Bob Newhart had modest expectations in 1960 when Warner Bros. Records released his first comedy album, "The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart."
The recording, which included such seminal Newhart routines as Abraham Lincoln getting notes from his press agent before delivering the Gettysburg Address, was a marked contrast to the more edgy, controversial comedians of the day, such as Lenny Bruce and Mort Sahl.
"I never thought much would come of these record albums, to be honest," said the affable comedian during a recent lunch near his home in Bel-Air. "I thought maybe 25,000 copies might sell. Then it went crazy."
How crazy? "Button-Down...