Scripts, notes, photos, film, correspondence and other numerous other artifacts of the late Carl Reiner – some stretching back to Your Show of Shows, The Dick Van Dyke Show and earlier – have been donated by Reiner’s family to the National Comedy Center where a new multi-media exhibit on the comedy icon is planned for 2022.
The National Comedy Center, located in Jamestown, New York, also announced that the organization’s archive department will be renamed The Carl Reiner Department of Archives and Preservation. Reiner was a founding Advisory Board member for the Comedy Center.
“People called our father a comic genius, and his gift was his ability to transform discomfort or pain into pleasure and fun,” said Reiner’s children Annie, Lucas Reiner and filmmaker Rob Reiner in a statement. “His humor made people feel good, starting with those of us around him, and then pretty much the whole world. He would be so thrilled to know that the National Comedy Center’s archives department is being named for him and that his work will be preserved there, that he would jump in the air, do a scissor kick and sing La Donna e Mobile at the top of his lungs.”
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According to the Comedy Center, The Carl Reiner Archives include thousands of pages of creative papers and business correspondence, unpublished comedy material, rare photographs, film footage and audio recordings from his personal and professional life. Also included are his industry awards, including his Emmys and Mark Twain Prize, early drafts and final scripts written by Reiner throughout his career with his handwritten annotations and his film screenplays.
Also included in the donation are the chairs and TV trays used for years by Reiner and best friend Mel Brooks as they ate dinner while watching television for years, up to the time of Reiner’s death in June, 2020.
“There will never be another Carl Reiner,” Brooks said in a statement. “I loved him from the moment we first met. I’m thrilled that the National Comedy Center will be preserving Carl’s archives and naming its archives and preservation department in his honor – because no one deserves it more than my best friend. Carl’s comedy was timeless and now his name will live on for generations with this wonderful tribute.”
National Comedy Center Executive Director Journey Gunderson called Reiner’s comedy legacy “unmatched,” adding, “We are proud that our nation’s first cultural institution dedicated to comedy developed and opened with Carl Reiner’s blessing, and we are honored that his legacy will live on as an enduring anchor of the National Comedy Center’s work.”
“Carl Reiner was a true genius and the finest human being that I’ve ever known,” said Dick Van Dyke. “I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this tremendous honor from the National Comedy Center. Carl deserves to be celebrated every day, and now, he will be, within the halls of this museum dedicated to the art form that Carl loved most – comedy.”
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