|Dan Rowan and the lovely Dick Martin.|
For many years, it has been impossible to see LAUGH-IN in its original form. The official word was that the original broadcast versions of ROWAN AND MARTIN'S LAUGH-IN no longer survived, that the tapes had been cut-down and reassembled into half-hour shows for syndication, without any thought to preserving them in their original form. Then, just last month, Time-Life began to unleash a veritable tsunami of LAUGH-IN viewing options. In addition to the First Season set, there is THE BEST OF ROWAN AND MARTIN'S LAUGH-IN (12 DVDs each, $178.99) and ROWAN AND MARTIN'S LAUGH-IN: THE COMPLETE SERIES (all six seasons on 38 discs, $254.95). Time-Life will be following through with the COMPLETE SECOND SEASON set in early 2018, and you can also find THE COMPLETE SERIES available directly from their website, payable on a convenient installment plan.
|Tiny Tim's national debut stuns Dick Martin.|
|Jo Anne Worley's MAD magazine ad.|
|The first issue of LAUGH-IN Magazine.|
The surviving complete material is sourced from analog tape masters, which isn't of good enough quality to warrant Blu-ray presentation, but is certainly good enough for the viewer to see the difference between what was shot on tape (the in-studio stuff) and what was shot on 16mm (the dancing body paint girls, the exterior vignettes, the guy in the rainwear falling over on the tricycle). I recommend you give the COMPLETE FIRST SEASON set a try (at $15, the price is right) - especially if you've seen the cannibalized half-hours and imagine that the hour shows are just more of the same. Those TV syndication compendiums were cut to please the short attention spans of the lowest common denominator and omitted some of the show's cleverest musical comedy extravaganzas. If you're at all like me, you'll probably find yourself pining for the COMPLETE SERIES box before you know it.
(c) 2017 by Tim Lucas. All rights reserved.