28. Howard Morris & Carl Reiner

“Elevator Shoes & Wig”

Howard Morris & Carl Reiner were the two mainstay comics and mimics who helped make the Sid Caesar “Show Of Shows” the TV classic of the 1950s that it was.  Along with Sid, Howard and Carl could be counted on to deliver over-the-top performances during the heyday of live television. Doing a rapid-fire series of wild skits on live TV for a full hour is something few would attempt today. Of course now they don’t have to. New technology allows taping in advance, redoing bloopers, editing, fine-tuning and polishing. These guys had to do it straight ahead, live, nation-wide, with all the inherent risks. But they pulled it off in high style, for me it was the greatest comedy show in television history.

So I was incredibly lucky to get these two talents to voice several of my animated films.  Howard Morris deserves a good share of credit for our Oscar win on MUNRO, where he did spot-on voices for most of the military voices. Jules Feiffer himself did the shouting sergeant over the opening and closing titles.  My then wife, Marie performed the voice of a little girl and also Munro’s mother, and our then 3-year-old son Seth voiced 4-year-old Munro.

Howard Morris did all the rest: the narrator, the doctors, the drill sergeants, psychiatrist, chaplain. colonels, and general, all perfect and hilarious performances!  He also did some wild voicings on my first Tom & Jerry cartoon.

Carl Reiner did the splendid Fake-French on my Rembrandt Films short, ANATOLE. Both these guys were masters of dialect, hokey, but always right on target and funny.

I salute them both for adding their class-acts to my modest little films, and additionally for becoming my friends.  Both were terrific guys.  Howard didn’t really need those Elevator shoes, and Carl didn’t need that wig he wore on camera.   I once had gorgeous wavy hair, but am now OK with being bald.  Carl looked fine bald. I know he went on TV later without the wig, but I never saw it, as I moved away from Prime-Time American TV in 1960.  I don’t know if either of these two talent-heavy gents ever gave a thought to how much they added to my own standing as an animation director.  My credit is that I was bright enough to choose them.

Carl Reiner with wig on “Your Show of Shows,” mid-1950s.

Carl Reiner as he narrated our film, ANATOLE.

Howard Morris, 1959, when he did voices for our MUNRO film.

2 thoughts on “28. Howard Morris & Carl Reiner

  1. Your Show Of Shows was a work of several geniuses, but some credit should be given to Saturday Night Live, running many decades longer than the Caesar show, and with the same limitations as any live show from the 50’s.

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