Showing posts with label Time Life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Time Life. Show all posts

Monday, December 3, 2018

2018 Classic Film Holiday Gift Guide

Another holiday season is upon us and if you're looking for a gift for the classic film lover in your life you've come to the right place. Today I present to you my 2018 Classic Film Holiday Gift Guide. Here you'll find a variety of gift ideas that would make for great stocking stuffers or wrapped presents under the tree. Or if you're looking for great products to buy for yourself with gift cards or holiday cash, I have some nice selections for you. Yay for physical media!

The guide is split into two sections. These are some of the products that I've enjoyed over the past year. The second section is my personal wish list of items I have my eye on.

When you use my buy links to do your holiday shopping you help support this site. Thank you!

As always, I'd love to hear from you. In the comment section below tell me which of these items appeals to you or would make a great gift for a loved one. And I want to know what's on your holiday wish list this year!

Kino Lorber's Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers Blu-ray Set

An ambitious project resulted in one of the most impressive film boxed sets ever released. A must have for film historians and feminists alike, this set includes a variety of female directed silent films and a bunch of amazing extras. Review to come!

And if you're passionate about supporting women in film, check out Alicia Malone's latest book. 

The Female Gaze Essential Movies Made by Women by Alicia Malone (Review)

Warner Archive Blu-rays

2018 was an especially good year for Blu-ray releases from the Warner Archive Collection. They keep cranking out some great discs and I'm forever grateful. Here are four of my favorites from this year. No surprise that two of them are Fritz Lang films!

Harper (1966) Blu-ray (Review)

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956) Blu-ray (Review)

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) Blu-ray (Review)

While the City Sleeps (1956) Blu-ray (Review)

Warner Archive DVDs

The good folks at the Warner Archive Collection keep digging into their vaults to find more treasures for us classic film lovers to enjoy. Whether it's a film new to DVD or one that's gone out of print, access is key and WAC is making that happen. Here are three previously unreleased films now available on DVD-MOD.

Hide-Out (1934)

Comet Over Broadway (1938) (Review)
Amazon  — TCM Shop — WB Shop

Tender Comrade (1943) (Review)

Kino Lorber Blu-rays

Kino Lorber has been growing their classic film Blu-ray and DVD releases for their main catalog and also for their Studio Classics line. A lot of these are independent releases, not attached to a particular studio, and it's great that KL has stepped in to give these films the release they deserve. Here are some of my favorites from this year.

Lisbon (1956) Blu-ray

The Woman in the Window (1944) Blu-ray (Review)

Intermezzo: A Love Story (1939) Blu-ray (Review)

Trapeze (1956) Blu-ray (Review)

Olive Films Blu-rays

Olive Films continues to release unique offerings that keep us cinephiles happy. Whether it's their super deluxe Signature Editions that sell like hotcakes or their regular Blu-ray and DVD releases jam packed with extras, there is much to enjoy from their catalog. Here are some of my favorite Olive Films Blu-ray releases from 2018.

Birdman of Alcatraz (1962) Blu-ray (Review)

The Miracle Worker (1962) Blu-ray (Review)

Odds Against Tomorrow (1959) Blu-ray (Review)

Mr. Capra Goes to War: Frank Capra's World War II Documentaries Blu-ray (Review)

TCM and Running Press Genre Books

Running Press' joint imprint with Turner Classic Movies keeps cranking out some really great classic film books. I feel like they're hitting their stride with these two genre books. 

Must See Sci-Fi: 50 Movies That Are Out of This World by Sloan de Forest (Review)

Christmas in the Movies: 50 Classics to Celebrate the Season by Jeremy Arnold (Review coming soon!)

TIME Life Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In

Earlier this year I celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In with a look back at the history behind this zany and hilarious show. TIME Life has released individual seasons in DVD boxed sets and the second season happens to be my personal favorite.

Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In: The Complete Second Season DVD Set (Review)
Complete collection available at TIME Life

Seduction: Sex, Lies, and Stardom in Howard Hughes' Hollywood
by Karina Longworth

I'm endlessly fascinated with Howard Hughes and his impact, both negative and positive, on Hollywood. And being familiar with Longworth's podcast You Must Remember This, I know her new book will be well-researched and juicy!

Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood
by William J. Mann 

Hearing Vanessa Buttino discuss this book on the Movie Palace Podcast made me move it up further on my wish list of must have books! Watch her Book Talk on YouTube for more details.

Amazon — Barnes and Noble — Powell's 

Notorious (1946) Criterion Collection Blu-ray

My husband and I realized we don't have a copy of this Hitchcock classic so we're holding out for the upcoming Criterion release which looks amazing. Just look at

Coming January 2019

Fandango Gift Cards

I love watching movies on the big screen but it can get pricey. I was treated to a few gift cards this year and I felt absolutely pampered.

Fandango Shop

Monday, January 22, 2018

Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In 50th Anniversary and Second Season

Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In

On January 22nd, 1968, 50 years ago today, the Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In premiered for its very first season. After a successful pilot aired the previous year, NBC, in beautiful downtown Burbank, ordered a full series. You bet your sweet bippy that Laugh-In became one of the zaniest shows ever to grace the small screen. With it's wacky skits, rapid fire jokes, political commentary, self-deprecating humor, and it's sock it to me gags, the show quickly became a hit with audiences. It was all verrrrry interesting. The name Laugh-In pokes fun at the protests and gatherings of the era which included sit-ins and love-ins. You didn't know that? Well look that up in your Funk and Wagnall's!

Dan Rowan and Dick Martin on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In
Dan Rowan and the beautiful Dick Martin (or so-and-so)

Gary Owens on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In
Announcer Gary Owens

"A wonderful world of fantasy. That's what Laugh-In brought to the public." - Gary Owens

Comedians Dan Rowan and Dick Martin met in 1952 when Rowan was a used car salesman and Martin was a bartender. They both had an interest in acting and comedy and when a mutual friend suggested they work together as a comedy team at nightclubs, the Rowan and Martin act was born. They worked their way up the ranks as a comedy duo. In the summer of 1966, they covered as guest hosts on The Dean Martin Show. The exposure catapulted them and producers took notice. NBC needed something to replace the recently canceled show The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and to compete with rival network programming Gunsmoke and The Lucy Show. Variety shows were popular in the late 1960s and would be easy to produce and inexpensive. Producer George Schlatter and Ed Friendly developed the concept and produced it under their joint production company. NBC booked a one hour special for September 1967. After premiering as a series, Laugh-In went on for 140 episodes and 6 seasons before being canceled in 1973. The show was insanely popular and helped launch the careers of regulars like Goldie Hawn, Dave Madden and Lily Tomlin. Many writers worked for the show, including SNL's Lorne Michaels, and went on to successful careers in the business. It won several Primetime Emmys and two Golden Globe awards.

Judy Carne on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In
Judy Carne in beautiful downtown Burbank

Henry Gibson on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In
Henry Gibson

"Blow in my ear and I'll follow you anywhere."

Laugh-In was one-of-a-kind with rapid fire delivery of humor. Inspired by burlesque and vaudeville, a series of skits and gags were stitched together. The end result was a show that jumped from joke to joke at almost a blindingly fast pace. In the earlier days of TV, the only way to put together a show with so many small parts the editors had to splice the footage with a razor and piece it together. Because of this a master was created for each episode which helped preserve the show for future audiences.

Arte Johnson on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In
Arte Johnson
Alan Sues on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In
Alan Sues

"This won all those Emmys?"- Don Rickles

I started watching Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In last year with episodes airing on the TV network Decades. The zaniness took some getting used to but once I warmed up to the show I was hooked. So far I've dipped into pretty much every season of the show. Time Life recently released season 2 in a DVD set and having seen the episodes I have to say this one is the highlight of the series. It contains some of the best moments from the show and the cast of regulars had great chemistry.

