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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Shorts > Compilation > Documentary > The First Kings Of Comedy Collection (Genius Entertainment)

The First Kings Of Comedy Collection (Genius Entertainment)


Picture: C+     Sound: C     Extras: D     Films: B



For TV in the 1950s, Robert Youngson compiled and added music and narrative to two programs (totaling 161 minutes) called The Golden Age Of Comedy and When Comedy Was King.  In the half century since they were made, most of the names have been forgotten.  While Laurel & Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and even Jean Harlow (featured here with Carole Lombard, though both were not always thought of as Lucille Ball types) have had their names endure, so many others have not.  Even film students often do not know the likes of Hal Roach and Mack Sennett, while greats like Will Rogers, Harry Langdon, Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, Charley Chase, Ben Turpin, Edgar Kennedy and even The Keystone Cops.


Though the new music and narration can be annoying, it can be turned down.  Most importantly, the material is here, can be a hoot for all kinds of reasons intended (and not) and is a nice compilation on one DVD fans of real comedy can enjoy once again.  Even diehard fans will be happy with the DVD.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.33 X 1 black and white image looks good as the original materials were transferred for these programs a half-century ago, saving them nicely.  Video Black is not bad, while detail is surprising at times.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is better on King than Age, which shows its age with poor optical sound.  There are no extras, but isn’t it nice to have a good copy finally on hand of this material?



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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