Time Life’s Latest Carol Burnett Show Collection Was Well Worth The Wait

Courtesy:  Time Life Entertainment

Courtesy: Time Life Entertainment

Three years ago Time Life Entertainment resurrected one of the greatest series in television’s modern history when it brought to audiences the first of its now multiple box sets from The Carol Burnett Show.  Since the release of those early box sets by Time Life back in 2012, audiences have also seen those early sets released in an “Ultimate Collection” late in 2014, with said collection being followed by even more compilations.  The latest of those compilations, The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes, was released late last month.  The six-disc collection features a healthy offering of episodes from the hit variety series’ first five seasons.  As Burnett explains in the introduction to the collection’s liner notes, these episodes (which will likely be followed by more collections) were held up for years due simply to lengthy legal matters.  Those legal matters having been settled, audiences have finally gotten at least some of those early episodes in the form of this collection.  And that within itself is plenty of reason for any Carol Burnett Show fan to add this box set to their own home DVD library.  The writing and acting within each of the set’s episodes will put just as much of a smile on viewers’ faces.  Rounding out the presentation is its bonus episode guide.  The episode guide is, much as with previous Carol Burnett Show sets not just an episode guide, but yet another history lesson that enriches viewers’ overall experience in watching the featured episodes.  Each noted element makes the compilation enjoyable it in its own right.  All three elements together make this latest addition to Time Life’s ongoing series of Carol Burnett Show compilations yet another enjoyable addition to any fan’s home DVD library.

Time Life Entertainment’s latest installment in its ongoing series of releases from The Carol Burnett Show is yet another enjoyable addition to the home DVD library of any one of the show’s fans.  The main reason for that is the very availability of these episodes.  While it obviously is not the full run of the series’ first five seasons it still presents a healthy offering of episodes from that run.  Burnett herself notes in the collection’s liner notes that the episodes featured here have until now been unavailable to fans of the classic variety series due to certain legal issues.  Thankfully it looks like at least some (if not all) of those issues have been settled, thus resulting in the release of the episodes featured in this collection.  One can only hope that it is just the first of the episodes from the show’s early seasons to be released, too.  That is because in an age when there is so much sex and violence dominating television, every one of these largely family friendly episodes provides a much welcome and needed respite from those other shows.  Each episode is such a welcome break from today’s television thanks in large part to the work of the show’s writers, which is the next reason for its enjoyment.

The episodes featured in Time Life Entertainment’s latest Carol Burnett Show collection are in themselves plenty of reason for fans of the series to add the box set to their own home DVD libraries.  That is because until their release this year, they had been unavailable to audiences on any platform.  They are just part of what makes this new compilation well worth the watch, too.  The work of both the writers and actors within each of the presented episodes adds even more to this set’s enjoyment.  One of the prime examples of the writers’ ability to entertain audiences within this set comes early on in an episode that sees Burnett and guest star Nanette Fabray play a pair of pregnant women waiting to see their doctor.  The comedy contained within this episode is timeless.  The dialogue shared between the duo will have every woman out there laughing uproariously because of their ability to relate to said topics.  On a related note, the pair’s portrayal will have women laughing just as much regardless of whether or not they have been pregnant.  Later in the set’s run, viewers are treated to a handful of equally entertaining performances by the late, great Andy Griffith.  Griffith’s take on the tale of the mouse and the lion will have viewers just as entertained.  It stays largely true to Aesop’s original tale. Of course there are some changes and updates to the story that will put a smile on any viewer’s face.  The same can be said of Griffith’s portrayal of Joe in the skit “Mr. Law and Order” will entertain viewers just as much.  That’s because it is a full-on spoof of his former character in The Andy Griffith Show almost in the vein of Mad Magazine.  If that’s not enough for fans, Don Adams’ appearance in the collection is one more great example of how the writers’ efforts will entertain viewers.  That is made clear in “The Donny Bishop Show,’ which openly throws jabs at The Late Show With Johnny Carson.  Adams fills in for Carson while Harvey Korman takes the place of Ed McMahon.  The whole presentation is intentionally terrible complete with the worst possible camera and mic operators.  Burnett is a laugh riot as the “show’s” special guest.  Seeing Adams constantly covering his face in his attempts to keep from completely breaking down in laughter will have viewers laughing just as much.  It’s just one more way in which the work of both the show’s writers and actors keeps audiences laughing nonstop throughout The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes.  There are plenty of other episodes that could serve as example of their ability to keep viewers entertained such as Harvey and Carol’s work in the show’s beloved “The Old Folks” skits, Carol’s work with famed singer Mel Torme in “The Tin Pan Alley Story” and Jim Nabors’ partnering with Carol in “The Ski Lodge” just to name a few more key episodes.  Whether one chooses one of those episodes, one of the ones more directly addressed, or any of the others, every viewer will agree that the collection in whole presents plenty of great examples of how the writers and actors make The Lost Episodes a laugh riot from beginning to end.

