Sheldon Bernard "Shelly" Keller (August 20, 1923 – September 1, 2008) was an American screenwriter and composer.
Keller was born in Chicago and attended University of Illinois, where he began writing comedy with his fraternity brother Allan Sherman. He served in the Pacific Theater with the United States Army Signal Corps during World War II.
After the war, Keller came home and married Bernice "Bitsy" Berkowitz. They had two children, Casey and Jamie. In 1951, he borrowed $500 from his father-in-law and moved the family to New York hoping to become an entertainer and comedian. He soon began writing for television.
On Caesar's Hour , starring Sid Caesar, Keller worked with notable writers Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Selma Diamond, Larry Gelbart, Mel Tolkin, Michael Stewart and Gary Belkin. In 1956, 1957 and 1958 the show was nominated for Emmy Award for Best Comedy Writing – Variety or Situation Comedy.
Keller also wrote several episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show and M*A*S*H , including "For Want of a Boot" and "The Chosen People". His notable screenplays include Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell (written with Melvin Frank and Denis Norden), which would later become the inspiration for the stage and film musical Mamma Mia!
Keller co-wrote the 1979 film Movie Movie with Gelbart, winning the WGA Award for Best Comedy Written Directly for the Screen. He also wrote the 1973 crime film Cleopatra Jones (with Max Julien).
Keller wrote television specials for Frank Sinatra, Danny Kaye and Carol Channing, winning a 1966 Emmy Award with Hal Goldman and Al Gordon for writing An Evening With Carol Channing.
In the early 1980s, as his writing career was winding down, Keller formed the Beverly Hills Unlisted Jazz Band with friends Conrad Janis and George Segal. Their mix of jazz and comedy made them popular enough to play at Carnegie Hall and on The Tonight Show and led to their own PBS special in 1993, "This Joint Is Jumpin'".
In later life, Keller collaborated with his friend Howard Albrecht on Funny Stuff, a newsletter of jokes for radio DJs and public speakers. Keller died at his home in Valencia, Santa Clarita, California, from complications of Alzheimer's disease.
Mel Brooks is an American actor, comedian, director, producer and screenwriter. He is known as a creator of broad film farces and comedic parodies. Brooks began his career as a comic and a writer for Sid Caesar's variety show Your Show of Shows (1950–1954) alongside Woody Allen, Neil Simon, and Larry Gelbart. Together with Carl Reiner, he created the comic character The 2000 Year Old Man. He wrote, with Buck Henry, the hit television comedy series Get Smart, which ran from 1965 to 1970.
Larry Simon Gelbart was an American television writer, playwright, screenwriter, director and author, most famous as a creator and producer of the television series M*A*S*H, and as co-writer of the Broadway musicals A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and City of Angels.
Carl Reiner was an American actor, comedian, director, screenwriter, and author whose career spanned seven decades. During the early years of television comedy from 1950 to 1957, he acted on and contributed sketch material for Your Show of Shows and Caesar's Hour, starring Sid Caesar, writing alongside Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, and Woody Allen. Reiner teamed up with Brooks and together they released several iconic comedy albums beginning with 2000 Years with Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks (1960). Reiner was best known as the creator and producer of, and a writer and actor on The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961–1965).
The Dick Van Dyke Show is an American television sitcom that initially aired on CBS from October 3, 1961, to June 1, 1966, with a total of 158 half-hour episodes spanning five seasons. It was produced by Calvada Productions in association with the CBS Television Network; it was shot at Desilu Studios. The show was created by Carl Reiner and starred Dick Van Dyke, Rose Marie, Morey Amsterdam, Larry Mathews, and Mary Tyler Moore. It centered on the work and home life of television comedy writer Rob Petrie. The show was produced by Reiner with Bill Persky and Sam Denoff. The music for the show's theme song was written by Earle Hagen.
Isaac Sidney Caesar was an American comic actor and writer. With a career spanning 60 years, he was best known for two pioneering 1950s live television series: Your Show of Shows (1950-1954), which was a 90 minute weekly show watched by 60 million people and its successor, Caesar's Hour (1954-1957), both of which influenced later generations of comedians Your Show of Shows and its cast received seven Emmy nominations between the years 1953 and 1954 and tallied two wins. He also acted in movies; he played Coach Calhoun in Grease (1978) and its sequel Grease 2 (1982) and appeared in the films It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), Silent Movie (1976), History of the World, Part I (1981), Cannonball Run II (1984), and Vegas Vacation (1997).
