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Time/Life Press Release: Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In: The Complete Series

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Ronald Epstein, May 9, 2017.

  1. MartinP.

    MartinP. Supporting Actor

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    Now I want to comment on your comments. Heh!

    If you notice, nearly every one of their jokes/sketches ended with MItzi slugging her husband. And not playfully. She hauls off and punches him. I found her ways too strident and even violent. They didn't seem funny to me. IMO, of course.

    I liked both Chelsea and Teresa for different reasons. Both were only on one season. Chelsea actually left because Universal offered her a 7 year contract. (?) I didn't mind Dick Whittington, but I really didn't care for the characters he routinely played, like the Confederate southerner and the sort of fake religious proselytizer.

    Here's where I really disagree. I do agree that Alan Sues could come with degrees of annoyance, and watching episodes more than once a week might even enhance that notion to some, but when I've been re-watching this show lately I really came to an appreciation of how really funny he was. There are so many times he added an extra line in a joke sketch that even had the other actors on the floor. Having said that, I also could've done with less Big Al and the sports report. As for Dave Madden, didn't dislike him, but one season was enough.

    LOL! And did you notice who the drummer for that group was? Sam Shepard! later to become an acclaimed playwright and actor.

    Judy Carne left halfway through Season 3.

    _______

    You didn't even mention my favorite cast member throughout the series: Lily Tomlin! I became an immediate fan and still love all those characters she created! Re-watching the series I was appreciating two characters that she did that I hadn't remembered so much, the shy librarian and the lady taxi driver.
     
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  2. Lecagr

    Lecagr Second Unit

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    Martin,

    Lily Tomlin brought much to the show with all the different characters she played. She's not a favorite of mine but is quite talented being able to play a variety of characters.

    Season 5 has one episode that's a little under 50 minutes, episode 20 with Sandy Duncan, Johnny Cash is in the episode also. I suppose it's possible something might be edited from this episode but I can't say for sure.
     
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  3. MartinP.

    MartinP. Supporting Actor

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    ^^^

    Yeah, without knowing the reasons, or being involved in the process, we just can't know if something was originally that length for some reason or something edited. We are told that they are not.

    Yes, I too like that (1970's?) color scheme.

    I wonder if you'd agree with me on something? Except for a slight few episodes in Season One, one thing I liked about Laugh-In is that they created a world of it's own that was great to visit every week. And part of that, to me is because they never showed the studio audience from in front of or back of the camera. I liked that they never did that.

    It's one thing I don't like about Season 6 where they regularly show the audience each week, especially when they introduce Dan & Dick throughout. It breaks the spell of the crazy world they all were inhabiting. IMO, of course.

    Also, who were your favorites (and least favorite) from the mostly new cast in Season 6? I really liked Jud Strunk. He always amused me and his voice was unique. I also liked Willie Tyler & Lester, except when he would sing the joke lines. I couldn't understand them when he did that. Patti Deutsch had some nice moments, too, especially as Howard Cosell's mother and Sister Henny Youngman!

    I did not like Donna Jean Young or Lisa Farringer. Donna Jean Young's bug-eyed imbecile was so annoying. It seemed she could never read cue cards or was just trying to imitate Goldie Hawn. Her news segments were embarrassing. It seems she may have gotten on the show because Dan Rowan liked her. And I mainly didn't like Lisa Farringer because all you'd ever see her do was a variation on the exact same joke over and over. Whoopee!
     
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  4. Message #344 of 381 Mar 26, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2019
    Lecagr

    Lecagr Second Unit

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    That's true about Charlie and Mitzi, she hauls off and whacks him. Comes off as more painful rather than funny. Maybe that's why they were only in a few episodes. Seems to me that they are in 3 or 4 shows during the first half of the season and then they are gone.

