Sid Caesar was before my time. By the time I knew him, he was mildly amusing in a few movies and guest star appearances. Imogene Coca, on the other hand, was very popular and very funny on TV in the early sixties and my parents always used to tell me, "Oh, she used to work with Sid Caesar and they were SO funny together!"
In the early seventies, someone took a bunch of Sid Caesar's surviving comedy sketches from the fifties and released them as a feature film for people like myself who hadn't been around to catch them live.
Sid's own harrowing autobiography revealed years of substance abuse issues.
But Ted Sennett came out with this TV history to remind us that Sid was perhaps the first made-for-TV comedy genius. Ed Wynn and Milton Berle before him were leftover baggy pants comics from burlesque and vaudeville. Sid seemed to arrive full blown and prepared to take advantage of the new medium that was television.
A few years back, when I was working at the Public Library, we would get donations of old books, CD's, DVD's, etc. The person donating generally envisioned the items being added to the Library's collection but more often than not, the Library would add them to their book sales to make money to buy more specific items. One of the perks of working there was that you got first look at donations and, if you wanted something, all you had to do was donate at least a dollar and you could take claim it! One day, someone donated the amazing three disc box set of THE SID CAESAR COLLECTION seen here and I was suddenly immersed in all things Sid. At last, every bit of his comedy genius came to light, with interviews and commentary from many of his former writers and co-stars like Woody Allen, Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Howard Morris, Larry Gelbart and Sid himself!
I know he hasn't been in the best of health in recent years but I hope he enjoys today and every day as much as possible. Thanks for making us all laugh so long and so hard, Sid. Happy Birthday, sir!