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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. Second Unit

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    That line I previously wrote above doesn't apply to Season 6 of the series, which I've just started watching.

    I previously posted a couple instances from previous seasons where they've inserted some topical reference that applied to the time the episode had been rerun. The fact that in Season 6 they had announcements for "next week's guests" is probably the reason why several of the Season 6 episodes I've viewed so far have coming attractions for the next week's guests that do not appear in the next episode.

    Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In first aired each episode and, if any of said episodes were rerun, I guess they took the original and altered it if they wanted to insert something and then that rerun tape or print became the defacto original episode. I only know of two or three times that was the case in the first five seasons, but because they announced the guests for the following week in Season 6, I am guessing the reason some of the Season 6 episodes have the wrong guest stars shown for the following episode is because they had those segments re-edited when they re-ran some in the spring.

    When I'm finished watching Season 6, and I'm not in a hurry, I'll try to find out if that's exactly the case.

    In the meantime, the past several months I've really been enjoying and recommend this entire series release!
     
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  2. 142 Nov 10, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2017
    MartinP.

    MartinP. Second Unit

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    Season 6 anomalies...

    I decided to check out the coming attraction segments on Season 6. This isn't that important, but it's the kind of thing that keeps me interested in something beyond just watching an episode once or twice. And this is a place I can put it out there on the chance anyone else might be interested.

    In the post above I mentioned that the brief clips showcasing the following week's guest participants don't match up some of the time with the following episodes on the discs. I speculated that is because they reran several episodes when the season was over and then inserted those clips accordingly. That is exactly the case.

    In the Appendix of the Hal Erickson book about the series, he has the Season listings in air date order, but also notes the date any episode was rerun on the network.

    Season 6 Episode 3 guest starred William Conrad and that episode was rerun on December 25, 1972, of the same year. The preview for the next episode is for the one aired on January 8, 1973, guest starring Don Rickles. A football bowl game pre-empted the New Year's day date. To confuse matters somewhat, the Season 6 Episode 8 program with guest star Mike Connors, aired October 30, 1972, also has the preview for the Don Rickles episode. Why? Either because the Rickles episode was originally scheduled to air on Monday, November 6, 1972, the day before the Presidential election, and NBC chose to pre-empt Laugh-In that week for a news special and the Rickles episode was rescheduled for January 8, 1973, or because the episode happens to also have been rerun in that order.

    The series finale episode was aired March 12, 1973. NBC then aired ten reruns of Season 6. Each of these reruns has the correct preview for the following episode.

    (3-19-73) Season 6 Episode 07 (GS: Jean Stapleton)

    (3-28-73) Season 6 Episode 06 (GS: James Farentino, Michele Lee, Jack Benny)

    (4-02-73) Season 6 Episode 08 (GS: Mike Connors)

    (4-09-73) Season 6 Episode 15 (GS: Don Rickles)

    (4-16-73) Season 6 Episode 11 (GS: Carol Burnett)

    (4-23-73) Season 6 Episode 04 (GS: Lucie Arnaz)

    (4-30-73) Season 6 Episode 16 (GS: Robert Goulet)

    (5-07-73) Season 6 Episode 17 (GS: Sammy Davis, Jr.)

    (5-14-73) Season 6 Episode 22 (GS: Johnny Carson, Charlie Callas, Sandy Duncan, Arthur Godfrey)

    The above episode is listed in the Erickson book as: "the last regular broadcast of the season."
    It does have the preview for the following episode on it.

    (7-23-73) Season 6 Episode 13 (GS: Steve Lawrence)

    As you can see, the air date is Monday, July 23rd. I don't know the reason this one was delayed until
    July, but it is a Christmas episode and was perhaps advertised as a Christmas in July episode? I do,
    however, think it was pre-planned. My guess is that I believe NBC aired (MLB) Monday Night Baseball
    games at that time and the MLB All-Star game that year was held Tuesday, July 24, 1973. Hence, no
    baseball game was scheduled that Monday. The Erickson book says this episode was "Rerun July 23,
    1973, as the last network Laugh-In telecast."

    Some more minutiae:

    --The last network telecast of Season 6 Episode 13, on 7-23-73, does have the preview for Episode 14 on it.

    --Episode 14 has no previews on it. (NBC might have considered airing Episode 14 the day before the All-Star game.
    It showcased several sports stars and also baseball announcer Vin Scully.)

