From Gone with the Wind to our midcentury kitchen TV: why Carol Burnett was my idol
I’ve been a fan of Carol Burnett all my life. I even have her show's Collector's edition DVD box set. Beyond her incredible talent and career, there’s a very unique reason for this bond. She was raised by her grandmother, just like me! All my youth, I could relate to her in this special way.
As a kid, I watched her shows with my grandma. She was watching it for the entertainment while I was mesmerized by the colorful characters, extravagant costumes and wigs, and the elaborate sets. I’ll never forget the parody dress from Gone with the Wind with a curtain pole! All this had a lasting impact on my creativity as I later joined a local amateur theatre group as a young set decorator. This lead to a cultural exchange in France in 1985 and my first airplane trip.
Where am I going with all this? You might remember how Carol Burnett would end every episode with her famous song “I’m so glad we had this time together…” and was signing off by pulling an earlobe. That was actually a secret code between her and her granny who always encouraged her to follow her dreams. When she started on tv, knowing grandma would be watching, they agreed on this sign to send her love. It became a tradition and the rest is history. Today, that theme song still moves me and that little thing with the ear is even more powerful and emotional because I owe my grandma the same encouragements and devotion that made me who I am. I sometimes find myself pulling my own ear to send love to my grandma too.
All this to say that next January, I’m incredibly excited because I was able to get a ticket and be in the audience for “Laughter and reflection with Carol Burnett” at a local stage venue and see her in person. I can’t express how much this means to me, it’s unbelievable and I feel so lucky. I think there will be 2 grandmas on a cloud receiving a ton of love that night…
Alma, my dear grandmother who raised me. Love and miss you grandma! ❤️
Here's the clip of the last segment of her very last show on March 29, 1978, after 11 years on air. Very touching from start to finish, including the song.