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Category:    Home > Reviews > Concert > Stand Up Comedy > TV > Dick Van Dyke – In Rare Form + Groucho Marx & Redd Foxx – Comic Legends (MPI)

Dick Van Dyke – In Rare Form + Groucho Marx & Redd Foxx – Comic Legends (MPI)


Picture: C/C+     Sound: C     Extras: C+     Main Programs: C+ each



MPI has an interesting series in Comic Legends, which takes often obscure footage of great comic talents and collects them on DVD.  The two volumes here are Dick Van Dyke – In Rare Form and Groucho Marx & Redd Foxx.  The Van Dyke set is appropriately named because it is the most compilative in nature.  The main program comprises of clips from Pat Boone’s old TV show, hosted by Boone.  He talks more than one would like, but you can forward through him and see how great Dyke was early on.  With Dyke still hot thanks to his fuddy duddy detective show and key appearance in the huge hit Night At The Museum, the timing for this volume could not be better.  He is without a doubt one of the most underrated comic talents of the last half-century.


The same cannot be said about the legendary Groucho Marx, whose feature films are almost constantly in print and You Bet Your Life game show a favorite on radio and DVD compilations as the show was a huge hit in both mediums and for good reason.  This DVD has a late appearance on the forgotten comedy series One Man Show, which is the same source for the Redd Foxx installment.  Both are funny, run a half-hour and are very amusing.  Groucho is still on the money and though he cleaned up his act for the taping, Foxx is as funny and cutting edge as ever with a great touch of political incorrectness that made him a groundbreaking legend.  Fans of Sanford & Son will enjoy the change too.  Both are DVDs that could not go on long enough, with each One Man Show installment running less than a half-hour.


The 1.33 X 1 image varies and gets better along the lines of age.  The Dyke footage is all kinescope, which is an old video tube being filmed at the same frame rate, resulting in muddy definition.  The One Man Show installments with Foxx & Marx were taped in professional analog NTSC color video, while the older bonus Marx standup piece was taped in professional analog NTSC black & white video.  All look about as good as can be expected, though some minor upgrades would be a good idea down the line.  All are also Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono, including the new Boone interview footage.


Extras on the Dyke DVD include two skits and a great episode of the 1959 NBC game show Laugh Line that is so good, someone ought to track down all the shows and put out a DVD box set.  The show involves stock actors assuming different live action scenes, then the four panelists coming up with caption ideas that are supposed to match in the funniest ways.  Mike Nichols & Elaine May happen to be two of the panelists in this case.  The only bonus on the Foxx/Marx disc is the black & white video of Marx doing 10 minutes of stand up, but it is very amusing, as expected.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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