DVD Review HTF REVIEW: The Carol Burnett Show - Let's Bump Up the Lights

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Scott Kimball, Apr 25, 2005.

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  1. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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    [​IMG]
    The Carol Burnett Show - Let's Bump Up the Lights



    Studio: Paramount

    Year: 2004

    Rated: NR

    Length: 42 Minutes

    Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

    Audio: Dolby Digital English Stereo

    Closed Captioned

    Special Features: None

    S.R.P..: $19.99, USD


    Release Date: May 3, 2005

    Fans of The Carol Burnett Show will certainly remember the Q&A sessions featured on the show. “Let’s bump up the lights” was Carol’s cue to bring up the house lights so that she and the rest of the cast could interact with the audience. These segments provided some of the best spontaneous moments in television.

    In this CBS special, Carol Burnett, Harvey Korman, Tim Conway, Vicki Lawrence and Lyle Waggoner reunite on stage, in front of a live audience, for an all new Q&A, as well as a retrospective of some of the best spontaneous moments from the segment over the run of the show. The stars look back on these classic moments, providing a humorous commentary on what happened - and they take some new questions from the audience as well.

    My understanding is that there will be a simultaneous two-disc release of this show, along with “The Carol Burnett Showstoppers Show.” This review pertains just to the single disc “Bump up the Lights.”

    The Transfer
    The new footage looks as good as you would expect. I can see no problems with it at all... it offers up fine contrast, good color and good sharpness. The older footage is in very good shape. Generally softer in appearance, it looks much as I’d expect a show of this vintage. I have no complaints.

    The audio is in Dolby Digital English Stereo, and it is adequately delivered. There’s not much to say about audio for a show in this format.

    Special Features
    There are no special features.

    Parting Thoughts
    This 42 minute special offers just enough to get the juices flowing for more. There are some really funny moments, here... but it just isn’t enough. At only 42 minutes in length, I might buy this from a bargain bin at a $5 price point.
     
  2. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Anyone know if any of here comedy TV series will be coming out on DVD in addition to these "specials"?
     
  3. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Cinematographer

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    If you're talking about the full-length "Carol Burnett Show", you might as well go to Columbia House and subscribe to their series, as that is the only way you're likely to be able to see full-length episodes of this series for a long time to come.

    Why won't we see season sets at retail for this show? Short answer: expensive music rights.

    I don't think that would prevent a release of the cut-up half-hour version that airs in syndication as "Carol Burnett and Friends" (the shows minus all the musical numbers), but I think most of the fans want the original hours.

    Columbia House has issued 31 volumes so far with two shows per disc. At about $20 per volume (when you include tax and shipping) it is expensive (by modern standards), but you have to remember, that music rights are sometimes expensive. Carol had to work out a special arrangement with the musicians unions just to get this release off the ground. The rights were probably too expensive for a mass-market version, or perhaps the union gave her a "deal" on the residual payments so long as this remained a "limited" subscription series rather than a mass-market one (thinking it'd be better to make some money that no money).

    It's also been said that Carol (and other cast members, too) doesn't feel that the first several seasons of the show were all that good, so it isn't likely we'd see season sets of the early years anyway. Indeed, all episodes issued from Columbia House are from 1972 onward, (though that may have more to do with the fact the first several seasons used a different group of musicians, so those would've required a new set of negotiations, I guess) and from what I'm told, there is no pre-1972 material in the "CB and Friends" syndication package.
     
  4. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    thanks for the great info. You know...I had grown up on "CB and friends" and never realized that the show that I was watching was a truncated version of a longer program. You've educated me on several levels regarding this fabulous program.

    Is the "Went with the Wind" skit on any of the released Columbia discs?

    dave [​IMG]

    p.s. I really want this show...but at $10 a show that's kind of pricy! The 31 currently released volumes would be $600.00...that's just wrong!!!
     
  5. JeffWld

    JeffWld Stunt Coordinator

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    Considering the negotiation miracle that Burnett pulled off to get the complete shows released, $10 a show is nothing short of a bargain. Many of the shows contain big finales the often included 10-minute song medleys. In some instances I've counted as many as 45 song clearances required for a given show.

    The "Went With The Wind" sketch is contained within one of the released volumes (Dinah Shore is the guest). E-bay often has this volume if you wanted to obtain it without signing up for the Columbia House package.
     
  6. JohnOPR

    JohnOPR Stunt Coordinator

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    I've been getting these discs via Columbia House for several months, now. Just received Volume 18 a week or so ago. Although they are fairly expensive, they are certainly worth the cost, as far as I'm concerned. Each COMPLETE show is preceded by comments by Carol, Harvey, and Tim, followed by the show itself. The humor is priceless. I can honestly say that this is a purchase I've never regretted.
     
  7. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Cinematographer

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    It's also worthy of notice that not too many years ago (before DVD boxsets), paying $20 for a two-hour VHS (or early DVD) was the norm, and people were buying them. Some shows, like Star Trek and Outer Limits were selling for as much as $15-20 for a single-episodeVHS (and that's not even adjusted for inflation), and those shows didn't have all the music rights payments that Carol Burnett Show has to contend with.

    We've just gotten used to/spoiled by current pricing trends. If we want variety shows like this completely uncut and untampered with, then we've got to be willing to pay the piper. For me, it's worth it.
     