    No I didn't know that Sam Shepard was the drummer for The Holy Modal Rounders, that is interesting. Well at least he went on to do something better. :laugh:

    In season 6 when they started showing the studio audience, I imagine they might have borrowed that idea from The Carol Burnett Show because that's what she used to do. It worked well on Carol's show but I agree it didn't work as well on Laugh-In but I guess they thought they'd try it.

    Patti Deutsch is my favorite cast member in season 6. There is a sexy way about her, even with that overbite she has. :laugh:

    Lisa Farringer isn't the greatest but she's OK, I agree that Donna Jean Young didn't bring much to the show, seems like she tried too much to be like Goldie Hawn instead of doing something new and original.
     
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  5. MartinP.

    MartinP. Supporting Actor

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    On Carol's show, though, the audience Q&A was a routine. That's different than just showing the audience because you can. To be honest, it seems like most variety shows used the studio audience regularly, like the opening, closing segments for The Smothers Brothers and Sonny & Cher, etc. The Hollywood Palace always included the audience. Flip Wilson's variety series was practically set IN the audience. Variety shows geared more toward music than comedy were more apt to do this. Since Laugh-In was seen as "different" than the other variety series out there, the fact the last season used audience shots made it seem like just one of the others at that point. It'll be interesting to see what they do with this idea in the NetFlix special.

    Just as an observation, talk shows like Carson etc. never showed the audience very much. What current talk show doesn't always show them?
     
  6. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Cinematographer

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    As far as editing goes, the theory about edits being done directly to the master tape concerning reruns, pre-emptions seems sound enough.

    One other tiny possibility for edits could be ones done to disguise damage to the master videotapes. I know this had been done on other shows in the past (such as Dark Shadows). In the instance of DS, though, I think the vocal fan base complained about those (and other) edits and MPI finally relented and release everything else thereafter 100% unedited.
     
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  7. Lecagr

    Lecagr Second Unit

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    I only mentioned The Carol Burnett Show but it's true that other comedy/variety shows of the time like Flip Wilson and Sonny & Cher also showed the studio audience. Laugh-In was a hold out doing this until the 6th season.
     
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  8. nobajoba

    nobajoba Stunt Coordinator

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    You said it Martin! Lily Tomlin brought nothing but talent to the show. And talent that didn't rely on just being another woman for men to fantasize about. She had depth, versatility and the ability to take her characters and make them work in such a fast paced show. She went along with a lot of low brow humor that she didn't necessarily care for but was a great sport about it. I've come to have an appreciation for Alan Sues. At first, I didn't find him funny at all. But having the opportunity to re-watch episodes over and over now I can see that he truly did add a special layer to the show. Especially since at that time in history you couldn't be openly gay, but ACTING gay without ever uttering the word was perfectly acceptable. His Uncle Al was funny. The Big Al thing got really old. One time was enough for that bit.
     
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  9. nobajoba

    nobajoba Stunt Coordinator

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    I agree! I like the set in season 6. For the party segments I liked season 5 and 6 sets.
     
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  10. Lecagr

    Lecagr Second Unit

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    The party segments I like best are from season 2. The season 3 party segments are done similar to season 2, but I think season 2's are a little better.
     
  11. Lecagr

    Lecagr Second Unit

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    All six seasons have something fun to offer, but in my opinion the series peaked in season 2 and overall I think season 2 is the best one. I like pretty much everything about season 2 except for the addition of Alan Sues to the cast, I could do without him.

    Lily Tomlin might have been the one who kept the show on the air for as long as it was, she did add a lot to the episodes with all the different characters she played. Without her, I'm not sure if the series would have ran for six seasons. By the 4th season she had basically become the series main star.
     
