Sid Caesar has departed. All hail Caesar, a comic genius whose career commenced in the early days of television when it was live, often unpredictable and undeniably entertaining.
Even the oldest of Baby Boomers were very young when Caesar's career was at its peak.
We rarely have the opportunity to view "Caesar's Hour" or the earlier Primetime Emmy award
winning "The Show of Shows." This live, 90-minute long program starred Caesar and the incredibly talented Imogene Coca.
Ms. Coca is probably best known to Boomers and succeeding generations as Aunt Edna in "National Lampoon's European Vacation."
On rare occasions viewers may get a glimpse of these great classic shows. DVD releases premiered in the mid 2000's. Caesar appeared on our radar briefly when he won the TV Critic's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011. Yet few under 35 have any idea who he is! That is a shame and their loss.
Backed up by perhaps the most infamous line-up of comic writers: Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, Carl Reiner, Larry Gelbart, Neil Simon and so many more, he made television history.
The late 1940s and the 1950s were a unique period in the chronology of entertainment. World War II had ended, Baby Boomers were first appearing on the landscape, (although not yet known by that nomenclature) parents had little free time and entertaining diversion was very important.
Sid Caesar was daring and non formulaic. He would improvise and provide novel performances. He was a master at pantomime and sketch comedy. The term television trail blazer is an apt one to describe this comedic gem.
As hysterical as his performances were, it's equally if not more important to remember and honor him for the creativity and innovation of his comedy presentations. They set the stage for so much more and gave confidence to others who would come later.
No matter what the field, it's the innovative women and men who take the traditional and bring it to new heights that help shape the manner in which people think and act.
In a way it's unfortunate that Baby Boomers may remember Sid Caesar best as Melville Crump in the cult 60's classic, "It's a Mad, Mad World." This was a film in which virtually every comedian and television star wanted to partake, no matter how small the role or salary. It's one of those movies that many Boomers like to watch again and again.
Every generation has its great entertainers. However, those that think, step out of the box and dare to explore the novel are few and far between.
To me, it's most important to pay tribute to Sid Caesar not just for his comedic genius, but because he paved the way and created an environment and the confidence for others... no matter what their field, to put themselves out there and to try new and innovative ideas.
This is how our nation grows, whether it's entertainment, politics, business or social progress. It should serve as a lesson to us all... especially the young, to be fearless, go forth and create. It's how men like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were given license to change our business and communications landscape.
Boomers, it's also our responsibility to encourage, twist arms, cajole and in general do whatever it takes to get our children and grandchildren to experience the historical, hysterical work of previous generations so their legacies will not be lost.
It's not that easy. Just try imploring a 20-something to watch a black and white movie. But use your influence Boomers... this is one time where a bit of interference won't hurt!
I salute you Sid Caesar and thank you for your contributions to widening, enlightening and enhancing the fabric of American society.
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