Program Details

Sid Caesar: The Rubber-Faced Ruler of Live Television Comedy - Boca Raton

Paul Offenkrantz
Video Catch-up

Course Description

Sid Caesar wanted to be a musician and began his career playing saxophone at resorts in the Catskills. It was only during his service in the Coast Guard (where he was stationed in Palm Beach!) that his comedic talents were discovered in a revue called "Tar and Spars." With the guidance of producer Max Liebman, Caesar turned his gifts for imitating languages, improvisation, and facial contortions into stardom with "Your Show of Shows." Co-starring Imogene Coca, Reiner, and Howard Morris, the show was a ratings juggernaut watched by almost 60 million Americans every week. After several years, NBC revamped the show into "Caesar's Hour," which also had a good run. Tastes began to change, and Sid Caesar fell into obscurity. Although he never really made a "comeback" Caesar was cast in several supporting and cameo roles in several films. This lecture will focus on Caesar's unique comedic gifts as seen in rare archival video footage.

About the Instructor

  • Paul Offenkrantz, D.M., a graduate of Oberlin College, attended the Yale School of Music and earned a Master of Sacred Music from Hebrew Union College, where he was also ordained as a cantor. In his distinguished career, he has served communities in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and West Palm Beach. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Hebrew Union College and received rabbinic ordination from The Jewish Spiritual Leaders Institute. He began singing professionally on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera at the age of nine and appeared in over 30 different operas at the MET over the course of five seasons. He has worked with Leonard Bernstein, Richard Tucker, Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Jerome Robbins, George Balanchine, and many other important artists. He concertizes and lectures extensively throughout South Florida and is also an adjunct professor of Music History at the Conservatory of Music at Lynn University.