Friday, July 24, 2009

Tim Conway, "Hollywood Palace," Parma

The Tim Conway DVD pictured left has been available for several years, and will be part of a "Comic Legends" DVD box being released on Tuesday. The Conway disc, at least, consists of his appearances on "The Hollywood Palace," a star-laden variety show which aired on ABC from 1964 to 1970.

The sketches on the disc are so-so for the most part, although they do feature Conway's Cleveland-originated bumbler Dag Herford, you do get another look at Conway's taking comic wing and cracking up people on the air; "Fugitive" star David Janssen almost collapses, he is laughing so hard at Conway. (One classic, later example of Conway's gift is of this:)

But while Tim is a local guy, this blog is more about mentions of NE Ohio onscreen. So we'll get to Parma -- after the jump.

A couple of the sketches on the DVD have Tim working with his old friend Ernie "Ghoulardi" Anderson, who was also in Hollywood by this time, and doing some announcing work on "HP." Tim and Ernie had also worked as a comedy duo, releasing a couple of records of their work. And being in Hollywood didn't make them forget their old homestead. One "Palace" sketch from around 1968 has Tim as Dag, in this case the coach of the Olympic team from the "small European country" of Parma. Conway wears a blue sweatshirt with "Parma" on the front in white letters.

Among other things, the sketch has Parma's national colors as "off cream." It has been placing last in every event it has entered, but the team had been plagued by accidents. The high jumper blew up after carrying the Olympic torch -- and cutting through a gas station. The team has only one uniform, which it passes from one teammate to the other; the system worked pretty well -- except in the relay.

Not that all the jokes are at Parma's expense. With the Olympics set for Mexico City, the team simulated competitive conditions; the team "played guitars and drank bad water."

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