The Great American Dream Machine

The Great American Dream Machine was a weekly satirical variety television series, produced in New York City by WNET and broadcast on PBS from 1971 to 1973. The program was hosted by humorist and commentator Marshall Efron. The show centered around skits and satirical political commentary. The hour and a half long show usually contained at least seven different current event topics. In the second season, the show was trimmed down to an hour.

Other notable cast members included Chevy Chase. Contributors included Albert Brooks and Andy Rooney.

There were also occasional short films presented on the show, most of them "experimental" or documentaries about artistic endeavours. Some of these were subtitled.

Each week there was also a "Great American Hero" segment. One week was Evel Knievel; played over Evel's hospital footage was a honky-tonk song about putting body parts back together. []


Efron was also involved in some skits, especially those that take a critical look at consumerism. One notable skit was on the different size descriptions on cans of food, in the days prior to government regulation and standardizing of labels. Efron sarcastically compared cans of olives with sizes like "Giant", "Jumbo", "Extra Jumbo", "Super Jumbo", "Colossal", and "Super Colossal". The "Super Colossal" can contained one olive that filled the can.

Another piece involved Efron attempting to cook a lemon meringue pie... using mainly artificial ingredients found listed on a box of frozen pie.

One other piece had Efron taking the audience on a tour of his apartment, in a "non-event" style that was very much ahead of its time. He presented his "stuffed cat", which proceeded to wake up and look around.


The show began (and ended) with patriotic marching music and red, white, and blue GREAT AMERICAN DREAM MACHINE lettering, striped like an American flag. There was an animated "machine" of sorts, with complex moving parts, that had no evident function. The background contained all sorts of fireworks, spinning sparklers, and Roman candles.

External links

* [ The Great American Dream Machine]

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