Time Life’s New Bob Hope DVD Will Entertain Audiences Of Almost All Ages

Courtesy:  Time Life

Courtesy: Time Life

Bob Hope is one of the most legendary of American entertainers.  From television to movies to much more Hope entertained thousands if not millions of Americans over the course of his life and career.  And while Hope is no longer with us his legacy anything but died.  That is thanks to the advent of DVD and Blu-ray technology.  His classic films and TV appearances have been released any number of times over the years on both platforms.  And next month three of those TV performances will be available on DVD when Time Life Entertainment releases the new DVD Bob HopeEntertaining The Troops.  The single-disc DVD compilation presents three of Hope’s classic military Christmas shows.  Given, there are only three shows presented here.  Regardless they are still a collectively important part of the DVD’s presentation if not the core element of its presentation.  The specials’ look and sound in their presentation here is just as important to note as the specials themselves.  That will be discussed later.  The set’s companion booklet rounds out its presentation.  It presents a short but concise outline for each special.  This plays its own role in the DVD’s presentation and will be discussed later, too.  Each element noted here is important in its own way to the DVD’s presentation. Altogether they make the DVD one that should be in every comedy lover’s home DVD library.

Time Life’s new Bob Hope collection Bob HopeEntertaining The Troops is hardly the largest collection of Bob Hope specials to ever be released.  It only boasts three of his Christmas specials—one from 1970, another from 1971, and one more from 1951—but all three are entertaining in their own right.  Collectively they still do more good than harm to the DVD’s presentation.  That is because they are presented in whole just as they were in their original broadcasts.  This includes all of the jokes (some of which might be somewhat over younger viewers’ heads and in other cases too grown up for said viewers) and without any retouching, re-mastering or anything else.  There is even a question and answer session between famed astronaut Neil Armstrong and the troops that becomes quite tense at one moment in one of the specials.  How and why won’t be given away here.  But needless to say Armstrong lived up to his reputation of staying calm and cool even in said situation.  One of the really funny jokes that Hope pulls is presented more than once.  He jokes with a pair of beauty pageant queens (one in the 1970 special and another in the 1971 special), asking them where they were born.  The women both answer, to which Hope responds, asking “what part?”  The women then respond saying, “all of me.”  It’s a time-honored joke that’s been pulled plenty of times by other acts.  But it is no less funny in these cases.  There are also some warmer moments in which Hope connects with his military audiences, joking about the situations in which they are set.  For example in one special he jokes about the quality of the food at a mess hall, telling the troops to let him finish the joke so that they could get the punchline.  That was because his opening line got a big “boo” from the soldiers; not to his line but about the mess hall’s food.  The soldiers’ response to the punchline is classic.  Again, it won’t be revealed here.  But those that watch the moment for themselves will fully appreciate it.  Whether for that joke, the jokes with his fellow female performers, or for any of the other jokes shared throughout the specials, it can be said that the entertainment factor of this new collection is more than enough reason for audiences to check it out even if they weren’t even born at the time that they were recorded.

The entertainment factor presented in Time Life’s new Bob Hope compilation DVD is plenty of reason for audiences to check it out. It shows Bob’s ability to bring much-needed laughs to so many audiences in the most difficult situations.  They leave at least this critic wishing that there was a comic like him alive today.  Sadly none come to mind.  Audiences looking for real laughs will agree with that sentiment after watching these specials.  Of course the disc’s entertainment factor is just one part of its presentation that is worth noting.  Their look and sound in their presentation here is just as important to note.  Viewers will note in watching each special that none of the presented footage has been touched in its transfer from its masters to DVD.  There are some questionable camera movements and other slight issues here and there.  There is even a disclaimer at the front end of each special making note of the specials’ production values.  Believe it or not it is actually a good thing that the footage wasn’t cleaned up, re-worked, re-mastered, or whatever term one wants to use here.  That is because as it is, those imperfections add a certain warmth to the viewing experience so to speak.  They remind audiences not just of how far television has come.  It may sound like a stretch but even something as simple as video imperfection may trigger a sense of nostalgia for older audiences much like the static of a vinyl LP versus the crisp, clean sound of music on CD.  The sound quality of the specials is surprisingly impressive especially considering the recording tech available all those years ago.  That there was no re-mastering done in the specials’ transfer from their masters to DVD makes this even more impressive.  Audiences won’t find themselves adjusting the volume at any point to make up for any audio issues.  That in itself speaks volumes about the specials’ sound quality, no pun intended.  Both elements taken collectively into consideration, they show even more alongside the general presentation of the specials why this small collection should be in any family’s home DVD library.  These elements are not all to note of the DVD’s presentation either.  The companion booklet that is included with the DVD rounds out its positives.

