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Smothers Brothers to Get VSDA Freedom Award

2 Apr, 2003 By: Brendan Howard

Mom always liked Dick Smothers best, but the Video Software Dealers Association is taking both Smothers Brothers for Home Entertainment 2003 July 29 to31 at The Venetian Resort, Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

The comic duo will receive the "George Carlin Freedom of Expression" award at the show's opening ceremony.

“We are thrilled to be able to recognize the Smothers Brothers' extraordinary comedic gifts and their unfailing support of the First Amendment," said VSDA president Bo Andersen. "The current climate brings to mind the turmoil of the late '60s, when the Smothers Brothers had a hit show on CBS and then suddenly didn't. The popularity of the show and its political edge caused public outrage at its abrupt cancellation. Their successful lawsuit against CBS for breach of contract changed the face of television."

The Smothers Brothers' greatest claim to fame is their CBS TV show, "The Smother Brothers Comedy Hour." The variety show got high ratings, but was abruptly cancelled when the network worried about public response to some of the show's pro-hippie, anti-war comedy skits. The duo then sued CBS for breach of contract and won, a story that's told in the documentary Smothered: The Great Smothers Brothers Censorship Wars, available now from New Video.

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