Carol Burnett’s parody of “Gone with the Wind” is one of her most memorable skits. This is due in large part to the iconic curtain rod dress she wears. The original sketch called for Carol to wear the green curtains chaotically across her shoulders as a way to reference Scarlett O’Hara’s dress from the 1939 film.
Costume designer Bob Mackie turned that idea into something way more iconic. He incorporated an actual curtain rod into Carol’s costume, making the parody even more hilarious. Carol carries the skit, literally, as she descends the staircase in her curtain rod gown, stating, “I saw it in a window, and I couldn’t resist.”
A Golden Girl’s Origin Story
Today, Betty White is most famously remembered for playing Rose Nylund in “The Golden Girls.” However, many fans of the beloved star forget or don’t know that she starred in several TV shows before the hit sitcom. “The Carol Burnett Show” was one of them.
Betty played Ellen Harper, a recurring guest character on “The Family.” Ellen Harper is the oldest daughter of Mama, played by Vicki Lawrence. She’s a stuck-up, kind of snobby character who loves to gloat in front of her sister Eunice, played by Carol Burnett. Betty went on to play Ellen in the sketch’s spin-off sitcom, “Mama’s Family.”
Dick Van Dyke’s Short-Lived Stint
When Carol Burnett’s co-star Harvey Korman left “The Carol Burnett Show,” they quickly had to find a replacement. Carol approached Dick Van Dyke, who enthusiastically agreed to join the cast for the show’s eleventh season. Everyone quickly realized that it wouldn’t work out.
Unfortunately, Dick Van Dyke asked to leave the show after only a few episodes. The writers of “The Carol Burnett Show” hadn’t adapted to writing for Dick’s comedic strengths, and he felt like he wasn’t a good fit. Thankfully, there were no hard feelings. Carol and Dick parted ways professionally but still remained friends throughout their careers.
Bob Mackie’s Sparkling Career
Bob Mackie is famous for designing all the costumes on “The Carol Burnett Show.” Many people associate him with the show’s famous curtain rod dress from the skit “Went with the Wind!” However, Bob has a much more illustrious career in Hollywood fashion.
Bob went on to design costumes for performers such as Diana Ross, Tina Turner, and Whitney Houston. He even did the initial sketch for Marilyn Monroe’s famous gown that she wore to JFK’s birthday party. In addition, he has created many of Cher’s iconic looks throughout her career, including her infamous “If I Could Turn Back Time” bodysuit.
Fact is Stranger Than Comedy
“The Dentist” is one of the most hilarious skits from “The Carol Burnett Show” that stands the test of time. Tim Conway plays a bumbling dentist on his first day of work, much to the horror of his patient, played by Harvey Korman. Tim does an excellent job of making the audience and Harvey laugh, but his humor was based on real-life experience.
During Tim’s time in the Army, his dentist actually stuck himself with novocaine like Tim’s dentist character does in the skit. Tim had gone in to get a tooth removed, and the dentist stuck the needle right through Tim’s cheek and into his own hand.