DVD Review: The Carol Burnett Show: Together Again

Fans get critical that DVD releases of their favorite variety shows are mainly highlights or severally edited shows. Even when they get rerun on TV, they have been turned into “Best Of” collections. Why can’t you get the original broadcast version? There can be several reasons. The star hated a failed sketch. The master tape was butchered for the syndicated cuts that require more commercial time. Mostly the answer is the insanity of music licensing. It’s just easier to clip out the musical moments and focus on the sketches that most people remember. The Carol Burnett Show: Together Again features three episodes from her long running series that contains all the notes. You can get a true sense of what it was like to watch her on CBS in the ’70s.

The first episode (#705) is from 1973 and guest stars Gloria Swanson. The season before Carol had caught fire with her impersonation of Swanson’s Norma Desmond from Sunset Boulevard. The star from the silent era is quiet talkative with Carol. She even pulls off a musical number. The caper of the night is her and Carol’s silent performances in “Charwoman: Silents Is Golden.” This is the time when Lyle Waggoner was part of the cast. The hunky straight man would soon be departing to Wonder Woman. The second show (#712) is from right before Christmas in ’73. Ruth Buzzi gets to expand upon her Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In characters. The best is the gameshow called “Celebrities and Peasants.” She’s the star who doesn’t seem to care that Carol’s librarian would really like to win the money. Also guest starring is Richard Crenna who is best known now for Rambo: First Blood. He’s good in the bad movie spoof “Raised to Be Rotten.” The third episode is from 1978. The regular cast was down to Carol, Tim Conway and Vicki with the Ken Berry and Roddy McDowall (Planet of the Apes). They perform a “Family” sketch that will later be turned into Mama’s Family. Ken Berry, the future star of Mama’s Family isn’t in it. He was probably saving his energy for the dance & musical finale of “High Hat.”

The three episodes are from the larger Carol Burnett Show: Ultimate Collection. This collection is just right for people who have been catching the shortened version of the show that’s currently running on MeTV and wondering what they’re missing. You get all the moments including Carol’s opening chat with the crowd to her final ear tug. You get to enjoy the singing, dancing and comedy that has been missing for quite a while.

The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The transfers are find for a show shot on standard definition videotape. The audio is Dolby Digital mono. The sound is fine for a show that was pretty much shot live on stage. The musical elements sound best.

No bonus features.

The Carol Burnett Show: Together Again gives a sample of what it was like to sit back in 1973 and enjoy the queen of variety shows.

Time Life and Star Vista Entertainment present The Carol Burnett Show: Together Again. Starring: Carol Burnett, Vicki Lawrence, Ken Berry and Tim Conway. Boxset Contents: 3 episodes on 1 DVD. Released: February 10, 2015.