    --The Season 6 Episode 08 rerun listed above says it aired 3-28-73 in the Erickson book. I don't know if that
    is a mistake and should read March 26, a Monday, or indeed aired on Wednesday, March 28, for some reason.
    I thought maybe the Academy Awards were on that Monday, but they were aired on NBC on Tuesday, March 27th.
    This website has the Laugh-In episode listed for the 26th: http://www.tvtango.com/listings/1973/03/26

    --The Decades channel Episode Guide online for Laugh-In is off in various ways, so I don't recommend using it.
    For example, Season 1 episodes are all off by one number because they count the pilot as #1. There are many
    discrepancies in the Season 6 order of episodes and a few in the latter part of Season 5.

    --The very last episode, Season 6 Episode 24, is the only episode not in Decades' rotation.

    --As for the Erickson book and the Complete Series release of Laugh-In, there is one discrepancy in the air date order. The Erickson book has these two episodes as follows:

    Season 6, Episode 6 (122) GS: James Farentino, Michele Lee, Jack Benny Air date: October 16, 1972. Rerun: March 28, 1973.
    Season 6, Episode 7 (123) GS: Jean Stapleton Air date: October 23, 1972. Rerun: March 19, 1973.

    The Time-Life Complete Series release has these two episodes reversed. Which is correct? Using the idea that the previews for the next week's episode are accurate on all of the programs that were not rerun, I believe the Erickson book is correct. The Season 6, Episode 5 (121) program with Guest Star Michael Landon was not rerun and that preview is for the episode with Farentino, Lee and Benny.
     
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  3. likewow

    likewow Agent

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    Fascinating! It sounds like it may have been a challenge for whoever at Time Life was in charge of getting complete episodes as they first aired.
     
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  4. MartinP.

    MartinP. Second Unit

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    Yes, or perhaps it wasn't thought worth the time or expense of re-editing the "next week preview" back into the correct episodes. I've watched quite a few "Hollywood Palace" episodes on a youtube channel and many of those have voiceovers for the following week's guests that were the rerun programs.

    When "I Love Lucy" was being released on DVD they were advertised as the complete episodes and they included extras showing how the music cues leading to and from commercials had been restored. They showed segments that were filmed to be added at the beginning of some rerun episodes to keep viewing continuity in order (during the Hollywood episodes). They showed how, in one episode, that for syndication, they had replaced the Phillip Morris signs in a drugstore with other shots. There's one Hollywood episode where they actually inserted a short preview for MGM's upcoming film "Guys & Dolls." There's a story in the I Love Lucy book about people telling Frank Sinatra they "saw him on 'I Love Lucy' last night," and him being confused.

    In the WIlliam Holden episode they showed that in a scene in the Brown Derby you could faintly see the camera and cameraman in one shot at the edge of the picture. Shouldn't that have been left alone as that was actually how it was "first aired." After all that, and you think this episode was complete, when they aired the colorized version of the episode they advertised "footage never seen since the original broadcast" and, sure enough, there's a short scene with Bobby the Bellboy that shows up.

    For some reason, on the hour long Lucy/Desi episodes the VHS and DVD releases of the Tallulah Bankhead episode never seem to get it right. They continually leave out thirty seconds of dialogue near the halfway point that happens to be a plot point for the second half about Tallulah being allergic to strawberries, even though this has been brought to their attention many times, and even though they painstakingly included extra footage of this episode originally aired. After the release it was brought up again, they said something about the footage wasn't good enough quality to be included, even though other footage like that on the DVD's they had included as extras. This missing footage was, however, in the 1980's-90's syndicated We Love Lucy hour long episodes.

    All of this ramble is just to say that I've come to feel one can't be extremely picky about a lot of this in a "can't see the forest for the trees" way, or you're going to miss what's actually there to enjoy. "As originally aired" actually happens only once and used to involve sitting through commercials and perhaps watching color programs on a b&w television. I say all this because I don't want my writings about "Laugh-In" to be construed as complaints. I don't have them about this Time-Life release. I am thoroughly enjoying it.
     
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  5. MartinP.

    MartinP. Second Unit

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    I guess I was incorrect about it, for this year anyway.


     
  6. likewow

    likewow Agent

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    That is so weird and unexplainable and has been a sore point among fans for years. I'm glad this complete series release of 'Laugh In' has been done so well.
     
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  7. MartinP.

    MartinP. Second Unit

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    Season 6, Episode 13
    Guest Star: Steve Lawrence
    Cameos: Steve Allen

    I watched this Christmas themed episode for the first time ever this week.

    [​IMG]

    Most all of the Season 6 episodes are inconsistent in their appeal, but there's also much humor to be had.

