Lionsgate’s Latest Family Friendly CG Centerpiece Will Entertain The Whole Family

Courtesy:  Lionsgate

Courtesy: Lionsgate

Lionsgate’s latest CG animated feature Jungle Master is one of the year’s more welcome family features to come along so far in 2014.  Unlike so many of the movies released in recent years by Dreamworks and Disney/Pixar, Jungle Master actually takes the road less travelled.  The movie’s animation is the most obvious way in which it takes that road less travelled.  Despite being a CG presentation, it doesn’t bare that cookie cutter appearance of the movies released by Dreamworks and Disney/Pixar.  Another reason that it stands out is its run time.  The movie’s run time comes in at just under the ninety-minute mark.  That’s a very good thing and will be discussed later.  Last but not least of all that makes this movie stand out is its script.  The story lifts lightly from The Wizard of Oz believe it or not and adds in a touch of Avatar for good measure as well as other sci-fi flicks.  The end result is a story that the while it may never be as big as anything from Dreamworks or Disney/Pixar, is still enjoyable in its own right.  It proves to be a movie that the whole family should watch together and will enjoy together when they do watch it together.

Jungle Master is not one of the most well-known family flicks to be released by any of Hollywood’s major studios this year.  That aside, it still proves in the long run to be one of the year’s more welcome family friendly flicks.  One reason for that is the movie’s “animation.”  Lionsgate’s CG features are completely unlike those of Dreamworks and Disney/Pixar in the realm of animation.  It’s almost impossible to tell Dreamworks’ CG movies from Disney/Pixar’s because they all look alike.  The only way to really differentiate the two studios’ works is by the studio names.  That speaks volumes.  Lionsgate on the other hand has strived to keep itself separate from the mold used by those studios in terms of its animation.  The look of Lionsgate’s CG movies is rawer for lack of better wording.  But it isn’t raw to the point of looking like some pieces from perhaps independent studio Engine 15 Media Group and others.  There is actually some attention paid to detail with Lionsgate’s CG movies, including this one.  That attention to detail helps Jungle Master maintain its own identity separate from its bigger name counterparts from Dreamworks and Disney/Pixar.  It even helps the movie to maintain its own identity from Lionsgate’s previously released CG features.  That mostly original look is just one of a number of positives that surround Jungle Master and make it stand out among this year’s crop of CG movies.

The largely original look of Jungle Master plays a key role in the movie’s ability to keep audiences engaged through its entire eighty-two minute run time.  That run time is another reason that families will enjoy this movie.  It doesn’t even reach the ninety-minute mark.  That relatively short run time drastically increases the chances of keeping audiences engaged from start to finish.  This is especially the case with the movie’s target younger audiences.  Most of the CG movies released since 1995—which is when Pixar broke the mold and released Toy Story—have averaged about ninety minutes.  There have been a small number of movies that have come in just under that time.  But most either reach the ninety-minute mark or go well over it as was the case with Toy Story 3.  That movie came in at almost forty-five minutes.  Luckily its story worked well enough that it still succeeded and quite well at that.  Speaking of story Jungle Master’s story works wonderfully with its run time.  Its story combines elements of a number of other movies to make a story that somehow actually works.  It’s one more way in which Jungle Master works and makes itself one of this year’s more welcome family films.

Both the look of Jungle Master and its run time are important to the movie’s overall success.  They each play their own important role to the overall presentation as they both have an impact on whether or not audiences are kept engaged.  Luckily, both factors succeed by themselves and together.  As much as they succeeded, the look of Jungle Master and its run time are not all that made this direct-to-DVD feature work.  One would be remiss to ignore the movie’s script as an equally important part of the whole.  The movie’s script centers on a twelve year-old girl named Rainie (pronounced rainy) who runs away from home ater her mother forgot about her birthday.  It is assumed by the fact that Rainie was upset enough to run away that her mother (who remains nameless throughout the movie) has probably left Rainie alone more than once.  Her decision to run away ends up taking her to al alien planet  and a much biger adventure that is directly linked to the company for which her mother works.  It’s thanks to her adventure that Rainie realizes her mom hasn’t intentionally ignored her, obviously leading to an eventual reconciliation between mother and daughter.  The central story of the parent/child relationship is obviously anything but new.  It’s been done more times than a person can count on his or her own two hands.  However, the story’s execution is what makes this plot work.  Screen writer Steve Kramer lifted liberally from the likes of The Wizard of Oz and Avatar to make this story.  While he obviously lifted from the noted movies, Kramer didn’t try to just remake them and mix them together.  He used them more as influences for his story about family.  What’s more he balanced said elements quite well; well enough in fact that audiences will be moved to overlook the references to said movies and enjoy the presented story.