The general presentation of the specials in Time Life’s new Bob Hope holiday special collection are a big part of the collection’s presentation especially being that the collection only boasts three of his many Christmas military tribute shows.  The specials’ production values are just as important to note.  That is because even without any re-mastering they still look and sound surprisingly good.  That is especially important to note considering the age of each special’s footage.  While both elements are key to the DVD’s presentation they are not the only important elements to note.  Believe it nor not the collection’s companion booklet plays its own important part in the collection’s presentation.  Much like the companion booklets that come with so many other Time Life DVDs and Blu-rays this DVD’s companion booklet serve as complete guides for audiences.  Each special is broken down with its own segment guide, and a detailed, concise outline of the special.  That’s just the beginning for each guide.  Each special’s guide also includes a full listing of its featured performers an exact air date.  All things considered the companion booklet that comes with this DVD is more than just a companion to the collection.  It is its own standout portion of the collection’s viewing experience.  Together with the presentation of its specials and their production values, all three elements join together to make Bob Hope: Entertaining The Troops a collection that while small, will still entertain audiences of almost all ages, proving once again why it deserves a spot in any family’s home DVD library.

Bob Hope: Entertaining The Troops is a collection that while relatively small, will still entertain audiences of almost all ages today.  Younger children obviously are perhaps the only exception to that rule.  Other than that it is, again a collection that will entertain audiences of almost all ages.  That is due in large part to its featured specials.  It features three of Hope’s classic Christmas tributes to the military.  All three specials are presented in their entirety.  All three are also presented as they were in their original broadcasts in terms of their video and audio.  The video might not be HD or perfect in other technical senses.  But those imperfections make the video perfect in each special.  The audio is just as surprisingly impressive in each special, too.  Rounding out the DVD’s presentation is its companion booklet.  The booklet is not just another booklet.  Its detailed, concise summaries of the specials and equally detailed segment guides, air date, and performer lists within each special proves the booklet to be its own important part of the DVD’s presentation.  This is nothing new for Time Life.  Each one of its previous DVD and Blu-ray releases include their own equally in depth companion booklets.  All things considered Bob Hope: Entertaining The Troops proves in the end to be a collection that while small, will be a big hit with audiences of almost all ages.  It will be available Tuesday, May 10th and can be ordered online direct via Amazon.  More information on this and other titles from Time Life is available online now along with all of the latest news from Time Life Entertainment at:

 

 

Website: http://timelife.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/TimeLifeUS

 

 

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Time Life Takes Audiences Back To The Wonder Years Once More This Spring

 

Courtesy: Time Life/ABC

Courtesy: Time Life/ABC

This spring, ABC’s classic drama The Wonder Years returns for its fifth season courtesy of Time Life.

Time Life will release The Wonder Years: The Complete Fifth Season on Tuesday, May 24th.  Even more changes are in store for everyone throughout this season’s twenty-four total episodes.  Kevin, Paul, and Winnie are headed to high school.  Wayne and Wart decide to join the Army.  There are also love triangles, a controversial English teacher, a double date that no fan will forget, Driver’s Ed, and much more ahead for everyone this season.  As if that isn’t enough, all of the music that helped make The Wonder Years so great in its original run is here once again, too.  There are songs from Van Morrison, Percy Sedge, The Rivingtons, The Archies, Mel Torme, Patsy Cline, and many others.  The complete list of songs and acts featured in Season Five is noted below.

