TV fans can relive some of their favorite and funniest shows on the small screen, thanks to the fine folk at Time/Life. Visit them at timelife.com to get great prices. Ho, ho, hysterical!
There is no funnier lady. Period. As our pals at “USA Today” quip, “Funny has no expiration date.” Carol Burnett has moved the earth to be able to finally release long-lost episodes from the first five seasons of her Emmy-winning, history-making variety CBS series. These episodes have not been seen in more than 40 years, yet they still hold up . . . as original, as innovative as when they first aired. All the episodes have been hand-picked by our favorite Christmas Carol. “The Lost Episodes” is full of firsts: The set contains the debut episode of “The Carol Burnett Show;” the first performances of “As the Stomach Turns,” “The Old Folks” & “Carol and Sis;” and “Gone With the Breeze,” the precursor to the hilarious” Went With Wind” sketch. There is so much greatness here: On-set pranks and bloopers; touching (and often poignant) interviews with many of Carol’s fans and friends; rare Burnett TV specials; a collectible 40-page guest book with autographs from Carol’s guests, friends and fans, production photos and notes from Carol; a backstage tour of Stage 33 where the shoe was filmed; and a peek at her really early days on Garry Moore’s TV show. The 45 episodes on 22 discs will keep you laughing for months. Maybe years?
What started as a replacement for “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” became one of television’s funniest rural romps. Indeed, “Hee Haw” was a variety show featuring country music and humor that (mostly) took place in fictional Kornfield Kounty. The show was inspired by “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” with one major difference: “Hee Haw” was far less topical, and was centered on country music and rural Southern culture. It was such a success it aired from 1969–1971 before a 21-year run in local syndication. Now the classic the musical performances by such legends as Tammy Wynette, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, Conway Twitty and Tennessee Ernie Ford neatly fill “Hee Haw Collection.” The whole “Hee Haw” gang, including Roy Clark ,Buck Owens, Archie Campbell, Gordie Tap, Junior Samples, Lulu Roman, Minnie Pearl and Stringbean are back. Bonus features includes a breathless barrage of jokes, one-liners and zany bits will have you doubled (tripled?) over with laughter as the Kornfield Kounty comedy clan flexes its funny muscles. And just until you catch Roy Clark in drag!
This historic trove of musicians and their music is remembered (and can be seen) at any time. “The Midnight Special” was the first of its kind: The most popular artists of the day, from rock, pop and soul, shared the stage performing their hits live on late-night television–and right in your living room. The 11-disc “The Midnight Special Collector’s Edition” contains almost 10 hours of incredible performances, 130 songs, plus nearly five hours of bonus features including brand-new interviews and exclusive featurettes highlighting the history and the legacy of this pioneering TV show. A bonus disc featuring the best comedy from The Midnight Special includes skits by many top funny men . . . Steve Martin, Richard Pryor, George Carlin and Billy Crystal. There’s also receive a 32-page booklet featuring photos and stories about The Midnight Special, all housed in a beautiful collector’s box.
They say that on the seventh day, He rested. We like to think that He spent Sunday watching a most animated and adventurous DVD box set, “The Beginner’s Bible.” The four-disc set is a wealth of videos based on timeless bible stories for preschoolers, based on the best-selling children’s book by the same name. Besides Him, another Big Name is involved with series: The set many original songs and the theme song is sung by Kathie Lee Gifford. Designed to give an overview of the Bible, “The Beginner’s Bible” is based on the basic, simple stories found in all Bible versions. It is non-denominational and has been accepted by all major denominations and ministries because of its simplicity and warmth. We think of these shows as the greatest stories ever told, a delightful way to introduce young children to these timeless stories of inspiration, courage and faith. Keep one thing in mind: He knows if you’re paying attention.
We have been accused too many times of being a tease. So now we cock our head back and offer one of the best: “The Wonder Years: The Complete Series.” Never before released on DVD in its entirety, the beloved series is presented as a 26-disc collector’s set featuring all 115 episodes, along with a host of extras including 23 hours of specially-produced bonus programming–featurettes, an incredible cast reunion 16 years in the making and never-before-seen outtakes, including all takes of Kevin and Winnie’s first kiss from the pilot episode. Nostalgically packaged in a collectible metal locker, a replica of those used by Kevin and Winnie in Kennedy Junior High School, the series arrives complete with colorful Wonder Years magnets to custom-design each locker. And, within the hand-assembled lockers, fans will find the 26 pristine DVDs, along with two notebooks, each featuring detailed episode information and production photos, as well as a replica yearbook embellished with signatures from cast members, behind-the-scenes photos and classic show memorabilia, and liner notes penned by Fred Savage, series creators Neal Marlens and Carol Black, and executive producer Bob Brush. Imagine: You may spend a few wondrous years going through all the wonders and falling in love all over again with one of television’s most fondly remembered and groundbreaking sitcoms.
He’s earned his moniker of “Mr. Warmth,” the sardonic, sarcastic and balding comic icon Don Rickles. What else to call a DVD set that celebrates Rickles than “Mr. Warmth: The Ultimate TV Collection?” The set contains four classic one-hour network television specials from the ’70s featuring dear Don and an impressive list of guest stars. Rickles does new introductions for his work. One of the specials is the great “Don Rickles: Alive and Kicking:; in addition to the specials is the complete series of his beloved show “CPO Sharkey.” The show was good but failed to make it: For two seasons (1976 1978) and 37 episodes, Rickles brought his distinctive brand of comedy the sharp-tongued playing U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Otto Sharkey. And you thought Archie Bunker was politically incorrect . Other highlights include movie spoofs of “For Whom the Bell Tolls;” “Tarzan;” “Midnight Cowboy;” and “The Ten Commandments;” a dramatic performance of a scene from “Inherit the Wind” (with Jack Klugman); a “The Tonight Show” clip with Johnny Carson’s surprise visit to the “CPO Sharkey” and sundry never-before-seen outtakes and unedited scenes.