43 years ago tonight, on Monday, January 22, 1968 “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” premiered on NBC and it was unlike anything on TV at the time. Most noticeably, the pace of the show was fast and frenetic. TV’s early comedy/variety shows had been rooted in vaudeville and had a more stage-bound presentation. With Executive Producer George Schlatter and comedy duo Dan Rowan and Dick Martin at its helm, “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” became a classic.
This crazy, hip comedy show replaced “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” on NBC’s schedule, and although it was a mid-season replacement it garnered big enough ratings to finish the season ranked 21st in the Nielsen ratings. It would become the number 1 show for the following two seasons, before dropping out if the top 10 for good. By May 1973 “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” was off the air. And you can “look that up in your Funk and Wagnalls.”
It left America with plenty of catchphrases like; “You bet your bippy,” “sock it to me,” “verrrrrrry interesting,” and “look that up in your Funk and Wagnalls.” It also made a star out of Goldie Hawn.
43 years ago “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” shot into America’s consciousness like a rocket and then burned out a little more than 5 years later. Say Goodnight Dick.