 

SONGS BY EPISODE

 

 “The Lake”
  • Happy Together-The Turtles
  • I Fought the Law-Bobby Fuller Four
  • Mannish Boy-Muddy Waters
  • Jamaica Say You Will-Jackson Browne
“Day One”
  • Eight Miles High-The Byrds
“The Hardware Store”
  • Takin’ Care of Business-Bachman-Turner Overdrive
  • Pennies from Heaven-Hal Kemp & His Orchestra 
“Frank and Denise”
  • Only You (And You Alone)-The Platters
  • If I Were a Carpenter-Tim Hardin
“Full Moon Rising”
  • G.T.O.-Ronny & the Daytonas
  • Fanfare For The Common ManInstrumental
“Triangle”
  • I Got You Babe-Sonny & Cher
  • If-Bread
  • Green River-Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • I Shall Be Released-The Band
“Soccer”
  • Get Up Offa That Thing-James Brown 
“Dinner Out”
  • Happy Birthday to You-Grady Martin and the Slew Foot Five 
“Christmas Party”
  • Rockin’ around the Christmas Tree-Brenda Lee
  • White Christmas-Andy Williams
  • Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer Mambo-Billy May and His Orchestra
  • Sleigh Ride-Leroy Anderson & His “Pops” Concert Orchestra
  • The Christmas Song-Mel Torme
  • Frosty The Snowman-Instrumental
“Pfeiffers’ Pfortune”
  • The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)-Harpers Bizarre
  • Fragrance-Palm Court Theatre Orchestra
“Road Test”
  • Poursuite-Instrumental
“Grandpa’s Car”
  • Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing)-Benny Goodman & His Orchestra
  • Crazy-Patsy Cline 
“Kodachrome”
  • Both Sides Now-Joni Mitchell 
“Private Butthead”
  • Forever Young-Joan Baez 
“Double Double Date”
  • You Are Everything-The Stylistics
  • Wild Thing-Instrumental
  • Run Run Run-Jo Jo Gunne
  • Sugar, Sugar-The Archies
  • When a Man Loves a Woman-Percy Sledge
“Hero”
  • Fanfare For The Common ManInstrumental
“Lunch Stories”
  • Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow-The Rivingtons
“Carnal Knowledge”
  • Walk Like a Man-The 4 Seasons 
“The Lost Weekend”
  • March from the River Kwai and Colonel Bogey-Mitch Miller & His Orchestra and Chorus
  • I Want to Take You Higher-Sly & the Family Stone
  • Judy in Disguise (With Glasses)-John Fred & His Playboy Band
“Stormy Weather”
  • Desperado-Linda Ronstadt
“The Wedding”
  • Wedding Song (There Is Love)-Paul Stookey
  • You Can All Join In-Traffic
“Back to the Lake”
  • Pressure Drop-Toots & the Maytals
  • Venus-Frankie Avalon
  • On the Road Again-Canned Heat
  • Home-Karla Bonoff 
“Broken Hearts and Burgers”
  • You’re Sixteen-Ringo Starr
  • Somewhere-Instrumental
  • Brown Eyed Girl-Van Morrison
  • Wild Heart of the Young-Karla Bonoff

Along with its engaging writing and its equally entertaining songs, The Wonder Years’ fifth season also comes complete with a handful of bonus features including the featurette “Will You Love Me Tomorrow: The Wonder Years’ Love Stories,” interviews with Olivia d’Abo (Karen Arnold) and David Schwimmer (Michael), and more.  The complete list of bonus material included in this season is noted below.

 

BONUS FEATURES
  • That’s A Wrap! Mark B. Perry’s Farewell Set Tour Season 5
  • Featurette: Will You Love Me Tomorrow: The Wonder Years’ Love Stories
  • Interviews with: Olivia d’Abo (Karen Arnold), David Schwimmer (Michael)

 

The Wonder Years: The Complete Fifth Season will be available Tuesday, May 24th in stores and online.  It will be available exclusively on DVD and will retail for MSRP of $39.95.  More information on this and other titles from Time Life is available online now at:

 

Website: http://timelife.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/TimeLifeUS

 

 

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Grown-Ups Got Plenty Of Alternatives To Theaters’ Offerings In 2015

