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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Stand Up > Politics > History > Compilation > Cable TV > Skits > TV Variety Show > Satire > Music > T > Best Of Latino Laugh Festival (1996/CBS DVD)/The Carol Burnett Show: This Time Together (Time Life DVD Set)/Family Ties: The Sixth Season (1987 – 88/CBS DVDs)/Key To The City (1949/Warner Archive DVD)

Best Of Latino Laugh Festival (1996/CBS DVD)/The Carol Burnett Show: This Time Together (Time Life DVD Set)/Family Ties: The Sixth Season (1987 – 88/CBS DVDs)/Key To The City (1949/Warner Archive DVD)/Parental Guidance (2012/Fox Blu-ray w/DVD)


Picture: C+/C+/C+/C/B- & C+     Sound: C+/C+/C+/C/B- & C+     Extras: D/B/D/C-/C-     Main Programs: B-/B+/C+/C/C-



PLEASE NOTE: Key To The City is only available from Warner Bros. from their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.



Now for some comedy releases of note for good and bad…



Cheech Marin hosts The Best Of Latino Laugh Festival, a 1996 compilation special produced by Viacom that features some familiar names in the Latino entertainment community, plus plenty of then-new talent, some of which I had not heard of before and many of which we should have heard from again since this was first broadcast.  After an intro by Ricardo Montalban, we see some political sketch comedy, many stand-up comedy routines as Marin gives out his own special awards to the various talents shown.  This runs only 86 minutes, but is a great crash course on talent then and now that may have dated as far as the use of old analog video is concerned, but is also a valuable time capsule of often unsung talent that deserves this DVD release.


Paul Rodriguez, Daisy Fuentes, Edward James Olmos, Liz Torrez, Eric Estrada, Maria Conchita Alonzo and even Geraldo Rivera show up among others and though there are no extras, this is good material throughout.



The Carol Burnett Show: This Time Together is the second terrific 6-DVD set of the brilliant comedy variety series we have covered following The Carol Burnett Show: Carol’s Favorites DVD set we covered at this link:




I feel just as strongly about this set as I did about the last one, but the 17 hour-long shows here are a little more obscure and show a rarer side of the long-running CBS hit that includes some great guest turns and skits that do not get seen as much or discussed as often despite being as great as the most popular ones.


Highlights ‘this time’ include As The Stomach Turns, more spoofs of TV commercials that are funny even if you never saw the ads (though you can find them on YouTube for more laughs), more of The Family, more Mr. Tudball & Mrs. Wiggins, Lily Tomlin in some great early TV work, a Godfather spoof, early Pointer Sisters as guests, a few Dick Van Dyke guest turns, a great Madeline Kahn guest show, Peggy Lee, more musical numbers, more old movie spoofs, Hal Linden (Barney Miller) as a guest star for an episode and more surprises you will absolutely enjoy.  This is a great set and the best release on this list.


Extras include separate on camera interviews with Burnett, Tim Conway, Vicki Lawrence and Steve Lawrence (no relation, save they could both be very funny), This Time Together cast reunion featurette, the shockingly unlisted featurette Side Effects May Include… - About the “TV Commercials” covering their spoofs of the big hit TV ads of the day they did all the time and Gags & Gowns – A Tribute To Bob Mackie featurette, plus the thick DVD case adds two nicely illustrated booklets on the show and this set including informative text on all the shows included.




By the time TV got to Family Ties: The Sixth Season (1987 – 88), the show was still a hit, but it had not grown much from its debut season, which we reviewed at this link:




The actors certainly became more integrated and naturalistic in their performances, but the show was always formulaic and predictable, but by this time, a very young Brian Bonsall was added to the cast though they had not grown that old collectively, but it kept the ratings high for NBC.  All 26 half-hours are here over 4 DVDs, but we again get no extras.  Yes, CBS now owns the show, but it was NBC’s hit.



An early George Sidney comedy film, Key To The City (1949) is an MGM laffer with Clark Gable as an unlikely major meets Loretta Young as a then-rare female major, sparks of conflict fly and we get what is essentially a situation comedy with some predictability, a few amusing moments, some time capsule moments and after the 100 minutes are over, a passable time killer that likely worked better upon release, but has dated awkwardly with good performances all around (including Frank Morgan, James Gleason and Marilyn Maxwell.


Gable and Young do have some star chemistry and this is the only film they ever made together, so in the end, it is an adequate curio that deserves an official DVD release like it gets here from Warner Archive and some of the politics are amusing even by today’s standards.  A trailer is the only extra.



Last and least is Andy Fickman’s Parental Guidance (2012) which has a good cast like Key To The City, but manages to fully waste them and us for 115 long minutes as Billy Crystal plays a radio baseball announcer fired form his job for being too old, which does not totally bug wife Bette Midler (a pairing that should have worked great and does not) but her daughter Marisa Tomei wants to take a trip with husband Tom Everett Scott, so she agrees against the fired-husband’s will to take care of the three grandchildren.


Funny?  No.  Tired and phony?  Yes.  The writers are not even trying as this plays like a warmed over bad 1980s mall movie comedy that was too bad to make then and somehow got recycled now.  I even liked the cast, but somehow the potential for this to work is killed at almost every single moment it shows up.  The result is a dud to be skipped, no matter who you like here.


Extras include a Digital Copy and Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and iTunes capable devices, while the disc extras include a Gag Reel, Deleted Scenes, In Character featurette and feature length audio commentary track by the director.



The 1080p 1.85 X 1 AVC @ 30 MBPS digital High Definition image transfer on Guidance is the best performer on the list as expected being the only Blu-ray, but not by much as some of the color is muted and we get more than our share of motion blur moments.  The anamorphically enhanced DVD version is softer and is equaled by the analog NTSC professional videotapings of 1.33 X 1 video shoots on Burnett, Ties and Festival.  The 1.33 X 1 on Key is the softest image here, originally shot on 35mm black and white film, but Warner explains this is the best material they had for this version, but maybe a future Blu-ray will yield better results.


The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Guidance is also the best sounding release here as expected, though the sound can be more towards the front speakers than I would have liked and being dialogue/joke-based, is only going to have so much sonic activity.  The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 version on DVD is weaker and is actually equaled by the decent, lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Burnett and lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Ties and Festival.  The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Key is the least capable track here, showing its age and not particularly warm or clear throughout.  At least it has no warping or major sound issues.



To order Key To The City, go to this link for it and many more great web-exclusive releases at:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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