Lyle Waggoner: Well, I think everyone was aware of Carol Burnett being on The Garry Moore Show, and she was around and she was always, always had a wonderful reputation. And I was a contract player at 20th Century Fox. When I heard about the interview that they were doing at CBS to someone to play the part of the pants of announcer and so anyway, I, I got the appointment for the interview and it was at CBS in Hollywood. I wasn't familiar with the building. And so I went and I says, hey, I'm here to do an interview for The Burnett Show. Where do I go? So we'll go down the hall, take a left, no double door to your right. I said, okay. So I went down there and I wasn't exactly sure where it was. But I opened the door and sure enough, I was in the right room. And there was Carol and some of the writers and the her husband and other producers sitting around the table when I opened the door and walked in. She jumped up and did a wail and then fell on the floor in a dead faint, you know, faking it, of course. Well, that was my cue. So I went over to her and picked her up in my arms and gave her a little mouth to mouth resuscitation. And that did it. I got the job. No, no, I'm just kidding. I did pick her up in my arms. And I said, is there anything I can do? Shall I call nine one one? And so she laughed and they laughed. And apparently it was the right thing to do. And I got hired.

Interviewer: That's great. Was there also a story about when you first met Joe Hamilton? There was the secretary test.

Lyle Waggoner: Yeah. I can't remember if this was before. It must have been before that. I went into the room and met Carol. I had to do an interview with Joe Hamilton and Arnie Rosen, the head writer. And I was directed to their offices up an elevator. And I was met at the elevator by Sharkey, who was his secretary. And she walked me through their offices with the other staff sitting at their desk and then on to Joe's office. I did an interview with Joe and. And I think I said something like. So you want to be an announcer? I would be a good announcer. I could do that job really good. Apparently, they got a kick out of that. And we talked a little bit and they said, well, I'll see you later. So I walked out through the staff offices again with all the other secretaries on the elevator and off to the car. Well, I found out later that after I left, Joe and Arnie stuck their heads up and said, Hey, girls, what do you think? And they they said, yeah, some thumbs up on that guy. So it was kind of the secretaries who made the initial choice. And then going to meet Carol was the next time that I had the chance to make an impression.

Interviewer: And what did you think at the time? The idea of having a woman host a comedy variety show was pretty unusual at that time, right?

Lyle Waggoner: They have a woman host a variety show actually didn't enter my mind. I mean, her being a major star and with a great reputation, I felt that she certainly had the personality to carry a show like that. But actually, I mean, who am I to judge? I was my first big job and I was delighted to be a part of this. What did you think?

Interviewer: The nature of the show was very ensemble nature. And why do you think that that works? Was that Carol's Carol's insistence and why did that sort of work so well for her?

Lyle Waggoner: This was a show that had the lead. Carol Burnett and then the other cast members, the regulars. She was certainly capable of being the star. But you know what? She never acted the part of a star. She was always one of the players. She was always on time. She was always prepared. She never tried to hog the script and ticked all of the funny lines. She had no problem giving some of the lines to her cast members and give them a chance to to get a laugh. She was easy to talk with, self-deprecating, making jokes about herself, about her figure. She used to say, oh, you couldn't tell my front from my back. And I guess it was true because one time after a taping, a fellow walked up to her and said, good show. Carol slapped her on the chest. But she was a lot of fun to work with. And I was so lucky to be a part of that show.

Interviewer: Can you tell me about the first episode was a test taping?

Lyle Waggoner: I don't recall a test taping at all. No, I was I was hired to play the part of the announcer. I had never done any announcing. But the the gag was that I was the handsome announcer and kind of her love interest and that every time I came around, she would go weak in the knees and. And she built quite a an image for me. And because of that image, we performed in front of a live audience. And sometimes I'd be a pretty girl in the audience who would say, "can Lyle come out on the stage and give me a kiss?" So she would call me out and I'd give tastefully, you know, handle this. And it got to be kind of a running gag. It was it was a great image builder for me, and I had a lot of fun doing it. That's about it.