This year’s big screen offerings brought big numbers for theaters. The problem is that the majority of those big numbers were the result of Hollywood’s (and audiences’) seemingly insatiable appetite for prequels, sequels, and remakes. It’s a sad statement when one really sits down and thinks about it. And thankfully more audiences are coming to their senses about it each year and staying home instead, taking in the variety of alternatives being offered on television and online. Given, far too many of those alternatives were (and still are) serials, dramas, and some mixture thereof. But for all of the serials and dramas out there, they were just a drop in the bucket in terms of just how much was offered to audiences this year in the way of home entertainment. Shout! Factory released two more volumes of episodes from the cult classic series Mystery Science Theater 3000 this year. It also released the final two seasons of the classic sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter, the complete series run of The Saint, and much more. PBS has released all three current seasons of its hit reality/cooking show A Chef’s Life, and partnered once again with itv to release the third season of Mr. Selfridge. Timeless Media Group even gave audiences a good scare this year with the release of A Haunting: Season Seven. And for all of the conspiracy theorists out there, Lionsgate and History channel offered up the seventh season of Ancient Aliens. These are just some of the alternatives offered to audiences this year from the home entertainment realm. And they are all on the Phil’s Picks list of 2015’s Best New Box Sets for Grown-Ups. That is in comparison to box sets for the whole family. That is a whole other list. That list will be presented tomorrow. In explaining the choices for the list of this year’s top new box sets for grown-ups, the overall packaging of each set was taken into consideration alongside each set’s bonus materials (or lack thereof) and the writing that went into each presentation. The combination of each element in each set went into coming up with this list. Not every set had bonus material such as with Welcome Back, Kotter’s third and fourth season. But the writing behind each season made each season entertaining enough that they each stand quite well on their own merits. The bonus material featured in both volumes of MST3K played a big role in their presentations deserving them their own spots as did the bonus material in Time Life’s new Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts box set and that of Hell on Wheels’ fourth season. That should hopefully give at least some background on why each title was listed where it was listed. Keeping that in mind every title listed here is fully deserving of its spot on this list. So enough rambling. Without any further ado, I offer for your reading pleasure dear readers, the Phil’s Picks 2015 Top 10 New Box Sets for Grownups. As always, the Top 10 make up the main body of the list while the bottom five each receive special mention as they deserve to be on the list just as much. Here you go!

 

PHIL’S PICKS 2015 TOP 10 NEW BOX SETS FOR GROWN-UPS

  1. A CHEF’S LIFE: SEASON 1

 

  1. A CHEF’S LIFE: SEASON 2

 

  1. A CHEF’S LIFE: SEASON 3

 

  1. WELCOME BACK, KOTTER: SEASON 3

 

  1. WELCOME BACK, KOTTER: SEASON 4

 

  1. MR. SELFRIDGE: SEASON 3

 

  1. THE DEAN MARTIN CELEBRITY ROASTS: STINGERS AND ZINGERS

 

  1. HELL ON WHEELS: SEASON 4

 

  1. MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000: VOLUME XXXIII

 

  1. MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000: VOLUME XXXIV

 

  1. THE SAINT: THE COMPLETE SERIES

 

  1. BROADCHURCH: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON

 

  1. HALT AND CATCH FIRE: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON

 

  1. A HAUNTING: SEASON 7

 

  1. ANCIENT ALIENS: SEASON 7

 

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China Beach’s First Season A Welcome Re-Introduction For Series’ Original Fans

Courtesy:  Star Vista/Time Life Entertainment

Courtesy: Star Vista/Time Life Entertainment

China Beach is not one of the most well-known dramas to ever hit the airwaves.  As a matter of fact, this “little brother” to M.A.S.H. only ran for four years as compared to M.A.S.H.’s eleven year run.  Despite that, it still developed a very loyal following among its viewer base.  Now thanks to Star Vista and Time Life Entertainment, fans of the series can once again enjoy the first season of this cult favorite once again some twenty-five years after it first made its debut.  The DVD release of China Beach Season One is a good start to the series’ re-issue.  That is the case first and foremost because of its writing.  It is so easy to compare China Beach to its “big brother” in its setting and the fact that it started up only five years after M.A.S.H. ended.  But in looking at the show’s writing, there is a big difference between the two shows.    Equally important in this first season is the show’s all-star cast.  At the time of the show’s broadcast, the show’s cast members weren’t the stars that they are today.  But that’s what makes this so important.  And last but not least, the bonus features included in this season finish it off.  Fans of the show will appreciate the inclusion of both a look back at the show by the cast and crew, the commentary included on specific episodes, and the cast’s twenty-fifth anniversary reunion.  These additional features bring everything full circle and make this season’s collection all the more enjoyable for its original audience.