    One of the things quite noticeable in Season 6 is that Dick Martin's crazy side isn't tampered down as much as it was in the other seasons. Perhaps that's due to a new director or George Schlatter's absence in Season 6, I don't know, but some of his ramblings are a little too much. They come off somewhat strident or inane.

    Except for the very first 2-3 episodes, I'd say, of Laugh-In, the series never showed the studio audience or the trappings of being filmed on a studio soundstage. (There's an exception or two,) This made the whole series seem like it took place in it's own world and one that was enticing to viewers. Do you know what I mean? Season 6 does away with that and, especially during Dan & Dick's monologues they often show them in front of the studio audience, filmed from behind, and sometimes from Dan or Dick's point of view seeing the studio audience head on. There's often a joke using the audience as well. Some of the criticism of Season 6 is that it finally seemed like any other variety show on the air. I don't think this aspect of filming helped with that idea as most other variety shows often used the studio audience for a backdrop. Carol Burnett's openings, Sonny & Cher Show, Flip WIlson's show practically was done in the middle of the audience, The Smothers Brothers...and others. Not so, Laugh-In, which seemingly created a world of it's own without the audience as background. Until Season 6.

    A lot of the sexual humor in Season 6, which was more playful or pointed in previous seasons, seems really regressive in Season 6. Maybe it's the addition of the "Burbank Beauties" as background props or the addition of cast members like Lisa Farringer who, it seems, delivered the same sexist joke every time she was on camera. ("Whooopee!") In Season 6 LGBT jokes seem more forced or tired. When racial jokes were delivered in previous seasons, it was often with the interaction of other cast members. In Season 6 they seem to be relegated just to Willie Tyler and Lester.

    Despite that, Willie Tyler and Lester are very funny and one of the postive elements of the Season 6 cast. Patti Deutsch also does some funny bits as Howard Cosell's mother and a nun who delivers lines like Henny Youngman. Jud Strunk is also appealing.

    Also, the catch phrases of yore were mostly jettisoned, but the new ones were few and terrible. Hal Erickson remarks in his book of the tedious use of a sketch ending "pookie pookie pookie" line that no one thought was funny except one of the producer's (I believe) who insisted on it. And when it's delivered you can seemingly tell the actors don't like saying it.

    This Season 6 Christmas episode had a lot less emphasis on Christmas than I'd have expected, unlike the Season 5 episode with Carroll O'Connor. One, of the two standout segments here, was a sketch with Steve Lawrence and Richard Dawson as dueling Groucho Marx's one-upping each other. Very good and very funny. The other was a Christmas song number speculating on what current people in the news should be given for Christmas, like "better movies for Liz & Dick" and "acting lessons for Mark Spitz."

    If I have some time I'll transcribe the lyrics and post them here.
     
  8. MartinP.

    MartinP. Second Unit

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    I didn't really have the time, lol, but I did it anyway!

    The song is sung by Guest star Steve Lawrence, as Santa Claus, Ruth Buzzi as Mrs. Santa Claus, and the rest of the cast as Santa's Elves.
    _______

    Ho Ho Ho!
    Ha Ha Ha!
    Hee Hee Hee Hee Hee!

    We're making toys for girls and boys
    We hope they will enjoy 'em.
    Some useful gifts they really need
    Let's hope they won't destroy them.
    For Broadway lots of healthy biz
    Some better films for Dick and Liz
    And we'll make sure it really IS a Merry Christmas!

    Another gift like Cabaret
    We're sending Miss Minnelli.
    To spread on J. Paul Getty's* bread
    A jar of real mint jelly.
    And Marjoe** gets some applesauce
    Gardenia's for Diana Ross
    So this year ain't a total loss, a Merry Christmas!

    Jingle Bells for Orson Welles
    It's deck the halls with Lucy Balls.
    A joyous Noel Coward and Yul Brynner.
    It's hark, the Harold Robbins story
    Zsa Zsa gets her dreams of glory
    Mama Cass gets cottage cheese for dinner.

    There's tennis shoes for Howard Hughes,
    He never seems to buy 'em.
    Some acting lessons for Mark Spitz
    Let's hope the heck he'll try 'em.
    And Raquel gets her treasure chest
    Some naughty jokes for Miss Mae West
    With love & joy to all the rest, a Merry Christmas!

    And Nixon sticks the wealthy
    For another trip to China.
    A date for Henry Kissinger.
    A kiss for Burt and Dinah - "mwah!"
    And Tom Jones gets some clothes that fit.
    Eydie Gorme gets a great big hit***
    And then on top of all of it, a Merry Christmas!