Kramer’s re-telling of original writer/director Xu Kerr’s story is one of the most important of this movie’s aspects in considering its level of success.  He obviously used at least a couple of rather well-known movies that have come before as both influences and elements of this movie.  But he also didn’t try to just rip off either work.  He balanced them together to make a largely original story that centers on family.  That creativity and homage still is not all that makes this movie work.  One should also take into account the movie’s cast and even its bonus shorts.  Victoria Justice (Victorious, Victoria Justice, iCarly), Jane Lynch (Glee, Hollywood Game Night, Wreck-It-Ralph), David Spade (Just Shoot Me, The Benchwarmers, Tommy Boy), Josh Peck (Drake & Josh, Ultimate Spiderman, Ice Age: Continental Drift), Christopher Lloyd (Cyberchase, Back to the Future 1 - 3), and John Lovitz (Saturday Night Live, The Critic, Gorwn-Ups 1 & 2) make up the movie’s cast.  Lovitz proves to be the real star of the story with his comical antics voicing Mulla.  The fact that so many well-known names overall would feel confident enough about such a movie makes it even more worth the watch.  And the bonus shorts included with the movie will entertain children for a little while after the movie ends.  These extra positives combined with the positivews already noted make Jungle Master a movie well worth at least one watch together by any family.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on this and other releases from Lionsgate is available online at:

Website: http://www.lionsgate.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lionsgate

Twitter: http://twitter.com/lionsgatemovies

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Brad Paisley To Serve As Guest Picker On ESPN’s CGD Broadcast This Week

College GameDay Logo

Courtesy: ESPN

Country music superstar Brad Paisley is set to appear on ESPN’s College GameDay this weekend.

Paisley will be a guest picker on this Saturday’s broadcast of College GameDay presented by Home Depot when host Chris Fowler and the rest of the CGD crew rolls into Morgantown, West Virginia on the campus of West Virginia University. Chris Fowler will anchor Saturday’s live broadcast of the Emmy Award-winning show. He will be joined by analysts Lee Corso , Kirk Herbstreit, and Desmond Howard at the desk. The group will offer more picks and insight for this weekend’s slate of college football matchups. The show will broadcast live from the patio of the Mountainlair Student Union on the campus of WVU. Saturday’s broadcast marks only the second time that ESPN’s College GameDay presented by Home Depot has been broadcast live from WVU. The Mountaineers’ matchup against the Horned Frogs of TCU will be broadcast live on ABC at 3:30pm ET.

Brad Paisley Promo Pic

Photo Credit: Jim Shea

In regards to the announcement of Paisley’s appearance, ESPN coordinating producer Lee Fitting discussed the network’s excitement at having Paisley, who is himself from West Virginia, appear live ahead of WVU’s matchup later Saturday afternoon. Anytime we can get a star of Brad Paisley’s stature on the show it is a huge win,” said Fitting. “On top of that, Brad is a West Virginia native and huge Mountaineers fan. GameDay’s been on a great run this season with celebrity guest pickers and Saturday morning in Morgantown with Brad on our set should be very entertaining.” Paisley released his latest full-length studio album Moonshine in the Trunk on August 25th.

