The Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters honored Carl Reiner at their latest awards luncheon. Two chairs were placed on the Sportsmen’s Lodge ballroom stage for the legendary Reiner and his buddy Tom Bergeron. Both captivated the PPB members for almost two hours with their wit and stories before Reiner was presented the coveted Art Gilmore Career Achievement Award from PPB president Chuck Street
The affable Dancing With the Stars host Bergeron “interviewed” his longtime friend using Reiner’s book “I Just Remembered” (a great follow-up to his “I Remember Me” memoir) as a template for the funny and fascinating conversation. Bergeron quipped that when he visits the home of “the man of so many amazing accomplishments, I have to move all his awards out of the way so we have a place to sit and talk.”
Before talking about his life, Reiner mentioned his great admiration for Bergeron, “who I like as much as a hot dog and sauerkraut—and I really love hot dogs with sauerkraut. In fact when I was a kid, and I loved going to school, when I was sick I had to ask myself ‘Am I too sick to eat a hot dog with sauerkraut?’ And if the answer was ‘Yes,’ I knew I was too sick to go to school. So that’s how much I love Tom Bergeron.”
Anecdotes kept flowing from Reiner, the man who has done it all—writer, director, producer, actor, and crazy-legs dancer. There were clips shown reflecting Reiner’s variety as a performer. His wild dance routines showed off the flexibility of an acrobat. Reiner noted he’s still very nimble. Bergeron confirmed it saying, “We both can sit in the yoga lotus position.” Tom, 59, demonstrated it for the crowd. Carl at 92 did not. But Carl said that he remembers getting his first laugh as a limber kid “by putting one leg behind my head and hopping around on one foot.”
Of course there were stories about Sid Caesar, who Carl called “greatest comedy star who ever lived. Your Show of Shows was live television and he was brilliant.” Reiner dispelled the notion that Sid Caesar inspired the egomaniac Alan Brady character he played The Dick Van Dyke Show, which Carl created, produce and wrote. “Everyone has assumed that, but it’s not true. I came up with Alan Brady as a composite of three guys—Jackie Gleason, Milton Berle and Phil Silvers. And Sid knew it wasn’t based on him because he wasn’t an asshole.” The PPB members who worked with Sid Caesar certainly agreed.
After talking about Carl’s TV shows, movies, Broadway, friends, and social activities, Bergeron regrettably had to wrap things up. But before he left, Reiner announced he had a unique gift for the PPB crowd. “I couldn’t give each of you a copy of the book, but I have autographed each page of one book and I have scored and cut the binding of the hardcover to make it easy for each of you to tear out a page and pass it to the next person,” Reiner said offering a personal souvenir to all of the Pacific Pioneer Broadcaster.
The PPB invites all who have worked in broadcasting and related fields to attend their luncheons. Go to www.pacificpioneerbroadcasters.org. #