Time Life’s Latest Carol Burnett Show Box Set Is A Treasure In Itself

Courtesy:  Time Life Entertainment

Courtesy: Time Life Entertainment

Television today is not what it used to be. Between all of the drama, serials, and sex there really is not a lot worth watching anymore. That is not to say that there is nothing worth watching. But television’s true worthwhile commercial offerings are, at least in the eyes of this critic, few and far between. It goes without saying that in terms of current offerings on television, PBS is the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming. While it is the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming on television, there are other options available on DVD and Blu-ray thanks to the likes of Shout! Factory and Time Life Entertainment. Both companies have proven in the past ten years or so to be the leading names in the home entertainment market in terms of truly worthwhile television offerings. And next month Time Life Entertainment will show why it holds its title once again when it releases its latest collection of classic Carol Burnett Show episodes The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes – Treasures From The Vault. The six-disc set is a continuation of Time Life Entertainment’s previous Carol Burnett Show box set, The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes. That set was released this past September. Just as with that box set, the episodes collected for this set lie at the heart of its presentation. The collective work of the show’s writers and cast is another important element in its presentation. The set’s companion booklet rounds out its most important elements. Each element plays its own important part in the whole of Time Life Entertainment’s new Carol Burnett Show box set. Altogether, they make The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes – Treasures From The Vault one more treasure for fans of the classic variety show and of classic TV in general.

Time Life Entertainment’s latest collection of episodes from The Carol Burnett Show is one more treasure for fans of the classic variety show and for classic TV fans in general. This is especially true in an age when commercial networks’ offerings are largely anything but being worth the watch. The main element that makes it such a wonderful treasure is its episodes. As with Time Life’s previous Lost Episodes collection from The Carol Burnett Show this collection lifts its fifteen total episodes from the series’ first five seasons. This is important to note because none of the episodes from the show’s first five seasons had ever been released in any of Time Life’s previous Carol Burnett Show box sets up until the release of this box set and its predecessor. Considering that the series’ first five seasons’ episode count totals 134 episodes, and only 30 of those episodes will have seen the light of day upon this box set’s release, that still leaves 104 episodes to be released. That means that this latest installment will hardly be the last collection to feature episodes from the series’ first five seasons. Since it looks like Time Life won’t be releasing the series in its complete season sets or even full series run anytime soon, this is a very good thing for fans. It means that the laughs and guffaws will keep coming for some time to come. And that’s just the beginning of this box set’s positives. The work of the show’s writers and cast together makes for plenty of entertainment for audiences.

The episodes featured in Time Life Entertainment’s latest Carol Burnett Show collection are important in their own right to the set’s overall presentation. That is because they are just one more collection of previously unreleased episodes from the series’ first five episodes. Collectively speaking they are hardly the last episodes from The Carol Burnett Show’s early years to be released. Considering the total number of episodes that made up the show’s first five seasons, there are plenty more to come. It would have been nice to have these episodes in full standalone season sets. But beggars can’t be choosers. Now considering this, they are collectively just one part of what makes this collection its own treasure. Throughout the course of this collection’s featured episodes, the writers and cast work together to give audiences loads of laughs. One episode that clearly exhibits this comes late in the set’s run in the form of “Cheek to Cheek.” This skit, included in Disc Twelve (Yes, twelve. That will be discussed later) pokes fun at the dance numbers that filled so many classic movies from the 1930s and 40s. It compares those classic scenes (and numbers) to what a real life scenario would look like if everybody suddenly broke out in song and dance. The very concept was, for its time, original to say the least. And the very thought is in itself pretty funny. Watching Harvey suddenly breaking out in song and dance, taking Carol and having her dance around in the “restaurant” adds to that hilarity. Harvey’s almost Woody Allen style character is a laugh riot with his New York accent and glasses. It is something that audiences simply must see in order to appreciate. On another note “The Secretaries” offers just as much entertainment. Carol stars opposite Harvey Korman as Ms. Farnum, Mr. Bradley’s secretary. Ms. Farnum has to choose her temporary replacement so that she can go on vacation. She ends up coming face to face with some candidates that definitely outshine her with hilarious results. The ultimate outcome won’t be revealed here. But it will leave audiences in stitches, needless to say. As if that isn’t enough, “The Wonderful World of Hospitals” offers its own share of entertainment. Guest star Jonathan Winters stars opposite Harvey Korman in this sketch. Winters is hilarious as the doctor being interviewed here. His character is one part Jonathan Winters and one part Groucho Marx. It’s something that must be seen to be believed and appreciated. At one point he laughs at one of his jokes and ever so subtly uses his stethoscope to check his own heart rate after the fact. The subtlety of that movement is so funny. Again, it’s one of those moments that is so absurd that one can’t help but laugh at it. The very concept behind the skit makes the writers well deserving of their applause once again here. The same applies to Korman for his ability to maintain a certain seriousness throughout the sketch even with Winters’ laugh riot performance. It’s just one more way in which the combined efforts of the series’ writers and cast make this latest collection of episodes a true treasure. There are plenty of other moments that could be cited as examples, too. Ken Berry’s footwork as he dances to “Mr. Bojangles” is another example that could be cited in this argument. As Carol and her castmates pay tribute to Warner Brothers’ Looney Tunes, audiences will find themselves laughing just as much. And Carol’s set closing performance as the famed Charwoman is perhaps the highest of the set highest moments. The moment in question sees the Charwoman closing down the set of The Carol Burnett Show at the end of a season. She imagines that she is in each of the sketches that were churned out in the season in question. It is a truly memorable and moving moment that is certain to leave at least some audiences shedding tears of joy thanks to its beauty and gentility. Whether for that moment, those directly noted here or even those not directly noted, it can be said of the cast and writers’ work here that both play integral parts in the overall presentation of Time Life Entertainment’s new Carol Burnett Show box set. Together with the episodes themselves, both elements combine to give audiences even more reason to purchase this box set. Even with their importance they are still not all that should be noted of the collection. The set’s companion booklet rounds out its presentation.

