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NEW TO DVD
Word on the street is the release of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour best of season 3 DVD set has been delayed a couple of weeks. To whet your appetite here is President Lyndon B. Johnson's 1968 letter to the Smothers that reads in part, "It is part of the price of leadership of this great and free nation to be the target of clever satirists." His successor Richard Nixon certainly didn't feel that way, rumor had it the new President threatened CBS with the loss of its affiliates if they didn't can the Smothers, which they did.

Speaking of DVD sets, don't miss the new Mad Men edition. You really get your money's worth from this collection. Besides all 13 episodes of one of the greatest dramas of all time, there are commentary tracks for every episode - sometimes two separate audio tracks - featuring creator Matt Weiner, the writers, and practically the entire cast in various combinations.

Here's more on Mad Men from AMC: Viewers who tuned-in to the Second Season Premiere of AMC’s award-winning hit series MAD MEN this past Sunday (July 27) caught a glimpse of the legendary White House tour documentary given by then-First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy during one of the premiere episode’s scenes.

As depicted in MAD MEN, on the night of February 14, 1962 three out of four television viewers tuned to CBS or NBC to watch a A Tour of the White House with Mrs. John F. Kennedy. AMC is now presenting the full White House tour, as it originally aired in 1962, exclusively on amctv.com.

Another interesting development from the Second Season Premiere is that the episode closed with Don Draper (Jon Hamm) reading a poem from Frank O’Hara’s Meditations in an Emergency” which lead to the book selling out on Amazon.

Sunday, August 3, 2008 - 7:15am
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WHOLE LOT OF SHAKIN'
I'm sure you read about the minor quake that struck LA this week. (Hey, I went through the big one in '94!) The tremors hit, of course, while Judge Judy was being taped. That's at least the second time a Judge Judy taping was interrupted by an earthquake, it happened 2 years ago. Here's the footage from the other day.

Judge Judy is still queen bee of the court shows - here's how the current audience numbers break down:
Judge Judy - 4.8 rating / Judge Joe Brown - 2.6 / People's Court - 2.4 / Judge Mathis - 2.1 / Judge Alex - 1.8 / Divorce Court - 1.8 / Judge Hatchett - 1.3 / Cristina's Court - 1.2 (-14) / Judge David Young - 0.9 / Judge Maria Lopez -0.9 / Jury Duty - 0.3.

Ratings are down for everyone but Judge Judy.

Friday, August 1, 2008 - 11:19am
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Real Vice Cops Uncut REAL VICE COPS UNCUT
Cop shows have been a TV staple since the beginning of the medium. Over the decades television crime programs became progressively more realistic and gritty until technology allowed producers to put the cameras directly in the police cars and out on the street with law enforcement. That's when Cops was born and the public's fascination with real life crime fighting hasn't lessened at all in the last twenty years.

Now comes Real Vice Cops Uncut - it's Cops on steroids, a steady barrage of shady suspects and fleeing fugitives brought down hard and fast by pumped up, well-armed Southern sheriffs.

Hidden camera drug buys and prostitute stings is a no-brainer for TV producers, who's going to feel sorry for people peddling addiction and disease in neighborhood? The fact that these perps are for the most part the lowest of the low level dealers makes it a little less exciting - and crucial - than it would be if they were going after bigger fish.

Real Vice Cops UncutYou'll follow in the footsteps of vice cops as they toss suspect homes, hoovering up everything of value along the way, gleefully driving off with the cars and the cash, leaving behind smashed furnishings, bewildered infants and sobbing baby mamas. Oh, and a front door that needs to be fixed.

One question - have you noticed the blur used for faces lately is so light these days that you could easily recognize the suspect if you knew them?

From the press release: The Shelby County Sheriffs Department in Memphis and the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation in Orlando bring you the series Real Vice Cops Uncut. The show follows these local police agencies as they serve and protect civilians from criminals involved in vice crimes such as narcotics, prostitution and gambling. Be there from the preparation to the execution, and ultimately, the arrest of hardened criminals.

So what if the Caddies confiscated in the first episode looked more valuable than the drugs the cop's seized? Real Vice Cops Uncut is a rapid fire bombardment full of sound and fury, signifying the end of the line for the bottom feeding lowlifes who hit the pavement hard for our evening's entertainment. Looks like Spike has a winner with this one.

Real Vice Cops Uncut premieres with back to back episodes Wednesday, August 6th at 10:00 pm ET/PT on Spike TV.

