Whenever I got together with friends discussing television and movies we always wondered why every crummy TV show and movie made it to DVD while SCTV was not yet on DVD. Then we would inevitably begin to reminisce about the show, out favorite sketches, etc. Now we can all watch together because SCTV is finally on DVD . . . well, at least some of it is, and that’s a good start.
For those who fondly remember the series I must first state that this is not a collection of the 30-minute shows that were shown in syndication. Rather, this collection contains the first nine shows of SCTV-90 that ran on NBC during the early 80′s. Fortunately, the first episode of the collection is a retrospective of some of the best sketches that ran on the syndicated show. Fans will be able to see “Night School Hi-Q,” a quiz show where Eugene Levy plays a harassed Alex Trebek to Catherine O’Hara’s clueless Margaret Meehan; John Candy as a fully grown Beaver who finally gets revenge in Eddie Haskell; Rick Moranis as Merv Griffin comparing jacket linings with Yasser Arafat and Liberace; and the jewel of the disk, Rick Moranis as Woody Allen playing against Dave Thomas as Bob Hope in “Play It Again, Bob.” No one ever imitated Bob Hope like Dave Thomas; seeing him on the screen almost makes us believe were really were seeing Bob Hope, that’s how good the impersonation was.
And there’s more to come with some of the best-loved characters in SCTV: Guy Callabero, Edith Prickley, Bob and Doug McKenzie, Johnny LaRue, Mrs. Falbo, Lola Heatherton, Bobby Bittman, Earl Camembert, Floyd Robertson, aka Count Floyd, Dr. Tongue, Perini Scleroso, Mel Slirrup, and Sammy Maudlin. They’re still as funny, and almost as fresh, as when we watched them back then.
Other highlights to look for include the following:
– John Candy as Civil War coward “Yellowbelly,” a spoof on Chuck Connor’ series, “Branded.”– Rick Moranis a video deejay Gerry Todd, pre-MTV and eerily prescient.– The Sammy Maudlin Show where Bobby Bittman (the unfunniest funny-man in Hollywood) is upstaged by Bob Hope.– The Ingmar Bergman film parody that shows up of Count Floyd’s “Monster Chiller Horror Theater.” Floyd is under the impression that it’s a horror film. His disappointment when he finds out the truth is as hilarious as the parody itself. ( A bit of SCTV trivia here: Count Floyd, who was SCTV news anchorman Floyd Robertson in a vampire costume and cheesy make-up, is based on Bill Cardille, who Joe Flaherty watched as a kid growing up in Pittsburgh. Cardille did the weather for the local NBC station, and on weekends hosted the studio wrestling matches and as “Chilly Billy” hosted the Saturday night horror feature.)– Joe Flaherty as station owner Guy Callabero, who, although he can walk, uses a wheel chair. (“I only use it for respect!”)– “The Grapes of Mud,” a parody of “The Grapes of Wrath.”– “Mrs. Falbo’s Tiny Town.” Andrea Martin at her funniest.– Johnny Larue’s “Polynesiantown,” with its ending crane shot that got LaRue in hot water with Guy Callabero because it went so far over budget.– “The Merv Griffith Show,” with Rick Moranis as Merv doing the part of Sheriff Taylor. Look for Eugene Levy as a great Floyd the Barber and John Candy as Otis.– “Dr. Tongue’s 3-D House of Stewardesses,” a cheesy send-up of 3-D movies.– Catherine O’Hara as Lola Heatherton. Simply hilarious.
That said, the only stumbling block would be the price, which is due to the cost of obtaining the music rights. But it’s worth it, and the music’s not bad. For instance, the late Roy Orbison, Dr. John, and Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes (fans of Conan O’Brien and the Max Weinberg 7 should watch for LaBamba and Mark Pender in earlier incarnations) are among the performers.
Besides the excellent commentaries on each disk, there is also a 24-page booklet with articles by Conan O’Brien and Ben Stiller, among others. O’Brien says in his piece that in regard to SCTV, “I don’t think anyone’s ever topped it.” I agree.
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A good day indeed! Who could ever forget Count Floyd hosting Monster Chiller Horror Theater screening such epics as Dr. Tongues 3D House of Pancakes (Would you like some syrup!)and Dr. Tongues 3D House of Stewardesses.Other Great Sketches;
The Godfather: SCTV trys to eliminate the four families (ABC, CBS, NBC & PBS)
Polynesian Town: Johnny LaRue begging for his crane shot.
Fantasy Island: John Candy as Tatoo is a classic, especially when he gets amorous with a stratavarius violin!
The Guy who sells used fruit (Eugene Levy)
The Porno store guy with the snake on his face (John Candy)
Indira; The musical: (Andrea Martin)
The Days of the Week: You’ll be hard-pressed to find two more stupid characters than Rocko & Mojo.
…And last but not least, Great White North. SCTV’s answer to the stupid “Canadian Content” rule that was imposed upon them. Out of their protest came the two most memorable characters of the 1980′s! Coo Luk-u-coo-coo-coo-luk-u-coo!
RELEASE All OF SEASONS/CYCLES ASAP!! I WANT MY SCTV!
All I can say is that the release of the 90 minute SCTV episodes is like finding the Holy Grail. These shows, dating back to 1980 or so, were contemporaries of the earliest Saturday Night Live shows and, to many of us, totally *blew away* SNL, even with its now-legendary early cast members. Amazing considering the total shoe-string budget on which these were done.
For those of you who don’t know, the cast included Joe “Veddy Scary” Flaherty (Count Floyd, Guy Caballero), Eugene “As A Comedian, in All Seriousness” Levy (Bobby Bittman, Mel Slurrup, Woody Tobias Jr., Yosh Schmenge), Martin “I Must Say” Short (Jerry Lewis, Ed Grimley), Catherine “Tip Toenail” O’Hara (Lola Heatherton, Brooke Shields), Andrea “Momma’s Got it Now” Martin (Edith Prickley, Ms. Falbo, Indira Ghandi, Mojo), Dave “Hoser” Thomas (Bob Hope, Doug McKenzie), Rick “Vuhdeo” Moranis (Gerry Todd, Woody Allen, Bob McKenzie) and of course John “They Laughed at Me in Budapest!” Candy (Dr. Tongue, William B. Williams, Johnny Pavarotti, Stan Schmenge). How’s that for an embarassment of riches? Oh yeah, and occasionally you’d have lightweights like Harold “Crazylegs” Ramis drop in. This is one of the few shows that I cannot even think about without smiling, or even outright laughing.
I certainly hope the DVD gives these programs the treatment they deserve — including plenty of extras and commentary (maybe even interactive scripts?? Pwwweeeez?). This material is certainly worthy of major tender loving care.