The episodes that are featured in Time Life Entertainment’s new Carol Burnett Show box set and the work put into each episode by the show’s writers and cast go a long way towards making the collection in whole enjoyable. as important as both elements are to the set’s presentation they are not the set’s only notable elements. The companion booklet that comes with the box set is just as important to the set as the previously noted elements. That is because it continues a tradition established by Time Life in the company’s previous Carol Burnett Show presentations. The tradition in question is making the booklet not just a booklet but a part of the set’s overall experience. It features a full episode guide that is specific to each of the set’s discs. Audiences will note of the listed discs that rather than simply labeling them as Disc 1 – 6, Time Life has instead labeled them as Disc 7 – 12. This is important to note because it tells audiences that Time Life didn’t just throw together a bunch of episodes and random discs. Instead it proves to audiences that the set is a direct connection to Time Life’s previous Lost Episodes collection. Time Life is to be applauded quite soundly for that. What’s more there are even little tidbits about different episodes throughout the guide that come from Carol herself and in general. All of this taken into consideration, it shows clearly why the companion booklet that comes with The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes — Treasures From The Vault is just as important to the set in whole as the set’s featured episodes and the content of each episode. It works together with those elements to show once and for all, without a doubt, that this set is indeed a treasure of its own both for Carol Burnett Show fans and for classic TV lovers in general.

The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes — Treasures From The Vault is a treasure of its own both for fans of The Carol Burnett Show and for classic television lovers in general. It shows this mainly through its collected episodes. The episodes are another sampling of previously unreleased episodes from the series’ first five seasons. The work put into each episode by the series’ writers and cast make each episode a laugh riot for any viewer. The companion booklet included in the six-disc sets completes audiences viewing experience as it not only offers a complete disc-by-disc episode guide but also bonus background information on specific episodes. Audiences even get to choose from the episodes within each disc, making the overall viewing experience all the more enjoyable. Each element plays its own important part in the overall presentation of The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes — Treasures From The Vault. Altogether they show clearly why the collection is a treasure in and of itself both for fans of The Carol Burnett Show and for classic TV fans in general. It will be available on Tuesday, February 9th and can be ordered online via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Carol-Burnett-Show-Treasures-Vault/dp/B018DQV44I/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1453840504&sr=1-1&keywords=the+carol+burnett+show+treasures+from+the+vault. More information on this and other titles from Time Life Entertainment is available online now at:

Website: http://timelife.com

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

Twitter: 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.

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

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

Twitter: 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.

