Carol Burnett and the Savvy Contract that Led to 'The Carol Burnett Show'

Carol Burnett is arguably one of the funniest women to ever grace the stage.

Burnett told ABC News it was the series that almost didn’t happen, but for a unique clause in her contract.

“It was a very wonderful, weird contract that the agent worked out," Burnett said. "When I was signed by CBS to do a 10-year contract, they wanted me to do one special a year and two guest shots on any of their series. But there was a caveat within the first 5-years, that if I wanted to do a variety show, a one-hour variety show, all I had to do was push the button and they would have to put it on for 30 one-hour pay or play shows.”

“And he said huh, what button?” Burnett recalled. “They totally had forgotten that clause. And he said, Oh, oh, I’ll get back to you,” she added. “I’m sure they got a lot of lawyers out of Christmas parties that night. And they had to put us on the air.”

“I was so awful,” Burnett said of her role as Mollie. “And the reviews reflected my opinion of myself. I didn’t want to see the movie. I knew I was just terrible in it so I never wanted to see it.”

Burnett said she was also certain movie-goers would recognize it wasn’t her best work. And she didn’t watch it until she was on a plane and the film was shown to passengers. That’s when she asked a flight attendant to allow her to speak to everyone who had just watched it with her.

“I said good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, this is Carol Burnett. I just happen to be on this flight today. And I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to each and every one of you for my performance in that film. And they screamed (and applauded). I felt cleansed. I got to apologize.”