Mar 29 1978: The last Carol Burnett show

Carol Burnett animation

Mrs. Wiggins. Eunice. Starlet. Marion of Canoga Falls. If you grew up in the 70s, you probably recognize at least one of these characters (the first is my personal fave). On March 29, 1978, they all bid goodbye in a final two-hour special on CBS. 

In case you wondered, Carol Creighton Burnett, born in San Antonio Texas in 1933, is still alive. She has won too many TV and stage awards to name (Emmys, Tonys) and she’s written several memoirs. In 2005, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for (according to Wikipedia) “enhancing the lives of millions of Americans and for her extraordinary contributions to American entertainment”. And in 2018, the Carol Burnett Award was established to honour “outstanding contributions to television”. The current holder is Ellen DeGeneres.

Carol was certainly a staple in our house growing up, and I have especially fond memories of her Mrs. Wiggins (“Uh…Mrs. Huh-wiggins?” “Yes, Mr. Tudball.”) and Eunice characters (“Oh SHUT UP.”). I remember my mom killing herself laughing when Starlet (O’Hara) came sauntering down the staircase with her dress made of curtains — curtain rod intact. I also remember many, many times when co-stars Tim Conway and Harvey Korman lost it on camera. How that cast must have laughed. 

As we all look forward to better days ahead, here’s to a few laughs courtest of some memorable Carol clips below. 

Mrs. Wiggins sharpens pencils  This is classic Mrs. Wiggins and Mr. Tudball — with a special guest appearance by Rock Hudson. Takes me back. (7 min, 14 sec)

Carol introduces special guest Betty White  O… m… g. Vintage. If nothing else, watch the first 2 min, 45 sec. (50 min, 15 sec)

The r&b version of Cinderella featuring the Pointer Sisters  This is just so 70s, right down to Carol’s dress when she introduces the sketch. (What happened to all that peach?) (21 min, 53 sec)

Carol’s own favourite sketches  Carol shares some of her personal favourites in this clip that aired in June 2016 on PBS. (5 min, 59 sec)

Tim surprises Carol with a special guest on her final show  Hint: It’s a Wonderful Life. (1 min, 37 sec)

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