When I mentioned I had gotten The Carol Burnett Show The Ultimate DVD Collection from Time Life to review everyone at work was quick to ooh and aah and fondly remember favorite moments from that show. The three 6-DVD volumes as well as the four Special Features discs make for 50 episodes total and a who's who of seventies television. The Carol Burnett Show ran from 1967 to 1978. The shows here are from 1972 to 1978. This is a massive collection that will absolutely please Burnett fans and anyone looking for family friendly entertainment. Be very careful how you open this comedy DVD set: read the instruction on the sticker and slide the curtain up. You might be tempted to pull on the little Carol icon on the bottom like I did (DUH!) and rip it off.
Shows are either full screen or widescreen. There is a disclaimer at the beginning of each DVD about picture quality and the age of the show but I found very little to complain about when it comes to how well the show has aged. Generally, picture quality is better than what you would get on a VHS tape of the same. The menu cards are a bit washed out and the animations that opened the show do show their age.
The show itself has aged quite well in terms of comedy even if not all the references, like Mary Hartman Mary Hartman, are fresh in people's minds. Most of the skits are funny even if you do not get the reference. What has aged much less gracefully is some of the musical numbers: Dinah Shore doing the Vegas Lounge version of 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover is cringe worthy.
The first 6 DVD set in this collection if titled Carol's Favorites. It includes the two great sketches: Went With The Wind and, in the special features, the complete version of The Dentist with Tim Conway and Harvey Korman. Guests are Roddy McDowall, Dinah Shore, Steve Martin, Betty White, The Jackson 5, Maggie Smith, Shirley MacLaine, Ken Berry, Carl Reiner, Joanne Woodward, Joan Rivers and Vincent Price, Pearl Bailey, Rock Hudson and Nancy Walker, Jim Nabors, and Jean Stapleton and Phil Silvers.
Skits in Carol's Favorites include The Family (aka Mama's Family), Mrs. Wiggins (the original J-Lo), a disaster movie spoof titled Disaster 75, As The Stomach Turns and its take on Close Encounters of the Tird Kind, Beach Blanket Boo-Boo, and The Walnuts to name a few.
One More Time is another of the 3 6-disc sets here. In addition to The Family, The Oldest Man, As the Stomach Turns, skits include Mary Mary Quite Contrary, Mary Mary Quite Contrary (a spoof of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman), Poopi Le Moko, Mildred Fierce, The Little Foxies, Salute to Universal Studios, Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde, and Death of a Salesman –to name a few. Features include one about the TV parodies in the show.
Guests on One More Time include Steve Lawrence, Tony Randall and Dick Van Dyke, Roddy McDowall, Bernadette Peters, Jack Klugman, Betty White, Helen Reddy and John Byner, Joel Grey, Vincent Price, Telly Savalas, The Smother Brothers, Jim Nabors, Eydie Gorme, Ruth Buzzi and Jack Gilford.
This Time Together, the third 6-disc set in this must have for television comedy fans includes The Godfather, All That Jazz, That's Entertainment Part 86, Honeymoon Sweet, Sunday Comics: Mary Worthless, and the usual staples of The Carol Burnett Show like The Family and so on. Guests include Steve Lawrence and Lily Tomlin, The Pointer Sisters, Dick Van Dyke, Bernadette Peters and Roddy MacDowall, Petula Clark, Madeline Kahn, Peggy Leee, and Stiller and Meara to name a few.
The 2 X 2 DVD Special Features sets include, in an incomplete list, episodes of The Garry Moore Show where Burnett got her start, Harvey Korman Remembers, a parody of Love Story from 1971, a parody of Sunset Boulevard (1971), a sketch with Bing Crosby titled Brown Derby, some Carol Q&As with the audience, a skit with Jerry Lewis, and interviews with a few people