More information on this weekend’s edition of ESPN’s College GameDay is available online at:

Website: http://espn.go.com/college-football

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/collegegameday

Twitter: http://twitter.com/CollegeGameDay

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Throwdown’s First Full-Length Record In Five Years Proves Throwdown Is As Strong As Ever

Courtesy: eOne Music

Courtesy: eOne Music

Veteran California-based hardcore band Throwdown has been making music for the masses for nearly two decades.  The band originally formed in 1997 and released its debut album Beyond Repair only two years later through independent label Indecision Records.  Since the release of that album, Throwdown has gone on to release six more albums despite a number of changes in lineups and labels.  And each of those subsequent records has been met with praise from critics and fans alike.   The band’s latest full-length studio release Intolerance is no exception to that standard.  From start to finish, the album’s mix of musical and lyrical content have proven Intolerance to be some of the band’s best work to date.  Right off the top, front man Dave Peters and bassist Matt Mentley prove along with studio drummer Jarrod Alexander and studio guitarist Dave Nassie just why this album is deserving of that acclaim.  ‘Fight or Die’ is a pummeling opener.  Its mix of semi-social commentary and full throttle musical side instantly conjures thoughts of Hatebreed.  The album’s third track is one of the best of the album’s tracks thanks to that same driving tempo.  Peters’ declaration of his continued dedication to the Straight Edge lifestyle set against that pummeling musical side makes this song one that is perfect for any live performance from the band.  And then there is the slightly slower but still just as hard-hitting ‘Suffer, Conquer’ which offers its own social commentary.  Each of these songs in their own way proves why Intolerance is the best material that Throwdown has released to date.  That is not to take anything away from the other eight songs that make up this record.  Each of those songs offers its own extra element of enjoyment for audiences, proving once again why this is some of the best material that Throwdown has released to date.

The members of Throwdown prove right from Intolerance’s opener that even having gone five year since its last album, it hasn’t lost a single step.  Musically speaking, ‘Fight or Die’ instantly conjures thoughts of fellow hardcore band Hatebreed.  That should come as no surprise especially considering that the album was produced by ZEUSS.  ZEUSS is also known for having produced records for both Hatebreed and Shadows Fall among others.  Lyrically, its semi-social commentary adds even more punch to the song.  Peters writes in this song, “The life I knew is but a memory, a better time corroded by a harsh reality/What have we let ourselves become/A mercenary culture doomed to burn/So tell me what it’s gonna be when fire lights your city’s streets/Fight or die/It’s your only choice to survive/Fight or die/When fear and chaos collide/What the f*(& has thsi world come to/I just don’t know/What the f^*) are you gonna do when the lights go black.”  This comes across as a rather scathing indicment concerning the current state of both the United States and the world in whole.  He asks blatantly, what has this world come to?  He goes on in the song’s next verse noting that people’s rights are being infringed on and that people need to stand up for said rights.  That intensity in Peters’ delivery coupled with the song’s musical intensity makes this song the perfect first impression from the band in its return after a five year absence.

The musical and lyrical intensity established by Throwdown in Intolerance’s opener doesn’t let up a single bit after that song ends.  It is just exhibited in different ways throughout the course of the album’s remaining ten tracks.  One of the most noticeable ways in which it varies is exhibited in the anthemic ‘Avow.’  Those that know the history of Throwdown know of its links to the straight edge culture.  Peters directly addresses the excesses commonly associated with the music world (specifically rhe punk) in this song, writing, “A poison tide, corrosive and alive/Rising to obliterate the weak/Anchored in spite, an unpolluted mind/This covenant, I’m sworn to keep…’cause I avow/I avow…to this straight edge.”  He goes on to write that he has stuck to that straight edge lifestyle throughout the course of the band’s life despite everything that has happened to the country’s culture.  He writes, “Twenty years, and everything has changed/A culture suffocated beneath the lies/Twenty years and I still remain/My allegiance never f&^$)* dies…Never dies/I avow…to the straight edge.”  Sure it comes across as being a little bit self-congratulatory.  But when taking into consideration the number of bands that have suffered losses among their numbers over the years, or have broken up as a result of the excesses tied to the music industry, it becomes far less self-congratulatory.  Rather, it becomes a reassurance to Peters himself and to Throwdown’s fans saying, “Hey, I’m still here.  We’re still here as a band despite our lineup changes and label changes.  We’re still here.”  It becomes a piece to really take in even more seriously when thinking about all of that.  And when really considered, audiences will see just how important of an addition ‘Avow’ is to the album in whole, especially being the number of years that have passed between this album and the band’s last full-length release.

