left off a number of months in the past on the Mon­terey Pop Fes­ti­val. They per­fashioned “My Gen­er­a­tion” and went into auto-destruc­tion mode, smash­ing their gui­tars, prime­pling their drums, and cre­at­ing gen­er­al could­hem, earlier than carry­ing the track to an in depth. However for The Smoth­ers Broth­ers Com­e­dy Hour, The Who added a spe­cial twist, pack­ing Kei­th Moon’s drum package with explo­sives, a number of too many, it seems.

Right here’s how Allan Blye, a professional­duc­er-writer for the present, remem­bers it:

The Who need­ed to do an enormous explo­sion on the finish of their per­for­mance. In gown rehearsal, it was a pow­der puff. So, I say to the spe­cial results man, “We’ve to make an enormous­ger increase.” Unbe­knownst to us, The Who had informed their very own man the identical factor. When the explo­sion went off, it have an effect on­ed Pete Townshend’s hear­ing per­ma­nent­ly. Kei­th Moon bought blown off his drum­stand, however was too out of it to know.

Shocked but poised, Tom Smoth­ers walked onto the stage, solely to search out his acoustic gui­tar snatched from his fingers and smashed to smithereens too. He lat­er recalled: “Each­one was so shocked.” “When City­shend came visiting and grabbed my gui­tar, I used to be busy simply see­ing the place the bod­ies had been, see­ing if any­one was injured. He picked the gui­tar up, and peo­ple saved say­ing, ‘Did he actual­ly spoil your gui­tar? It appeared so actual!’ And I’d say. ‘Nicely it was actual! I used to be con­fused as hell!’ ”

The fits at CBS abrupt­ly can­celed The Smoth­ers Broth­ers Com­e­dy Hour in 1969, lead­ing the broth­ers to file a breach of con­tract legislation­swimsuit, which they even­tu­al­ly gained. (They dis­cuss the sting of that complete expe­ri­ence with David Let­ter­man right here.)

Tom Smoth­ers died sure­ter­day at age 86, “fol­low­ing a current bat­tle with can­cer.” His broth­er Dick introduced his move­ing, stat­ing: “Tom was not solely the lov­ing previous­er broth­er that each­one would need of their life, he was a one-of-a-kind cre­ative half­ner. I’m for­ev­er grate­ful to have spent a life­time togeth­er with him, on and off stage, for over 60 years. Our rela­tion­ship was like an excellent mar­riage – the longer we had been togeth­er, the extra we cherished and respect­ed one anoth­er. We had been tru­ly blessed.” And so had been the remainder of us.

Relat­ed Con­tent 

Watch Steve Mar­tin Make His First TV Seem­ance: The Smoth­ers Broth­ers Com­e­dy Hour (1968)

Janis Joplin & Tom Jones Convey the Home Down in an Not like­ly Duet of “Elevate Your Hand” (1969)

Revis­it “Flip-On,” the Inno­v­a­tive TV Present That Obtained Can­celed Proper within the Mid­dle of Its First Episode (1969)

Kei­th Moon, Drum­mer of The Who, Go­es Out at 1973 Con­cert; 19-Yr-Previous Fan Takes Over


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