- Jul 2020
Here's Sid Caesar's Wikipedia page. From it:
Isaac Sidney Caesar (September 8, 1922 – February 12, 2014) was an American comic actor and writer, best known for two pioneering 1950s live television series: Your Show of Shows, which was a 90-minute weekly show watched by 60 million people, and its successor, Caesar's Hour, both of which influenced later generations of comedians. Your Show of Shows and its cast received seven Emmy nominations between the years 1953 and 1954 and tallied two wins. He also acted in movies; he played Coach Calhoun in Grease (1978) and its sequel Grease 2 (1982) and appeared in the films It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), Silent Movie (1976), History of the World, Part I (1981), Cannonball Run II (1984), and Vegas Vacation (1997).
Caesar was considered a "sketch comic" and actor, as opposed to a stand-up comedian. He also relied more on body language, accents, and facial contortions than simply dialogue. Unlike the slapstick comedy which was standard on TV, his style was considered "avant garde" in the 1950s. He conjured up ideas and scene and used writers to flesh out the concept and create the dialogue. Among the writers who wrote for Caesar early in their careers were Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Larry Gelbart, Carl Reiner, Michael Stewart, Mel Tolkin, Selma Diamond, and Woody Allen. "Sid's was the show to which all comedy writers aspired. It was the place to be," said Steve Allen.
Your Show Of Shows
From the Wikipedia page:
Your Show of Shows is a live 90-minute variety show that was broadcast weekly in the United States on NBC from February 25, 1950, through June 5, 1954, featuring Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca. Other featured performers were Carl Reiner, Howard Morris, Bill Hayes, baritone Jack Russell (singer), Judy Johnson, The Hamilton Trio and the soprano Marguerite Piazza. José Ferrer made several guest appearances on the series.
In 2002, Your Show of Shows was ranked #30 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time. In 2013, it was ranked #37 on TV Guide's 60 Best Series of All Time.
In 2013, Your Show of Shows was ranked #10 on Entertainment Weekly’s Top 100 Greatest TV Shows of All Time.
- Dec 2019
Cæsar would have spared his country
Shelley refers to Julius Caesar's empire-building through his military campaigns. According to Enlightenment historians, his conquests provoked a political crisis in Rome, and Caesar's assassination in 44 BCE marked the end of a more peaceful Roman Republic and the beginning of its Empire. Romantic liberals like the Shelleys, Leigh Hunt, and Lord Byron idealized the republic as a political form and set it against militaristic empire building. However, Mary Shelley is original in associating "domestic affections" with the idea of a republic based on reason.
- Jun 2017
These growing feathers pluck’d from Caesar’s wing Will make him fly an ordinary pitch, Who else would soar above the view of men, And keep us all in servile fearfulness.
Shakespeare utilises this extended metaphor to highlight the apprehensive sentiment that many higher class Romans had towards the newfound power Caesar had gained, and the upper class' incredulity of Caesar’s overwhelming support with the plebeians. In context, this scene is a dialogue between two Tribunes, Flavius and Murellus, with them fearing the ever-increasing power and arrogance of Caesar, and their concern that the blind worship of him would elevate Caesar to an untouchable god-status.
They discuss about plucking the feathers from Caesar’s wing to make him fly an ordinary pitch, which is to tow Caesar back from the lofty status of power he has assumed. In this scene, they disrobe the lavish ornaments placed on the monuments of Caesar in an attempt to bring Caesar down to the level of an ordinary man, and in a bid to remove the perception of a deity the plebeians had towards Caesar. The uneasiness they had was that if they did not bring Caesar down, he would ‘soar above the view of men’, and would rule over the people by keeping them in a subservient status.
It is debatable whether or not the Tribunes and Senators who were against Caesar did so in fear of him gaining too much power, or if they were against him to further their own ambitions and desires. However, this scene helps foreshadow the further conflicts that will occur, and helps define the higher classes and their viewpoints. In fact, in Act1 Scene2, it is stated that Murellus and Flavius were put to silence for defacing Caesar’s images, which helps solidify the concerns of many Romans as to whether or not Caesar’s rule would be dictatorial.
Go you down that way towards the Capitol; This way will I. Disrobe the images, If you do find them deck’d with ceremonies.
Although he is not tangibly introduced until the next scene, the audience is already presented with a fairly clear characterisation of Julius Caesar. However, Caesar's exact nature is determined through two juxtaposing attitudes towards the Empire.
The Roman common-folk praise the defeat of Pompey, in fact making a "holiday to see Caesar and to rejoice in his triumph." On the contrary, the noble classes express a more pessimistic attitude; Flavius cautions that the new leader will "soar above the view of men, and keep us all in servile fearfulness."
The tribunes believe that Caesar's power is too great for one man, and that his rise as Emperor will lead to the downfall of Rome. It is also a valid argument to say that they envy Caesar's might, especially since Flavius and Murellus are to lose an element of their own authority.
After commanding the people to weep for the coming events, Flavius and Murellus leave to "disrobe the images" of Caesar. This metaphor refers to removing the decorations off Caesar's statues, a crime which they are later punished for. The desperation of such an act is an indication of how strongly Caesar is feared and detested by the noblemen.
This scene leaves the audience with a preconceived image of Caesar as ambitious, influential and excessively powerful. The loathing of Flavius and Murellus towards the new Emperor foreshadow the upcoming conspiracy and the ultimate demise of Caesar.