Carol Burnett is glad she and TV audiences had some time together when they did.
In a speech accepting a new Golden Globe award named in her honor, Burnett talked about the effort it took to put on her variety show that ran for 11 seasons starting in 1967.
“Sometimes I catch myself daydreaming about being young again and doing it all over,” she said. “Then I bring myself up sharp when I realize how incredibly fortunate I was to be there at the right time.”
Burnett, whose trailblazing career spans six decades, said what she and her collaborators did then “could not be done today,” as “the cost alone would be prohibitive.”
A 28-piece orchestra, 12 dancers, and 65 costumes per week did not come cheap, she said.
Burnett dedicated the award to “all those who made my dreams come true and to all those out there who share the love I have for television and who yearn to be part of this unique medium who has been so good to me.”
“I’m just happy our show happened when it did and I can look back and say once more, I’m so glad we had this time together” she said.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced last month it was establishing a new award named for the TV icon.
At the time, the group said The Carol Burnett Award will be given out annually to someone who “has made outstanding contributions to television on or off the screen.”
Burnett is one of the most decorated actors in comedy.
She became a Kennedy Center Honors recipient in 2003, earned the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2013 and received a Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.
The Golden Globes has another special award, the Cecil B. DeMille Award, that has traditionally been awarded to those with achievements in the film industry. This year it went to actor Jeff Bridges.
Oprah Winfrey was last year’s recipient and used the moment to give a rousing speech about gender equality and sexual harassment.
Here’s a transcript of Burnett’s full speech:
My thanks to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. I am really gobsmacked by this. Does this mean i get to accept it every year? You know, my first love growing up was the movies. I’d see as many as six to eight films a week when my grandmother raised me. Later, when I was a teenager, we got ur first television set, and I had a new love. But regardless of the medium, what fascinated me was how the stars of the screen could make people laugh, or cry, or sometimes both. And I hoped that maybe, just maybe, someday I could have the chance to do the same thing. Those childhood dreams came true—sometimes on the big screen, but primarily on television, with a comedy variety show that a century later still connects with people in a way that makes me very proud.
Sometimes I catch myself daydreaming about being young again, and doing it all over, and then I bring myself up short when I realize how incredibly fortunate I was to be there at the right time. Because what we did then, it couldn’t be done today. The cost alone would be prohibitive. 28-piece live orchestra, 12 dancers, average of 65 costumes a week. And there was the brilliance of our repertory players: Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence, Tim Conway, plus two guest stars every week.
I’m so grateful for the chemistry that we had with each other. Great chemistry behind the camera, too, with our producers, our directors, our writers, the cue card guys—we all became one happy family for 11 joy-filled years. And other variety shows of the time just couldn’t see the light of day today. Because the networks just wouldn’t spend the money, and because there are so many cable competitors, they’re not going to take a chance, and I’m sad to say that tonight’s audience might never know what they’re missing. So, here’s to re-runs and YouTube.
What has remained the same is the belief that we’ve been given an opportunity to do something special; we’ve been given a gift, a canvas to paint with our talent. One that can make people laugh or cry—or maybe do both. So this award, oh my gosh, so generously named after me, is dedicated to all of those who made my dreams come true, and who share my love for television, and are part of this unique medium. I’m just happy that our show happened when it did, and that I can look back and say once more, I am so glad we had this time together. Thank you.