“The Carol Burnett Show: The Ultimate Collection” may well be the box set to end all box sets. It doesn’t come with wheels, but it should—after all, there are 50 episodes (on 22 DVDs) of the classic comedy-variety show, which aired from 1967 to 1979. Plus 20 hours of bonus features, including three episodes from “The Garry Moore Show,” where Burnett got her start and first did her Tarzan yell on TV.
But wait, there’s more: cast reunions, exclusive interviews, featurettes on various aspects of the show (including “A Tribute to the Writers”), and a 20-page memory book with photos, summaries of classic moments, and anecdotes. Did I mention guest stars? You name them, they’re probably here—Betty White, Steve Martin, Lily Tomlin, Bernadette Peters, Sammy Davis Jr., Dick Van Dyke, Shirley MacLaine, Rock Hudson, Vincent Price, Joel Grey, and The Smothers Brothers are just a few of them.
All 50 episodes in Time Life’s “Ultimate Collection” were hand-picked by Burnett and include the most beloved episodes from the show’s 11-year run. Among the highlights: “Went With the Wind!,” with guest Dinah Shore, Carol’s take-off on Joan Crawford in “Mildred Fierce,” “The Rock Sisters” with Lucille Ball, “Salute to Silent Movies” with Roddy McDowall, “Mr. Tudball and Mrs. Wiggins” and “As the Stomach Turns.” Just try and keep a straight face. The box set is available from www.CarolOnDVD.com
One of the largely forgotten funsters who set the stage for Burnett is the subject of a well-researched new book. Garry Berman’s “Perfect Fool: The Life and Career of Ed Wynn” is a long overdue appraisal of a master comedian (available in paperback from Bear Manor Media). Wynn’s career spanned more than half a century, from vaudeville and the “Ziegfeld Follies” to radio to television and finally film; he’s best remembered today for “Mary Poppins,” in which he played Uncle Albert, who’s seized by fits of laughter.
A number of second-tier film comedians—including Jimmy Durante, Thelma Todd, Edward Everett Horton and Lupe Velez—are profiled in Eve Golden’s “Bride of Golden Images,” a new collection of revised magazine pieces (also in paperback from Bear Manor). Most are knowledgeable and well-written but some (like the one on Sharon Tate) are superficial. There are many well-known stars among the cast assembled here (Marlene Dietrich, Barbara Stanwyck) but the chief value of the book are the biographical sketches of lesser lights like Cliff “Ukulele Ike” Edwards and Helen Kane, the model for cartoon rip-off Betty Boop.
More from Jordan:
New books revive Harry Langdon, Cinecon offers rare vintage films http://exm.nr/OHvxko
Laurel and Hardy rarities surface, Francesca Woodman doc on DVD http://quadrust.com/article/laurel-and-hardy-rarities-surface-francesca-woodman-doc-on-dvd
Gift guide: Keaton’s ‘Chances’ on Blu-ray, Lloyd’s LA film locations http://shar.es/WWjgN
Celebrating the 60th birthday of John Ford’s ‘The Quiet Man’
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