DVD Review: The Carol Burnett Show – This Time Together (Collector’s Edition)

In DVD's by Rebecca WrightLeave a Comment

♫♪…Just to have a laugh, or sing a song.
Seems we just get started and before you know it
Comes the time we have to say, “So long”. ♪♫

During its eleven year run from 1967-78 on CBS, The Carol Burnett Show racked up an impressive 25 Emmys, eight Golden Globes, and three People’s Choice Awards. Even now, thirty-five years after the series went off the air, and with variety shows having been replaced by reality television, Carol Burnett remains a beloved figure, and some of her sketches are regarded as among the funniest moments in television history.

Some of Burnett’s show consisted of parodies of TV shows, movies, and commercials. Obviously, given the passage of time, those sketches can lose a bit of their edge. However, some of the sketches still work very well. One in particular, “Went with the Wind,”—a takeoff of the legendary film Gone with the Wind—has continued to make people laugh, no matter what their age. The sketch is so legendary that the “gown” that Carol wore now at the Smithsonian Institution. (It should be noted that “Went with the Wind” can be found on The Carol Burnett Show: Carol’s Favorites, which was released on September 25, 2012.

Carol Burnett ShowThis Time Together features 17 complete and unedited episodes, handpicked by Carol Burnett herself. The set includes a lot of the series most popular ongoing sketches, including “Mr. Tudball and Mrs. Wiggins.” The former is a blonde, extremely dim-witted secretary (Burnett) who seems more concerned with doing her nails than anything else. Meanwhile, Mr. Tudball (Tim Conway) just wants to get some work, any work, done. Unfortunately for him, Mrs. Wiggins seems utterly incapable of doing anything. Conway’s frustrated calls to his brainless secretary, “Missus-sa-ha-Wiggins” became a catchphrase for years, and it still gives me a good laugh.

“The Family” (in the 1980’s it would morph into Mama’s Family, and find success without Burnett) became another hilarious staple of the show. Centered on a completely dysfunctional family, there was Eunice Higgins (Burnett) the loud, high strung wife of doltish, ill-tempered Ed (Harvey Korman) and Eunice’s passive-aggressive mother Mama (Vicki Lawrence) who never had anything nice to say about either of them. If one said the sky was blue, another would claim it was purple just to start a fight. The humor in this sketch really comes from the fact that none of these people are likeable; one can’t help but think they deserve each other.

One of the best stand-alone skits on this set is “No-Frills” Airline. This one has Harvey Korman as an airline passenger who has bought a regular seat. Tim Conway plays a guy pretty proud of himself for saving $40, by flying ‘no frills.’  Of course, that’s until he realizes exactly what that means. He gets no window, no carpet under his feet and the stewardess (Burnett) offers to take his coat, only to turn around and use it as a lumbar support pillow for another passenger. It truly is funny stuff, but in my mind, some of the funniest skits were the ones featuring Harvey Korman and Tim Conway together.

The set comes with a full-color booklet with printing on inside front and back covers as well, plus photos and full details for each show.

Included on six single-sided discs are:

Show #704, Original Air Date: November 10, 1973

Guest Starring: Petula Clark

  • Q&A
  • The Ham Actor: Contact Lenses—Carol, Harvey, Lyle
  • Silver Spoon—Petula Clark
  • Airline Security—Harvey and Tim
  • The Old Flame—Carol, Harvey, Vicki
  • As the Stomach Turns: Marian’s Problem—Carol, Harvey, Tim, Vicki, Lyle, Petula Clark
  • Salute to the’50s and ’60s: Yesterday Once More/Born to Hand Jive/Peppermint Twist—Carol, Harvey, Vicki, Petula Clark, Dancers and Singers
  • Goodnights

Show #1001, Original Air Date: October 16, 1976

Guest Starring:  Madeline Kahn

  • Q&A
  • The Family: The Rehearsal—Cast and Madeline Kahn
  • Talk and Duet: Friend—Carol and Madeline Kahn
  • Mrs. Wiggins: The Vending Machine—Carol, Harvey, Tim
  • That’s Entertainment, Part 86: That’s Showbiz/Oo-Oo-Oo-Oo-Oo/Slippery When Wet—Carol, Harvey, Tim, Vicki, Madeline Kahn, Dancers and Singers
  • Goodnights

