Do you remember the funniest moments on The Carol Burnett Show?

By: Deane Kimerer
Image: TMDB

About This Quiz

Did you watch "The Carol Burnett Show" back in the 1970s? This 35-question quiz will help you go back to the wacky times of the ad-libbed lines of Tim Conway, along with Carol and the rest of the gang. Relive the belly-aching and eye-tearing laughter as you take this entertaining quiz! There are some helpful hints included. I'm so glad we had this time together... (ear tug).

Who was the actress on "The Carol Burnett Show" who often played a southern woman whose name started with an E?

Carol Burnett's famous character was Eunice. Carol started off wanting to be a writer. She attended UCLA and majored in Theater Arts English. In acting class, everyone laughed, so she switched majors. She met a wealthy businessman while performing "Annie Get Your Gun" at a party who paid her way to NY. She paid $18/week to live at a NY rehearsal club with 25 young theater women. She put on a musical comedy show with her roommates at a hall paid by the rehearsal hall's society women. They sent invitations to many agents and she got an agent from this show.

At the close of each show, why did Carol tug on her ear?

She tugged on her ear to say hi to her grandmother. What a thoughtful granddaughter! She lived with her grandmother (Nanny) growing up and they were very poor. Her Nanny would tell them to take toilet paper home from the bathrooms. May had a heart attack and said she auditioned a long line of performers from her hospital bed, saying she'd tell Carol about them.

How many years did "The Carol Burnett Show" run on CBS?

The Carol Burnett Show ran for 11 years, under three different production companies (Burngood, Inc. from 1967-72, Punkin' Productions, Inc. from 1972-76 and Whacko, Inc. from 1976-78). There were 279 episodes and 11 seasons in Hollywood, CA. She had been on "The Garry Moore Show" before her show.

Who were the show's producers?

Bob Banner and Joe Hamilton were the producers of "The Carol Burnett Show." Joe was married to Carol Burnett from 1963-1984. Joe died 6/9/91 & Bob died 6/15/11. Joe was a singer and composer in The Skylarks. He met Carol on "The Garry Moore Show." Bob was a producer, writer and director, plus a Navy vet who dropped out of college just short of his doctorate degree by 11 hours.

Did Carol "bump up" the lights at the end of each show?

Yes, she would take question-and-answer sessions proceeding her shows where the audience would ask her questions. On George Stroumboulopoulos' show, she said the most memorable question asked was, "If you could be a member of the opposite sex for 24 hours, who would you want to be and what would you do?" Carol responded, "Osama Bin Laden and I'd kill myself."

How many tapings of the shows were conducted and on which day of the week?

The show was rehearsed each day and taped twice on Friday. Tim Conway made the second taping comical, with ad-lib portions that were unrehearsed which earned the nickname "Conway's Capers." Some of these extra lines were added to the final broadcasts. The main co-star who was in many of these ad-lib scenes was Harvey Korman, who could be seen trying not to laugh.

Was there a closing theme song? Who wrote it?

The lyrics were: "I'm so glad we had this time together. Just to have a laugh or sing a song. Seems we just get started and before you know it...comes the time we have to say, 'So long.'"

What year did "The Carol Burnett Show" end and what was the final episode called?

It aired on 11/13/1976; season 10. It featured a parody of the 1939 movie, "Gone with the Wind." It was one of the most well-known and well-liked episodes. Dinah Shore and Vicki Lawrence were in it, along with Carol. It was written by Rick Hawkins and Liz Sage. TV Guide in 2009 ranked this episode #53 of Top 100 Episodes of All Time. Bob Mackie, the costume designer, made Carol's infamous curtain dress.

What was the longest laughter episode?

The episode's audience laughter was at such length that it had to be edited as Carol Burnett came down the staircase in her curtain dress. It was the longest laughter in all 10 years of the show. The dress hangs in the Smithsonian Institution, plus Mattel released a Starlet Barbie doll with the dress in 2009.

Which actor did the Tarzan yell?

Carol yelled the Tarzan yell in one of her skits on "The Carol Burnett Show" and it remained as one of her signatures.

Who were Carol's primary co-stars?

Vicki Lawrence starred in "Mama's Family" (1983-85;86-90). Vicki played Carol's sister on "The Carol Burnett Show" and was the longest-running actor on the show besides Carol Burnett. Tim Conway earned five Emmy Awards on the Burnett show, and he also had his own shows in 1970, 1980 & 1990. Waggoner was on the show for seven years as an announcer and performer.

Did the characters or the actors lose composure during live episodes?

The actors would improvise/ad-lib and make one another lose composure. It became a more frequent occurrence, primarily by Tim Conway.

What nationality was Tim Conway's accent as Mr. Tudball?

He used this Romanian accent for other characters on the show, such as the inept dentist. Many thought his accent was Swedish, but his Romanian mother was his inspiration for this accent.

What were Carol Burnett's and Vicki Lawrence's character's names?

Carol played Eunice Higgins on both "The Carol Burnett Show" and on "Mama's Family" (for five episodes until 11/3/83). Carol played many characters, with Charwoman being a key one, and the animated image was in the opening credits. Vicki Lawrence played Carol's kid sister and then, later, Mama/Thelma Harper on "The Carol Burnett Show." The comedy sketch was called "The Family." Eunice was also in a made-for-TV movie in 1982. Harvey Korman played Eunice's husband, Ed, and Betty White played Eunice's sister.

On Carol's first episode of "The Carol Burnett Show," during the question-and-answer session with the audience, what color was her dress and did she have long or short hair?

