By now you probably know that comedian Sid Caesar died Wednesday at the age of 91. But judging by the paper-thin pieces I have been seeing on the Web, I am guessing many readers might not understand how seminal he was to the history of television and sketch comedy. Caesar deserves some cultural context and honor for the fearless and pioneering figure he was.
In his two most important shows, Your Show of Shows, (NBC) 1950-54, and Caesar’s Hour, (NBC) 1954-57, Caesar displayed remarkable skill in pantomime, satire, mimicry, dialect and sketch comedy. And he gathered a stable of young writers who went on to worldwide fame in their own right — including Carl Reiner, Neil Simon, Larry Gelbart and Woody Allen. He was 91.