Interviewer: I mean, so initially, what were you told about what your role on the show was going to be? Was it was a phase two to announce. And also he's going to be the types of gags you would do. Tell me what you were told.

Lyle Waggoner: When we heard about the audition, the initial role was to play the part of the announcer. I did actually do the announcing on the show and after a while they started working me in to the sketches. Some of them just Carol Lyle. And then we got the ensemble thing going with Harvey and Tim and Vicki. And I got a lot of experience doing the sketches with those wonderful performers. And Vicki was only 18 and she came along and developed her talent to a high degree. Tim didn't come on the show till after about five years. Harvey was an amazing actor, sketch actor, comedian. He could do anything and everything. And the show really relied on his amazing talent to pull these to pull these performances off.

Interviewer: You mentioned your role kind of changed over the years and evolved into doing more than just announcing it. Was that. How did that did Carol encourage the writers write more for you? You know, did it happen naturally.

Lyle Waggoner: The...ask that question again.

Interviewer: I'm just wonder, because in the beginning, you your your role was pretty specific to doing the announcing and coming out and doing those bits with Carol that you mentioned. But then later as as the show went on, you started doing more sketches and more part of the ensemble. I just didn't know if Carol encouraged that with the writers. You know, we want him more involved.

Lyle Waggoner: As the as the show progressed, they found out, apparently that people wanted to see more of me. And so I suppose that Carol and Joe. Her husband producer said, hey, let's try and let's try them out in these situations. And I got to play a lot of different characters. And, you know, usually it was the hero for the game show host. But, you know, I've gone so far as to play a Mexican bartender and who knows what else. You know, I spent a long time so I can't remember all that that many things. But they worked me into a lot of sketches. And then, of course, we had the singing and dancing. They even allowed us to do that. And we did our best and tried real hard. We weren't wonderful, but they had fantastic dancers on the show that would help us along.

Interviewer: In terms of I mean, did she work with the writers? Did she suggest sketches? How did you see her? What was her role on the set?

Lyle Waggoner: Carol's role, as far as I was concerned, was to be the anchor, the main person. Now, what went on behind the scenes? I wasn't privy to, but I'm sure that she sat in on all the writers meetings. She was extremely creative and set up a lot of these sketches and probably suggested ways that the cast members could work better in those sketches. So she had an awful lot to do with the production, the writing, the suggestions of what would work and what wouldn't.

Interviewer: And what was this? Was there a sort of clear division of labor between she and Joe? I mean, was he handled one end to the other or what did you notice?

Lyle Waggoner: The relationship between Carol Joe, to all outwardly appearances, was very good. Good working relationship. He was always very pleasant. As I mentioned before, she was easy, too easy to get along with. And I'm super suppose that they had pillow talk talking about the show and what would do and how to improve it and so on. But we weren't in on those conversations or even thoughts again when she was on the set. She was a professional. She was prepared and she did the best that she possibly could.

Interviewer: So was she more. I mean, he's sort of, you know, the managerial side of things and the behind the scenes stuff. She was just focused on the creative side things together.

Lyle Waggoner: Joe was always around. He attended all of the run throughs, and he did handle more of the management part of the show. The production part of the show, Carol, was more the artistic, the creative part of the show. And it made a very nice blend between the two to bring the show together. In fact, it was kind of the standard for other variety shows that followed that like Sonny and Cher, like Glen Campbell, like. Can't remember his name of the singer played Gomer Pyle. Yeah, that's right. Like the Jim Nabors show, they all came in and trained with our production company to see so that they could pattern their rehearsal schedules after us. We had a very special way of doing the show by having run throughs every day and then correcting the script every day and trying to fine tune it down to the dress rehearsal and in front of a live audience. And that entire 400 people out of there bring in another 400 people and do the air show. And then they would take the best of both of those shows, blend them together, and then that's what you would see at home.

Interviewer: So there were always two tapings?

Lyle Waggoner: That's right. Always we did two tapings we had. Actually, there were three, but only two in front of a live audience. The third one was for the music and dancing and everything. We did that on Thursday or something like that. And on Friday, we we did the show. But there were two audiences in the neighborhood of 400 people each. We did the show twice a night.

