Category Archives: General

THE SMOTHERS BROTHERS COMEDY HOUR

           Before the Colbert Report, before Jon Stewart’s Daily Show, and before Saturday Night Live, as the United States wrenched its socio-political way through the tail end of the Johnson Presidency and the start of Richard M. Nixon’s term in office, there aired a prime time comedy/variety show that grabbed the rug under this country’s status quo and gave it a firm, playful tug.  The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour wasn’t enough of a tug to cause a bone-breaking fall, but it was enough to rock its balance.

            And rock, it did.  In 1967, Tom and Dick Smothers were a couple of clean cut young men noted for their comedy/folk song stand up routines, so CBS felt safe in signing them into a slot opposite NBC’s wildly popular Western, Bonanza.  With writers such as Steve Martin, Rob Reiner and Roger Mason and top quality guests such as The Doors, The Beatles, Jefferson Airplane, Harry Nilsson, Jonathan Winters, Liberace, Judy Collins and Donovan; The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour proved to be far more popular than CBS believed it would be, and continued through the spring of 1969.

The Smothers Brothers surprised CBS in other ways too.  Back in those days, it was rare to see African American musicians perform on prime time television.  Racial segregation was enforced in the US Southern States until 1965 and the civil rights movement battled to protect people of color all through the 1960s.  Against CBS’ counsel, the Smothers Brothers repeatedly featured black artists such as the Ike and Tina Turner Review, Ray Charles, Harry Belafonte and Nancy Wilson.  The Smothers Brothers regularly challenged bigotry, closed mindedness, the Vietnam War and underfunding for education.  They passionately supported comedian Pat Paulson’s 1968 Presidential bid.

Censorship was a constant challenge for the Smothers Brothers.  As a child, I remember my family gathering in the living room to watch their comedy hour.  We would be enjoying one of David Steinberg or Pat Paulsen’s stand up performances, only to hear it interrupted by a blaring “be-e-ep.”  I’d turn to my Dad, who would roll his eyes and mutter, “Nixon” under his breath.  These comedians weren’t censored due to swearing—but due to their political and social commentary.

The Smothers Brothers, their guests and writers fought back against the CBS censors.  Roger Mason, the show’s lead writer and composer and performer of the instrumental hit Classical Gas, recited his poem The Censor on the show, sitting on a stool, cradling his guitar and pointing a pair of scissors directly at the camera.

In the monologue that led CBS to cancel the program, David Steinberg discussed the Biblical story of Jonah.  He said, “as they have been known to do from time to time, the Gentiles grabbed the Jew by the Old Testament and threw him off the boat.”  This thinly veiled double-barreled reference to male genitalia and historical persecution of the Jews during prime time was the final straw for CBS.  That episode did not air, and the Smothers Brothers show was canceled.

If you would like to see that and some of the other fine (uncensored) episodes from the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour’s third and final season, just come to the Sueltenfuss Library where you can check out the four volume DVD set, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, PN1992.8.C66 S66 2008.  You will not only be entertained, but you’ll truly taste the flavor of the 1960s.

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IS Lab Closed Friday

The computer lab on the 2nd floor of the library will be closed all day Friday, July 2, 2010 for maintenance.  Please use the 24 hour lab on the 1st floor of the library.

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ALA’s GLBT Round Table Announces new Over the Rainbow Committee

The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Round Table of the American Library Association announces the establishment of the Over the Rainbow Committee that is charged with creating an annual bibliography of titles of interest to adult and young adult readers that reflect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer experiences.  The first ALA Over the Rainbow books list will be announced in January, 2011.  The committee is currently seeking titles for the 2010 list.  Titles considered for inclusion must:

  • have been published between July, 2009 and December, 2010
  • be suitable for adult and young adult readers
  • show a positive view toward the LGBTQ community through the events and people in the book, whether fiction or nonfiction
  • provide significant LGBTQ content, although the primary focus of the book need not be LGBTQ
  • be of sufficiently high quality that the Over the Rainbow Committee can endorse

The ALA Over the Rainbow lists will provide communities with guidance in selecting commendable books that reflect LGBTQ experiences.  Many LGBTQ titles remain hidden from readers because they are not identified by subject headings and/or the LGBTQ content is excluded from publisher information.  This annual annotated bibliography of commendable books developed by library professionals will help librarians, bookstore managers and readers identify LGBTQ books worthy of a wide audience.

For more information, please visit the website at http://alaovertherainbow.wordpress.com  Check out the following titles  that were found by the ALA Rainbow Project to be exceptional and highly recommended as well as other titles recommended by readers throughout the United States:

* How Beautiful the Ordinary: Twelve Stories of Identity. Ed. Michael Cart. 2009. 350p. HarperTeen/HarperCollins, $16.99. (9780061154980). Gr. 9+. The tales in this collection present not only the variety of identities in the LGBTQ community—transgendered, lesbian, bisexual, questioning, and gay—but also the variety of experiences of being human—love, regret, betrayal, discovery. (Note: As an ALA Rainbow Project committee member, Michael Cart recused himself from all discussion.)

* Lo, Malinda. Ash. 2009. 264p. Little Brown/Hachette Book Group, $16.99. (9780316040099). Gr. 8+. Torn between her emerging love for the King’s mysterious huntress and the ethereal draw of the world of the fairies, Ash discovers the strength of her own identity.

* Urrea, Luis Alberto. Into the Beautiful North. 2009. 342p. Little, Brown, $24.99. (9780316025270). Gr. 9+. When all the young men and fathers leave the bucolic Sinaloa village of Tres Camarones to find jobs in the United States, three young women and their gay friend Tacho sneak across the border to recruit seven police officers and soldiers (the Magnificent Seven!) who will return home and rescue them from the drug-dealing banditos who threaten their good life.

Submit your recommendations to the Over the Rainbow committee by visiting their webpage at

http://alaovertherainbow.wordpress.com

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Presidential Proclamation–Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month – May 28, 2010

“As Americans, it is our birthright that all people are created equal and deserve the same rights, privileges, and opportunities.  Since our earliest days of independence, our Nation has striven to fulfill that promise.  An important chapter in our great, unfinished story is the movement for fairness and equality on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.  This month, as we recognize the immeasurable contributions of LGBT Americans, we renew our commitment to the struggle for equal rights for LGBT Americans and to ending prejudice and injustice wherever it exists.

 LGBT Americans have enriched and strengthened the fabric of our national life.  From business leaders and professors to athletes and first responders, LGBT individuals have achieved success and prominence in every discipline.  They are our mothers and fathers, our sons and daughters, and our friends and neighbors.  Across my Administration, openly LGBT employees are serving at every level.  Thanks to those who came before us the brave men and women who marched, stood up to injustice, and brought change through acts of compassion or defiance    we have made enormous progress and continue to strive for a more perfect union.”

(For the full text of the Presidential Proclamation, visit

 http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/presidential-proclamation-lesbian-gay-bisexual-and-transgender-pride-month

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Sirsi to be down Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Sueltenfuss Library Catalog for books and media will be down on Tuesday, May 18th for maintenance.

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Off campus access to Gale Literary Database

Some users are experiencing issues accessing Gale Literary Database from off campus. The library is currently working to resolve this issue. If you have any questions please call 210-431-3923 or email library@lake.ollusa.edu

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Women’s History Month

In commemoration of Women’s History Month, Sueltenfuss Library has dedicated a display about Sr. Elizabeth Anne Sueltenfuss. The display is located on the 2nd floor of the library. View a slideshow of Sr. Elizabeth Anne Sueltenfuss here.

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