Burns, Schreiber, and the Doodletown
Pipers gussy up their place.
Our Place was an hour-long variety show for CBS that Jack Burns and
Avery Schreiber hosted in 1967. As a summer replacement for the
Smothers Brothers, it aired from July 2 to September 3. The show
was very well-promoted and earned cover photo status on several regional
television guides including TV Weekly from Toronto's Telegram,
Boston's Sunday Herald Traveler TV Magazine, and TV Channels from the
Detroit Free Press.
Our Place featured in regional
television magazines. Cover status was a bit Schreiber-heavy (no pun).
Music and dancing was provided by the Doodletown Pipers, a syrupy sweet
group of young singers and one of Homer Simpson's all-time favorite
music acts ("Look at these records: Jim Nabors, Glen Campbell, the
Doodletown Pipers. Now look at her records. They stink!").
They were a bit on the sappy side. The theme song actually included the
line "it's a doodletown dream come true."
Schreiber looking a little more two-dimensional than usual.
Schreiber is cutting Doodletown Piper dolls.
Taken from a transparency.
Jim Henson showcased some of his early Muppets,
the most regular member of the Our Place cast being Rowlf the talking
dog. He actually co-hosted the show with B&S. Talk about a big break
for Rowlf! Our Place kicked open the door for the mutt who'd
later find greater fame in a 1970s series featuring him
and his other Muppet pals. Burns, of course, would be
head writer for the first season of The Muppet Show.
Maybe he helped get Rowlf the gig
(ha ha, that was mildly amusing).
Anyway, Rowlf was cute but his bits in
this episode were silly rather than funny. Another Muppet,
a conductor with a balloon for a head, was cooler.
Each episode featured a guest, Carol Burnett receiving the honor in the
debut which aired Sunday, July 2, 1967 @ 9:00pm EDT. Other guests
included Arthur Godfrey, Woody Allen, Cyril Ritchard (of Peter Pan
fame), the Smothers Brothers (keeping an eye on their time slot),
Dick Shawn (who played a hippie Hitler in The Producers with
Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder), and Joel Gray (Tony Award-winning star
of Cabaret). The executive producer was Bob Precht who produced
The Ed Sullivan Show and was also Sullivan's son-in-law. Bill
Angelos and Buz Kohan wrote and produced the show and John Moffitt was
Carol Burnett was Burns' and Schreiber's
first guest in Our Place.
Although Our Place only made ten episodes, it was not a flop.
According to Frank Judge of the Sunday Herald Traveler,
lightning struck twice for CBS. The Smothers Brothers was a
surprise success for the network, being renewed despite going up
against powerhouse Bonanza in its time slot, and Our Place,
replacement, proved it could also hold its own as a regular series.
CBS, however, already locked in its fall line-up and Burns and
Schreiber had prior individual commitments, so the show never had
a second season.
The following is the only episode of Our Place that I've
seen available on the cyber market. The special guest was
Dick Shawn. Although the copy I have is in black & white, the
show originally aired in color.
Original Airdate: July 23, 1967
Schreiber's got a million of 'em.
The opening had Burns and Schreiber doing their
trademark taxicab routine. They used this format to introduce the
show (Burns: "Take me to our place," Schreiber: "What, you're
moving in now?"). They also took a not too subtle stab at NBC.
Schreiber imitated what he thought was the three-tone advertisement
for CBS, but it was actually the one used by NBC. Burns, looking
irritated, challenged his driver, "Are you kidding? No, where is
that?" Then Schreiber
remembered the correct three tones including the "Bdlbdlbdlbdleer Color!"
tag at the end.
Burns: Yeah, that's it. Yeah, that's what you call your Big Eye,
the Big Eye, you know what I mean?"
Ironically, Burns and Schreiber hosted a Fall Preview promotional film for
NBC called Two In A Taxi that was aired in September 1966.
A couple of song and dance men.
Who are you callin' the dance, bud?
Play it again, Sam or whoever.
"I'm the SONG."
Burns is the song AND the dance.
In Burns' and Schreiber's second bit, they came out in vaudeville
costumes to perform in "Max and Charlie Songs and Dance." Burns
was Charlie and, in singing the opening verse, "In us you see a couple
of song and dance men," Charlie insisted he was the song and Max was
the dance. After some arguing, Max asked that the cue cards
be shown. When they started again, Charlie sang with emphasis "I'm the song"
and when it was time to sing "and I'm the dance," Max did not sing
anything [apparently it was not on the cue card]. I actually didn't
quite get this sketch, but they were both so cute at the end of it
that it made me smile anyway.
They lift you up just to knock you down.
That's show business.
In the third sketch, Burns was sitting on a bench
weeping. Schreiber strolled out with a guitar, sat on a bench
next to Burns and started to play and whistle. As the tempo of the
music picked up, Burns's mood did as well and he started clapping
his hands to the music. Schreiber slowed down the tempo and
Burns started getting depressed again. When Schreiber left,
Burns was weeping as he was at the beginning of the sketch
(now if they only had speed metal back in those days...).
Hostility never looked so good.
Trying to get Herbert's attention.
"The Man from Hostility" gets an up close
and personal look at what's on the menu.
Burns' and Schreiber's next sketch was entitled "The Absurd Theatre Players Present
'The Man From Hostility.'" Burns entered a diner run by
counterman/fry cook Herbert (Schreiber). From the moment he first walked in,
Burns was a posh, aristocratic wanna-be, and total jerk who leveled
abuse upon abuse on Schreiber both verbally and physically
by throwing condiments at him (the props were just imagined).
Burns received his comeuppance in the forms of an imaginary grease trap
and garbage bin over the head and a swirl of rancid whipping cream to the face
for dessert. "The Man from Hostility" paid his bill--including an
amusement charge--and left stating he would
return for Herbert's next shift. Herbert ended the scene
by telling the audience that his jerk customer was a "nice guy."
I host a variety show with kids who
like to call themselves "Doodletown Pipers" and all I
get is a balloon from a puppet dog.
Burns gives a "salute to Cole Porter."
Everybody's a critic.
The closing segment had more insipid, vomit-inducing
singing by the Doodletown Pipers. At one point, you can
spot Avery Schreiber in the background looking very
bored which is actually more entertaining than the music.
Mercifully, the music
stopped to show Jack Burns behind the piano. He announced he will
give a salute to Cole Porter and did so,...literally. The
Doodlers seemed disappointed for some reason.
Living the Doodletown dream:
If Burns was pretending to play the piano here, it would
probably look more believable if he kept his hands on
the keys....Just kidding.
Up, Up and Away!
OK, there was a purpose to those balloons after all.
Check out other Burns and Schreiber pages:
Burns and Schreiber on The Flip Wilson Show
Burns & Schreiber on The Hollywood Palace
Burns and Schreiber on Vinyl
Click Jack Burns to start reading a two-part biography
And check out Jack Burns when he guest hosted
Saturday Night Live!!!