The work of The Carol Burnett Show’s writers in conjunction with that of the show’s cast and guest stars makes for plenty of enjoyment for viewers throughout every episode included in The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes. For all of the enjoyment that they bring viewers, they are not the only elements of this set that fans will appreciate. The companion booklet included with the set is just as important to the set’s presentation as the previously noted elements. That is because it is, as with previous Carol Burnett Show box set booklets, it isn’t just a companion booklet. Yes, it is an episode guide. But it is more than that. Throughout the course of the booklet, fans are presented with a rather rich history on not just the episodes themselves but of the series in whole. For example, audiences learn in the summary for Show #006 that this audience marked the debut of both Lucille Ball and Tim Conway on Burnett’s show. There is an additional tidbit noting Conway’s notoriety coming into his debut thanks to his work on McHale’s Navy. Burnett also reveals in the companion booklet that her love for “backstage movie musicals” was her inspiration behind the “Tin Pan Alley” sketch in Show #107. And in regards to Jim Nabors’ appearance in Show #003, it is revealed that he was the very first guest star to appear in The Carol Burnett Show in what would then become an eleven year-run on CBS. The discussion here goes on to note that his appearance was such a success that the show’s heads had him back on the season premiere of every season that followed. Interestingly enough, Nabors, as is explained in the show’s summary here, was not exactly an unknown upon his first appearance on The Carol Burnett Show. In fact, he was already enjoying his celebrity of his own hit sit-com, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., which itself was a spinoff of The Andy Griffith Show. So it should probably be no surprise that Andy Griffith himself would go on to appear on The Carol Burnett Show, too. The information on Nabors’ appearance on The Carol Burnett Show is just one more of so many examples of the depth of information provided by Time Life Entertainment in The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes. There is so much more interesting information shared throughout the set’s companion booklet that fans and audiences in general will enjoy learning. Together with the enjoyment brought by both the show’s writers and cast, the set in whole proves itself in the end to be yet another joy for any fan of The Carol Burnett Show and for lovers of classic television in general.

The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes is not the first collection of episodes to be released by Time Life Entertainment. And more than likely it will not be the last thanks to the efforts of certain parties to obtain the distribution rights for the show’s first five seasons. With any luck fans will hopefully one day see the release of this series in whole rather than just in a continued series of compilation sets since those matters have been settled. Until then though, this latest collection of episodes will more than please any Carol Burnett Show fan. That is thanks to the work of both the show’s writers and its cast. The attention to detail in the set’s companion booklet adds even more enjoyment as it helps provide even more interesting background information on the series. All in all, the combination of those elements combined with the very availability of these episodes makes The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes yet another collection one that any of the show’s fans and any lover of classic television will want to have in his or her own home DVD library. It is available now and can be ordered online via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Carol-Burnett-Show-Lost-Episodes/dp/B011QLAYCU/ref=pd_bxgy_74_img_y. More information on this and other titles from Time Life Entertainment is available online now at:


Website: http://timelife.com

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Twitter: http://twitter.com/TimeLifeUS