Mama’s Family Goes Out On Top In Its Sixth And Final Season

Courtesy:  StarVista Entertainment

Courtesy: StarVista Entertainment

Mama’s Family is one of the sharpest comedies to ever grace any of the television world’s major networks. It can justifiably be said that if not for Mama’s Family, there would likely be no Roseanne. Either that or Roseanne might not have come along until much later than it did. It was Vicky Lawrence’s character of Thelma who paved the way not only for Roseanne Barr, but many other comediennes that would follow in her footsteps for years to come. Originally released in 2006, StarVista Entertainment obtained the distribution rights to the series some years ago and started re-issuing the series in 2013. Now almost two years after StarVista Entertainment re-issued the first of the series’ seasons that run has finally come to an end with the release of its sixth and final season last month. Regardless of audiences’ familiarity with Mama’s Family, every viewer will agree in watching this final season that even twenty-five years after the last episode aired, the series is still just as entertaining today as it was in its first run so long ago. The main reason that it remains so entertaining to this day is its writing. The writers crafted stories that were laugh riots both for themselves and for the sharp, witty one-liners tossed into the dialogue. The execution of those stories and one-liners by the show’s cast adds even more enjoyment to the show’s final season. In other words, the work of the show’s cast in interpreting the writers’ work adds even more to the overall enjoyment of these episodes. Last but not least of all worth noting of this set is the bonus material included in Season Six’s triple-disc box set. This includes both the set’s companion booklet and it’s bonus interviews with the show’s cast and crew. Each element by itself proves the sixth season of Mama’s Family to be a fitting finale for what is one of the greatest sitcoms of the 20th century. It is also one more welcome addition to the collection of any classic TV fan and any Mama’s Family fan, too.

The sixth and final season of  Mama’s Family is a fitting finale for what is not just itself a great sitcom, but also one of the greatest sitcoms of the 20th Century. As with its first five seasons, it proves this yet again thanks to the efforts of the show’s writers. The writers crafted in the sixth season of Mama’s Family twenty-one episodes that are just as ripe with laughs as any of the episodes from the series’ first five seasons. They are so funny both because of the premises of the stories themselves and for the jokes incorporated into each story. For example, in “An Affair to Forget,” Thelma suspects Vinton of cheating on Naomi with his new trainee Heather. The result sees Thelma and Iola end up spying on him only to find out that Naomi and Heather are actually good friends and that nothing was going on between Heather and Vinton after all. Of course they have to save face, so they get out of dodge real fast so to speak. Their reactions throughout the entire story right up to that final moment are a laugh riot. The writers’ sharp, witty commentary about the role of men and women in society in “Mr. Wrong” will have audiences laughing just as hysterically. When Iola’s boyfriend Bert introduces himself to Thelma’s family, his sexist mindset comes out, forcing Thelma’s tongue and her hand. She compares Bert to Pee-wee Herman when Iola says Bert is humorous and outgoing. Thelma shoots back that so is Pee-wee Herman, but she wouldn’t date him. Then she goes on to call Bert a liar, a blowhard, and a pig, to which Iola responds, “alright. So he’s not perfect.” This back and forth is a moment that will have both men and women alike laughing. Ironically enough even today there are still men like Bert. That’s what makes Thelma’s commentary so funny. The related jokes about her grandson trying to find love through a “romance line” will have audiences laughing just as much. And even the dream sequence that makes up “The Big Nap” will please any classic crime films and TV shows. Seeing Lawrence dressed up as an old-time detective is itself funny. The use of the sepiatone effect for the dream sequence and the acting on the part of the cast shows just how much fun everybody had making this episode. The episode’s story, which centers on a handful of recipes, is so funny in itself that one can’t help but watch and see what happens. It’s one more example of how the work of the writers behind Mama’s Family managed to so easily keep this sitcom such a laugh riot for so long. Now with the re-issue of the series’ final season, its original fans and possibly even a whole new generation of fans will see this for themselves. With any luck, in seeing this, it will turn audiences of all ages away from all the serials out there today and back to the joy that is another wonderful classic sitcom.

