Mel Brooks, Sid Caesar, Carl Reiner … and WGCU board member Michael Hirsh

On January 24, 1996 at the Writers Guild Theater in Los Angeles, legendary comic Sid Caesar was reunited with nine of his writers from Your Show of Shows and Caesar’s Hour. The event was taped and later broadcast on PBS in the United States, and the BBC in the UK.

Caesar’s Writers makes a comeback Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, at 6:30 pm on WGCU PBS.

Among those funny guys present that day in 1996 were head writer Mel Tolkin, Caesar, Carl Reiner, Aaron Ruben, Larry Gelbart, Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Danny Simon, Sheldon Keller, and Gary Belkin. And someone else was there: Michael Hirsh, a new member of the WGCU Public Media Advisory Board, produced the show, one of many in a multimedia career that has included being a war correspondent and a best-selling author.

“My greatest memory of the show came about six months after we taped it,” Hirsh said recently.

“It still hadn’t yet aired. I had sent all of the panelists a VHS (tape) of the show.  But Mel was in Paris working on a movie and didn’t get it till he came back to LA.

“One day, my phone rings.  A voice says, ‘Mel Brooks for Michael Hirsh’ He gets on the line and sounds like my late grandfather talking to me years ago. In a quiet voice:  ‘Do you know what a good thing you did?  If you hadn’t taped it, that would have been a nice night for 600 people, and it would have been over.’  And he went on and on until I had tears flowing. It was a side of Mel I had never seen before—or after.”

Hirsh now lives in Punta Gorda.

Author: Dayna Harpster