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Burns & Allen TV Show best DVD?

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4 replies to this topic

#1 of 5 OFFLINE   Chas_Michael


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Posted July 03 2007 - 06:02 PM

any opinions on the best quality (with commercials, if possible included) Burns & Allen TV Show, and The Jack Benny Show on DVD?

#2 of 5 OFFLINE   Jeff#



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Posted July 04 2007 - 03:33 PM

The video quality on those TV releases is generally fair because they are all public domain copies. Great sitcoms like The Jack Benny Program and The George Burns & Gracie Allen Show deserve first-class treatment, but on video they just never got it.

Ironically the radio versions of many Benny and Burns & Allen shows from the 1930s, 40s, and 50s are generally very good to excellent. The poorly-quality recordings are in the minority for both series. If you should download any of George & Gracie's episodes, they changed the show along with their sponsors a few times over the years. Originally they had a variety show with mostly banter between the regulars and the sketches were few and far between. It wasn't until 1942 (when Maxwell House became their sponsor for many years) that they permanently changed into the sitcom format which actually worked much better for them. Although some of the supporting cast changed, that would be the same form that would carry over to TV late in 1950.

Jack Benny's writers, meanwhile, took about 4 years to finally create the stingy character that was a reverse parody of himself. His early shows prior to that (1932 to 1936, before bandleader Phil Harris joined) are painful to listen to and not particularly funny because there are no self-deprecating jokes or witty insult humor that became Benny show trademarks.

Fortunately, audio sound recording technology improved a lot by 1936 and his format was solidified for the next 29 years, although the more talented Dennis Day didn't replace Kenny Baker (who went to work for Fred Allen) until 1939.

#3 of 5 OFFLINE   Chas_Michael


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Posted February 03 2008 - 02:23 PM

can anyone please direct me towards a decent release on DVD. Please.

#4 of 5 OFFLINE   docdoowop


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Posted February 04 2008 - 03:08 AM

Personally, I'd avoid Passport's 5-disc "George Burns & Gracie Allen Collection". Atrocious quality and highly over-packaged. Only two shows per disc, so it also takes up a good amount of space.

I do recommend the Madacy "Jack Benny Collection". Decent quality for a PD release, and 24 episodes on five DVDs. The recently released "Best of Jack Benny" from Mill Creek is similar in quality and offers 40 episodes on 4 discs.

#5 of 5 OFFLINE   odious_m



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Posted February 04 2008 - 03:34 AM

I own the "Best of Jack Benny" from Mill Creek and can highly recommend it. Of course the elements are very old and there are many kinescopes (filmed directly off television screens). But it is entirely watchable and very enjoyable. At around 10 dollars, quite a bargain.

I also have the Goodtimes release of "Best of Burns & Allen," consisting of 4 double sided discs. It's also very good.

BTW, both sets include many of the original commercials.