When China Beach made its original debut on TV, that debut came only about five years after its “big brother”, M.A.S.H., had ended.  That was not exactly a lot of time when one really thinks about it.  So it would make sense that audiences might naturally make a comparison between the two series.  Comparisons aside, China Beach was quite different from M.A.S.H. as is evident in its writing.  Whereas M.A.S.H. was more a dramedy, China Beach was a more pure drama.  It showed to even more extent just how horrible war was.  Audiences will also appreciate in watching Season One’s new DVD set that it was more centered on a female cast.  As audiences will learn in the bonus material, this was no accident, either.  It’s so subtle in terms of the writing.  But in noting it, it is something extremely important to note in hindsight.  The bonus interviews with Dana Delaney and Chloe Webb help to illustrate that female-centric attitude of sorts behind the show’s writing.  Of course, one can’t ignore the general storylines, either.  While the show centers on female leads, the writing in general makes each episode quite balanced to the point that both male and female audiences will enjoy it especially if they are new to the series.  The human drama not so much just of war, but of the characters’ personal growth throughout the conflict is key to it all.  It’s something that M.A.S.H. didn’t focus on nearly as much.  That’s not to say that M.A.S.H. didn’t focus on this aspect of story.  It’s just that China Beach took that story element to a deeper level.  And that depth works with every other factor of the writing to show what made this series so special in its time.

The writers behind China Beach are obviously to be applauded for their efforts.  Audiences will see both in the episodes themselves and in Season One’s bonus material just how much thought went into the show’s writing.  It’s the most important starting point in examining the first series of the series.  Just as important to note in Season One is the show’s cast.  The cast members assembled for the series were not the big names at that time that they are today.  Robert Picardo went on to rise to fame on Star Trek: Voyager.  Dana Delaney and Chloe Webb each have had their own success since the show’s end.  And this is no surprise, considering their chemistry both on and off screen.  Again, audiences will see that chemistry both in the episodes themselves and in the bonus features included in Season One.  Having noted the bonus material included in Season One so much, it only makes sense to delve into them even more.

China Beach Season One is chock full of deep and moving episodes.  And the cast did an extraordinary job of interpreting the writers’ work.  Audiences will get an even deeper appreciation for the work done by the writers and the cast in Season One’s bonus features.  Season One’s bonus features are anchored by a look behind the series’ creation.  Viewers will learn that because the series was set during the sexual revolution, it only made sense to have the series centered on a set of very strong female leads.  That discussion is taken to a deeper level in the interviews with both Dana Delaney and Chloe Webb.  Delaney explains about the job opportunities (or lack thereof) for women at the time, which apparently was why many women ended up nurses overseas. It’s all quite enlightening to say the least.  This is just the tip of the iceberg for audiences.  The bonus features included in Season One offer far more for viewers.  And viewers will find out just what other interesting facts are revealed when they order China Beach Season One online at http://timelife.com/products/china-beach-season-1.  More information China Beach and other releases from Star Vista and Time Life Entertainment is available online at http://timelife.com, http://www.facebook.com/TimeLifeUS, and http://twitter.com/TimeLIfeUS.  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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Dean Martin Celebrity Roast Collection Is A Laugh Riot

Courtesy:  Time Life Entertainment/Star Vista/NBC Universal

Courtesy: Time Life Entertainment/Star Vista/NBC Universal

Groundbreaking and hilarious.  Those are the best two words that one can possibly come up with when one thinks of singer/actor Dean Martin’s celebrity roasts.  There was nothing else like this series on television when it was spun off from his equally entertaining Dean Martin’s Comedy Hour.  And even today, when one watches Comedy Central’s celebrity roasts, one can’t deny the influence of Martin’s show on today’s celebrity roasts.  Martin’s celebrity roasts were just as irreverent as anything broadcast on Comedy Central today.  Anyone that has any knowledge of classic movies and television will attest to that.  And that’s just one reason that audiences will appreciate the recent release of Dean Martin’s Celebrity Roasts: Collector’s Edition.  Decades have passed since these shows aired.  Despite that, the jokes are still as biting today as they were back then.  While the celebrities and jokes featured in each of this set’s shows are the most important aspect to the set, they’re only part of what audiences will appreciate about this new laugh riot collection from Time Life Entertainment and Star Vista.  Viewers will also appreciate the bonus features included in each of the set’s six discs.  And last but definitely not least, Time Life and Star Vista are more than deserving of praise for the packaging of this set.  The manner in which each of the set’s discs was placed protects each disc, and is ergonomic for any DVD rack.  When one takes into consideration everything noted here, one will see just how important it is to the history of television and movies that Star Vista and Time Life Entertainment have released this set.  It’s a set that any fan of true, pure comedy must see at least once.