Interviewer: And you just were mentioning some of the other variety shows that were sort of patterned after, what about before when that when The Carol Burnett Show came on? I mean, there have been a lot of variety shows before that. Right. I mean, it was kind of a popular format at the time.

Lyle Waggoner: Before our variety show. There were other ones. There was quite a few of those Red Skelton. There was Perry Como. There was a bunch of em. Again, we're going back a long way. But the way that Carol and Joe rehearsed their show was different than the others and seemed to work really, really well. And that's why the ones that followed Carol, patterned their show after hers.

Interviewer: What was different about it? Just just that it was sort of. You mean that they rehearsed every day? That's what was different.

Lyle Waggoner: The difference. I can't tell you what it was. I was just in there as a performer. I learned my lines, came in and did it. But I would see producers from other upcoming shows sitting around taking notes and watching what was going on, what the difference was. I can't really tell you.

Interviewer: What did you learn as a performer? Watching Carol. You must have learned a great deal.

Lyle Waggoner: Being on the show was my first major show. I was green, but I was, you know, anxious and ready to learn. And I couldn't have been taught by any better professionals as Harvey Korman, Tim Conway, Carol Burnett, watching them, trying to be somewhat creative myself. It was an amazing experience. When I look back on it to realize how fortunate I was to be on a show like that will go down in history is probably one of the best, if not the best variety show television had ever witnessed.

Interviewer: Do you remember any give you advice or pointers or any time you just looked at what she's doing?

Lyle Waggoner: Carol, as I mentioned several times, was a true professional. She didn't try and instruct us. Tell us what to do. We pretty much had to watch what was going on and leave it up to the director to make suggestions. Carol wouldn't. I don't think she would ever tell another actor how to do things, as you might suggest to the director, than the director's job was to tell the actors or give them suggestions. But because Harvey and Tim and Vicky and even sometimes myself had a high degree of input, we would we would say, hey, what if I did this? They were very receptive to creativity, say, hey, that's a good idea. Let's give it a try. And we would try that, for example, are our own suggestions in the dress rehearsal show. And sometimes they would work, sometimes it wouldn't. If it didn't work, then we would go back to the script and do it the way it was written for the air show. But sometimes the people say they used to laugh so hard at the way Harvey or Carol would would lose it, you know, break up, start laughing during the performance. The audience, the television audience loved that. And that was as a result of some of these little savers, these little extra things we would throw in on the dress rehearsal. And if they weren't, you know, they'd put they'd leave it in there for the air show. If they didn't, well, you know, they'd go back the way the script was written. But they gave us that that leeway that the freedom to do whatever we we felt like.

Interviewer: So those moments, everyone remembers those moments when everyone's cracking. Were they are you saying those were moments when people might have been improvising a little bit? Is that why?

Lyle Waggoner: The moments when the performer would lose it was it was when their opposing actor would throw in a line or something that wasn't in the script and put them on kind of the spot. And the end result in them laughing and or just having fun, you know, that's what it looked like. We were having a good time and we were. But as I mentioned before, something most of the time, those little extra, as we call them, savers, "you got to savor this week?" "Yeah, I do." I didn't know they wouldn't find out what it was until the dress rehearsal show. Sometimes they worked. Most of the time they worked, but they didn't. We always had the backup of going to the written script,

Interviewer: How did Carol feel about that kind of thing? Just a little bit more when people go off.

Lyle Waggoner: Carol was game for anything. She had a few of those savers herself, but mainly she was the target. Harvey was the target. They nailed me a few times. Tim was excellent at these things. And, you know, if it worked, if it made the people laugh and and look at us up there and say, boy, are they having a good time. This is so much fun to watch. That's what the show is about. And that's what Carol liked us, what Joe liked Arnie and all the writers. If you were getting these huge last people who were enjoying it at home, the ratings are up. Keep it up.

Interviewer: Can you remember any specifics? The funniest is when somebody used to saver and it just was. It worked so well and everyone's cracking up.