Chelsea Brown and Goldie Hawn on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In
Chelsea Brown and Goldie Hawn

Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In
Ruth Buzzi and Arte Johnson in the Gladys and Tyrone Skit

"Anne Bancroft is an undergraduate."

On season two you can expect some great comedy and a plethora of extra special guests. Dan Rowan, the straight man, and Dick Martin, the daft womanizer, are lovingly referred to as the big kids. I adore them as a comedy team. Today you can't get away with two middle-aged men dressed in tuxedo, with Rowan puffing away at a cigarette or pipe, delivering some rather adult jokes. Although technically the stars, its the motley crew of comedic talents that steal the show. These include announcer Gary Owens, actresses Ruth Buzzi, Goldie Hawn, Judy Carne, Jo Anne Worley and Chelsea Brown and actors Alan Sues, Arte Johnson, Henry Gibson, Dave Madden and Dick Whittington.

Arlene Dahl on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In
Arlene Dahl

Don Rickles on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In
Don Rickles, AKA the best special guest ever in the history of mankind

Recurring skits on the show include:

Cocktail Party — The Flying Fickle Finger of Fate — News: past, present and future — Gladys the spinster and Tyrone — Sock it to Me —  Here Comes the Judge —  C.F.G. Automat —  It's a Mod, Mod, Mod, Mod World with the painted go-go dancers —  Discovery of the week — Good night Dick — the Joke Wall

My favorite recurring skit? The cocktail party of course!

Classic film enthusiasts will love spotting some of their favorite stars as special guests on the various episodes. And anyone who was anyone made an appearance was on the show. Some of the guests on season two include:

Eve Arden —Jack Benny — Mel Brooks — Rosemary Clooney —  Joseph Cotten — Robert Culp— Tony Curtis — Arlene Dahl — Bobby Darin — Sammy Davis Jr. — Phyllis Diller — Kirk Douglas — Douglas Fairbanks Jr. — Zsa Zsa Gabor — James Garner — Greer Garson — Mitzi Gaynor — Frank Gorshin — Hugh Hefner — Bob Hope — Lena Horne — Rock Hudson — Van Johnson — Martin Landau — Peter Lawford — Jack Lemmon — Gina Lollobrigida — Ann Miller — Bob Newhart — France Nuyen — Otto Preminger — Vincent Price — Don Rickles — Cliff Robertson — Rod Serling — Sonny Tufts — Robert Wagner — John Wayne — Shelley Winters and more...

"Raquel Welch Smothers Brothers."

Guests performed skits, delivered one-lines and jokes while poking fun at the fact that they were on the show. An appearance on Laugh-In could do wonders for a guest. Presidential candidate Richard Nixon appears on season 2 in a short clip asking "sock it to me?" His appearance was credited with helping him win the election. His opponent Hubert Humphrey refused to be on the show and the rest is history.

Second Season

First Season

Time Life's Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In Season 2 DVD Box set includes 26 episodes on 7 discs. The first disc includes three interviews with Dick Martin, Gary Owens and Ruth Buzzi. All 26 episodes have been remastered and the set comes with a small booklet highlighting the content on each disc. I encourage you to pick this up because it's infinitely much more enjoyable to watch these restored episodes on DVD than on Decades where the quality is poor and the episodes are highly edited to fit in more commercial time.

Last year Time Life also released a 50th Anniversary set featuring all 140 episodes and 6 seasons of the show.

Thank you to Time Life for sending me the second season set to review!

Monday, October 23, 2017

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson Boxed Sets

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson DVD sets

We often talk about lost films, those have been destroyed due to fire or negligence. Recovering what we can from the farthest corners of the planet has been our mission in order to restore parts of film history. But what about the history of television? Some shows were neglected in much the same way. They were discarded or in some cases like The Dick Cavett Show or The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, they were taped over with new material. Many of those early episodes with interviews and performances that should have been preserved are lost forever. With The Tonight Show, many of the early episodes are lost but some episodes from the 1970s were recovered thanks to  copies sent to industry executives. These are gems that merit preservation for future generations.

