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Martin Name-Checks Closed Captioners

September 22, 2008 1:38 PM

Steve Martin

Steve Martin

In one of the highlights of “The 60th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards,” Steve Martin presented a commemorative Emmy for writing to right a wrong he felt had been done 40 years ago to Tommy Smothers, “one of my comedy heroes.”

Mr. Smothers and his brother, Dick, fronted “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” a controversial and ahead-of-its-time CBS program that suffused variety elements with political humor that ultimately got the show canceled.

Mr. Martin, who had been hired as a writer for the show in 1967, recalled that Tommy Smothers, fearing his name would be a lightning rod, had removed his name from the list of writers who won an Emmy in 1968.

“His passion and his intelligence guided us writers, resulting in a controversial show that was perspicacious, multifarious and only sometimes placatory,” Mr. Martin said. “And believe me, I only use those words to see how closed-captioning will spell them.”

The closed-captioner didn’t even attempt “perspicacious,” and rendered “multifarious” as “multifair yus” and “placatory” as “placatory.”

That’s TelevisionWeek’s spell check for Mr. Martin.

—Michele Greppi

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