Lyle Waggoner: Some of those impromptu moments were absolutely hysterical, and the one that I remember and I think most viewers remember was the dentist sketch that Tim and Harvey did. That was just brilliant. And that's probably the funniest one I was involved when one with Tim was interrogating me as a prisoner of war. And he was Hitler and he had a puppet going on. And that was that that was pretty much targeted at me. And that's the the longest and funniest one that I was involved in.

Interviewer: And was Carol an easy target or a hard target?

Lyle Waggoner: For these moments, Harvey was probably the easiest. Carol was second easiest. She was. She loved to divert from the script and or or laugh when it's not written. And because it was fun, she said that people loved her. They do still. And they remember those wonderful moments when she was laughing and having a great time and entertaining you, the viewer.

Interviewer: Yeah. It seems like that's one of the things about her that because audiences sort of felt like they knew her. And it seems like that's part of that, too. She was having fun that way. Do you think that's part of her appeal?

Lyle Waggoner: Carol was very approachable, easy to speak with. Very friendly. Always friendly. Never saw in an upset condition. And I think that carried right on through to her viewing audience. They felt like, I know this lady. If I saw her on the street, I wouldn't feel very comfortable talking with her. And if they did that, Carol would be very comfortable talking with them. She was very outgoing and just seemed to be a very happy person.

Interviewer: And it seems to me that Q&A seemed to be a big part. Can you talk about how that came about?

Lyle Waggoner: The question and answer part of the show was a unique idea because it was a buffer for the length of the show. It's a show was long. They'd have a very short question and answer if it was short. Then they'd stretch it out. And fortunately, Carol was so good at relating to the audience. They all loved her and they all wanted to talk with her. And she was, you know, real glib. She had fast answers. And, you know, some of the writers probably couldn't come up with as good lines as she did. So the question and answer section, I think, was one of the things that the other propriety shows that followed her wanted to emulate. But I don't know if any of them were as good as Carol was.

Interviewer: Is it true that she didn't want to do that initially? Do you know?

Lyle Waggoner: The question and answer part of it. If I thought Carol always enjoyed, I had heard that perhaps she didn't want to do that in the beginning, but that was never brought to our attention. It just seemed to be a part of the show. And that's the way it was done.

Interviewer: And it seemed like as the years went on, too, that audiences like, you know, came with, you know, they came ready to ask some pretty funny or personal questions that seemed like the questions got more and more. Outlandish, here's the question and answer part of it.

Lyle Waggoner: After the audience realized that that was gonna be part of the show every week when they would come and sit in the audience. Some of them did prepare their their little questions. And that, again, added to the fun of it. And I can't remember any real, real wild questions at the head, but they were interesting. And Carol's always made them fun.

Interviewer: Well, I've seen people ask to come up and sing with her or some one woman wrote a song or, you know, people asked very different things. Just seemed like they got.

Lyle Waggoner: Yes, some of the questions were. Were personal, asking about her, her measurements. And I remember that one lady came up there and sang with her and sang well with her, actually. And then at the end of the song or towards the end of the closing, she goes, Carol, that you screwed up. Remember that? That was really funny. And Carol just died laughing at that. It was it was really, really neat to watch.

Interviewer: Yeah, that's true. That's funny because you don't think. I think people wouldn't say that to a lot of stars.

Lyle Waggoner: Well, that comment made Carol laugh because it was kind of a surprise. You wouldn't usually say that to a major star, but this gal was, you know, very aggressive and a good singer and carried it off quite well and and then laid that line on her, which absolutely broke Carol.

Interviewer: Can we go back? I had wanted to ask you about the first show and when it was starting out, do you remember the very first episode? Think about what was the feeling about it then at least. Do you remember that people felt confident that it was going to be a big success or that, you know, this might be a one hit wonder? Do you remember that sort of the tone?

