As the days get shorter, temperatures drop and hot cocoa fills the cup; you want to feel a touch of the holiday season on your television. You could probably turn to a certain cable channel that began running their seasonal programming in October. But why get sucked into the vortex of made for TV holiday films? You don’t want that much narrative. You want a little singing of the classics, a few sketches involving people in Santa suits and quite a bit of cheer. Basically you want an old fashioned variety show episode from the mid-70s. And a Festivus miracle occurs with The Carol Burnett Show: Carol’s Lost Christmas which has three specials that haven’t been seen on TV since the show went off CBS.
The first episode aired in Dec. of 1967 and featured the guest stars of Jonathan Winters and Barbara Eden at the height of I Dream of Jeannie-mania. This episode wasn’t a complete Christmas special, but had its holiday moments. The show starts off with Winters being an outrageous Santa showing off his new mechanical girl doll. The “Carol and Sis” sketch is about a surprise party going weird. Barbara Eden does a big musical number with a Greek-tinged “Bend It” song. The variety show was a great way for a sitcom star to show they have the ability to play a room in Las Vegas. “Mrs. Invisible Man” has Carol dealing with a family she can’t see. There’s quite a bit of props. There’s a great guest cameo at the end that involves Leonard Nimoy (Star Trek). His appearance appears to have been a shock to Carol. The show wraps up with Carol’s charwoman character as she gets her spirit restored by a children’s voices while cleaning up a playground. She breaks out of character to perform “I Believed It All.”
The second episode is from December of 1969 and is a little bit more holiday centric. She brings out her pals Gary Moore, Durward Kirby and Jim Nabors. Kirby and Moore are great as TV Hucksters pushing Christmas toys to the kiddies that aren’t age appropriate. The second half of the show features a lot of musical numbers including a visit from the Bob Mitchell Singing Boys. The final episode is from December of 1970 and brings back Durward Kirby along with Steve Lawrence and Julie Bond. There’s dancing Santas and a Steve Lawrence in a winter wonderland.
The Carol Burnett Show: Carol’s Lost Christmas are perfect for starting off the holiday season since they feature skits and songs that aren’t Christmasy. The sketches still hold up even one about prisons. It’s also good to see Durward Kirby since his name has been mangled to represent a Kurwood Derby. The episodes aren’t complete since odds are that musical segments had to be snipped because of song rights issues. Which is a shame, but don’t take away the holiday spirit. It’s holiday joy to find The Carol Burnett Show: Carol’s Lost Christmas. Plus you get a cameo visit from Leonard Nimoy.
The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The show was capture on standard definition so there’s a little fuzz to the image. The audio is Dolby Digital mono. The levels are fine so that the audience applause and laughter doesn’t drown out the cast. The episodes are Closed Captioned.
No bonus features.
Time Life presents The Carol Burnett Show: Carol’s Lost Christmas. Starring: Carol Burnett, Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence, Jonathan Winters, Durwood Kirby and Leonard Nimoy. Boxset Contents, 3 episodes on 1 DVD. Released: October 3, 2017.
Tags: Carol Burnett, Jonathan Winters, Star Trek, The Carol Burnett Show