The Golden Age of Comedy Collection in October
Time Life have announced the UK DVD release of The Golden Age of Comedy Collection for 17th October 2005 priced at £29.99. Time Life transports you back to the golden age of television with the release of a gift set comprising a 5xDVD collection of classic TV comedy sketches, a 15 track CD album of hit songs of the era and a 16 page colour reference guide to the shows and the stars
The Golden Age of Comedy collection chronicles the formative years of live television, a time when a host of comedic talents transferred their craft from the vaudeville stage to become television's first stars. From the wealth of variety shows that dominated the US TV schedules in the '50s sprung an entire generation of comedians who hosted and guest starred in them. Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Burns & Alien, Martin & Lewis, Abbott & Costello, Milton Berle, Sid Caeser, Red Skelton, The Three Stooges, Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz, Phil Silvers and many others conquered the new medium and became television royalty.
Many of the top programmes were broadcast on UK TV and became as popular in Britain as they were at home. Lucille Ball, Jack Benny, Burns & Alien, Abbot & Costello, Red Skelton and Phil Silvers found fame on both sides of the pond, with Bob Hope and Sid Caesar even recording shows for the UK's own ITV and BBC networks.
The legacy of these performers and the recordings that survive them continue to inspire comedians and delight audiences of today, the world over. For many they remain the greatest comedy heroes of all time. Now, Time Life has scoured the US television archives to track down these classic recordings and restore them for the new 'DVD generation'. With over 8 hours of highlights from thirteen different shows, the Golden Age of Comedy forms one of the most unique and comprehensive compilations of television's earliest and best comic moments.
The bonus audio CD included with the DVD collection is from Time Life's hugely popular Fabulous Fifties series and features 15 hits from top artists from the year 1954. It includes original recordings from Perry Como (Papa Loves Mambo), Alma Cogan (Bell Bottom Blues), Doris Day (If I Give My Heart To You), Billy Eckstine (No one But You) and Nat King Coie with the evergreen classic Smile; a fitting soundtrack to the DVD series.
Vol.1 The Secret Word Is Jack (80 min)
Jack Benny welcomes Groucho Marx in a 1955 episode of Benny's hit CBS show. The long time friends really tear it up as they recreate Groucho's own popular NBC show, You Bet Your Life: Jack tries to win some money, while Groucho's ad libs keep him in stitches. The two legends had worked together in radio a few times, but this would be their only television appearance together. Also on The Jack Benny Show, Humphrey Bogart makes a rare television appearance in 1953 and gets interrogated by Jack in a hilarious gangster spoof. When Bob Hope joins Jack for a 1954 episode, the two poke fun at Bob's successful "road" movies and are surprised by a couple of other comics along the way
The Jack Benny Show featuring Groucho Marx, 3rd April 1955
The Jack Benny Show featuring Humphrey Bogart, 25th October 1953
The Jack Benny Show featuring Bob Hope, 25th May 1954
Vol.2 Bob Loves Lucy (75 min)
In 1956, Bob Hope imagines what life would have been like if he had married Lucy, as Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance and William Frawley join Bob in an 1 Love Lucy sketch. (Desi is hilarious as Fred Mertz!). Bob and Lucy had made two films together by this time, and would go on to make two more, but the sight of the two of them sharing the stage on live television at a time when they both had top rated shows is pure magic. Bob also welcomes James Cagney, who sheds his tough guy image for a vaudeville¬style song and dance routine in one of his rare television appearances. Finally, in his first television appearance (from 1949), silent film star Buster Keaton joins Ed Wynn in a recreation of one of Keaton's famous film routines. The Ed Wynn Show was the first CBS variety show to be broadcast from Hollywood, at a time when almost all network television originated in New York. But being a pioneer was nothing new for Ed Wynn; he had started his career in vaudeville in 1904 and first went on radio in 1922.
The Bob Hope Chevy Show featuring Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz, 21st October 1956
The Ed Wynn Show featuring Buster Keaton, 9th December 1949
Vol.3 Slowly I Turn ... (90 min)
The Jack Benny Show featuring Fred Allen, 9th April 1952
The Camel Comedy Caravan with Ed Wynn featuring The Three Stooges, 11th March 1950
The Colgate Comedy Hour with Abbott & Costello featuring Errol Flynn, 13th Jan 1952
Vol.4 Clubhouse Comedy (80 min)
The Phil Silvers Special featuring Polly Bergen, 8th October 1960
The Ernie Kovacs Show featuring Edie Adams, May 1956
Bonus Segment featuring Soupy Sales
Vol.5 A Really Big Show (75 min)
The Colgate Comedy Hour with Abbott & Costello featuring Vera Zorina, 4th May 1952
The Colgate Comedy Hour with Martin & Lewis feat Ed Sullivan parody, 8th May 1955