When we think of “The Twilight Zone,” we usually don’t think of humor and slapstick comedy. That’s why so many people are surprised when they learn that a young Carol Burnett starred in an episode of the famous series. Rod Serling wrote the episode “Cavender is Coming” for Carol in hopes of it becoming a spin-off sitcom.
If you’re thinking a sitcom is a weird spin-off for “The Twilight Zone,” you’re not alone. Fans of the show panned the episode when it aired because it was so out of line with the usual social commentary and suspense of the series.
Carol’s Musical Secret
The original 60-minute episodes of “The Carol Burnett Show” featured musical acts. Carol herself sang the show’s famous sign-off song, “I’m So Glad We Had This Time Together.” However, Carol was a better improviser than anyone could ever imagine. She has never learned how to read music.
Carol revealed her musical secret in an interview years after the show ended. She said that she always relied on her musical ear and natural rhythm to get her through a performance. She created her own language of scribbles and marks that would help her out, but she never formally learned how to read musical notes.
A Dressy Superstition
Eunice Higgins from “The Family” wears the same dress in every skit. Bob Mackie famously found this floral dress at a thrift store and adapted it to fit Carol Burnett’s character. What a lot of people don’t realize is that this original costume was never replaced. Carol is wearing the exact same dress in every “Family” sketch.
The costume got some tears and rips over the years, but Carol insisted that Bob mend the original dress instead of making a replacement. Wearing the same original dress was one of Carol’s superstitions. She felt wrong wearing anything but Eunice’s original costume.
A Star’s Revenge
Before Carol Burnett hit it big with her own TV show, she worked a lot of odd jobs. One of those jobs was at a theater on Hollywood Boulevard back in 1951. Carol got fired from her job as an usherette when she refused to let a couple into the tail-end of an Alfred Hitchcock movie.
She thought the couple would enjoy the movie more if they waited for the next showing, but her manager disagreed and gave her the boot. Many years after that fateful firing, she was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In an act of ultimate pettiness, she requested her star be placed right in front of that very theater.
Let’s End On a High Note
Nowadays, TV shows get canceled left and right. There’s no keeping track of which shows are coming back for a new season and which ones will never get their happy endings. When “The Carol Burnett Show” ended on March 29, 1978, it was not because of low ratings or TV executives cutting the cord.
Carl ended the show on her own terms. Despite the TV network wanting to renew the show for a twelfth season, Carol felt it was time to call it quits. She felt that the show had run out of original ideas. As a result, she wanted to end the show on a high note.