Thursday, July 31, 2008 - 10:11am
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COMIC CON VIDEO
Everyone's talking about last weekend's Comic Con in San Diego. NBC offers some videos shot at the convention:

Adventures of a Comic Con Virgin: Chuck Fans

Adventures of a Comic Con Virgin: Heroes Fans

Speaking of which, here's a TVparty look back at Phil Seuling, father of the modern comic convention. It's an interview from the mid-seventies conducted by a young Bob Lacey, who you may know from radio's wonderful morning program Bob & Sheri Show.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 - 11:57am
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JUST SAYIN'
Heroes Season 2, Dexter Season 2, The Wire Season 5, and The Shield Season 6 are all coming to DVD in August. Guess I won't be getting out much next month...

Lewis Black is super gay, fatty fat fat. Watch The Root of All Evil tonight on Comedy Central to find out why I said that - the subject is Ultimate Fighting vs Bloggers.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 - 6:29am
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STUFF
Dial B For Blog is running a wonderful tribute to the Batman TV show - be sure to check out the archives for appearances by Adam West, Burt Ward and other Bat-regulars on the Merv Griffin and Mike Douglas shows.

Relating to an earlier post, Kevin Butler points out that NYC kid show host Sonny Fox and his wife Gloria were guests on He Said / She Said.

Shari Lewis Christmas ShowsSpeaking of kiddie hosts, “A Shari Lewis Christmas” from The Shari Lewis Show is coming in October from S'more Entertainment and the UCLA Film & Television Archive. From the press release:

PROGRAM SYNOPSIS: Each Christmas, The Shari Lewis Show aired a special episode filled with themed skits, dances and music. The A Shari Lewis Christmas DVD includes all three Christmas specials broadcast during the Emmy Award winning program’s 1960- 1962. The DVD also includes two bonus features: a Christmas special from Lewis’ other Emmy-winning series Hi Mom (one of only 4 episodes known to still exist) and a rare film clip of Christmas wishes from Shari and Lamb Chop that was created to run in theaters.

All included episodes of The Shari Lewis Show and Hi Mom, were licensed to S’more from the UCLA Film & Television Archive. The Archive used the da vinci revival system to stabilize the original kinescope images, perform video restoration work and improve the audio. In 2009, S’more, in conjunction with the UCLA Film & Television Archive, will release a deluxe multi-DVD box set of additional episodes from the Emmy Award winning series The Shari Lewis Show. The 2009 box set will be curated by Lewis’ daughter Mallory.
PRODUCED BY: Bill Foster
DIRECTED BY: Bob Hultgren
WRITTEN BY: Saul Turteltaub and Lan O’Kun
MUSICAL DIRECTOR AND SPECIAL MATERIALS: Lan O’Kun
CAST: Shari Lewis
Lamb Chop as Lamb Chop
Charlie Horse as Charlie Horse
Hush Puppy as Hush Puppy
Ronald Radd as Mr. Goodfellow
Jackie Warner as Jump Up

You can pre-order this DVD now for less than $10.00!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008 - 9:19am
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DVD REVIEW
Ozzie & Harriet on DVDThe Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet: Best of Ricky and Dave

One of the longest-running and most beloved sitcoms returns to DVD with another 'best of' collection and it's a sweet, nostalgic time capsule of times gone by.

Personally, I enjoyed Ozzie & Harriet more when the focus was not on the kids, especially TV's first manufactured pop star Ricky, but I suppose I'm in the minority in that.

This is not laugh out loud funny stuff, it's more of a heartwarming, family affair. Heartwarming and weird - it's difficult to fit Ozzie & Harriet's world into a modern context. Folks just ain't like that anymore.

That's the charm of the series, sure, but the people who inhabit this TV land act in the most bizarre ways.

This was a time when parents were proud that their kids were part of the gang. Would you think twice if a 50 year old neighbor came to play upstairs alone with your 8 year old son? As a parent would you take a 60 minute ride on the back of a motorcycle to buy a toy, candy and flowers? Do you encounter many polite high school boys preoccupied with studying, listening intently to whatever adults have to say?

The soda shop down the street, teens in high waist trousers and sport coats, kids who say "swell," "gee," and call their dad "pop" - this is the America the Nelson family preserved in their shows and that alone makes this program so wonderful and so oddball.

There are a few extras - a trivia quiz, you can access the songs by themselves on each disc, and 4 radio episodes are included as well as a booklet with episode synopses.

In some (but not all) cases it looks as if syndicated prints were used, there are cuts and some of the show openings aren't the originals since the sponsor tags are missing (the show was sponsored by Hotpoint, Aunt Jemima and Coca-Cola which is why you'll see Ricky enjoying a Coke at school).

Only the final season was shot in color and there are 2 episodes from that year (1966-67). The transition is glaring, it's no wonder the show was cancelled just as color TV took hold. The production was so anti-modernity even the elaborate sets were decorated with wallpaper, furniture and curtains right out of the early-1950s.

The prints look great for the most part, the sound is crystal clear. The color episodes look the roughest but that's a small criticism for a very nicely done DVD set.

Monday, July 28, 2008 - 9:49am
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