Both ‘Avow’ and ‘Fight or Die’ are solid additions to Intolerance when considering them both by themselves and as part of the album in whole.  The 1-2 punch of the songs’ lyrics and music make them both excellent examples of what makes this album work as well as it does.  There is at least one more song that audiences will agree serves as a good representation of the album’s strength if not more.  The song in question is ‘Suffer & Conquer.”  Much like the album’s opener, it is marked by some very Hatebreed style guitar work and vocals on its musical side.  Its lyrical side is just as strong.  Peters writes in this song, “You want respect because you put in your time/Entitled and indignant, you resign to a lie/Now I’m not saying that it’s time to concede/But in your disillusion you forgot what it means to/Suffer, suffer to succeed.”  Everybody knows at least one person like the one described in this song.  Said person is a gloryhog who is reality rather lazy but thinks the world owes him or her everything.  This is someone that has become all too comfortable and perhaps even complacent in his or her situation.  Peters’ verbal assault on said figure continues through the course of the song.  Such ability to relate to audiences and continued intensity makes this song one more of this album’s highest points.  Together with the likes of ‘Avow’ and ‘Fight or Die,’ it exhibits even more why Throwdown is just as strong as ever almost two decades into its life.  They collectively exhibit, too why Intolerance is a welcome return from Throwdown after having released its last album five years ago.

‘Fight or Die,’ ‘Avow,’ and ‘Suffer, Conquer’ are all excellent examples of why Throwdown’s fans will want to hear this album if they have not yet heard it.  They are merely the songs that this critic personally felt best represent Intolerance.  Audiences will find their own favorites among the album’s remaining eight tracks not noted here when they hear this record for themselves.  The album is available now in stores and online.  All of the latest updates from the band are available online at http://www.facebook.com/throwdownOC.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

PBS To Release New Bing Crosby Documentary This Fall

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

PBS announced Wednesday that it will release a new documentary centered on legendary entertainer Bing Crosby this fall.

American Masters: Bing Crosby Rediscovered will be released on DVD Tuesday, December 2nd. The documentary focuses on Crosby’s role in the entertainment industry during his career. It also takes a look at the man behind the legend. Veteran actor Stanley Tucci (Transformers: Age of Extinction, The Hunger Games, The Terminal) narrates the program. All of the surviving members of Crosby’s family—his wife Kathryn, daughter Mary, and sons Harry and Nathaniel–are featured in interviews included throughout the program. Fellow entertainers Tony Bennett and Michael Feinstein also share their reflections on Crosby and his legacy along with producer Ken Barnes, biographer Gary Giddins, and writers Buz Kohan and Larry Grossman. Emmy Award-winning director Robert Trachtenberg helms the documentary. It will not be the first time that Trachtenberg has helmed an episode of American Masters. He also helmed episodes that focused on the likes of Cary Grant, Mel Brooks, and fellow acclaimed director George Cukor.

Trachtenberg discussed his thoughts on this latest episode of American Masters. He noted that it was not just Crosby’s achievements as an entertainer that lured him to the project, but who Crosby was out of the limelight that interested him in. “Bing’s remarkable appeal, which continues to this day, was in his seemingly effortless ability to pull an audience in to his intimate, laid-back voice,” he said. He added to that thought, saying, “With the new material I’ve found, I think the breadth, depth and candor of his story will hopefully allow people to see him in a new light.” American Masters Executive Producer Michael Kantor echoed Trachtenberg’s thoughts, noting, “Much like his talent, Bing Crosby is a natural for the series. With more No. 1 recordings than anyone, it is easy to overlook all of his other achievements. Thankfully, this film delves deeply into all of his remarkable work, and will surprise many viewers with a unique perspective on his private life.”

American Masters: Bing Crosby Rediscovered will be available Tuesday, December 2nd on DVD and on DVD/CD combo pack. It can be ordered online direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/search/index.jsp?kwCatId=&kw=bing%20crosby%20rediscovered&origkw=bing+crosby+rediscovered&sr=1. More information on this and other episodes of American Masters is available online at:

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AmericanMasters

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

(Hed) p.e. Announces New Slate Of North American Tour Dates

Courtesy:  Pavement Entertainment

Courtesy: Pavement Entertainment

(Hed) p.e. announced a new slate of tour dates this week.