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Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show: The Complete Series Is A Must Have For Any Lover Of Classic Television

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Television has come a long way since its golden age. That is not necessarily a good thing, either. What once provided hope and reason for family togetherness in some of America’s most difficult times has become a divisive medium filled with oversexed and overly violent comedies, dramas, and reality television series. Audiences today are provided hundreds of channels thanks to cable, satellite, and streaming media. Among all of the options out there today, the only outlets that offer anything of real value in terms of programming are: PBS, PBS Kids, Turner Classic Movies, Me-TV and Antenna TV. Few if any other networks out there today truly have anything of substance or value. Enter home entertainment company Shout! Factory. Shout! Factory and its “sister” company Timeless Media have offered audiences an escape from that mind-numbing programming in recent years with some of the greatest television series of the 20th Century. Thanks to the release of classics such as Dennis The Menace, Mr. Ed, The Jeffersons, and many of Nickelodeon’s classic, beloved Nicktoons over the years, Shout! Factory has more than proven itself one of the leaders in the world of home entertainment. It could even be argued that those and so many of the other classic series released by Shout! Factory have made the company the leading company in that realm. The upcoming release of Maude: The Complete Series and others make that argument even more solid. Audiences have to wait until March to get their hands on Maude: The Complete Series. While they wait for its release, they have yet another great classic television series from Shout! Factory to enjoy in the form of Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show: The Complete Series. Released late last year, there is plenty to like about Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show: The Complete Series beginning with its writing. Regardless of their familiarity with this classic series, audiences will see firsthand a noticeable difference in the writing behind this series and that of the shows on television today. Even with the writing in Sgt. Bilko The Phil Silvers Show being aimed at older audiences, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not suitable for younger viewers. It just means that those viewers wouldn’t get some of the comedy infused into the show. Added to the show’s hilarious writing is a bevy of bonuses. There are commentaries with select episodes, interviews, and other footage including an episode of The New Phil Silvers Show and Phil Silvers on The Dick Cavett Show among much more. Rounding out the most notable of the box’s positives is the show’s footage. The footage looks just as clean as in its original broadcasts on CBS. And it is presented in its original 4:3 format, too adding to the nostalgia. The high quality of the show’s footage completes the set and shows once and for all why this complete series box set is another win both for fans of classic television and for Shout! Factory.

Shout! Factory’s recent release of Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show is a win for any lover of classic television and for Shout! Factory alike. It is especially so in an age when television has become but a pale shadow of its former self. It shows this first and foremost through the writing across all four of its seasons. From its debut season in 1955 to its series-ender in 1959, the show’s writers consistently found fresh, new get-rich-quick schemes for Bilko. To this day, those schemes still provide plenty of laughs, too as audiences will find for themselves when they purchase this set. Right from the series start, audiences will find themselves laughing as Sgt. Bilko tries to con some new recruits out of their money just to get into a poker game. Speaking of poker, Bilko joins the MPs in the Season Three episode “Bilko’s School Days” just so that he and the other officers can get away with playing poker. The original plan to use graham crackers baked with raisins as poker cards is well worth its own share of laughs. As if that isn’t enough for audiences, Season Two sees Bilko having to help a young private get his money back from some other soldiers in “Bilko’s Black Magic.” This episode is one of the series’ best. Bilko makes the soldiers in question believe that the private is practicing black magic and voodoo in this episode. It’s one of those episodes whose writing will reach audiences of almost any age. There’s even a scheme involving a made up pet spa in “Bilko’s Prize Poodle” from Season Three. That episode is another of the series’ best. Of course other viewers will find their own favorites throughout the series’ four seasons. That any of the series’ one hundred plus episodes could be chosen as favorites shows why the writing is at the core of the show’s enjoyment. And it makes clear why the writing earned the series three straight Emmys© for “Best Comedy” in its original run. In the case of this box set, the writing is just part of what makes it a win for both audiences and for Shout! Factory alike. The bonus material that comes with the box plays into its success, too.