The work of the writers behind Mama’s Family proves to be just as entertaining in the series’ sixth season as in its first as has been evidenced already. Thelma’s jokes and biting social commentary are just as relevant and laugh-inciting today as they were in the series’ original run so long ago. While the writers are to be commended just as much today as they were then, the cast is to be commended, too. Vicky Lawrence’s timing is spot on from one episode to the next. It is almost as rapid fire as Groucho Marx with the same sharp wit as Carol O’Connor in his days on All in the Family. Ken Berry’s Vinton remains the perfect comic relief. And straightwoman Iola plays off of Lawrence’s Thelma just as well. The pairing of the two creates its own share of laughs from the season premiere to its finale. Interestingly enough, Beverly Archer plays the role so well that one can’t help but feel kind of sorry for Iola. That’s because Archer makes her such a simpleton yet someone who has a good heart. It makes her a great contrast to Thelma’s much more quick-witted personality. And it really plays on the old adage that opposites attract, which is why the pair works so well on-screen especially in Carol Burnett’s departure from the show. Even Dorothy Lyman adds her own comic element to the show as Vinton’s ditzy wife Naomi. She is especially entertaining because even today, every viewer knows somebody like her. Those same sorts still exist today. And they are quite like her. In many cases, actors whose series have been on air so long have a tendency to phone it in so to speak and just go on cruise control. But the cast of Mama’s Family is one cast that maintained its professionalism right to the end. The end result is one more season that shows exactly why Mama’s Family remains in its sixth season just as entertaining as any of today’s current offerings if not more so. And it is one more reason that anyone looking for real comedy with heart and soul should add this season of Mama’s Family to their own home DVD collection.

Bot the work of the writers and the cast of Mama’s Family proves just as solid in this the series’ final season as its debut season only years before. Both are equally important to the overall enjoyment and success of the set. But they aren’t all to be considered. The companion interviews and booklet included with Mama’s Family Season Six rightfully lives up to the title of bonus material. It rounds out the elements that make this season so enjoyable and such a success. The companion booklet offers a short but concise look at some of the season’s highlights courtesy of freelance writer Andrew Whitenack. The booklet also offers a full episode list for each of the set’s three discs. The bonus interviews offer just as many laughs as the episodes themselves and just as much insight into the show. Vicky Lawrence sits down with Writer/EP Rick Hawkins for discussions on the show’s guest stars, the addictive nature of the show, working with Harvey Korman and so many other topics. Jim Evering discusses working on both The Carol Burnett Show and Mama’s Family. And writer Manny Basanese offers up his own thoughts on the show, too. He notes that he came on in the last season. Considering how young Basanese looks, such a comment coupled with the fact that he notes he watched the series himself before coming on means he had to have been pretty young when he watched it. That in itself is a bold statement. Despite some of the show’s language and topics even six seasons in, it shows how much the show appealed to younger audiences even in its original run. It’s a subtle yet bold statement. And it’s yet more proof of why the bonus material included in the sixth season of Mama’s Family makes this box set so enjoyable and the set in whole such a success.

The bonus material included in the sixth season of Mama’s Family proves in its own way why this final box set is such a joy for anyone looking to break away from the monotony of television’s current offerings. The laughs and insights offered through the both the companion booklet and the bonus interviews will have audiences laughing just as much as with the episodes themselves. Speaking of the episodes, the combined work of the show’s writers and its cast six seasons in will have audiences laughing till they cry tears of joy. This is quite the statement especially when these episodes are compared to television’s current bland offerings. The combination of all three elements together shows clearly why the sixth season of Mama’s Family is a must have for any classic TV fan and a must have for anyone looking to escape the monotony of all the crime dramas, medical procedurals, and serials currently polluting the television spectrum today. Mama’s Family Season Six is available in stores and online now. More information on this and other titles available from StarVista Entertainment is available online at:

Website: http://timelife.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/TimeLifeUS

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 reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

The Midnight Special’s Re-Issues Will Have Audiences Singing, Dancing Well Past Midnight

