Tuesday, August 08, 2006

You're Gonna Like This Picture!

Paul Henning's show "The Bob Cummings Show" (aka "Love That Bob") isn't on DVD yet -- except for one not-particularly-good episode attached as a bonus to a Petticoat Junction/Beverly Hillbillies DVD. But somebody put up a complete episode on YouTube, "Bob Goes Birdwatching." It's from the fourth season of the show so it's not the freshest episode ever, but it does give a of Henning's cheerfully silly, wholesomely smutty sitcom, presenting Bob Cummings as a swingin' bachelor surrounded by beautiful babes (like Joi Lansing) at a time when most sitcoms were about happily monogamous men.

Even though we tend to think of the '50s as more culturally conservative time than the '60s, the television shows of the '50s actually seemed to have slightly less stringent censorship; maybe it was just that the advertisers hadn't gotten as skittish (or maybe it was that there was less commercial time to sell, hence you didn't have to pitch everything to the lowest common denominator among potential advertisers), but the innuendo on "Bob" went beyond anything Henning could get away with in the more family-friendly '60s. And "Sgt. Bilko," apart from having a slightly subversive edge to it that earlier and later military comedies didn't, sometimes managed some sexual innuendos -- stripper jokes, and so on -- that weren't exactly R-rated but still were a little edgier than anything you'd find on a '60s show.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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