The band announced that it will hit the road for a whole new slate of North American tour dates this fall and winter beginning Thursday, November 20th. The tour is in support of its latest album Evolution. The album, the band’s ninth full-length studio effort, was released July 22nd. It can be downloaded now via iTunes. Psychostick will join (Hed) p.e. for a handful of dates from Wednesday, November 26th to Wednesday, December 3rd. And Dope will also come on board for one show on Sunday, November 30th.

Beginning Thursday, December 4th, (Hed) p.e. will join Nonpoint on its headlining tour. Nonpoint is currently touring in support of its own new release The Return. The Return is the eighth full-length studio release from Nonpoint. The full schedule for (Hed) p.e.’s upcoming North American tour is listed below.

Tour DATES:

Thu 20 Nov Eau Claire, WI Hipps Pub
Fri 21 Nov Lombard, IL Brauer House
Sat 22 Nov Janesville, WI Back Bar
Sun 23 Nov Mishawka, IN Smith’s Downtown
Tue 25 Nov Chesterfield, MI Diesel Concert Lounge
Wed 26 Nov Dayton, OH Oddbody’s PSYCHOSTICK support
Fri 28 Nov New York, NY Blackthorne PSYCHOSTICK support
Sat 29 Nov Poughkeepsie, NY The Chance PSYCHOSTICK support
Sun 30 Nov Baltimore, MD Fishhead Cantina DOPE / PSYCHOSTICK=SUPPORT
Tue 02 Dec Virginia Beach, VA Shakus PSYCHOSTICK support
Wed 03 Dec Winchester, VA Blue Fox Billiards PSYCHOSTICK support
Thu 04 Dec Cleveland, OH Agora Ballroom NONPOINT/ HED PE
Fri 05 Dec Rochester, NY Montage Music Hall NONPOINT/ HED PE
Sat 06 Dec Worcester, MA Paladium NONPOINT/ HED PE
Sun 07 Dec Portland, ME Asylum NONPOINT/ HED PE
Tue 09 Dec Richmond, VA Canal Club NONPOINT/ HED PE
Wed 10 Dec Morgantown, WV Schmitt’s Saloon NONPOINT/ HED PE
Fri 12 Dec Traverse City, MI Ground Zero NONPOINT/ HED PE
Sat 13 Dec Flint, MI Machine Shop NONPOINT/ HED PE
Sun 14 Dec Beckley, WV Munchez NONPOINT/ HED PE
Mon 15 Dec Atlanta, GA Masquerade NONPOINT/ HED PE
Wed 17 Dec Clarksville, TN The Warehouse NONPOINT/ HED PE
Thu 18 Dec St Louis, MO Mad Magician NONPOINT/ HED PE
Fri 19 Dec Springfield, IL Boondocks NONPOINT/ HED PE
Sat 20 Dec Columbus, OH Al Rosa Villa HED PE/ NONPOINT
Sun 21 Dec Steger, IL Another Hole In The Wall

All of the latest schedule updates and news from (Hed) p.e. is available online at:

Website: http://www.hedperocks.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/hedpe

Twitter: http://twitter.com/hedpe

MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/hedpe

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

The World Needs More Red Skelton And Less Blue Comedy

Courtesy: Timeless Media/Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Timeless Media/Shout! Factory