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  12. Lecagr

    Lecagr Second Unit

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    It's too bad that Judy Carne didn't stay with the series for the entire 3rd season because this is the season when I think she looks the cutest. She is a regular cast member for the first 11 episodes, then in episode 12 things start to change, she isn't seen much in episode 12. She is then absent in episodes 13 & 14, appears in episode 15, absent in episode 16, appears in episode 17, absent in episode 18, appears in episode 19, absent in episodes 20 & 21, appears in episodes 22 & 23, and absent in episodes 24, 25, & 26. Since Judy's my favorite, it's difficult for me to watch season 3 from episode 12 forward, I'm looking for her and she's not there, it's depressing. :( I wish she had stayed on with the series for the full season before deciding to leave.
     
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  13. TJPC

    TJPC Cinematographer

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    On a somber note, I taught Media for years, which had a TV history component. I used to show a TV special to the class which was a compilation show celebrating the 25th anniversary of Laugh-In. The students pointed out that every time Dan Rowan was shown, he had a pipe, cigar, or cigarette in his hand. They were not surprised he died of cancer.
     
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  14. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    She was top-billed in the Broadway revival of The Boy Friend in 1970, and I suspect that's why she left. The show only ran four months or so, but I suspect after it ended, she didn't want to go back to old triumphs and looked for new challenges. Sadly, she didn't find them.
     
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  15. Lecagr

    Lecagr Second Unit

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    Another reason I believe Judy left Laugh-In is because she was just getting bored with it. She seemed to be the type of person who didn't want to do the same thing for too long, always looking to do something new and different. It's sad that her TV career in the USA basically fizzled out after she decided to leave Laugh-In.
     
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  16. Lecagr

    Lecagr Second Unit

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    Is it just me, or does anyone else get annoyed with Arte Johnson's german soldier character? Arte Johnson does some funny things in the episodes, but I could easily do without those german soldier routines. Hogan's Heroes was a popular show on the air during that time, so maybe the german soldier character was created in response to John Banner's Sgt. Schultz, I don't know.

    My overall opinion of Laugh-In is that the majority of it isn't really that funny, most of it is silly, but what makes it re-watchable for me is the nostalgia factor, re-visiting that era and seeing all the different stars from yesteryear who appeared in the episodes.
     
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  17. Lecagr

    Lecagr Second Unit

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    It's true that Dan Rowan is often seen smoking in the episodes. There are moments, especially during seasons 1 and 2, when he blows smoke directly into Dick Martin's face. :laugh:
     
  18. BobO'Link

    BobO'Link Producer

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    After watching several 60s shows with me my 15 year old grandson commented "Wow! Did everybody smoke back then?!" He was astounded at the number of people smoking in TV series. Having grown up in those years I never payed much attention. Looking back it's a bit surprising.
     
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  19. MartinP.

    MartinP. Supporting Actor

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    ^^^

    Yes, it is often quite noticeable in 50's - 60's programs. Some of the panelists, like Abe Burrows, on What's My Line? couldn't stop smoking for one half hour. There's even one early episode with John Daly grabbing a few puffs. Talk show guests on Carson, like Dean Martin (or Carson himself), were often smoking. Lucy and Desi were often seen smoking on their show, of course Phillip Morris was their sponsor, and arguably one of the funniest moments ever on I Love Lucy involved Lucy lighting up a cigarette! Smoking was so ubiquitous that I never thought it could be banned anywhere. I was shocked when it started happening. (But very pleased.) It makes me think other undesirable things could change at some point, although something else undesirable always seems to take their place.

    It is quite noticeable that Dan Rowan is always lighting up, but Laugh-In also did many anti-smoking situations, even with Rowan himself. In one, Dick takes the cigarette out of Dan's mouth and extinguishes it. In one season you'll notice some performers (Tony Curtis comes to mind) wearing a button that says IQ. It was, probably around the time of cigarette advertising being banned on television, when there was a campaign to get people to stop smoking. IQ stands for "I Quit."
     
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  20. Lecagr

    Lecagr Second Unit

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    Smoking was very fashionable in the 50's and 60's and it was common to see people smoking on TV shows during those years. Around 1970-71 is when the anti-smoking movement began and cigarette ads were banned from TV.
     
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