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Category:    Home > Reviews > TV Situation Comedy > Counterculture > Sex > Australia > Stand Up > Skits > Mike & Molly: The Sixth & Final Season (2015 - 2016/Warner DVD Set)/Stork (1971/Umbrella Region Free PAL Import DVD)/Thanks For The Memories: The Bob Hope Specials (1956 - 1996)/The Tonight Show Starr

Mike & Molly: The Sixth & Final Season (2015 - 2016/Warner DVD Set)/Stork (1971/Umbrella Region Free PAL Import DVD)/Thanks For The Memories: The Bob Hope Specials (1956 - 1996)/The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: The Vault Series (1972 - 1977/6 DVDs (Discs 7 - 12)/Time Life/Star Vista DVD Sets)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Stork Import DVD is now only available from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment in Australia, can only play on Blu-ray & DVD players that can handle the PAL format DVD and can be ordered from the link below.

Here's our latest group of comedy releases....

Mike & Molly: The Sixth & Final Season (2015 - 2016) is one of the increasingly rare hit TV shows that sees a star from it (Melissa McCarthy in this case) become a big screen box-office theatrical film star. However, ads the show is suddenly cancelled despite still making money, her hits at the box office have already ended with the dud The Boss and big, disappointing Ghostbusters revival that did not know what to do with itself. The story of a police officer (Billy Gardell) and his writer gal has some laughs and more character development than most phony sitcoms we see anymore, but it is nothing memorable either and no match for a Big Bang Theory.

You get 2 DVDs with all 13 (Only 13? Unlucky?) half-hour slotted shows that just about wrap things up, yet there is also this thing of what is hanging on and you get the feeling things were not totally ended as they might have been. For fans only, its not as worn-down a show as most that get this far these days.

The only extra is a Gag Reel, ending the hit series on an odd note.

Tim Burstall's Stork (1971) is the latest Australian counterculture Ozploitation comedy we are catching up with Bruce Spence as the title character trying to lose his virginity in the midst of the counterculture and falling for cinema staple Jacki Weaver in what amounts to an authentic time capsule with some laughs. Not a great film, it is at least offers something different and takes us some places we have not seen before, so it is worth a good look.

An indie production drifting between an A and B movie, it was part of a vital movement there that has a charm of its own and even honesty, plus seeing Weaver is always a plus

An interviews featurette, short film Three Old Friends and a featurette on that short are the extras.

Thanks For The Memories: The Bob Hope Specials (1956 - 1996) is a new compilation release of more of the legendary entertainers event broadcasts over 40 years. We get 13 digitally restored and unedited specials from Bob's career, including (in chronological order):

  • The Bob Hope Chevy Show - Original Air Date: October 21, 1956 w/James Cagney, Diana Dors and the I Love Lucy cast

  • A Bob Hope Comedy Special - Original Air Date: September 27, 1963 w/Barbra Streisand, Dean Martin, James Garner, Tuesday Weld and Les Brown

  • A Bob Hope Comedy Special - Original Air Date: December 15, 1965 w/Jack Benny, Bing Crosby & Janet Leigh

  • Chrysler Presents A Bob Hope Comedy Special - Original Air Date: October 19, 1966 w/Johnny Carson, Milton Berle, Don Adams, Wally Cox, Jimmy Durante, Don Rickles, Soupy Sales, Red Buttons, Rowan & Martin, Jonathan Winters, Bill Dana, Jack Carter, Bill Cosby & more

  • Chrysler Presents A Bob Hope Comedy Special - Original Air Date: February 15, 1967 w/Tony Bennett, Shirley Eaton, Jill St, John and Carol Lawrence

  • The Bob Hope Christmas Special - Original Air Date: January 18, 1968 w/Rachel Welch & Barbara McNair

  • Highlights of a Quarter Century of Bob Hope on Television - Original Air Date: October 24, 1975