Television has come a long way since its heyday.  That’s not necessarily a good thing, though.  Between the advent of mobile video and the seemingly endless stream of overly violent and sexualized dramas and comedies available to audiences today, it has come a long way in the wrong direction.  Television used to be something that would bring families together.  Now it has become an increasingly divisive medium aimed at specific audiences from one time slot to another.  Whether it be those series aimed more at younger audiences or those geared more towards older audiences, they all seem to be equally violent and sexualized.  The result is that families rarely ever sit down together to sit down together to watch television.  The advent of mobile video hasn’t helped with this, either.  Thanks to Timeless Media Group and Shout! Factory though, audiences have been given plenty of alternatives to that programming in recent years.  They have released titles such as I Spy: The Complete Series, The Gene Autry Show: The Complete Series, Highway 66 and others in recent years, much to the pleasure of classic television lovers such as this critic.  Earlier this year, Timeless Media Group and Shout! Factory even went so far as to release The Red Skelton Show: the Lost Episodes.  Now they have followed up that release with the brand new release of another great classic in the form of The Red Skelton Show: The Early Years–1951 – 1955.  This new box set from Timeless Video and Shout! Factory is another excellent addition to the home library of any true fan of classic television.  The primary reason that classic TV fans will love this latest box set is for the show itself. To be more exact, audiences will appreciate the largely family friendly nature of the episodes that span these episodes.  Another reason that audiences will enjoy this latest collection of Red Skelton Show episodes is the quality of the footage.  The footage in these episodes has truly stood the test of time.  It looks just as it did in the episodes’ original broadcasts decades ago on NBC.  Last but hardly least worth noting about this set is its packaging.  The set is comprised of eleven discs, the eleventh being a disc loaded with bonus features.  There’s no easy way to package so many discs in one set.  But Timeless Video and Shout! Factory pulled it off.  All three aspects taken collectively into consideration, they make The Red Skelton Show: The Early Years–1951 – 1955 a set that any true lover of television’s golden era will want to add to their personal DVD library.

The Red Skelton Show is one of the great comedy sketch shows to ever grace television screens across the country during its two decade-long run.  The brand of comedy presented by Skelton and his cast mates has influenced countless comedians and actors throughout the decades since its original broadcast from 1951 – 1971.  By comparison to the brand of comedy being offered to audiences today, the comedy presented in The Red Skelton Show is an example of what once made comedy great.  It serves as an example of everything that comedy has lost since shows such as this ended.  That is the central reason that audiences will enjoy this latest collection of episodes from Timeless Media Group and Shout! Factory.  As audiences will see in these episodes, Skelton and his cast mates needed only rely on its physical comedy and family friendly writing to entertain audiences.  That same physical comedy and family friendly writing is just as entertaining today as it was decades ago.  Audiences will love watching Skelton’s prat falls and his monologues that start every episode.  It’s so easy to see just how many of today’s comedians have been influenced by Skelton’s physical comedy alone.  The various characters that he portrays are just as funny.  And even when his cast mates join in the fun, things never get too blue for audiences.  Though, older audiences will probably appreciate some of the sketches more than younger audiences.  From some not-so-lightly veiled political commentary to a skit about the reality of married life to Skelton taking on the role of a male ballet dancer and more, the skits within each episode will have audiences laughing uproariously.  Some might even be surprised at how much they will laugh.  The constant show-ending bit of Skelton being pulled under the curtain will have audiences laughing just as much no matter how many times it happens.  The fact that these episodes can entertain audiences of all ages so much even today with its older brand of comedy is a true testament to the work of the show’s writers and its cast, Skelton included.

The brand of comedy presented across the episodes in The Red Skelton Show: The Early Years–1951 - 1955 is a big part of what makes this set well worth the purchase by any true classic TV connoisseur.  The brand of comedy presented in this series can be seen in the likes of The Carol Burnett Show, The Sonny & Cher Show and other variety shows of the ilk.  It’s just one part of why audiences will appreciate this latest release.  Another reason that audiences will appreciate this box set is the footage itself.  Almost sixty-five years have passed since the show’s debut in 1951.  And nearly sixty years have passed since 1955.  The footage presented in this box set has stood the test of time quite well since then.  The footage looks just as it did in the show’s original broadcast so many decades ago.  That is a testament to the work of those charged with resurrecting these only reels that remain from the series.  While television in the 1950s was not exactly on the level of today’s television in terms of its resolution, there’s still something special about seeing this old footage. It’s like finding an original 45 rpm record and hearing that static from days gone by once the needle drops.  It’s just a special feeling that can’t fully be explained in words.  The best way to understand it is for viewers to see these episodes for themselves.  Audiences will understand and appreciate the look of the footage when they pick up this box set for themselves.  That understanding and appreciation will in turn lead viewers to be in agreement as to why the episodes’ footage is just as important as the episodes themselves to the episodes’ enjoyment.