The celebrities and jokes that fill each episode of Dean Martin’s Celebrity Roasts: Collector’s Edition are the most important aspect of the episodes culled for the set.  Audiences that are more familiar with classic television and movies will appreciate seeing big names such as Rich Little, Don Rickles, former President Ronald Reagan, Sammy Davis, Jr., and so many others.  Little’s impersonations of some of Hollywood’s biggest names are among the many highlights.  Audiences will roar with laughter as he impersonates Johnny Carson.  Carson does everything that he can to not do the mannerisms that Little lists off one at a time.  The funny thing is that he can’t help but do those same mannerisms.  It shows just how closely Little studied his subjects.  It’s just one of so many moments that will have audiences laughing so hard that they cry.  There’s actor Kirk Douglas’ joke comparing fellow actor Don Rickles to a weasel, Rev. Billy Graham’s golf joke about Bob Hope, and even Foster Brooks’ ever entertaining drunk act from one show to another.  Somehow that act never loses its shine, no matter how many times he does it.  There is plenty more material from which audiences will be able to call their favorite moments.  Everything listed here is just a small sampling of that to which audiences can look forward with this collection of hilarious roasts.

The celebrity lineups and jokes that fill each of Martin’s celebrity roasts easily make Dean Martin’s Celebrity Roasts: Collector’s Edition make it an easy contender for the top spot on this year’s list of the best new box sets.  One can’t make such a statement without examining the set’s bonus material.  Bonus is a word that is bandied about far too often with DVDs and Blu-rays today.  But the additional content included in this set couldn’t be more properly labeled than bonus material.  Audiences are offered interviews with those that shared the stage throughout Martin’s Celebrity Roasts and bonus shows, too.  The interviews with the likes of Carol Burnett, Rich Little, and others show just how honored the chosen celebrities were to have been chosen both for the celebrity panel, and as the subject of the roasts.  The celebrity interviews included across this set are definitely worthy of being called bonus material.  Audiences will also appreciate the bonus segments of The Dean Martin Show, as well as a comparison between Martin’s celebrity roasts and what is offered today on the likes of Comedy Central.  It’s very interesting to note Carol Burnett’s own words, stating how today’s comedy is “mean” versus Martin’s roasts being just good clean fun.  She makes a valid argument.  One can really tell that Martin’s celebrity roasts were really meant all in good fun.  There were some off color material.  But even back then, the comedians on the panels didn’t have to work blue unlike today’s comedians.  It’s a telling statement.  And when they order this set, audiences will see that and more for themselves.

The bonus material included in Dean Martin’s Celebrity Roasts: Collector’s Edition puts this set way over the top.  Unlike the extra material crammed into other sets by other companies, the extra material included in this set is more than deserving of the title of “Bonus.”  When set next to the celebrity lineups and their jokes, it makes this set one that any classic TV and movie fan absolutely must add to their own home library.  Those same fans will notice in adding this set to their home DVD library that the packaging is another plus.  The box itself takes up a small amount of room on one’s rack.  That’s because of how the discs inside the box were themselves packaged.  The discs are placed on either side of a group of “inserts” inside the box.  They are given their very own space on either side of each insert.  This not only saves space, but also protects the discs from scratching one another at the same time.  This means being able to share the laughs again and again for years to come.  They are laughs that will be welcome with every watch.  And they can be enjoyed when audiences order the set from Time Life Entertainment and Star Vista online at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00D2UMI9Q/ref=s9_simh_gw_p74_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=0JVYS83R0PH9M3VZQVZP&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1630083502&pf_rd_i=507846.  More information on this and other releases from Time Life Entertainment and Star Vista is available online at http://timelife.com and http://www.facebook.com/TimeLIfeUs.  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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Every Family Should Add Christmas With Carol To Their Holiday Viewing Tradition