Doc Severinsen, Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon
Doc Severinsen, Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon

Out of the NBC vault comes two new collections brought to us by Carson Entertainment and Time Life: The Vault Series: Collector's Edition and Johnny and Friends. Each of these DVD boxed sets boast a variety of episodes from the 1970s, '80s and '90s, some never before released in their entirety or at all. Bonus clips consist of episodes cobbled together from existing materials. Special episodes are preceded by a note giving some background on any technical difficulties, quality issues or missing segments. What makes these collections so specials is that they contain full episodes. These are not collection of clips or segments. You get the experience of the full episode presented just the way it appeared on its original air date.

The DVD menu gives you an option to watch the episodes and bonus clips with or without commercials. I implore you to watch them WITH the commercials. They are half the fun of watching these sets. There are lots of vintage commercials from brands such as Pillsbury, Budweiser, Fresca, KFC, Ore-Ida, Sanka, Subaru, RCA, Sears, JC Penney, Revlon, Delta, United Airlines, Alpo and more. Some of the commercials feature well-known actors early on in their careers. There are also Ed McMahon's sponsored spots for numerous brands which are a lot of fun to watch too.

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson The Vault Series

The Vault Series set contains 6 DVDs and features 18 episodes and bonus clips (which watch like almost complete episodes). These include anniversary and birthday episodes, notable guest appearances and some serve as a time capsule. For example, 2 discs highlight one week in March 1976.

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: Johnny and Friends

Johnny and Friends set contains 10 DVDs which 3 episodes and bonus clips. Each DVD highlights a particular regular guest on the show. These include: Don Rickles, Robin Williams, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld, Burt Reynolds, Steve Martin, Rodney Dangerfield, Eddie Murphy and Jim Fowler. Save the Don Rickles DVD for last because it's the best one.

Highlights of both sets include:

  • Ray Bolger song and dance numbers and a performance with Bing Crosby and Marvin Hamlisch
  • Charlton Heston on working with Cecil B. DeMille
  • Michael Caine and Sean Connery promoting The Man Who Would Be King
  • Orson Welles on the power of radio, on the good old days of radio.
  • Lucille Ball and Johnny Carson talking about their sex lives
  • A tipsy Dean Martin
  • Don Rickles insulting Johnny Carson and his guests
  • Don Rickles and Johnny Carson doing sit-ups with Olympian Olga Connolly (Fikotova)
  • James Garner and Ellen Burstyn discuss working together
  • Lauren Bacall discusses her admiration for Bette Davis
  • First appearances by David Letterman, Eddie Murphy, etc.
  • Burt Reynolds and Johnny Carson prank each other
  • James Mason discussing some of his worst films
  • Rodney Dangerfield's stand-up
  • Wildlife expert Jim Fowler and his animal friends
  • Bob Hope's entrances with Thanks for the Memories played by the band
  • Appearances by notable actors including Susan Sarandon, Clint Eastwood
  • Johnny Carson (finally!) performs Rhinestone Cowboy
  • Johnny Carson's skits including Carnac the Magnificent and Tea Time Movie matinee
  • The retro commercials.
  • The "More to Come" art in between commercial breaks often features classic film stars including Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Mae West, Shirley Temple, etc.

Both sets make fantastic gifts for the Johnny Carson fans in your life. If you want to pick only one of these two sets, I recommend the Vault Series over Johnny and Friends. I enjoyed the presentation of episodes more with that one. If you're a classic film enthusiast there is much to enjoy there. However, Johnny and Friends includes 4 more DVDs and a lot of truly excellent content. I wasn't as interested in some of the featured guests but with the full episodes I found plenty of other guests to capture by attention.

Watching full episodes of The Tonight Show, presented with retro commercials, is like taking a time travel trip to a bygone era of television history. These sets are so much fun to watch. I hope you'll give them a try.

Many thanks to Time Life for sending me these DVD sets for review. Shop The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson sets on Time Life.

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