    A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
    Ho ho ho!

    _______

    *The subtitles for this line say Jake Paul Deddy's, instead of J. Paul Getty's. (If only I had the subtitle job.)

    **
    The subtitles in this line said "Marge'll get some applesauce," but seeing as how they were all
    famous people references, I believe it should be Marjoe, as in Marjoe Gortner. A documentary
    about him and his life as a child and fake evangelist had been released in 1972. He also started
    to try his hand at acting around this time and was in several television series episodes, like Kojak,
    and then in some movies, like Earthquake in 1973.

    ***This line was delivered by guest star Steve Lawrence, whose wife was Eydie Gorme, if you didn't know.
    (It was nice to see Steve Lawrence appear, and sing, in Carol Burnett's recent 50th Anniversary Special.)
     
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  9. MartinP.

    MartinP. Second Unit

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    Is anyone getting the series for Christmas?

    "Jingle bells, jingle bells...

    Dashing through the snow
    In a one horse open sleigh
    O'er the fields we go
    LAUGH-IN all the way!"



     
  10. rjd0309

    rjd0309 Second Unit

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    [​IMG]
     
  11. Regulus

    Regulus Cinematographer

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    I plan to order my copy from the big river on January 6. (I've declared this day to be "Last Hurrah Day" because it's the 12th and final day of Christmas). This set plus the turkey breast I'll be cooking will be my "Last Hurrah" for this Holiday Season :cheers:
     
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  12. Regulus

    Regulus Cinematographer

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    Bummer News. Money's tight for me right now, so this set will have to wait until April 14 before I order it. I will order a cheaper set (Perry Mason) next week. and hang loose until April. Who knows? Since this is a Time Life set I may be able to get it CHEAPER then (And possibly get some additional Sets with it. :cool:
     
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  13. MartinP.

    MartinP. Second Unit

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    Or...half the series could be available by then. Season 1 is out, Season 2 comes out next week. Season 3 before April? Of course, that's no guarantee about Seasons 4, 5, and 6.

    I don't know if Time-Life will be cheaper by then, though. The Red Skelton release price has never been other than what they originally started with.
     
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  14. likewow

    likewow Agent

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    That's great news! I'm mostly interested in seasons 1 2 and 3. The big box is too pricey for me.
     
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  15. nobajoba

    nobajoba Agent

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    Yes! My Christmas gift to myself was getting the Complete Series. It is one of the best jobs of a series I've seen put out. I am loving every minute of it.
     
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  16. MartinP.

    MartinP. Second Unit

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    So glad to hear you are enjoying it! As a big fan, I was very pleased and still am pretty astounded it is all available. I'm almost through with the 6th season...I slowed down my viewing of it in the fall, really so I could watch the 6th season Christmas episode that I'd never seen before, in December.

    When I'm through, since over the years I've seen Seasons 1-3 in various ways often enough, I'm going to re-watch Seasons 4-6 again first. When I'm in the mood, of course!
     
  17. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    This series delightfully surprising availability is probably my biggest regret (At least I have THE MONKEES 2 Seasons on DVD!) of our having to direct all available spare funds elsewhere! Even the individual seasons are currently out of my reach! :(

    I'm glad that others are getting to enjoying the wonderful LAUGH-IN antics! Hopefully, I can get in on some of it before the sets go out of print. It'll likely be at least a year before I can start up, though!

    CHEERS! :)
     
  18. nobajoba

    nobajoba Agent

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    I'm watching 4, 5 and 6 too. I'm a big Tomlin fanatic. Her work on this show was classic and she really shined more with each season she was on.
     
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  19. MartinP.

    MartinP. Second Unit

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    I liked Lily Tomlin right from the start on Laugh-In, too. I actually first saw her the week before her first episode on the afternoon series Letters to Laugh-In!

    Her first episode is also, IMO, one of the best of the series. A New Year's themed episode aired December 29, 1969, with Nancy Sinatra and a recap of the 1960's.

    Some of the later Laugh-In episodes have found me discovering (or re-discovering) characters she did, like her lady cab driver and
    Angel Good.

    I liked so many things she did on the show, I could go on. Besides the obvious, do you have any favorite sketches or moments etc.?
     
  20. likewow

    likewow Agent

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    She could make one word sound funny! As Ernestine, she said, "So you'll send us a check?" Just the inflection she put on the word 'check' was funny.
     
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