Ah, the 70s. I can still remember sitting in our living room, my parents and I nestled together on our faded but beloved couch, the soft hum of our vintage TV in the background. Those were the days when The Carol Burnett Show was the crown jewel of our evenings. And there it was, that particular skit with Carol and Harvey that would become a treasured memory of mine: “The Old Folks.”
The sketch began with a soft musical interlude, a gentle reminder of the good old days. The evening was painted with soft hues of nostalgia as the duo bantered about, teasingly playful and ever so poignant. “It’s a beautiful night, isn’t it?” muses Carol, only for Harvey to comically quip, “How would you know?” Such heartwarming, genuine humor keeps you glued, reminiscing of a time when ad-libbed lines and spontaneous laughter were the norms of comedy.
The way Carol and Harvey played off each other’s energy was like watching a graceful dance – both in harmony and equally enchanting. Their unwritten lines – those unrehearsed gems that would make them break character – were comedy gold. And what made them truly special was the clean humor, void of any foul language, yet infectiously funny.
As I watched, Sammy, my poodle, would sometimes bark at their exaggerated gestures, clearly as invested in the scene as the rest of us.
Carol, Harvey, Tim, and Vicki were indeed national treasures. They embodied the spirit of comedy, making people laugh until tears streamed down their faces. It’s an experience that’s hard to find today, making me even more grateful for the cassette recordings my father diligently made. March 2020, in particular, brought these memories flooding back as I, like many, found solace in these episodes while being safe at home.
The sketch subtly wove in pop culture references of the time. When Carol mentioned Bobby Kennedy running for president, Harvey’s playful remark about his large family was hilariously cheeky. And then there was that jab at Richard Nixon and a poke at his perennial second place.
Ending the skit with comedic confusion about catching the 11 o’clock news at 10, it was clear that Carol and Harvey were masters at leaving the audience with a lingering smile. As the scene faded and Lawrence Welk’s melodies filled their living room, I clutched a cushion, grateful for that shared moment of pure joy with my family.
The world needs more of such genuine comedy. So if you ever need a hearty laugh or want to take a trip down memory lane, I can’t recommend “The Old Folks” sketch from The Carol Burnett Show enough. And if it makes you laugh, spread the joy, won’t you? Share it with your loved ones and let them in on the magic.