All through late November and early December I'll be recommending Blu-ray and DVD box sets, books, and other goodies for under the tree. Sometimes I'll wear a dress. This is one of those times.
This installment is more for mom and dad but if you have any affinity at all for classic TV you will really enjoy any of the stuff below.
THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW DVD BOXSET
This handsome box set contains all fifty episodes of the landmark sketch comedy show, a ton of extra features on the individually packaged seasons and a nice hardcover book. The Carol Burnett Show ran a whopping 11 seasons from 1967-1978 and featured tons of hysterical improvisations that were created on the spot. One memorable one has Tim Conway playing a Nazi interrogating Lyle Waggoner. Unknown to Waggoner, Conway had fashioned a Hitler hand-puppet armed with a pencil to aide in the interrogation. It was just one of many many times Conway jeopardized the taping of the show by making it impossible for his co-workers to finish the skit. The packaging here is nifty too. To get all the goodies inside the sturdy case you lift the cardboard stage curtain up. Too bad they didn't include little Harvey Korman and Tim Conway and Lyle Waggoner finger puppets so you could make them crack up at each other.
THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW THE COMPLETE SERIES BLURAY
Wowser, wow wow is this cool. The packaging isn't much to write home about but this contains all 150 plus episodes of one of the best sitcoms of all time and all of them have been beautifully transferred onto BluRay. Hours and hours of extras more than make up the simplicity of the presentation. It's pricey but well worth it. Mary Tyler Moore, Rose Marie, Morey Amsterdam, Richard Deacon, and Van Dyke himself formed the core of a finely tuned comedy machine that told the story of a young comedy writer his co-workers and trials and tribulations of his suburban existence. The show was really an excuse for a sort of modern vaudeville where we got to watch some of the best comedic performers of their time showcase a variety standup, dancing, singing and even a little drama. The Dick Van Dyke Show ran from 1961-1966 and run in almost constant syndication since then.
COLUMBO THE COMPLETE SERIES DVD BOXSET
The best thing about this show, besides the great writing was the casting. Columbo offered a home to dozens and dozens of fabulous character actors who came to embody all the personality types associated with the mystery show format. The young lovers, the wrongly accused, the hard-nosed detectives, snooty butlers, and Machiavellian villains would have stolen the show were it not for Peter Falk's faultless portrayal of the rumpled LAPD Lieutenant whose shuffling faux ineptitude masked a brilliant deductive mind. Before Monk or Sherlock there was Columbo. You get all 69 episodes and all 24 television movies in a 34-disc set featuring one of the most enduring TV detectives ever.
MCMILLAN & WIFE THE COMPLETE SERIES DVD BOXSET
Like Columbo this show offered a cavalcade of character actors at their best. Though the writing was more tongue in cheek and the comedy broader the chemistry between the husband wife detective team, played by Rock Hudson and Susan Saint James, and Nancy Walker, their hard-drinking, sarcastic maid was never less than diverting and often entrancing. Castle fans take note, this show was all about the charm, and few could turn it up as high as Hudson without verging on self parody. Another plus here are the scores for each episode. They represent a soundscape that anybody who grew up watching TV in the seventies will evoking suspense, mystery and signaling moments of comic relief. This show ran from 1971 to 1977 and even though Hudson wasn't overly fond of his move to TV he is fondly remembered by fans who have kept this show in syndication almost continually since it went off the air.
In Part Two of The Stack Holiday Gift Guide 2012 I'll be lookin' at Box Sets fer yer kids.
Ooooooh , and thank yous are in order big time. We got professional new titles and music courtesy of Brian Behm at Rooster Teeth and Don Hill aka Millipede . Mucho thanks guys for the hard work. Also thanks to Aiden Davick for Editing and Nathan Cameron for the compression tutorial. We is smart now guys!