Lyle Waggoner: The very first show, I've got to be honest, I can't remember. I remember I do remember that. It was kind of a feeling out situation. We knew what we were supposed to do and we had our little lines to learn. And I was up in the announce booth and. I don't think it was nervous time. Harvey was very acquainted with television, working with Danny Kaye and everyone. Tim hadn't been on the show. We had guest stars on that show that were mind boggling. I mean, I've worked with some of the greatest people. It was Bing Crosby and Bob Hope and Lucille Ball and Steve Lawrence. He was on there lots of times. He got me a lot of the best singers in the world. Some of the best dancers. Some of the finest. You know, Bob Newhart. He was on there. I mean, you go on. There was a guest list that I just would boggle your mind. And I was fortunate enough to be there and be part of it and to work with these incredibly famous, talented people.

Interviewer: And also, I think one of the things that seemed very relatable about Carol was that she obviously seemed to be a fan herself of all the big stars that would come on. And I'm just wondering how she reacted to some of her. You know, she had Rita Hayworth and all these amazing sort of movie stars that she grew up idolizing. Come on. What that was like for her.

Lyle Waggoner: Because of all these big name guest stars, I would assume that Carol was a fan herself. In fact, if I remember right in summer interviews, she did go to the movies a lot. And I guess that's what encouraged her to be an actress. And she she she went and she treated these people. They were kind of out of their element, you know, coming on the show and variety show and doing sketches and trying to get less. Some of them were, you know, dramatic actors and actresses, but they had so much fun doing it because it was new to them. And Carol would work with them and make them feel as comfortable as possible. And again, for the good of the show, to create the best product that they possibly could.

Interviewer: And tell me how she did so. Because I think that also about. How she felt about her. Her guest stars. She did. She did.

Lyle Waggoner: Well, she did this to Char woman thing. Oh, I see the autographs thing. OK. Yeah. At, uh, at the end of each show, she had the song, the big theme song. I'm so glad we had his time together and. Choke up thinking about it, and she would come out and charwoman outfit. And at the end of the show she would bring all the guest stars out and have them sign her autograph book, which would indicate that she was a fan. And she went to get the autographs of these very famous people. Wonderful idea.

Interviewer: And so people felt like, right, she she was she was like them maybe that, you know, if they met some of these people, they would want their autograph, too. And so even though she was the star of the show, she seemed like a regular person.

Lyle Waggoner: It's true that she was the star of the show and she was a star in her own right. But when it came to addressing some other famous big stars in their own right, she became the fan and she would ask their autographs. And I bet for what? I like to have that autograph book. Hello, eBay. Yeah, that was a great idea.

Interviewer: I'm going back to when the show first started out. OK, first, what to do was what was Carol, do you think? Did she sort of do you think she was confident that it would be a big success or did she seem insecure about it all or she didn't really care. She just wanted to have fun. What was her mood?

Lyle Waggoner: When we first started the show again, let me say that I was brand new. I wasn't looking out for anything except hopefully I would do well and be prepared and get along with people. And so to know whether or not the show was going to be a success. Have longevity. Never entered my mind. I was just hoping I'd make it to next week. But I'm sure that they in the executive offices said, hey, I think we got a hit here. And they probably backed it well. And as the ratings came in. I mean, she was always in the top 10. They knew they had a hit and it lasted for 11 years.

Interviewer: And was it right? Right out of the gate. Was it a big hit or did it kind of build, you remember?

Lyle Waggoner: As far as the ratings are concerned, I can't recall whether or not it was it was the initial hit. I would imagine it was because it just continued on. But again, I wasn't really. Aware of ratings and all that stuff, I just had a job and I was delighted.

Interviewer: Did did she seem did Carol seem nervous? So sort of first episodes or did she ever get nervous?

Lyle Waggoner: If Carol ever got nervous, it wasn't apparent. She was very comfortable. It appeared to me in front of an audience of any kind. Maybe there was was some butterflies, were some butterflies, but it wasn't apparent, as I mentioned several times, she was always prepared, very glib, fast on her feet and handled her job professionally.

Interviewer: You mentioned about her being kind of self-deprecating. And I'm just what you know, especially those little bits between the two of you. We're kind of poking fun at some of the some of those gender roles. And I just wondered if that was anything she ever you ever talked about with her or.