  8. JeffWld

    JeffWld Stunt Coordinator

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    It's also worth noting that if someone was able to obtain all the legal permissions from the rights holder for a screening copy of a variety-type show from the 2" tape era, the average cost currently runs about $300 per hour.
     
  9. RobertSiegel

    RobertSiegel Screenwriter
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    It's really too bad about the rights, because a mass market release I believe, would be very successful. I just can't afford 18 volumes (so far) at 20.00 each, and I hate the editing of those 1/2 hours episodes. The fact that the rights are so high for music is a shame, because we will probably never see such shows as this, or all of the wonderful variety shows that ran, including the awesome JULIE ANDREWS HOUR and others.
     
  10. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    And if the music publishers ever relent, we'll be well into HD territory, and the shortcomings of NTSC videotape will be more evident if these shows were to be upconverted.
     
  11. JeffWld

    JeffWld Stunt Coordinator

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    There were some hints from Paul Brownstein that he was considering releasing the Julie Andrews Hour, likely through Image Entertainment. However, that was about 6 months ago and there has been no further info since then.
     
  12. Raul_H

    Raul_H Extra

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    Does the shipping bump it up to $20.00? Or is this price right?
     
  13. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Cinematographer

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    It looks like you were quoted the VHS price (as it says "receive another video" rather than DVD).

    Besides shipping, they also charge sales tax. It's not $20 exactly, more like about $17-18, if I remember correctly.

    Incidentally, they release these (and most other series, beyond the initial 10-volume tryout) five at a time, as long as subscriptions justify the expense of acquiring more episodes, so there should be at least 35 volumes (70 episodes) available to order.

    Wonder if they'll stop when they've released everything from 1972-onward? Twould be a shame, but sounds likely.
     
  14. Jeff#

    Jeff# Screenwriter

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    I don't understand the problems with those musicians extending the rights either. No doubt several of them from the early years (1967 to 1971) who are still alive would be very pleased to get whatever money a complete box set releases of the first 4 years would pay them! Why do musicians' unions make things so difficult for everyone else when there must be a demand for this and other classic TV variety series??

    If anything, The Carol Burnett Show is less topical than a Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In (which is availabe on DVD with a limited # of complete ???) episodes or The Smother Brothers Comedy Hour (both the late 1960s and late 1980s versions were equally great). In fact, Carol's shows are so character driven that the comedy sketches hold up very well. The musical numbers are what date the show, however a lot of people out there like the songs. Carol herself sang a lot on her 1970s series, just as she had on The Gary Moore Show from 1959 to 62 or even her 1990-91 sketch comedy series.

    Don't forget that if you join the DVD or VHS clubs for anything Columbia House offers, you can order several volumes at once and even purchase them in any order you want. The more you buy in one shipment, the more you save in per disc cost as well as on shipping & handling
     
  15. JeffWld

    JeffWld Stunt Coordinator

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    It's not just the musician's unions, it is the combination of the various creative team unions (directors, writers etc.). In those days, contracts often required that creative staff were paid a fixed amount each time the show was broadcast. It wasn't really an issue at the time since there was no home video or cable networks. It was also very rare that these kinds of variety shows ever went into off-network syndication. Burnett had to make special agreements with multiple unions, not just the musician's union.
     
  16. Jeff#

    Jeff# Screenwriter

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    Like I said in another thread, even better than Carol Burnett's show was The Jackie Gleason Show from the 1960s. There are 8 years of that series alone I want to see get duplicated in their hour-long entirety and put out on DVD!
     
  17. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Cinematographer

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    re: the 1967-71 episodes


    Not just that, but it's also down to the fact that, apparently, Ms. Burnett herself doesn't feel that the shows from the earlier seasons are all that good (or at least, not on a par with 1972-onward).

    I'd always thought this was just rumour, but I happened to correspond with Harvey Korman's son on a couple of occasions and asked him if it was true that the reason no pre-1972 material was ever syndicated was down to Carol feeling it wasn't up to scratch and he confirmed with me that, yes, both Carol and his dad, Harvey, felt that those early shows weren't as good as the later ones.

    So, it would seem it's more than just having to make separate arrangements with Harry Zimmerman's orchestra, especially considering that last of the "banned" seasons (1970-71, I think) featured Peter Matz's orchestra, with whom negotiations should already be ironed out.

    I wish Carol would change her mind and release a few of these through Columbia House, and let us make up our own minds! Perhaps she'd be receptive to releasing the ones with Tim Conway as a guest star... I always thought a volume with the first-ever and last-ever episode would be a great idea.
     
  18. JeffWld

    JeffWld Stunt Coordinator

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    Actually, the show used the same group of LA studio musicians for all seasons as opposed to formed orchestras belonging to Zimmerman or Matz. Therefore, the negotiations would be subject to the same conditions/issues no matter who was named as musical director.

    What might be a factor is the change to creative contracts. As the 1970's dawned, most of those restrictive full-fee-per-run contracts had been dispensed with in the industry since they essentially made it far too expensive for the networks, who wanted to pay lower license fees for second-run rights (especially during summer reruns which traditionally had lower audience levels). Burnett likely found that it was much easier to strike deals for shows produced under the revised Collective Agreements, than to wade through the tight legalities found in Agreements that were in effect during the 1967-71 seasons.
     
  19. JohnOPR

    JohnOPR Stunt Coordinator

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    The cost per DVD for The Carol Burnett Show from Columbia House is $19.95, plus $2.99 shipping/processing....or $22.94. I just received Volume 19 today and that's what it cost me.
     

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