Courtesy:  StarVista Entertainment/Time Life Entertainment/NBC

Courtesy: StarVista Entertainment/Time Life Entertainment/NBC

StarVista Entertainment and Time Life Entertainment have made quite the name for themselves over the course of recent years.  Releases of classic series such as The Carol Burnett Show, Mama’s Family, The Dean Martin Show, China Beach, and most recently The Wonder Years have taken a company that for years was the butt of many people’s jokes to a place in the upper echelons of home entertainment companies.  For years, Time Life was known mainly for the not-so-well-known products that it pushed through extended advertisements on television.  Now it has carved out even more of a comfortable place in that upper echelon with the release of The Midnight Special on DVD.  The classic late night live concert series was released in a number of formats last month, resurrecting one more important piece of television and music history.  The show’s six-disc collector’s edition is one of the best of the sets that any fan of classic television and music can add to their own home library.  That is because it is one of the best examples of what made this series so great during its nine-year run on NBC.  It presents ninety-six total performances from bands, artists and groups across the music industry’s spectrum.  The acts that make appearances throughout the set’s six discs are the center of this box set’s enjoyment and success.  Just as important to note is the quality of the footage.  More than four decades have passed since the Midnight Special first debuted in 1972.  In that time, the footage presented in these performances has stood the test of time quite well.  And last but not least worth noting in the set’s success is its companion booklet.  The booklet serves as an episode guide for viewers.  That is the central point of its importance.  It also features personal insight from the series’ creator Burt Sugarman. Sugarman’s retrospection on the series and its importance adds one more layer of appreciation for this series.  Together with the acts that appear on each set and the quality of the footage, all three factors together make The Midnight Train another wonderful release from Time  Life Entertainment and StarVista Entertainment.

The Midnight Special was one of the most famed and beloved series on television during its day.  Unlike so many other series of the time, acts that came on the series in its heydey actually sang instead of lip synching.  What’s more, unlike American Bandstand, The Midnight Special focused on more than just the big pop acts of its day.  The acts that came to perform on NBC’s live overnight concert series spanned the music world’s ranks.  That is the most important aspect of this recently released classic series.  The acts that performed on The Midnight Special included the likes of John Denver performing alongside Linda Rondstadt and Aerosmith performing alongside Barry White, The Stylistics, and ELO.  It also featured acts the likes of: B.B. King, Frankie Vallie, Sammy Hagar, The O’Jays, BeeGees, and so many other greats that are still remembered today.  Even the show’s host himself, radio host Wolfman Jack was a celebrity in his own right.  Even today, he and those acts noted here are just as beloved as they were decades ago.  In an era when so many musical acts are little more than flash-in-the-pan pop acts and rarely radio worthy rock bands, musicaians and audiences alike need to be reminded of what once made music great and could again–originality and real talent.  That in mind, it makes sense that the list of performers that came on The Midnight Special is the central point of this series’ success whether in its six-disc box set or its other formats.

The list of artists, bands, and groups that graced The Midnight Special’s stage during its nine-year run on NBC is the most important aspect of this series’ recent re-issue.  More than four decades have passed since it first debuted on NBC in 1972.  That makes for plenty of reason to be concerned about the quality of the show’s footage in its transfer from tape to disc.  Luckily for audiences of all ages, painstaking efforts were taken to present the performances as they appeared in their original broadcasts. Those efforts paid off in spades as both the audio and video of each performance have been well-balanced.  Any impurities in the quality of the footage whether in the audio or video are so minute that they are unnoticable.  The end result is a product that for the show’s original audiences will generate a much-welcomed sense of nostalgia.  Both for those same audiences and the show’s much younger audiences, it also serves to show just how far music has come (both in a good and bad way) and how far recording technology has come, too.  So in the end, the quality of the footage in these performances makes Time Life and StarVista’s new re-issue of The Midnight Special even more enjoyable for audiences of all ages.

The efforts taken to transfter The Midnight Special’s master tapes to disc have definitely not been for nothing.  The show looks and sounds just as good as it did in its original run all those years ago in its rencet re-issue.  The acts that appeared on the show (and that are featured on the new six-disc compilation) are just as important to the overall presentation.  Both aspects together more than make the series worth a watch or two in any of its three re-issue formats.  The last aspect of the series’ re-issue (at least in its six-disc compilation format) that makes it a success and so enjoyable is the set’s companion booklet.  The booklet serves primarily as an episode guide, pointing out disc-by-disc and episode-by-episode each artist, band, and group that appears.  That listing even includes the songs performed by said acts.  By itself, the episode listing more than helps the enjoyment of the series’ re-issue.  The added insight from series creator Burt Sugarman adds one more layer of enjoyment to the series’ various presentations.  In terms of the six-disc box set, Sugarman recalls how so few people had faith in the show and how great it felt to prove those naysayers wrong.  That insight along with other comments from Sugarman make for even more interest and enjoyment in watching the performances culled for the show’s different re-issues.  While being the last of the noteworthy factors that make The MIdnight Special so…well…special, it is hardly the least important of the factors that make the series’ sets such a joy.  This aspect, along with the quality production values and the performances culled for the releases, makes The Midnight Special a truly special experience for viewers of all ages.