Lyle Waggoner: The relationship between Carol and I was up to the writers. She was always extremely friendly and helpful. But I can't remember that we ever talked about it.

Interviewer: What were some of your. Do you have any looking back, sort of favorite sketches in particular with Carol that you did favorite moments or.

Lyle Waggoner: If you ask me if I had a favorite sketch or a favorite moment, I really couldn't come up with any one in particular. They were all favorites. I was so lucky, so fortunate to get on a show such as this and work with all of these amazingly talented people and hopefully learned from them. So the whole experience was a favorite moment.

Interviewer: Were there any in terms of Carol's work? Did you have any favorite characters of hers that you just thought, you know? But she was most brilliant at.

Lyle Waggoner: Carol Burnett is a fine actress. She's a wonderful comedian. And she did any number of characters and roles in these sketches. They had the ongoing sketches like Carol Sisters, which was a. Great fun. More acting in there than she had character roles like. She and Tim and Mrs. Wiggins. Mrs. Wiggins. Oh. So there she gets to play a character. And she did it extremely well. And, you know, throughout the entire 11 years that she was on there. She did character after character and and did them all well. She could fall into them perfectly, you know. They blacked out her teeth. She was an amazing person. She is an amazing person. Way you look at that.

Interviewer: You mentioned that Carol's sketches. Did you did you know at the time what those were based on? Can you talk about that?

Lyle Waggoner: No.

Interviewer: Moving on. No, I guess they were, because Carol's real sister came to live with her.

Lyle Waggoner: I don't recall.

Interviewer: I remember one actually I just watched yesterday, one where you came as the interior decorator. OK. This one. He gets very jealous and doesn't want to leave Carol alone. Finally, get of the plumber.

Lyle Waggoner: No. You know, it's funny thing because, you know, it's been 35 years since we've done those shows and I have forgotten most of those sketches. Occasionally I'll see a rerun and say, hey, you know what? That's pretty funny even today. And those those shows really hold up. But it's like seeing them for the first time. That's either my mind's going or it's just been a long time, actually.

Interviewer: And that's a good point. Why do you think they are so timeless? I mean, it's interesting because it seemed like the sketch didn't, even though it was during the 70s and there was a lot going on in terms of there wasn't a lot of topical humor. Is that true? That's the impression I got. That's sort of what helped make the show last so long.

Lyle Waggoner: The show started in 68 and the humor was drawn mainly from other television shows, other television commercials, not things that were going on in the world. There weren't that many funny things going on in the world. And so they would take situations that they could have fun with that people were familiar with and make people laugh that way. And then the writers were very, very clever and they went through a lot of writers. I think there were like 14 writers on the show. Some of them individual writers, some of them work in teams. But they had to come up with, you know, five or six different sketches every week, week after week after week. And some of these writers would kind of burn out and they'd bring in more over the period of years. I would be interested in knowing just how many writers were on that show. I bet it would number into the hundreds.

Interviewer: And, Carol, would you ever say, no, I don't want to do that? Or was there ever you know, did she kind of set the tone they knew she doesn't like to do these types of things.

Lyle Waggoner: When the writers presented their sketches, of course, they had to be approved by Carol. And I'm sure that some of them were turned down. If they weren't. Then Carol would certainly have input on how to make it better and send the writers back to make those changes. But I was never aware or never in meetings where they said, no, that's not gonna work or that will work. We just came to the rehearsals and did our lines. I was on the show for seven or eight years. I can't remember exactly. But I said, my gosh, what happens when the show gets canceled? I'll be on the street. I got to find that variety shows don't go into reruns and never have. So I said I'd better try and find something that would go into reruns. And so I told my agent, let's see what we can do anyway. He came up with the audition for The Wonder Woman show. And ultimately, I. I went on that show and and left Carol's show. A real smart move. It turned out to be one of the finest rerun shows in the history of television. But you know who knew at that time?

Interviewer: Isn't that right? Was it the first variety show? I think you get to go into syndication, as far as I know.