Your Show of Shows is a live 90-minute variety show that was broadcast weekly in the United States on NBC from February 25, 1950, through June 5, 1954, featuring Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca. Other featured performers were Carl Reiner, Howard Morris, Bill Hayes, baritone singer Jack Russell, Judy Johnson, The Hamilton Trio and the soprano Marguerite Piazza. José Ferrer made several guest appearances on the series.
Denis Mostyn Norden was an English comedy writer and television presenter. After an early career working in cinemas, he began scriptwriting during the Second World War. From 1948 to 1959, he co-wrote the BBC Radio comedy programme Take it from Here! with Frank Muir. Muir and Norden remained associated for more than 50 years, appearing regularly together on the radio panel programmes My Word! and My Music after they stopped collaborating on scripts. He also wrote scripts for Hollywood films. He presented television programmes on ITV for many years, including the nostalgia quiz Looks Familiar and blooper shows It'll be Alright on the Night and Laughter File.
The Writers Guild of America Awards is an award for film, television, radio, and from 2008–2019, video game writing, including both fiction and non-fiction categories given by the Writers Guild of America, East and Writers Guild of America West since 1949. In 2004, the awards show was broadcast on television for the first time.
Howard Jerome Morris was an American actor, comedian, and director who was best known for his role in The Andy Griffith Show as Ernest T. Bass, and as "Uncle Goopy" in a celebrated comedy sketch on Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows (1954). He also did some voices for TV shows such as The Flintstones (1962-1965), The Jetsons (1962-1987), The Atom Ant Show (1965-1966), and Garfield and Friends (1988-1994).
Melvin Frank was an American screenwriter, film producer and film director. He is known for his partnership with Norman Panama and their work on films such as Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948), White Christmas (1954), and The Court Jester (1956). He also directed films such as Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell and A Touch of Class (1973).
Laughter on the 23rd Floor is a 1993 play by Neil Simon. It focuses on the star and writers of a TV comedy-variety show in the 1950s, inspired by Simon's own early career experience as a junior writer for Your Show of Shows and Caesar's Hour.
Caesar's Hour is a live, hour-long American sketch-comedy television program that aired on NBC from 1954 until 1957. The program starred, among others, Sid Caesar, Nanette Fabray, Carl Reiner, Howard Morris, Janet Blair, and Milt Kamen, and featured a number of cameo roles by famous entertainers such as Joan Crawford and Peggy Lee.
William E. Richmond was an American film and television comedy writer and producer, as well as a musician, actor and composer. He co-wrote the screenplays to numerous popular films that starred Jerry Lewis. These films included The Nutty Professor, The Errand Boy and The Ladies Man. He also made cameo appearances in some of Lewis' films as well, such as a piano player in The Patsy. Later in his career, he wrote and/or produced for numerous television shows, including Laugh-in, Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color, The Carol Burnett Show, I Dream of Jeannie, Welcome Back Kotter, Three's Company, The John Larroquette Show, Wizards and Warriors, All in the Family, Blossom and Kate & Allie.
Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell is a 1968 Technicolor American comedy film starring Gina Lollobrigida, and directed by Melvin Frank, who co-wrote the original screenplay with Denis Norden and Sheldon Keller.
Mel Tolkin, né Shmuel Tolchinsky, was a television comedy writer best known as head writer of the live sketch comedy series Your Show of Shows during the Golden Age of Television. There he presided over a staff that at times included Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, and Danny Simon. The writers' room inspired the film My Favorite Year (1982), produced by Brooks, and the Broadway play Laughter on the 23rd Floor (1993), written by Neil Simon.
Peter James Tolan III is an American television producer, director, and screenwriter.
Bob Weiskopf was an American screenwriter and producer for television. He has credits for I Love Lucy which he and his writing partner Bob Schiller joined in the fifth season. They also wrote for The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, The Lucy Show, Maude, All in the Family, Archie Bunker's Place, The Red Skelton Show, the short-lived Pete and Gladys, and Sanford.
Ron Clark is an American playwright and screenwriter. He is best known for several plays that he co-wrote with Sam Bobrick and for co-writing the screenplays for the films Silent Movie, High Anxiety, and Life Stinks with Mel Brooks.
Clark Jones was an American television director. He gained acclaim in the early days of television as a director of live programming.
Woody Allen: A Documentary is a 2011 documentary television miniseries directed by Robert B. Weide about the comedian, and filmmaker Woody Allen. The documentary series premiered as part of the American Masters series PBS. The film covers his career as a standup comedian, sitcom writer, film director, and film auteur. The series received two Primetime Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Documentary Series and Directing for a Documentary Program for Robert B. Weide.