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The Marx Brothers TV Collection DVD Review

The Marx Brothers TV Collection DVD

“The Marx Brothers TV Collection” offers up plenty of hilarious rarities.

While Groucho’s show “You Bet Your Life” and the Marx Brothers films like “Duck Soup” and “A Night at the Opera” are bonafide comedy classics that have stood the test of time, that wasn’t all the brothers did. The trio were actually on numerous television shows throughout the 50’s. If you’re wondering what shows they appeared on, you might want to direct your attention to the newly released “The Marx Brothers TV Collection.”

Spanning 3 discs and a whopping 10 ½ hours worth of material, “The Marx Brothers TV Collection” collects highlights from comedy icons Groucho, Harpo, and Chico Marx’s TV appearances. The marquee moments include full shows such as “The GE Theater: The Incredible Jewel Robbery,” a “You Bet Your Life” sketch on “The Jack Benny Program,” Harpo’s appearance on a TV version of “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington,” the series finale of a Chico centric TV series called “The College Bowl,” Harpo’s guest appearance on the premiere of “The Red Skelton Hour,” Groucho doing dramatic work on “The General Electric Theater: The Hold Out,” Harpo participating in a “Celebrity Golf” show, Chico on “Championship Bridge With Charles Goren,” an episode of the ITV “Groucho” series, a curious short film called “A Silent Panic” from “The DuPont Show With June Allyson” which sees Harpo playing a silent dramatic role, Groucho on “The Arthur Murray Party,” a Harpo appearance on “The Wonderful World of Toys” special from “The DuPont Show of the Week,” and Groucho’s appearance on the quote based panel show “Who Said That?” On top of all of that, there are a host of bonus commercials, segments, and shorts that are discussed below in the extra feature section.

Whether you are looking for musical performances, comedy sketches, dramatic films, or even sporting performances, “The Marx Brothers TV Collection” offers a varied selection of the comedic trio’s work that you might never knew existed. While virtually everything on this set is guaranteed to make you laugh at least once, there are a few gems that really stand-out. The “You Bet Your Life” sketch on “The Jack Benny Program” is Groucho at his finest while Chico pretending to be Harpo on “I’ve Got A Secret” is a pure delight. In all honesty, however, it is Harpo that tends to steal the show here. Whether you’re watching the the hilarious and ultra weird Harpo All-Pure Evaporated Milk commercials or seeing Harpo play with toys on “The Wonderful World of Toys,” it’s clear Harpo can do no wrong. He always manages to make one laugh without ever saying a word.

Video/Audio:

It should come as no surprise that the fullscreen picture quality and the unspecified audio tracks vary in quality. Some of the B&W programs are in decent shape while other prints are worse for wear. The video and quality really shouldn’t matter, however, as it’s a blessing that any of these programs still exist.

Extras:
* A booklet containing biographical information by author Robert S. Bader, rare photos, and detailed information about everything that appears on all 3 discs.
* 4 beer commercials, 5 evaporated milk commercials, 2 Foster’s Freeze commercials.
* 2 All-Star Revue appearances by Harpo.
* Harpo beautifully playing the harp onU.S. Royal Showcase.
* Harpo and Chico together on the “I’ve Got A Secret” gameshow and separate appearances by Harpo and Chico on two different shows.
* Chico on the British TV series “Showtime.”
* 3 appearances by Harpo and Chico on “The Colgate Comedy Hour” and 1 solo appearance by Harpo.
* Groucho and Dinah Shore singing on the “The Dinah Shore Chevy Show.”
* Harpo playing the clarinet and the harp on the “Kraft Music Hall With Milton Berle.”
* An outtake reel for “You Bet Your Life.”
* Marx Brothers home movies.
* “Showdown At Ulcer Gulch”- A bizarre star studded short film that was an ad for “Saturday Evening Post.”
* Harpo doing a bit on “The RCA Victor Show.”
* Groucho singing 3 tunes on “The Swift Show Wagon.”
* A silent western sketch starring Harpo on “U.S. Royal Showcase.”
* A Harpo commercial for “McCall’s Magazine.”
* Groucho’s amusing appearance on ‘The Perry Como Show.”
* A fun color Pepsi ad intermission with Harpo.
* Groucho, Chico and Harpo appearing on the 1956 special “The Sunday Spectacular: Inside Beverly Hills #1.” Harpo and his family star in #2.
* Groucho on “The Jackie Gleason Show.”
* A trailer for the cult film “Skidoo.”
* Groucho vs. Minnesota Fats on “Celebrity Billiards.”
* Harpo on “Candid Camera” and “The Martha Raye Show.”
* A Right Guard commercial with Groucho.
* Groucho promoting his son’s Broadway musical “Minnie’s Boys” on “The Dick Cavett Show.”
* Groucho’s final film appearance finds the legendary comedian being interviewed by George Fenneman about his book “Beds” on a bed.

Overall Thoughts: “The Marx Brothers TV Collection” is a must own set for any Marx Bros. fan. Now, when is someone out there going to release the Marx Brothers films on Blu-ray?

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August 26, 2014 - Posted by | DVD review | , , , ,

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