During her first episode's question-and-answer stage session, Carol wore a yellow dress. Her hair was red and very short, showing her ears. During skits, she often wore wigs.

Describe Carol Burnett's "Charwoman" cartoon image on the opening credits and her costume in the episodes?

As a cartoon character and when the credits ran, Carol mopped with a bucket nearby. Her outfit was not a fancy one...

Which actor lost a child in real life?

Carol's daughter, Carrie Hamilton, died on 1/20/02 from cancer. Carol wrote a book about Carrie, called, "Carrie and Me." Carrie had a successful career in acting on stage and screen in her short 38 years.

How long was Carol's TV contract that gave her a choice between two genres, and what were the two options?

She had a contract that gave her the choice of a variety comedy or a sitcom for five years. She chose the variety comedy and "The Carol Burnett Show" began. She was not encouraged to do the variety comedy show, though, because most other successful shows had been led by men.

Who is one of her closest friends on and off stage?

Julie Andrews and Carol Burnett felt an immediate closeness like two sisters the minute when they were introduced on "The Garry Moore Show." "Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall" was written for them and was a huge success. Julie Andrews said about Carol, "We are pretty idiotic together, I must say..."

Did Carol's parents suffer from the same fate and die at young ages?

Carol's parents moved to Hollywood, due to their love of film and pursuit of money, leaving Carol with her grandmother "May" in San Antonio, Texas. Some time later, when Carol was 7 years old, Nanny May and Carol went to Hollywood, too.

According to one of Carol's closest friends, Carol enjoys her quiet time at home. Is this true of false?

Not everyone feels lonely being alone. Carol's friend, Julie Andrews, said in an interview that Carol enjoys being at home in her solitude.

Did Carol Burnett sue the National Inquirer?

Yes, she won the lawsuit, but the final damages were reduced to an undisclosed amount. The Enquirer had claimed that she was intoxicated and spilled a beverage on Henry Kissinger. She was one of the first celebrities to sue a tabloid.

How many children did Carol have with Joe Hamilton?

"The Garry Moore Show" was very big in Carol Burnett's success. Through the show she met her husband, with whom she had three daughters. It is said that Joe Hamilton was the first man to tell Carol that she was beautiful. They were a very tight team, due to their shared interest in entertainment. Sadly, he died of cancer.

Carol's Nanny was a Christian Scientist, she liked younger men, and she thought nothing of taking things from diners and movie theaters to make ends meet....

Nanny encouraged Carol to take toilet paper from movie theaters and flatware from diners, because they were very poor, living in a one-bedroom apartment in L.A. Nanny would lay on her Murphy bed, saying she wasn't feeling well. She dated a 40-something when she was an 80-something.

Could Tim Conway get Harvey Korman to laugh just by moving his eyebrows in a funny expression?

Tim Conway would often not ad-lib in the first rehearsal, but by the taping he would often ad-lib, which made the cast laugh hysterically as they knew he'd pull his antics with Harvey Korman being the main victim.

Is Carol Burnett a Taurus?

She was born in San Antonio, Texas, on April 26, 1933. Her grandmother, May, raised her in Texas until they moved to California in 1940, when she was seven.

Who said this line: "This is like teaching the mermaid to do the splits..."

He wore a vest and suit, hairpiece and treated Mrs. Higgins like she was less than smart. She tried to do a good job for her boss, but she was very slow.

What were Carol's favorite characters to play?

Eunice often wore the same dress with a green waist sash. Vicki Lawrence played "Mamma," who was Eunice's mom. Mrs. Higgins wore big costume jewelry and a blond wig. She chewed gum, filed her nails constantly and wasn't the brightest intellectual shining star with her boss, Mr. Tudball.

Who were the writers on "The Carol Burnett Show"?

Ken and Mitzi Welch were a married couple. In an interview years later, they mentioned Carol's willingness to let them explore skit topics, similar to how Tim Conway was allowed to ad-lib.

What was the episode and who said, "We are not monsters, we are pussycats...."

Tim Conway said this to Lyle Waggoner, the prisoner, when Harvey Korman and Tim Conway played Nazi interrogators. Korman made up his German with gibberish. Conway had a puppet as his sidekick.

Who was "Ms. Fireball" and where did this term come from?

Vicki Lawrence was often told that she looked like Carol's sister, so she sent a picture of herself to Carol that showed her as a firemen's ball contestant. Carol looked up Vicki's number, attended the ball and invited her to audition. Vicki never left her "sister's side" for the next 11 years on the snow and went on to see her again on her own show, "Mama's Family," too,

Did Bob Mackie's skirt design affect Burnett's walk as Mrs. Higgins?

Yes, Mrs. Higgins walked with her behind sticking out a bit, due to the design of the skirt, according to Carol. The character was changed from the outfit. She was going to be an old lady, but she became a ditsy younger lady. She asked Bob Mackie to fix it at first and he replied, "No, stick your behind into it." He designed 17,000 outfits for the show. Under some of the costumes, he had extra padded underclothes for the actors. Mackie also created Cher's costumes.

In "Cinderella Gets It On," what color was the fairy godmother's dress and who wore it?

Harvey Korman wore a baby blue dress with wings. His hair was blue, too. Carol wore a wig of long orange hair and a white disco outfit.

Did Vicki Lawrence go onto have her own show after "The Carol Burnett Show"?

"Mama's Family" was about a dysfunctional family where Carol played Eunice, Mama's daughter.

How did Conway make Korman wet himself?

Conway used a real-life dentist story from his time in the Army, when a dentist poked himself in the thumb with novacain. Conway's skit made Korman laugh so hard that he wet himself, according to Conway.

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