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In this interview Carol Channing discusses her work as artist: comedic timing; live/club performing; her connection with the audience as a performer; theater as a "spiritual world"; the concept of "opening nights"; creation of Mehitabel's (alley cat) voice; "Lorelei", and her ability deliver comedic characterizations and impersonations (such as Marlene Dietrich, Sophie Tucker, and Cecilia Sisson). Included in this interview are excerpts from the "Little Girl from Little Rock", "Madeline and Other Bemelmans", "Shinbone Alley".
Del Close discusses hipsters, what is hip, and comedy. Includes a clip of Del Close and his colleague John Brent from the beatnik satire "How to Speak Hip".
Humorist and commentator Mort Sahl talks with Studs Terkel on the roof of Sahl’s Chicago hotel. The two briefly discuss Lenny Bruce’s legacy, but Sahl is quick to discuss a topic he brings up frequently in this interview: American’s criticism of “paranoia” and the U.S. government’s power to persuade. Sahl criticizes his young audiences for being uneducated and discuss the United State’s involvement in the Vietnam War. He also speaks briefly on liberals in Chicago, calling them weak for supporting Daley.
Jean Shepherd discusses his book "In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash". Includes earlier clip of Jean Shepherd talking in the beginning. Includes excerpts of Jean Shepherd and Studs Terkel reading from Shepherd's book.
Comedian and actor Bob Newhart discusses his career and his life before becoming a comedian; excerpt from his stand-up performance is played.
Cole Porter biographer Robert Kimball talks with Studs about his book "Cole" and his subject's life and work as they listen to classic performances of some of his most beloved songs. They marvel at how Porter perfectly captured the zeitgeist of the times in his lyrics, his lyrical influences, his unique method of outside-in composing lyrics and music simultaneously, Bobby Short's masterful interpretations, controversies over some of his works, and how well his material holds up.
Brick Top discusses her career, her colleagues, and the jazz scene.
Norman Wallace discusses his music career. Norman Wallace discusses his occupations as a pianist and a songwriter.
Woody Allen discusses his life and art, the influence of both success and failure on his work, and how he finds comedy in life’s difficulties and trials. He discusses his first screenplay, “What’s Up Pussycat?” and other comedians who have influenced the development of his own comedic work, including Mort Sahl, Charlie Chaplin, the Marx Brothers, and George S. Kaufman.
Carol Channing discusses the following with Studs Terkel: her early career; her growth as actor/comedian; her approach to her work; her performance in "Lorelei" as Lorelei; her performance in "Wonderful Town" as Ruth; the job of the understudy; and breaking performance barriers and type casting.
Peter Cook and Dudley Moore talk about acting, comedy and their show "Good Evening," a two man sketch comedy show. .
Lillian Smith excerpt opens the program.