The quality of the episodes’ footage, the writing for each episode and the acting on the part of the show’s cast (I.E. the episodes overall) collectively does so much to make The Red Skelton Show: The Early Years—1951 – 1955 a wonderful addition to the personal collection of any classic television connoisseur. The packaging of the set is just as important as the set’s content and the look of the episodes in their presentation. Its final count is eleven discs. There’s no easy way to package that many discs into a single box set without a certain amount of space being taken up on a DVD rack. So taking that into account, the means of packaging in this set is itself worth noting. The set’s primary ten discs are placed inside their own slim cases inside the bigger box. Each slim case holds two discs. The eleventh and final disc contains the set’s bonus material in its own slim case. Again, it’s not the smallest box. But considering the fact that the people at Timeless Media Group and Shout! Factory took the high road makes it impressive in its own right. There are companies out there even today that package multi-disc sets by overlapping discs within the boxes. That is hardly smart. It means the potential of scratching the set’s discs. Such a practice greatly reduces the life of discs in said boxes and eventually wasted money on the part of the consumer. So while the packaging for The Red Skelton Show: The Early Years—1951 – 1955 may come across as slightly bulky, the reality of the packaging is that it is actually quite smart. Even if the companies had packaged the set with two boxes holding five discs in one and six in the other, the end result would still have been about the same. Again, the conclusion is that Timeless Media Group and Shout! Factory have taken the smart route with the set’s packaging. That smart packaging along with the quality of the footage and the episodes themselves collectively makes The Red Skelton Show: The Early Years—1951 – 1955 that much more of a must have for any true fan of classic television and for anyone looking for a way to bring the family back together every now and then for some quality time together.

The Red Skelton Show: The Early Years—1951 – 1955 is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online direct from the Timeless Video store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/tv/comedy/the-red-skelton-show-the-early-years-1951-1955. More information on this and other releases from Timeless Media Group and Shout! Factory is available online at:

 

Website: https://www.shoutfactory.com/tentpoles/timeless-media-group

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Timeless-Media-Group/358391474233364

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Daugherty, Others Staying With ESPN After 2014 NASCAR Season Ends

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN and NASCAR are parting ways at the end of the 2014 season. Despite this change, there’s good news for audiences and ESPN’s NASCAR broadcast team. ESPN announced this week that analyst and team owner Brad Daugherty will remain with the worldwide leader in sports.

ESPN announced this week that Daugherty will join ESPN’s basketball broadcast team beginning Monday, December 1st. Daugherty is a former five-time NBA All-Star and college basketball standout. He will serve as an analyst on ESPN’s NBA Tonight, NBA Coast to Coast, and SportsCenter regularly. He will also make appearances on ESPNU’s ACC Sunday Night package along with other other programming across the ESPN family of networks.

Before joining ESPN’s NASCAR broadcasts, Daugherty served as a reporter for ESPN and ABC’s college basketball from 1999 – 2001. Prior to joining ESPN’s ranks, he also served as a game analyst for the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers and San Antonio Spurs local broadcasts. His playing career included eight seasons as a member of the Cavaliers after being selected in the first round of the NBA Draft in 1986. He averaged 19 points and 9.5 rebounds per game during his career. His love for NASCAR showed throughout his career as he wore the number 43 in honor of “The King” Richard Petty. The Cavs retired his number in 1997.

Daugherty is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill at the age of 16 and graduated from the university in 1986. He was named an All-ACC player twice during his college career and a first-team All-American in his senior year at the university. He averaged 20.2 points and 9 rebounds per game during his senior year at UNC.

Daugherty’s is not the only move that ESPN has announced in regards to the network’s NASCAR broadcast team. Veteran racer and long-time ESPN NASCAR analyst Ricky Craven recently signed a new deal with ESPN that will see him remain with the network as a NASCAR analyst for SportsCenter and other ESPN news platforms. Nicole Briscoe, it was announced last month, will serve as an anchor on SportsCenter and will also take on additional assignments. And reporter Marty Smith will stay on board with ESPN, too. He will remain with ESPN as a Bureau Reporter for ESPN. Allen Bestwick, who has led ESPN’s NASCAR coverage each week, will remain with the network, too. He will stay on to call ESPN’s IndyCar races and to cover tennis and golf coverage. He will also anchor some programming on ESPN’s new SEC Network.

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