Back in the day, Saturday nights had a special flavor, a cherished feeling of togetherness, sitting around the television set, waiting eagerly for another episode of The Carol Burnett Show. This time, the ‘Service Station Attendant’ skit is a sketch that brilliantly plays up the dynamic between Harvey Korman and Tim Conway. And trust me, watching this will take you right back to those nights.
It starts off with an adrenaline rush. Korman, as the bank robber, believes he’s got it made with $60,000 of stolen cash—his plan: a quick escape over the state line. But as luck would have it, the gas runs out! It’s an absurd situation that makes you chuckle just thinking about it. To his misfortune (and our delight), he lands at Tim Conway’s service station. Not missing a beat, Conway breaks into the gas station jingle, a silly tune about the “sign of the blue ball.” Even as a septuagenarian with 15 great-grandchildren, I still find myself humming that tune when I fill up my car. And sometimes, the grandkids ask, “Grandpa Ethan, what are you singing?” Oh, the magic of memories!
What makes the sketch even more hilarious is the sheer obliviousness of Conway’s character. Every moment Korman tries to hurry him along, Conway finds another reason to delay: offering a tumbler or checking the oil. That slapstick comedic genius defined the era of 1960s and 1970s television. Conway and Korman, they were a pairing for the ages. It’s no exaggeration to say they were the ‘Two Stooges’ of that golden age. Their ability to play off each other’s energy, to turn mundane scenarios into fits of laughter, was pure artistry.
Beyond the humor, it’s worth noting the impressive scale of the show’s set. The Carol Burnett Show wasn’t just about a laugh; it was an experience. Carol had a 28-piece live orchestra! Now that’s something you don’t see often these days. It’s a testament to their dedication to their craft and to delivering a top-notch show every time.
The comedic timing in this skit, combined with the nostalgic air of an era gone by, makes it a true gem. Many a family, mine included, would gather around the TV and share the joy Carol Burnett and her team brought into our homes. Every episode was a testament to clean, delightful comedy – no vulgarity, no derogatory jokes, just pure fun. How I wish we had more of that wholesome humor now.
The skit ends with a twist, and without spoiling it for you, let’s just say it’s a departure to sunny climes for our robber. As you relive this classic piece of comedy history, it’s hard not to feel a pang of nostalgia. But, as old man Ethan always says, “Rather than bemoan what’s gone, cherish the joys it brought.”
And if this stroll down memory lane touched your heart, share it with friends and family. Trust me, they’ll appreciate the laughter.