Television's man of a thousand voices
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If you’ve laughed at something on TV lately, you can thank Sid Caesar. He was present for the birth of TV as a mass medium and as a mass comedy-delivery device. Any family tree of modern comedy branches back to him through the writers and performers he worked with–Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Woody Allen, Larry Gelbart–and the sketch-comedy format that the chameleonic Caesar defined.
His most famous vehicle, Your Show of Shows, which ran from 1950 to 1954, established the possibilities of the then new medium as a nimble platform for spoof and satire. Dynamic, motormouthed and versatile, Caesar (co-starring with Imogene Coca) delivered monologues, created zany characters and spoofed celebrities.