John Candy and Cast Lampooning Leave It To Beaver
Canada’s SCTV (Second City Television) was one of the most brilliant comedy sketch shows ever created. The ensemble cast featured John Candy, Robin Duke, Joe Flaherty, Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, Rick Moranis, Catherine O’Hara, Tony Rosato, Martin Short and Dave Thomas.
Early in the series, actor, writer and director Harold Ramis was also a major contributor to the show. Harold Ramis wrote and sometimes appeared in many of SCTV’s bizarre scenarios. Ramis appears in the sketch below as Whitey.
Ramis would go on to do Animal House, Ghostbusters, Caddyshack helping to shape modern comedy.
Airing weekly on late night television from 1976 -1984, the show never achieved critical mass appeal but had a strong cult following.
Having been off the air for nearly 30 years most people under the age of 35 have never seen or heard of SCTV. That’s a shame. Because even though there are some obscure references to celebrities, shows and movies of the past, the comedy holds up pretty well today.
Deadpan and Over The Top Comedy
Here is a sample of one of the funnier sketches from 1977. It’s a take-off of the stereotypical 1950’s All-American family TV show Leave It To Beaver. John Candy plays “The Beaver” in Leave It To Beaver 25th Anniversary Party.
For those who want to experience SCTV, seasons 4 & 5 which aired on NBC are available on DVD. A best-of DVD featuring episodes from seasons 2 and 3 is available as well. The remaining episodes and seasons have never been released.
SCTV is not for everyone. If you like Monty Python’s Flying Circus and The Marx Brothers – it’s a good bet you’ll like SCTV. As the one commenter on Youtube says, “There are 2 types of people in the world. People who understand and appreciate SCTV’s humor, and those who are utterly stupid morons.”
UPDATE 4/19/13 – Actor Frank Bank who portrayed Lumpy Rutherford on Leave It To Beaver just passed away at the age of 71 on April 13, 2013 – not as Catherine O’Hara says on the SCTV video, “Lumpy died 7 years ago when he jumped in front of that train.”