  • Joys (A Comedy Whodunit) - Original Air Date: March 5, 1976

  • Bob Hope's World of Comedy - Original Air Date: October 29, 1976

  • Texaco Presents The Bob Hope All-Star Christmas Comedy Special - Original Air Date: December 19, 1977 w/Mark Hamill, Olivia Newton-John, Perry Como & The Muppets

  • The Hilarious Unrehearsed Antics of the Stars - Original Air Date: September 28, 1984

  • Bob Hope: The First 90 Years - Original Air Date: May 14, 1993

  • Bob Hope...Laughing with the Presidents - Original Air Date: November 23, 1996

The titles without guest stars (for which there are a few) are themselves compilations of other specials, but no matter, it is a combination of time capsule and the gags that do work that make I worth your time, along with a few surprise star turns you might not be expecting or knew of. Still, the nostalgia is a bit overdone and corny, like one too many of the gags and jokes. For more than just fans, most will find something worth seeing in this 6-DVD set, but a little will go a long way for others. However, this all needs and deserves to be issued on home video just the same.

An illustrated booklet on all the shows is the only extra.

Finally we have The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: The Vault Series (1972 - 1977), a 6 DVD launch of a larger set we hope to see soon especially with how excellent and thoroughly entertaining this set alone is. Featuring what are discs 7 through 12 with some shows from the show's occasional visits to New York City, where is started. Guests include James Grander, Suzanne Pleshette, Robert Klein, Jack Haley Jr., Michael Landon, Carl Reiner, Joanna Cassidy, Jack Palance, Steve Allen, Madlyn Rhue, Gene Kelly, Stockard Channing, Sheckey Green, Buddy Rich, Lynda Carter, Orson Bean, Joan Embry, Charlie Callas, Buddy Hackett, Steve Lawrence, Roy Clark, Vincent Price, Andy Kaufman, Rodney Dangerfield, Lorne Green, James Coco, a particularly hilarious episode with Rich Little, Richard Pryor, David Sayh and consumer advocate David Horowitz, Tony Randall, David Brenner, Mark Stone, a wild Jaye P. Morgan, Joe Frazier, Truman Capote, Tammy Grimes, Marilyn Horne, Margaret Truman and a classic turn where Johnny learns about body massage by former model and shaving cream commercial actress Gunilla Knutsen, whose written a book on massage before it was much talked about at the time of the taping.

This is all from the period where, despite competition that was solid or alternative like Merv Griffin, Dick Cavett and the like, Johnny really was the King Of Late Night. You can especially see this in these 90 minutes-long-slotted shows, most of which have the option of watching them with the original commercials as a great plus. That still makes them 74 minutes-long as local stations had to add their commercials, station identification and the like, but seeing them with the commercials is a plus, shows the era better and keeps the flow going; especially when Johnny tells you about the product about to be shown. I could count them as extras, but I won't in this case. However, expect some great surprises and stars, plus stars to be. We've covered many Carson releases, but this is my favorite to date.

A slip of paper listing the episodes is the only extra, if that.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Molly and Stork look as good as they can for the fprmat, with the former showing its HD Limits and latter showing some age in its 35mm materials, but both very watchable with good color. The 1.33 X 1 image on the various Hope programs (some earlier ones on film) and Carson episode (all analog color NTSC video recordings) have been remastered so well, they can compete with the other DVDs despite their higher-quality sources, though both in HD would be able to outdo these. In both latter cases when it comes to analog videotape recording, expect flaws like some video noise, video banding, telecine flicker, slight tape scratching, cross color, faded color and even a little tape damage.

Molly is in lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 and should be the sonic champ here, but the soundfield here is either on the quiet or weak side enough that the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Hope and Carson can compete, but the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Stork is a little weaker than expected, so be careful of volume switching and high playback levels. It might be the source, but a lossless upgrade would help it a bit.

To order either of the Stork Umbrella import DVD, go to this link for it and more hard-to-get goodies:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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