It is clear throughout every episode of Sgt. Bilko’s four seasons why the series’ writing is at the center of its success. Every episode reminds audiences of just what used to make sitcoms and television in general great thanks to the laugh-till-you cry jokes and gags. As enjoyable as the writing makes each episode andthe series in whole, it isn’t all that makes this box set so enjoyable. The bonus material included with the box adds even more enjoyment. The bonus material in question includes a number of extras. What is arguably the best of those extras is an interview with Phil Silver’s daughters Nancy and Tracey. The sisters share a number of fond memories of their dad inclyding a funny story about having to meet with famed directour Louis B. Mayer. They talk about how their dad had to sing for Mr. Mayer in relation to a movie he was working on. This is also a little discussion on Silvers’ friendship with fellow acting legend Jack Benny. They note that Benny was their dad’s best friend. And that shows through in another bonus interview featuring both Phil Silvers and Jack Benny on the Dick Cavett Show. Cavett, in the course of the interview, keeps noting both men’s names. He keeps noting Benny’s name before Silvers’. Benny reacts to that by jokingly telling Cavett that he [Cavett] could call off their names in the other order. Silvers’ reaction to that was Silvers stating that he had no problem being second banana to the best. Benny was clearly moved in his reaction. It drives home that the pair really must have been very close friends. It’s one of plenty of moments in that bonus interview that will have audiences laughing. Getting back to the interview with Silvers’ daughters, audiences will be very interested to learn the very history of the Silvers name, their dad’s influence on audiences, Phil Silvers on screen versus Phil Silvers offscreen, and so much more. The interview runs nearly half an hour. And while it obviously isn’t the only worthwhile bonus included with this box set, it is definitely the best of the bonuses. As an addded bonus, Shout! Factory also added in an episode of The New Phil Silvers Show and even what has come to be considered the pilot for Sgt. Bilko in The Lucy Show episode “Lucy and the Efficiency Expert.” There are even commentaries included on select episodes across the set. Whether it be those commentaries, the bonus “pilot” episode of Sgt. Bilko, or the bonus interviews, each one of these bonuses play into the whole that is Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show to show yet again why this box set is well worth the purchase by any lover of classic television.

The mass of bonus material included in Sgt. Blko/The Phil Silvers Show goes a long way toward making this recetly released box set worth adding to any classic television lover’s library. Set alongside the series’ solid writing, the two aspects together make this box set even more of a bright spot in a television world that has become inccreasingly bleak in the twenty-first century. While both factors are of their own importance to Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show: The Complete Series, the quality of the footage is just as important to the presentation. Being that Shout! Factory has more than proven itself the leading company in home entertainment, it goes without saying that the quality of the series’ footage is the best possible. Painstaking efforts were obviously taken with each of the series’ previously released standalone sets. Those that weren’t lucky enough to pick up those sets will be pleasantly surprised to see the end result of those efforts in this set. The footage looks as clean now as it did in its original run some six decades ago. One could even argue that it looks even cleaner. And that it is presented in its original 4:3 format without losing its original quality makes it even better. It is the final piece of the whole that is Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show: The Complete Series that makes this box set such a welcome addition to the home library of any lover of classic television. Together with the bonus material and the show’s writing, it proves to be not just a welcome addition to any classic television lover’s library but a desperately needed addition, too.

Shout! Factory has become, over the years, the leading company in the world of home entertainment. It has even knocked the likes of Warner Home Video and other major names from their spots in the upper echelons of home entertainment. It has done so through the releases of The Jeffersons: The Complete Series, Mr. Ed: The Complete Series, Dennis The Menace in its standalone season sets, and so much more. Now it has done it yet again thanks to the release of Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show. Regardless of audiences’ familiarity with this award-winning classic, audiences of all ages will love the show’s pure, comic writing. They will also love the bonus features included in the set, and the high quality of the show’s footage from series premiere to finale. All three aspects will prove so impressive that any viewer will agree that Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show is a must have for any lover of classic television. More information on this and other titles available from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

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