Courtesy:  Time Life Entertainment/Star Vista

Courtesy: Time Life Entertainment/Star Vista

Traditiooooooon.  Tradition!  Sorry, folks.  This critic had a brief Fiddler on the Roof moment there.  Why?  That’s because this critic was thinking about the traditions in which people take part each year during the holiday season.  One tradition in which so many people take part during the holiday season is the watching of the annual holiday specials on TV’s major networks.  Those specials are wonderful in their own right.  But they aren’t the only specials out there.  Time Life Entertainment and Star Vista have released a new compilation from The Carol Burnett Show that more than deserves to be a part of any family’s annual holiday viewing tradition in The Carol Burnett Show: Christmas with Carol.  Those that watched the sketches included here will enjoy them just as much as those that are new to the comedienne’s talents.    Audiences will appreciate first and foremost that the episodes culled for this compilation are presented exactly as they were presented in their original broadcasts.  They will also appreciate that in comparison to so much of today’s comedy, it is actually quite family friendly.  Just as important to this compilation is the inclusion once more of a thorough episode guide included inside the box.  All three of these aspects make this latest compilation more than deserving to be part of any family’s holiday viewing tradition.

The Carol Burnett Show: Christmas with Carol includes two classic holiday themed episodes from the show’s original run.  While there are only two episodes, those two episodes are presented exactly as they were done in their original broadcasts.  Nearly thirty years has passed since the first of the pair originally aired.  And almost thirty-six years have passed since the latter of the pair originally aired.  Needless to say that in watching both episodes included in this set, the classic footage has stood the test of time quite well.  Of course, those charged with preserving it and restoring it where necessary have done their jobs expertly.  So they too deserve a round of applause.  The same can be said of the set’s bonus holiday sketches.  That the footage still looks as wonderful as it did in its original broadcast will instill in some viewers a sense of nostalgia.  For others, it will hopefully help to garner respect for one of television’s greatest programs.

The quality of the footage alone in the included shows and sketches goes a long way toward making this new holiday collection a joy for the whole family.  The material in the shows helps it to go just as far.  That’s because unlike so much of what’s out there today, the sketches included in the set are largely family friendly.  Given, there is some material that is slightly edgy at best.  But it’s nowhere near the level of the material in some of today’s sketch comedy shows.  No names will be used here.  A prime example would be Burnett’s sketch with Alan Alda (M.A.S.H.) , “Morton of the Movies.”  Alda’s Morton is a department store Santa that falls in love with Burnett’s character.  The catch is that Morton uses a bunch of movie quotes and character styles to make her fall for him.  Her reaction to discovering this is everything that makes physical comedy so great.  The way that her eyes bug out and her mouth drops open as she watches the lines that Morton just used being recited on television is classic in every sense.  It’s the type of comedy that viewers of every age will appreciate and enjoy.  ON the other end of the spectrum is a slightly edgier sketch with Burnett playing the beloved secretary, Mrs. Wiggins.  Mrs. Wiggins is celebrating the holidays with her boss, Mt. Tudball.  And the ditzy secretary ends up causing Mr. Tudball more trouble than he bargained for as a result.  This is a moment that older audiences will appreciate more.  It’s nowhere near the level of today’s comedy.  But it at least has substance.  That’s more than can be said for so much of what currently classifies as comedy.  There is much more comedy included in the material collected for than what is listed here.  Audiences will find their own favorite moments when they order the DVD for themselves as it is available now.  Of course, the material included on this DVD isn’t the last commendable portion of the presentation.  Audiences will also appreciate that Time Life and Star Vista have once again included a relatively thorough episode guide with the collection that is itself a bonus.

