Graham Kennedy Coast To Coast + Graham
Kennedy’s Blankety Blanks – Volume One + Volume Two (Umbrella/Region Free/Zero/PAL DVD sets)
C Sound: C+ Extras: C Episodes: C+/B-/B-
PLEASE NOTE: These DVDs can only be operated
on machines capable of playing back DVDs that can handle Region Zero/0 PAL
format software and can be ordered from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment
at the website address provided at the end of the review.
Kennedy is a major comedy media personality in Australia who never crossed over
into the U.S. much, but was very popular and had his share of successes and
failures. Umbrella Entertainment has
issued a trio of sets of his work for people to enjoy again and all in all, it
is not bad and offers a few surprises.
comes Coast To Coast, a series from
the late 1980s where he pretends to give the audience hard, serious,
journalistic news with co-anchors, but is actually sending-up the days
events. The show has its moments, but it
is also odd because you don’t always know when they are being serious or
not. It also counts on you knowing the
news events Down Under at that time.
Otherwise, it is like catching an unusual cable channel. Even native Aussies might be disoriented of
they do not know the news of the time, much like a Saturday Night Live rerun with a Weekend Update segment from long ago.
double-disc set has enough episodes to get the idea of how the show worked and
two of the episodes have audio commentary.
There are also Outtakes, but this might be an acquired taste for the
there is Blankety Blanks, a game
show that may seem very familiar. Running
from 1977 to 1979, this is the Australian version of Match Game, but despite having Kennedy host in Gene Rayburn’s
place, the show was not as huge a hit. For
those unfamiliar with the U.S. original or curious to refresh yourself on it,
try our link to the first DVD set of the show that recently fell out of print
when BCI Eclipse folded:
getting to this version of the game show classic, we offer some explanation of
the series in several markets. ABC
actually had a knock-off of Match Game
called Blankety Blanks back in 1975
with celebrities and it bombed. That
ought to be reissued, but it seems not all the shows were saved. While the U.S. version had daytime and
nighttime versions that were huge hits and is a classic, this Australian
version was not the only variant and a 1996 revival was attempted Down
Under. As well, a few U.S. revivals
failed, including one with Gene Rayburn.
Finally, a British version called Lily
Savage’s Blankety Blanks also
launched in 1977 and lasted until 2002!
did Kennedy’s version stall? Because it
was too uptight and by the time it got how to do the show, it was too
late. At first, it is disorienting to
watch if you are familiar with the U.S. version. As a big fan, it was especially odd, but once
you get used to the people who are there, the show works well enough to enjoy
and has a few odd surprises. I did laugh
beyond my unusual knowledge of U.K. and Aussie programming, but fanatics of Match Game in the U.S. (and U.K. for
that matter) will want to catch at least one of these volumes.
recognized several of the actors from the hit Number 96 (reviewed elsewhere on this site) including Carol Raye,
Noeline Brown, Marty Rhone and Abigail. Some
are soap opera or drama actors like Kate Fitzpatrick, Barry Creyton, Delvene
Delaney, Peggy Mortimer, Dawn Lake and Joy Chambers. In the Charles Nelson Reilly seat is another
comedian known as Ugly Dave Gray, while stage singer Jon English is a
semi-regular figure. There is also Noel
Ferrier (The Year Of Living Dangerously,
Turkey Shoot), Pop singer John Paul
Young (whose 1978 hit Love Is In The Air
was a worldwide smash) and Nick Tate is the most successful actor on both
sets. His works include Battle Of Britain, an episode of The Champions and as a regular on the
worldwide hit Space: 1999.
include interviews with various panelists, though I wish someone would have
asked about if anyone had seen the other shows.
Clips from the shows in other countries would have been a plus.
X 1 image of all were videotaped, with Coast
looking pasty and unimpressive, while Blanks
has transfers that show their age with softness, some haloing and aliasing
errors throughout. The Dolby Digital 2.0
Mono on all is better, but have compression and age issues throughout.
As noted above, you can order these PAL DVD import sets
exclusively from Umbrella at:
- Nicholas Sheffo