As always, the further we go back in Hollywood history, the more that fact and legend become intertwined. It's hard to say where the truth really lies.
While David Niven was introducing Elizabeth Taylor to present the award for Best Picture, a streaker named Robert Opel ran out from backstage, causing spontaneous laughter. David Niven tookcontrol of the situation by saying, “Isn't it fascinating to think that probably the only laugh that man will ever get in his life is by stripping off and showing his shortcomings?”
The variety show was well known for its censorship battles with the network. The network executives often objected to the brothers' selection of controversial, outspoken, left wing, and antiwar guests, including:
Harry Belafonte was scheduled to do a calypso song called "Don't Stop the Carnival" with images from the riots at the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention behind him. The Song was cut and the time was sold to the Nixon campaign but can now be seen on the season 3 DVD.
Leigh French created the recurring hippie character, Goldie O'Keefe, whose parody of afternoon advice shows for housewives, "Share a Little Tea with Goldie," was actually one long celebration of mind-altering drugs. (Tea" was a counter culture code word for marijuana, but the CBS censors seemed to be unaware of the connection). Goldie would open her sketches with, "Hi(gh)– and glad of it!"
Almost 40 Years later (Sunday, September 21st 2008) during the live television broadcast of the 60th Annual Emmy Awards, Tom Smothers received an Emmy acknowledging his contributions as a writer on “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour”. Steve Martin, who was one of the Emmy winning writers on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, presented Tom with a commemorative Emmy acknowledging his role in the writing of a variety show.
The show ran until 1958 and was revived for one year in 1963. For the first year, each film was only 15 minutes long, but later the time slot expanded to 30 minutes. Jane Wyman, who was married to Ronald Reagan between 1940 and 1948, served as host from 1955 to 1958 and during the 1963 revival.