The Midnight Special is available online now.  Its eleven-disc and sixteen disc sets can be ordered online direct from Time Life’s online store at http://timelife.com/products/the-midnight-special-collector-s-edition.  The six-disc collector’s edition can be ordered via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Midnight-Special-6DVD-Amaray/dp/B00L9OPJ5C/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1414009549&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Midnight+Special.  More information on this and other releases from Time Life Entertainment and StarVista Entertainment is available online at:

Website: http://www.timelife.com

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

Twitter: 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.

StarVista, Time Life To Release Latest Carol Burnet Box Set Next Month

Courtesy: StarVista Entertainment/Time Life

Courtesy: StarVista Entertainment/Time Life

StarVista Entertainment will release the latest in a continuing series of DVD sets from the Carol Burnett Show next month.

The Carol Burnett Show: Carol’s Crack Ups will be released by StarVista Entertainment Tuesday, April 15th.  The new set features seventeen more episodes of The Carol Burnett Show on six discs.  Each episode presented in this new box set was hand-picked by Carol Burnett.  Fans of CBS’ hit sitcom Mama’s Family will be pleased to know that “The Family”, the skit that led to Mama’s Family, will be featured throughout the set’s seventeen total episodes.  Also included among the set’s sic discs are more installments of the beloved skits, “Carol & Sis”, “Alice Portnoy”, “The Charwoman” and “The Old Folks” just to name a handful.  There are also guest appearances from Carl Reiner, Charo, Roddy McDowall, Ruth Buzzi, Andy Griffith and lots more.

The classic resurrected skits featured throughout all six of this set’s discs are only part of what audiences can expect from Carol’s Crack Ups.  StarVista has sweetened the deal for fans by adding bonus cast interviews and commentary, bonus sketches, and two previously unavailable featurettes in: “Tim Conway: Chief Cracker Upper” and “Tim On The Street.”

The Carol Burnett Show: Carol’s Crack Ups retails for $59.95.  More information on this latest release and the complete 22-disc collection of Carol’s Crack Ups is available online at http://timelife.com and http://www.facebook.com/TimeLifeUS, and http://twitter.com/timeLifeUS.  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.

StarVista, Time Life Announce Release Date, Details For Mama’s Family Season Three

Courtesy:  StarVista Entertainment/Time Life

Courtesy: StarVista Entertainment/Time Life

Thelma Harper returns this winter!  StarVista Entertainment and Time Life have announced that they will release the third season of the hit sitcom Mama’s Family on February 25th, 2014.  There are changes for the Harper family in the series’ third season.  The most noticeable of those changes is the departure of Vint’s kids, Buzz and Sonja.  The pair was replaced in Season Three by a new character named Bubba Higgins.  Bubba was the child of Ed and Thelma’s daughter Eunice.  He was played by Allan Kayser.  His sudden appearance is explained by his having been previously incarcerated in juvenile hall.  It is explained that he decided to move in at Thelma’s because Ed and Eunice had moved to Florida.  It’s not the only change that viewers see this season.  Ellen (Betty White—Golden Girls) goes under the knife, and Thelma’s sister Fran (Rue McClanahan—Golden Girls) dies.  Of course, Thelma doesn’t let it remain a somber occasion.  She harps on Ellen for how she did her hair for the funeral.  There are plenty more laughs from this, the penultimate season of Mama’s Family in its original run.  The upcoming box set’s release’s bonus features and guest appearances will impress, too.

Mama’s Family Season Three comes packed with its own share of bonus features.  Fans of The Carol Burnett Show that weren’t lucky enough to get their hands on any of the stand-alone box sets or the complete series set get yet another classic “The Family” skit taken from said show as a bonus in this set.  Also included is a profile of Bubba Higgins, an interview with Allan Kayser, and a Mama’s Family cast reunion.  If the bonus features aren’t enough for viewers, maybe the guest star lineup will.  Golden Girls star Betty White returns again.  Brent Spiner (Star Trek: The Next Generation), Dr. Joyce Brothers, Jack Dodson (The Andy Griffith Show), and Lewis Arquette (Best in Show) all make appearances, too.

All twenty-five episodes of Season Three are included across four discs.  The set is listed at an MSRP of $29.95.  More information on Mama’s Family Season Three and other releases from StarVista Entertainment and Time Life is available online at http://www.facebook.com/TimeLifeUS and http://www.timelife.com.  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.

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.