Mrs. Wiggins

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"Mrs. Wiggins" (also known as "Mr. Tudball and Mrs. Wiggins") is a series of comedy sketches featured on The Carol Burnett Show. It was introduced during the ninth season in 1976 and continued for the remainder of the series. However, the final installment of "Mrs. Wiggins" would not air until August 18, 1979, on a different four-week summer series titled Carol Burnett & Company. All together, there were 19 installments of "Mrs. Wiggins" sketches.[1]

Premise[edit]

"Mrs. Wiggins" features two characters created by Tim Conway: Mr. Bernie Tudball (played by Conway) and Mrs. Wanda Wiggins (played by Carol Burnett). Vicki Lawrence would occasionally play Mr. Tudball's wife. Mr. Tudball is a businessman, notably recognized by his off-color toupee and his mock Romanian accent,[2] pronouncing his secretary's name "Mrs. Uh-Whiggins". Mrs. Wiggins is his secretary, a "bimbo who the IQ fairy never visited".[3] She was notably recognized by how she walked in her skirt, as designed by Bob Mackie, and her near-constant fingernail filing. The sketches center on Mr. Tudbull's frustration over Mrs. Wiggins' dimwittedness, such as not being able to properly use the office intercom system.[citation needed]

Background[edit]

Tim Conway created the sketch after The Carol Burnett Show writers' office secretary, Charlene, would constantly press the wrong button on the intercom.[4]

Mrs. Wiggins was originally written to be a little old lady, but Bob Mackie decided to go another route.[3] He decided to base the look of Mrs. Wiggins on the kind of secretary that would sit around and file her nails and go to lunch.[5] In the costuming of Mrs. Wiggins, Mackie put Burnett in a very tight skirt that would control the way she walked. He told Burnett to stick her behind in the bagging part in the back of the skirt, and this gave her the "Wiggins walk."[6]

Sketches[edit]

Season Episode Airdate Title & Description
Season 9 Ep 17 January 10, 1976 The Intercom – Mr. Tudball has difficulty teaching Mrs. Wiggins how to use the office's new intercom system.
Season 9 Ep 21 February 14, 1976 The Intercom…Again – Mr. Tudball has even more difficulty teaching Mrs. Wiggins the workings of the office intercom.
Season 9 Ep 24 March 13, 1976 The Birthday Party – Mr. Tudball attempts to surprise Mrs. Wiggins on her birthday.
Season 10 Ep 4 October 16, 1976 The Vending Machine – Mr. Tudball does battle with a difficult coffee vending machine.
Season 10 Ep 7 October 30, 1976 Buzz Off – Mr. Tudball gets into trouble with a newly-installed door buzzer system, and Mrs. Wiggins is no help.
Season 10 Ep 10 November 27, 1976 Mr. Tudball tries to get Mrs. Wiggins to cover for him by lying to his wife.
Season 10 Ep 13 December 25, 1976 Mrs. Wiggins at Lunch – Mr. Tudball treats Mrs. Wiggins to a lunch in honor of National Secretary Week.
Season 10 Ep 17 January 29, 1977 Mrs. Wiggins' Date – Mrs. Wiggins has a millionaire date (Rock Hudson) for lunch, but she wants to dump him.
Season 10 Ep 15 February 5, 1977 Enter Mrs. Tudball – Mr. Tudball is thrown out of the house by his wife for playing poker.
Season 10 Ep 19 February 12, 1977 The Vacation – Mr. Tudball teaches Mrs. Wiggins to play blackjack in preparation for her Las Vegas vacation.
Season 10 Ep 23 March 26, 1977 The Fire Drill – Mr. Tudball has a hard time coordinating a fire-safety plan with Mrs. Wiggins.
Season 11 Ep 4 October 15, 1977 Mrs. Wiggins and Mr. Tudball pick a fitting coffin for Mrs. Wiggins' deceased canary.
Season 11 Ep 6 October 29, 1977 Ol' Paint – It's painting day at the office and Mr. Tudball relies on Mrs. Wiggins for help.
Season 11 Ep 9 November 19, 1977 Mrs. Wiggins in Hawaii
Season 11 Ep 11 December 3, 1977 Mr. Tudball nudges Mrs. Wiggins to clean up her desk which leads to office chaos.
Season 11 Ep 13 December 18, 1977 Christmas Eve – Mr. Tudball and Mrs. Wiggins enjoy a champagne-laden Christmas Eve.
Season 11 Ep 20 February 26, 1978 Car Problem – Mr. Tudball takes a telephone call from Mrs. Wiggins' car repairman, thinking it's her doctor.
Season 11 Ep 24 March 29, 1978 Flashbacks – Mr. Tudball is moving his office and has a flashback to when he first interviewed Mrs. Wiggins.
Carol Burnett & Company Ep 1.1 August 18, 1979 Mrs. Wiggins and the Energy Crisis – Mr. Tudball and Mrs. Wiggins make a mess of energy conservation.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW: THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION". Time Life. Retrieved 2016-06-26.
  2. ^ King, Susan. "Tim Conway's life off script", Los Angeles Times, November 11, 2013. Accessed September 21, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Carol Burnett and Tim Conway: bonded through comedy". Los Angeles Times. April 25, 2010. Retrieved 2016-06-26.
  4. ^ Herman, Karen (29 April 2004). "Interview: Tim Conway". Archive of American Television.
  5. ^ "Bob Mackie". Archive of American Television. June 29, 2000. Retrieved Jun 26, 2016.
  6. ^ "Carol Burnett". Archive of American Television. April 29, 2003. Retrieved June 26, 2016.