DVD Review: The Carol Burnett Show (Best of Tim Conway)

Fans of The Carol Burnett Show who only watched the series in syndication are often shocked to discover that Tim Conway was not an original cast member. ConwayShow was only a regular for the last three seasons of the show’s 11 season run. Audiences were very familiar with Conway because he was a regular guest on the series to the point where he had already created recurring characters with Carol. He became full-time when Lyle Waggoner left to play Steve Trevor on Wonder Woman. Normally replacing a regular on a variety show is a tough task. Waggoner hadn’t done much on the series. He was the announcer and played hunky doctors and lawyers when necessary in sketches. Harvey Korman did a majority of the male roles with the guest stars. Waggoner left without a signature character so Conway didn’t have to fight for fans to accept him. The Carol Burnett Show: The Best of Tim Conway features four of Tim’s best episodes including three where he was the guest and Lyle was the regular.

Show #312 has Tim and Martha Raye (The Buggaloos) as Carol’s guests. Tim breaks out his world’s oldest guy character. The slowest moving man in the world is in the perfect position of pit crew for Harvey’s race car driver. His slow shuffle is a work of beauty as he keeps Harvey out of the race. There’s midevil fun in “The Virgin Prince” with Tim as the title character and Carol as his intended princess. Tim and Harvey show off their comedic swordplay. The big final sketch is a tribute to the films of 20th Century Fox. Tim spoofs Dr. Dolittle and Charlie Chan. Show #423 includes Pat Carroll and Karen Wyman in Tim’s fun. Tim starts the show as the Lone Ranger looking to reunite with Tonto on a new project. Tonto wants a few changes in the partnership. A vet (played by Lyle) accidentally give Tim a shot meant for his dog. This leads to a transformation as his boss comes over for dinner.

Show #513 teams up Tim with Mama Cass (Mamas and the Papas). Tim shows up to rehearse a A Streetcar Named Desire with Harvey during a “Carol and Sis” sketch. Tim is performing the Brando role. Lyle arrives as a pilot ready to swoop in and save the show from Tim. The highlight of the episode has Tim playing a dentist that has an issue with the Novocaine. Turns out Harvey is his first human patient since he had only worked on pets beforehand. Episode #0120 has Tim part of the regular cast. “Mr. Tudball and Mrs. Wiggins” has the secretary screwing up on her typing and the boss getting more frustrated. Tim plays a chauffeur to Carol’s big ego star. They have to sneak into a diner for a bite to eat where the star does her best to hide her identity from the little people. Things get bad when she realizes that nobody cares who she is. The episode wraps with Tim giving an awkward dog food ad.

The Carol Burnett Show: The Best of Tim Conway are not complete episodes. Music medley numbers have been snipped. Normally this would cause a bit of outrage except nobody has ever said, “I want more Tim Conway song and dance in my life.” The focus here is how Tim made himself at home on The Carol Burnett Show years before he was to get his name in the animated opening.

The videos is 1.33:1 full frame. The show was recorded live on standard definition videotape so it’s a bit fuzzy. The audio is Dolby Digital mono. The levels are fine during the sketches.

Bonus Blooper: Dog’s Life (3:40) is part of the sketch when Harvey couldn’t hold back as Tim turned into a dog on the sofa.

Lionsgate presents The Carol Burnett Show: The Best of Tim Conway. Starring: Tim Conway, Carol Burnett, Harvey Korman and Lyle Waggoner. Boxset Contents: 4 episodes on 1 DVD. Released: April 4, 2017.

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