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The Jackie Gleason Show In Color 3 Disc DVD Review

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This DVD set is a “sweet” treat for Jackie Gleason fans.

Two months ago I reviewed the single disc release of “The Jackie Gleason Show In Color” and now Time Life has put out a new 3 disc set with 12 episodes of the variety show from 1968 and 1969. In addition to containing 7 “The Honeymooners” sketches, the show contains a ton of guest stars that include Red Buttons, Frankie Avalon, Phil Silvers, Florence Henderson, Morey Amsterdam, Jan Murray, Nipsey Russell, Milton Berle, George Carlin, Edie Adams, Morton Storm, George Gobel, Jack E. Leonard, Tony Bennett, Jackie Vernon, Sid Caesar, Myron Cohen, George Jessel, Timmie Rogers, Wally Cox, Tiny Tim, Slappy White, Jack Benny, Robert Goulet, Jack Haley, Alan King, Orson Bean, Victor Borge, Frank Sinatra Jr., Ray Milland, Sonny Sands, Charlie Manna, Groucho Marx, Jane Morgan, Mickey Rooney, Sid Gould, George Burns, Georgie Kaye, Lou Marsh and Tony Adams.

If you didn’t grow up on old variety shows, it can be tough to review them through a modern lense. You can, for sure, see their influence and why they were popular, but at the same time, you can also see how they have aged or don’t stand the test of the time. Filmed in Miami Beach, “The Jackie Gleason Show” definitely comes off as a bit clunky nowadays. It’s a rather formulaic variety show with guests, stand-up and musical acts, a lengthy opening monologue, sketches (sometimes including one for “The Honeymooners” which aren’t as good as the actual show) and a live orchestra on the blandest stage ever built. There’s a lot of standing around which makes the show less than visually exciting to say the least. Then again, if you have a great fondness for this show, none of this will bother you and you can enjoy it all over again.

From my POV, the quality of the episodes frequently depends on the guests. As a host, Jackie Gleason tends to go through the motions at times as he chain smokes his way through them. It’s really up to the guests to get a rise out of him or steal the show. Over the course of these 12 episodes, I would personally say the moments involving Groucho Marx (I’ll watch anything he’s in), the eccentric Tiny Tim, and Milton Berle were the highlights. Music wise, the performances by the likes of Florence Henderson and Tony Bennett were noteworthy.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: Fullscreen. How does it look? The picture quality definitely shows the series’ age ala the print damage, but I think fans will just be happy to have it on disc period.

Audio Track: Unspecified. How does it sound? A solid if unspectacular audio track.

Extras: None.

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May 9, 2018 - Posted by | DVD review | , , , , , , , , ,

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