The episode guide included with this new DVD is its own bonus.  So often, DVD compilations (both single and multi-disc sets) lack guides for viewers.  This should be considered a cardinal sin.  Time Life and Star Vista have thus done very good.  Not only are the episodes outlined in the bonus guide, but thorough summaries of the set’s main sketches are included along with a handful of photo stills from different portions of the included episodes.  The inclusion of the sketch summaries helps to set expectations before viewers even put the DVD into their DVD players.  And the inclusion of photo stills helps to heighten those expectations.  In turn, these two elements make the overall presentation of the DVD that much more enjoyable.  These elements work together with the previously noted elements to make The Carol Burnett Show: Christmas with Carol a wonderful addition to any family’s holiday viewing tradition this and every holiday season.  It is available now on DVD and can be ordered direct from Time Life Entertainment online at http://timelife.com/products/christmas-with-carol.  More information on this and other releases from Time Life Entertainment and Star Vista is available online at http://timelife.com and http://www.facebook.com/TimeLifeUS.  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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

StarVista, Time Life Announce Release Date For Mama’s Family Sets

Courtesy:  Joe Hamilton Productions/Lorimar-Telepictures/StarVista/TimeLife

Courtesy: Joe Hamilton Productions/Lorimar-Telepictures/StarVista/TimeLife

Courtesy: Joe Hamilton Productions/Lorimar-Telepictures/StarVista/Time Life

Courtesy: Joe Hamilton Productions/Lorimar-Telepictures/StarVista/Time Life

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s been a long time coming.  But comedian Vicki Lawrence’s sitcom spawned from The Carol Burnett Show, Mama’s Family, will finally see the light of day once more.  Earlier this year, Time Life and StarVista released Mama’s Family: The Complete Series.  And now for those that might not have managed to get their hands on the complete set, the two companies have announced that they will release the first two seasons of the hit sitcom this Summer.

Mamas Family Season One and Mamas Family Season Two will be released together on Tuesday, September 10th.  The first of the sets will be available for an MSRP of $22.95 and the second for $29.95.  The upcoming release of the show’s first two seasons marks the first time that they have ever been available to the public on DVD.  They feature the show exactly as it originally aired, as all material included in these sets was taken from the show’s original broadcast masters, otherwise known as the “Joe Hamilton” cuts.  Each episode is introduced by the late, great Harvey Korman as Alastair Quince (taking a playful stab at Alastair Cooke).  Audiences will be happy to see among the included bonus features, the DVD teleplay, “Eunice” and much more.

Courtesy:  Joe Hamilton Productions/Lorimar-Telepictures/StarVista/Time life

Courtesy: Joe Hamilton Productions/Lorimar-Telepictures/StarVista/Time life

The complete details of the sets’ bonus features is listed below.

BONUS FEATURES 

  • THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON – Featurette: Mama’s Family Tree: The Branches (All About Eunice and Ellen); Family History: A Classic “Family” Sketch from ‘The Carol Burnett Show’, featuring Betty White (Show #1012, December 11, 1976)
  • THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON – Movie: “Eunice” (Original Air Date: March 15, 1982); Featurette: Mama’s Family Tree: The Roots (All About Mama and Fran); Interviews: Vicki Lawrence interviews Mama, Vicki Lawrence interviews Carol Burnett, Betty White
Courtesy:  Joe Hamilton Productions/Lorimar-Telepictures/StarVista/Time Life

Courtesy: Joe Hamilton Productions/Lorimar-Telepictures/StarVista/Time Life

Courtesy:  Joe Hamilton Productions/Lorimar-Telepictures/StarVista/Time Life

Courtesy: Joe Hamilton Productions/Lorimar-Telepictures/StarVista/Time Life

Along with the first two full seasons, StarVista and Time Life will also release two “best of” compilations featuring some of the show’s best moments.  These compilations will also be available on September 10th.  They can all be ordered online direct at http://www.mamasfamilydvds.com.  The complete series can be ordered for an MSRP of $199.95.  The “Best of” compilations will be available for $12.95 each.

Courtesy:  Joe Hamilton Productions/Lorimar-Telepictures/StarVista/Time Life

Courtesy: Joe Hamilton Productions/Lorimar-Telepictures/StarVista/Time Life

Audiences can find out more about these releases and more from StarVista and Time Life online at http://wwwStarVista.TimeLife.com, http://www.facebook.com/TimeLifeUS, and http://twitter.com/TimeLifeUS.

Courtesy:  Joe Hamilton Productions/Lorimar-Telepictures/StarVista/Time Life

Courtesy: Joe Hamilton Productions/Lorimar-Telepictures/StarVista/Time Life

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.