Stars I've Met — Carol Burnett Carol Burnett 1977

** Memory of a lifetime. **

Yours truly was on The Carol Burnett Show in 1977. Yes, as one of the jillions of audience members allowed to ask her a question at the beginning of the show.

Charles in Carol Burnett's audience, 1977
That's me (red oval) decked out in my new three-piece tan corduroy suit*2, (remember "flares"?) watching the show intro, formulating a question to ask.
But before that! You should know: We were four guys who trekked up from Long Beach to Television City in Hollywood, having notified CBS that we had a wheel chair party in our group.

As such, CBS didn't make us wait in the usual interminable standing audience queue. Instead, a CBS Page took us through the artists' entrance, down the long hall past the costume shops, up the staff-and-cast elevator to the backstage area.

Escorted from backstage to front stage (Carol's vantage point) with no curtain guarding the stage, we were startled to see that the entire rest of the audience had already been seated. The Page took us down the handicapper ramp, just left of center stage, to our specially reserved aisle seats. Heaven knows who the audience thought we were.

I was the third questioner to get up the nerve to raise a hand and be called on.

"Do you play bridge?" I asked.

Without missing a beat, Carol replied as you see in the video below. (SCROLL DOWN)

The episode aired Jan 15, 1977 — a Monday. The very next day, I started getting calls at work from people I knew, calls from all over the country, asking "Was that really you I saw on the Carol Burnett Show last night!?"

Yes, I had missed it.

UPDATE: On August 6, 2014*1, my very dear friend, frequent bridge partner and TV episode collector Mitchell Weisberg had found a copy of "my" show after an enourmous effort. He presented it to me with no fanfare at all - and just one day after my birthday. The snippets on this page are from that DVD.

Another interesting factino about that episode: Mine was the last question of that taping to survive editing. The rest were replaced by a long segment, taped weeks earlier, of some woman who, they say, resembled Bea Arthur. She sang with Carol.

Carol told us at the beginning of the show that she, Carol, was wearing the same dress for the nth time because the producers were hoping to splice some of the question segments together.

*1 - 33 years, 6 months, 22 days after the show aired.
*2 - Believe it or not, I still have that garment hanging in the back of my closet.

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