DVD Review: Here’s Edie: The Edie Adams Television Collection

The last few years have seen two amazing collections of Ernie Kovac’s TV work. Part of what made his shows so memorable was the collaborations with his wife Edie Adams. She was able to deliver Ernie’s demented brand of comedy and provide memorable musical moments. After Ernie died, Consolidated Cigar Corporation wanted her to be the face for their Muriel Cigar line. Instead of merely doing a few ads, the company had her create a variety show and bought the time on ABC. She had creative control over the show which was revolutionary for 1962. She stepped up with her ability to create engaging TV and promote a cigar brand. Here’s Edie: The Edie Adams Television Collection has all 21 episodes of her ground breaking series.

Here’s Edie was the first series of eight specials. What’s really telling about the show is that it doesn’t have a real formula. Most variety shows have a regular set from a soundstage. Edie took her show on the road. She’s really in New York City, London, Las Vegas and a Western backlot. “New York” has Peter Falk (Columbo) delivering a monologue on an actual New York street. “London” allows Sir Michael Redgrave to rattle off “Saint Crispin’s Day” from Shakespeare’s Henry V by the river Thames. “Las Vegas” give the home audience a taste of a real Las Vegas show when Edie performs with Eddie Fisher at Harrah’s big room. She pays tribute to the “Bossa Nova.” There’s a beautiful moment when Cesar Romero (Batman‘s The Joker) joins her at the end of “Desafinado.” “Bob Hope” stars Bob Hope as the big guest. He’s in perfect form as he clowns with Edie. Even more fun is a visit with Lionel Hampton and his orchestra. Even her cigar ads are must viewing. Here’s Edie really stands out in the variety show genre for not being pandering schmaltz.

The second season the show returns as The Edie Adams Show for 13 episodes. This isn’t quite the globetrotting adventure of Here’s Edie. They seem to shoot at the same L.A. soundstage. But the guest cast remains eclectic. Things start off with Zsa Zsa Gabor and Stan Getz. The always exciting Louis Nye (Sonny Drysdale on The Beverly Hillbillies) mixes it up with L.A. Dodgers speedster Maury Wills. Sammy David Jr. arrives to give his Vegas manic fun with her. Dan Rowan & Dick Martin give a sense of their nightclub act that would years later make them TV superstars as co-hosts of Laugh In. Spike Jones and his City Slickers deliver their musical mayhem. Bobby Darin swings out with Edie. This episode has Edie continue Kovacs’ blackout sketches. The season wraps up with Soupy Sales and Johnny Mathis. They poke fun at the recently exploded Beatlemania.

What’s thrilling about getting to watch Here’s Edie and The Edie Adams Show is that neither have run since they aired on ABC. These are performance that have finally emerged from the vault. The episodes contain fine musical and comedy performances from famous faces. So many icons appeared on the show and delivered the goods instead of merely yucking it up. What’s really impressive is that Edie Adams was truly calling the shots on what she wanted to present on her show. This is the reason why you can enjoy Here’s Edie without that nagging feeling of “why did we think that was cool?” This show was cool.

The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The show was transferred from the early ’60s black and white videotape so the quality changes between shows. It’s a bit more consistent in the second season. The audio is mono. The shows sound rather good especially during the musical moments.

Do Re Mi Outtake (2:26) has her singing The Sound of Music classic.

Sid Caesar & Edie Adams Promos (0:22) are quicky ads for the shows that alternated Thursday nights on ABC.

Muriel Promotional Film (9:25) covers Edie flying in to Texarkana for a parade. She also drops by a smoke shop to check on the Muriel cigars.

Songs Performances From the Ernie Kovacs Show include Edie performing “Would I Love You,” “My Funny Valentine,” “‘s Wonderful,” “I Feel A Song Coming On,” “Mississippi Mud,” “Paradise,” Get Happy,” “A Sunday Kind of Love,” “Chicago,” “Summertime,” “Dancing on the Ceiling,” The best is her coming out as Marilyn Monroe singing “Ballad of Davy Crockett.” These appear to be many of the musical moments that had to be snipped from the previous Ernie Kovacs collections.

Here’s Edie: The Edie Adams Television Collection is an exceptional variety show. This goes beyond the usual goofball nature found in the genre. Edie is the perfect hostess bringing out the best in her guests. The addition of songs from The Ernie Kovacs Show is a major bonus.

MVD Visual presents Here’s Edie: The Edie Adams Television Collection. Starring: Edie Adams, Ernie Kovacs, Bob Hope, Louis Nye and Bobby Darin. Boxset Contents: 21 episodes on 4 DVDs. Released: November 19, 2013.

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