As everyone is asking, “Where are The Best of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour Seasons 1 and 2?” I spoke directly to a Smothers Brothers rep and here’s what I found out. There have been delays in producing the best of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour dvd sets due to reasons unknown. I would guess that the reasons have something to do with getting all the approvals needed by the numerous guests on the shows, that is the cause of delay. Even this Season 3 is a few weeks behind schedule.
When I asked about certain musical groups appearing on this Season 3, I was happily told that The Who will not be on Season 3, but will be appearing on Season 2, which is right now in the making! I was so happy to hear that they are currently working on Season 2! This Season 2 will contain the famous performance by The Who, when Keith Moon used too many explosives and blew out poor Pete Townsend’s eardrum!
Even though all 3 Seasons are being released backwards, starting with Season 3, I am still totally thrilled! The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour always had the best performers on their shows, along with great musical performances by the best groups of the time, not to mention all the political buttons they pushed for the politicians here in America!
It’s certainly wonderful to hear that they are making the “Best Of” all three Seasons of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, even if they are being released starting with this last Season 3! Getting to see these shows again is certainly a rare treat!
The information I received on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour Season 3 dvd set from Time Life, states that the following is included:
This 4 dvd set includes 11 star packed episodes from Season 3, that were personally chosen by Tom and Dick Smothers. These 11 shows (there were 26 shows made in Season 3, 26 in Season 2 and 20 in Season 1) are shown as they were originally intended, uncut and complete. When these shows aired in 1968 and 1969, they had sketches and performances that were cut out by the network censors at CBS. These shows will now be seen complete, as intended back in the 60′s, before the censors cut them up. Tom and Dick Smothers will comment with an introduction before each show on this set also.
The guest list includes some of the better known stars: George Harrison, Harry Belafonte (Harry sings a very rare “Don’t Stop the Carnival” as footage of the police brutality and riots at the Chicago Democratic Convention plays behind him- this was originally cut by network censors, and is for the first time released on this set), Bob Newhart, Steve Martin, George Carlin, The Doors, Ray Charles, Jackie Mason, Cass Elliot, Jonathan Winters, Joan Baez, David Steinberg, Ike and Tina Turner, Judy Collins and more.
Also included is the infamous “Pat Paulsen for President” television special, which includes newly uncovered, a never been seen appearance by Robert F. Kennedy. This was originally cut from the broadcast because of the Senator’s assassination, that was being mourned by our nation. This is a very rare clip that shows the Senator’s humorous side. This also includes bonus footage when Pat Paulsen takes a trip to the White House.
Included also, is a rare interview which was originally intended to air on the first show of this 3rd Season with baby doctor, Dr. Benjamin Spock. It was cut by network censors due to Dr. Spock’s anti war activist stance. There are also many extra’s that include never before seen rehearsal footage and also included is the 1968 press conference following the abrupt termination of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour by CBS. The Smothers Brothers had just signed their 4th Season contract, when CBS terminated them. Back then in 1969, everyone knew that this sudden cancellation of the show was due to the Smothers Brothers outspoken political humour and views. What we didn’t know is how many sketches and performances were cut by CBS censors, which we now get to see for the first time ever! This set is going to be a real treat with 11 uncut shows and lots of bonus material, and I can’t wait to see the “Best of” Seasons 1 and 2, even if they are being released backwards!
UPDATE July 2009- After waiting a little over a full year, THE SMOTHERS BROTHERS COMEDY HOUR:THE BEST OF SEASON 2 is being released by Time-Life on October 20, 2009!! You can pre-order on Amazon now!
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Have waited so long for this to be released and what a disappointment!
How ironic that the Smothers Brothers who faught with censors are now censoring what they release to us! I’m glad they came out with this set. But most of the episodes were about 40 minutes. These are NOT the full episodes as aired. The booklet insert talks about the first David Steinberg sermonette – the controversial one. Then it’s mentioned on one of the shows when Tommy apologizes for it….but it’s not included here!! We are given the second, calmer sermonette entitled “Jonah”(which of course is good). On one of these episodes, the band comes out in the beginning of the show with the signs naming that night’s guests. They list Leigh French and she only appears for about 2 minutes in a very quick comedy sketch. She’s not listed in the menu of the disc as a guest for that show at all. Surely she was in more of that episode than that! They did leave her in one as the weather girl, so it can’t be a rights issue. She was on 18 of their shows. 6 in 1969 and 6 in 1968. Why was she cut from this one!? The menu on each disc lists only a select few guests that they warrant important enough to have included. i.e. big names like Tina Turner, Jim Morrison, Harry Belafonte. There are other guests (as is shown in each week’s introductory band sequence) but some have been cut out! I’d like to be the one to decide what the “Best Of” is. Give me the entire series – whole episodes and if there’s someone I don’t want to see I am perfectly capable of skipping over it on the DVD. The folks wanting these are mostly the baby boomers and I remember Biff Rose and Leigh French! What an outrage that they’ve been cut out of this set. There are four discs here and the entire 4th one is devoted to Pat Paulson! What a waste! Would much rather have had Pat as he appeared throughout the season in the full episodes and then they could’ve added in the one hour special as an extra. The fourth disc should’ve been used for more episodes. What they’ve given us is good, but I’m very disappointed in the way these were released.
I wasn’t even born when this show was originally on CBS. But I have been a fan of the Smothers Brothers for a long time, starting back in 1988 when they had a short-lived revival of their variety show. Having just purchased this 4-disc set (the Amazon.com information incorrectly lists it as having 3 discs), I have to say that I am really enjoying the show.
However, I have to wonder about the claims of all 11 episodes being uncut. I have only watched the first disc so far and am already noticing what I think are some cuts from the original broadcast versions. It would appear that these episodes are taken from a “Best Of” series that Entertainment Television did back in 1992. Each episode (so far) has an introduction and epilogue by Tom and Dick Smothers. In one of the episodes there are scenes shown during the epilogue from the ‘Daily News’ segment that were not in the episode I just watched.
I also have to wonder about the run time for each episode. If you take out the time for the 1992 intro and epilogue, you end up with about 38 minutes for most of the episodes. That seems pretty short for an hour-long variety show in 1968. Most hour-long shows from this time period were around 50 minutes. That would mean over 10 minutes cut from each episode.
There are some other editing issues that I believe have to do with the original CBS censors, but I’m not sure and can find no information online to confirm this. For instance, in one episode David Frye is doing some of his stand-up routine. It is pretty obvious that it has been cut. The segment is only 45 seconds long. And at one point there is a severe jump cut from an impersonation of William F. Buckley, Jr. to him taking his final bow with a hat that has suddenly appeared in his hands. But, as I say, I believe that this was the CBS censors’ doing and not the producers of the DVD. Maybe someone else who has watched this set could let us know more about the validity of the ‘uncut’ claims.
Even with the possible cuts, this is still a VERY good set of DVDs. It is crammed full of extras and the show itself is funny. I’m quite impressed with the wide range of guest stars the Smothers Brothers brought on their show. I would recommend this set to anyone who is a fan of the Smothers Brothers or variety shows in general.