That Was the Week That Was (TV Series 1964–1965) Poster

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That Was the Real Must-See TV
gimhoff30 July 2003
TWTWTW, or TW3, had an astounding and brilliant list of regular, semi-regular, and guest performers who did brief comedic commentary on political topics and current events. But it is best remembered for three performers: its impossibly sophisticated "special correspondent," David Frost, who was introduced to American audiences by this show; the beautiful blonde folk singer, Nancy Ames; and puppeteer Burr Tillstrom, previously known almost solely for the children's show Kukla, Fran, and Ollie, whose innovative "hand ballets" have never been duplicated. For two short seasons, this was real "must-see TV."
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That Was the Week that Was **** Current Events At its Best
edwagreen19 November 2007
A very original, thought provoking show was 1964's was "That Was the Week that Was." It was also referred to as TW3 so as to shorten the title.

The show dealt with political and social commentary on the various news events of the week.

It had a great cast of comedians. Even veteran comedienne Doro Merande was a weekly regular on the shows.

I wonder what this excellent show would be like in today's political world. I guess it would have to kowtow to political correctness.

That Was the Week that Was, Kennedy and Khrushchev Twist. O what a week that was! That was the week that was (2). This would be an example of the opening theme of the show as the cast assembled on stage.

For sure, current events was never like this. Nancy Ames and others were just terrific on this show.

I'd love to see this show make a comeback today.
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Razor-sharp political satire surpassing everything to follow.
gallifreyent10 February 2001
Some of the brightest minds ever in entertainment were gathered for this furiously funny look at the week's news highlights. "TW3" was a cut above SNL's Weekend Updates, racing ahead of "Not Necessarily The News," and nosing out "The Daily Show" as the best of its kind. Fueled by the players in a period of stunning global events, the players managed both biting commentary and lively entertainment. Bring on the re-runs.
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Humor Comes in Many Forms
wayne-4966 March 2008
This show was groundbreaking to the point of undeniably honest presentation of the parodies it performed, allowing the audience an understanding of the set and the presence of makeup and stage hands. Also, memorable for one episode completely lacking humor dedicated to the assassination of JFK. So much of this early experiment in TV Comedy can be interpreted as a framework for more modern shows like SNL, Colbert Report, and the like. The talent was diverse and intelligent. Tom Lehrer and David Frost contributed much to the format. As far as any criticism that may fall on this show, I don't care much for Country Music and my wife can stare at Monty Python for hours without cracking a smile, but that doesn't mean there isn't brilliant talent and huge entertainment value in both of those. TW3 emerged during a time when TV was experimenting with lots techniques and presentation style as well as cutting edge political humor.
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Like Mark Twain and Will Rogers, THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS (TW3 for Short), Kidded Everybody!
redryan6414 June 2007
Political Satire has been a staple of comedy spoofing and sketches as far back as the old Vaudevillians and British Music Hall days. So how come both the Original Series, the BBC version and our own NBC Program lasted only one season each? The show used tons of talented people, both in front of Camera and in the support,behind the scenes-you know the Technical Boys. The Political Slant ran in all different directions, as they kidded anyone and everyone, Dems, Reps, Libs, Conservatives all were fair game.

The show made use of song rather than sketch as the main instrument. That meant writing new, fresh songs weekly, one of which would be hours old before air time! To keep up on the current events and fashion songs to spoof these news stories and at same time, be at least a little humorous to an audience would present a nearly impossible task.

Me thinks that is the reason there was no staying power for this format on either side of the Atlantic. Like a Shooting Star, it burned itself out in a brief moment of History. Oh, but what a moment it was!

NOTE:As far as we can tell, there is no VHS or DVD available that has any of the programs available, neither BBC nor NBC. However one of the writers, former M.I.T. Math Professor, Tom Lehrer, did cut a 33 1/3 rpm Record Album of several of his songs from the series. Titled THAT WAS THE YEAR THAT WAS, it dated back to 1964 and came out the next year. It is now available on both cassette and CD on either Warner Brothers or Reprise Labels. Check it out!
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Milestone in Comedy
takseng26 February 2010
"That Was the Week That Was" first appeared in the US in a special edition that was a memorial to John F Kennedy after his assassination. I believe that was the original British cast, but the show stimulated an enormous amount of interest in what they were doing over there, so an American version appeared the next year.

