Carol Burnett, Bob Mackie … and Me

Photo, Lauren Hagerstrom

For me, as a young kid wanting to be a designer, nobody had more fun than I did doing that kind of a show, a weekly show, like that. Where we could be glamorous one moment, horrible the next. It was just crazy. It was crazy and I loved it.‘ ~ Bob Mackie

To be on the Carol Burnett Show wearing a Bob Mackie gown that was all wall-to-wall sequins, and the sequins were done in copper; it was just extraordinary. I thought it was a spectacular gown.” ~ Rita Moreno

This week I watched the Carol Burnett 50th Anniversary Special and the memories and the laughter came flooding back. I had a love affair with Carol Burnett and especially with her variety show, which ran for 11 years, from 1967 – 1978. I would watch the show religiously every weekend – for the sketches, the laughter, the camaraderie among the cast, and … for the costumes. Bob Mackie was the costume designer for the Carol Burnett Show and for other shows at that time, including The Sonny and Cher Show. For Carol Burnett, Mackie designed not only Burnett’s costumes, he designed the entire show’s costumes – every costume, every week; from the costumes for the dancers, to the secondary actors, to the lead actors. Every sketch, every scene – Mackie designed them all. My favorite of his creations was Mrs. Wiggins, the ditzy secretary to Mr. Tudball. And perhaps Mackie’s most memorable costume? Carol Burnett dressed in velvet drapery for the Went With the Wind sketch. Says Bob Mackie – when Burnett came down the stairs and the audience saw her for the first time: “I never heard laughter like that in my life … it just made people laugh and it still does. Every time I talk to anybody, they bring up this silly curtain-rod outfit with the velvet drapes attached to it .. it will be on my tombstone one day.”

Bob Mackie was a gifted designer and I loved seeing it all! Carol Burnett, Bob Mackie … and me. Continue reading

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