Can the Laugh-In Gang Sock It to You a Decade Later? You Bet Your Sweet Bippy
updated 10/03/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 10/03/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT
In fact, the show—a zany mixture of gags, skits and snappy one-liners—was a launch pad for the likes of Goldie Hawn (another no-show), Lily Tomlin, sportscaster Jayne Kennedy and ex-Playmate Barbi Benton, just to name a few. Others faded from view, although their particular contributions to American television humor live on: Judy Carne (Burt Reynolds' ex-wife) popularized the phrase "Sock it to me," Arte Johnson was fond of dressing up like a Nazi and saying, "V-e-r-r-y interesting" and Johnny Brown, the show's burly mascot, usually got at least one "Here comes de judge" per program.
The nearly 200 guests on the show during its five-year run (1968-'73) were nothing to sneeze at either. Then presidential candidate Richard Nixon weighed in with one memorable "Sock it to me" in 1968, and when the late John Wayne did a guest shot in 1971, he refused to wear glasses for the opening skit. "I just can't do it," grumbled the Duke to a director. "Nobody will recognize me."
For some, the syndication of the show in a shortened half-hour version (the original ran a full 60 minutes) will come as something of a godsend. "I've been playing clubs and concerts for the last 10 years," says ex-cast member Brown, "and people always ask me, 'Hey, do you think there will ever be another Laugh-In?' Now, after all these years, I can finally say, 'Ladies and gentlemen, Laugh-In is back.' " Sock it to us, Johnny.