It was topical. It didn't pull its punches. It was sly, most Americans' introduction to "British Humor," more than a step up from Jerry Lewis, and it moved quickly. Its was urbane, a style that David Frost came to symbolize, although the conspicuous consumption lifestyle he developed was really something else. Perhaps he became what he started out to mock.

It's surprising it's gotten so little attention, as it was widely regarded a direct inspiration for "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In," and it is surely not chance that the decades old American comedy show's weekly announced name isn't "Saturday Night Live," but "Saturday Night." Surely a tip of the hat to TW3's original name.
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I hated it when this went out of our lives.
ducdebrabant4 October 2015
Warning: Spoilers
It's a test of a good sketch comedy show when you have such vivid memories of so many of the sketches. I was only 11, but I remember so much. I recall Doro Merande very fondly, as an aged Rockefeller voter who switches to LBJ when she finds out about Medicare, and as a high fashion maven who tells us the hostess pajamas she's wearing were designed by Frank Lloyd Wright (they looked it) and that she made the mistake of wearing The Robin Hood Look out of the shop "and two women made passes at me." I remember a commentary on the opening of Arthur Miller's controversial play "After the Fall" in the form of Nancy Ames singing new lyrics to "After the Ball." I recall the British Prime Minister Alec Douglas- Home being asked by a reporter about a possible visit of the Queen to the Soviet Union: "Oh yes, we've worked out a wonderful deal with the Russians! We send her there... and they'll send her back." I recall Chiang Kai-Shek telling us about his terrible home life, in which Madame Chiang Kai-Shek nags him every day to invade Red China: "Sometimes I come home and tell her I have invaded Red China... just to get a night's sleep. But the next morning, when she doesn't read anything about it in the newspapers...l" The show was a treasure, and my father was furious when it was canceled. In those days there were only three TV networks (apart from educational TV) and we were so dependent on them for decent programming. When a show like this was canceled, there was nothing like it anyplace else, and it felt like a true tragedy. Dad felt the same way about "The Rogues," the caper series with David Niven, Charles Boyer, Gig Young, Gladys Cooper, and Robert Coote. That was unique too.
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Apparently to far to the left for the right wing
tnsprin-210 August 2003
A great ground breaking show (never got to see the UK version). It got pulled not be course of normal lost or ratings. But after it was preempted for too many weeks by a boring political rally for a party. They used a former hack actor who was rewarded for his work with future political support.
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cmndrnineveh22 October 2006
Balderdash! This show was a complete humbug and was nowhere NEAR as funny as some of you guys remember it! What I remember was a pretentious show with lame, nerdy takes on what was going on around the world, with a very SMUG attitude exhibited by all the players! Especially Nancy Ames, (who hated hippies,) who you say was a FOLK singer??? Heh...I bet she didn't work the coffeehouse circuit much after comments she made on a daytime talk show, (it was either Merv Griffin, Steve Allen or Dick Cavett,) about "those smelly beatniks!" All in all, you're being WAAAYYY too kind to this turkey, which only lasted one year, and rightfully so.
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t_k_matthews5 March 2013
This weekly half-hour was the spiritual predecessor of Weekend Update. The English version had the reputation of being daringly topical and incisive. The American version was, in the well chosen word from the review by cmndrnineveh, smug. Maybe it was simply impossible, in the year after JFK's death, to make fun of the dominant ideology of the time, carried forward by JFK's then-overwhelmingly popular successor and associated with the martyred president. Of course, the sting of satire is most needed when smug assumptions rule political and social discourse. This program, however, often seemed intent on comforting the comfortable. Could a prime time network program slip daggers into the New Frontier and the Great Society in 1964? Not bloody likely.

One saving grace: The great Tom Lehrer wrote some songs for the show which were as keen and merciless as an Hattori Hanzo sword. They were collected in an album called "That Was the Year That Was," which is, I think, still available. Although topically tied to 1964/1965, the songs still cut. If you enjoy satire and you don't know Mr. Lehrer, do yourself a favor.

Oh, I also had a thing for Nancy Ames.
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