Lyle Waggoner: It was the first variety show to go into syndication on a regular basis. I I'm not sure. Maybe Nick at Nite has a bunch of other ones on there, but I don't watch it that frequently. But I know that they're Burnett Show was amazingly successful as a syndicated show.

Interviewer: And what was a do you remember Carol's reaction to your leaving or how do you remember telling her or how about how that all happened?

Lyle Waggoner: Carol's reaction when I left was she's very sorry to see me go. There were there wasn't that much set about it that I recall. There were no bad feelings. There were sad feelings. But I guess they understood it was my decision and so be it.

Interviewer: And what about with Joe Hamilton? Was that did he try to keep you at all or did they just sort of you just said fine. And that's what you wanted to go into that other show.

Lyle Waggoner: When I left the show, I gave Joe the reasons and he said he understood and said sorry to see me go, but it's my decision. That's pretty much it. Pretty simple.

Interviewer: And I know you were gone. But do you remember watching the last episode of the show?

Lyle Waggoner: The last episode of the show, I believe I did watch. I can't remember because it was so long ago. But I was happy to hear that they were continuing on, that the show wasn't gonna die because I left. But I was pursuing my career and in a show that would go into reruns. And I thought that was the right thing to do. But I kept tabs on who was who was coming on the show as a regular. Like Dick Van Dyke was a regular for a while and was happy for the success and the longevity of it.

Interviewer: It was it also about did you feel that you can stretch more, as it were, you being used enough? Did you feel it was? It was, or was it about that at all?

Lyle Waggoner: No. I was happy with what they were doing.

Interviewer: Just the last thing, I mean, why do you think the show lasted eleven years? I mean, there. That's pretty remarkable. And especially at that time, every other variety show was being canceled or dying out in that show just kept on going. And why do you think that is?

Lyle Waggoner: The show lasted 11 years for a few reasons. The main reason is because of Carol's popularity of Carol's talent. Harvey's talent, Tim's talent, Vicki's talent, they all worked so well together. And more importantly, the writers, the writers had to come up with these ideas so that the performers would have something to work with and elaborate on it. If the case would allow it. But the writers that I mentioned before, they must have gone through hundreds and hundreds of them. They were extremely talented and creative and they're still out there. And everybody, I think, profited from their talents.

Interviewer: What is it about her you think that is so unique as a talent? I mean, what what sets her apart? What is it about her?

Lyle Waggoner: About Carol, but Carol Burnett, wait a minute. Oh. The unique thing about Carol is that she doesn't separate herself from the average person, the average person can relate to her. She's not a beauty. She's not a dramatic actress. She laughs a lot. She does things that the average person wishes they could do, wish they could laugh a lot. Get along with everybody. Be happy. And I think that's why and how they related to her and why the show lasted for 11 years.

Interviewer: And then yet she did turn out to be a wonderful, dramatic actress. I'm just wondering, were you surprised or did could you always see that in there, in her?

Lyle Waggoner: Carol is an actress, mainly a comedic actress. But if you're an actress, you can do drama as well as comedy. And she had an occasion, few occasions to do that. So the fact that she could be a dramatic actress, actress didn't remove the fact that she could be related to by the average person. That's just another part of her personality and her talent.

Interviewer: Did you feel like you got to know her personally? Was it. Were you close that way or was the cast close that way?

Lyle Waggoner: The cast was always close on set. Very friendly of the wonderful set to work on. We never really hung out except after the show. We'd go across the street and have a drink or whatever, but we never went out to dinner or things like that. It was a professional friendship. And that's that's about it.

Lyle Waggoner
Interview Date:
American Archive of Public Broadcasting GUID:
cpb-aacip-504-ht2g737s05, cpb-aacip-504-rf5k931x4m
"Lyle Waggoner, Carol Burnett: A Woman of Character." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). 17 May. 2007,
(2007, May 17). Lyle Waggoner, Carol Burnett: A Woman of Character. [Video]. American Masters Digital Archive (WNET).
"Lyle Waggoner, Carol Burnett: A Woman of Character." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). May 17, 2007. Accessed January 26, 2022


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