Show #1017, Original Air Date: January 22, 1977

Guest Stars from Family Show

  • Q&A
  • Wrong Number—Carol and Tim
  • Saturday Night—Carol, Harvey, Tim
  • Nadia’s Theme—The Ernie Flatt Dancers
  • The Recital—Carol, Harvey, Tim, Vicki
  • Vacuum Salesman—Tim and Vicki
  • The Late Late Late Show: Torchy Song—Carol, Harvey, Vicki, Dancers
  • Goodnights

Show #1106, Original Air Date: October 29, 1977

Guest Starring:  Ken Berry, Dick Van Dyke

  • Q&A
  • Mrs. Wiggins: Ol’Paint—Carol and Tim
  • Girls/Emily—Ken Berry, Dancers and Singers
  • Hand Insurance—Carol and Dick Van Dyke
  • The Late Late Late Show: Stolen Serenade—Carol, Tim, Vicki, Dick Van Dyke, Ken Berry, Dancers and Singers
  • Goodnights

Show #706, Original Air Date: October 13, 1973

Guest Starring: Eydie Gorme, Paul Sand

  • Q&A
  • The Parolee—Carol, Harvey, Vicki, Lyle
  • Take One Step—Eydie Gorme
  • Honeymoon Sweet—Carol and Paul Sand
  • Royalty—Harvey, Singers and Dancers
  • Salute to Movie Series: Young Dr. Kildaire/The Cisco Kid/Tarzan/The Wolfman—Carol, Harvey, Vicki, Lyle, Paul Sand, Eydie Gorme
  • Finale: The Dead End Kids: Gee, Officer Krupke!—Carol, Harvey, Lyle, Paul Sand, Eydie Gorme
  • Goodnights

Show #610, Original Air Date: November 1, 1972

Guest Starring:  Peggy Lee, Stiller & Meara

  • Q&A
  • Sunday Comics: Mary Worthless—Carol, Harvey, Vicki, Lyle
  • A Song for You—Peggy Lee
  • Comedy Spot: Mr. and Mrs. Chou En-lai—Stiller & Meara
  • Girl Talk—Carol and Peggy Lee
  • As the Stomach Turns: Circus Soap—Carol, Harvey, Vicki, Lyle, Anne Meara, Jerry Stiller
  • The Auto Accident—Carol, Harvey, Jerry Stiller, Anne Meara
  • Finale: Street Wedding: The Rhythm of Life—Carol, Harvey, Vicki, Lyle, Anne Meara, Jerry Stiller, Peggy Lee, Dancers and Singers
  • Goodnights

Show #710, Original Air Date: December 8, 1973

Guest Starring: Edward Villella, Lucette Aldous

  • Airplane—Carol, Harvey, Tim, Vicki, Lyle
  • It’s Today—Carol
  • Q&A
  • The Oldest Man: The Conductor: William Tell Overture—Harvey, Tim, Sydney Symphony Orchestra
  • Ballet: Corsaire—Edward Villella and Lucette Aldous
  • The Ham Actor: The Drunk—Carol, Harvey, Vicki, Lyle
  • Finale: Charwoman: Swan Lake/For All We Know—Carol, Edward Villella, Lucette Aldous, Australian Ballet
  • Goodnights

Show #908, Original Air Date: October 25, 1975

Guest Starring: Pointer Sisters

  • Q&A
  • The Family: Charades—Cast
  • How Long (Betcha’ Got a Chick on the Side)—Pointer Sisters
  • Take My Drink…Please—Carol and Harvey
  • Mr. C: Just in Time—Tim and Singers
  • Mr. C: Make Someone Happy—Tim and Singers
  • Sheepman Jack—Harvey and Pointer Sisters
  • Fight to the Finish—Carol, Harvey, Tim
  • Finale: Get Me to the Church on Time—Carol, Vicki, Pointer Sisters, Dancers and Singers
  • Goodnights

Show #624, Original Air Date: March 24, 1973

Guest Stars from Family Show

  • Keep It in the Family—Carol, Harvey, Vicki, Lyle, Dancers and Singers
  • Q&A—Carol, Vicki, Lyle
  • Barbary and Ben—Carol, Harvey, Vicki, Lyle
  • Dueling Banjos/Arkansas Traveler—The Ernie Flatt Dancers
  • The Getaway—Vicki and Lyle
  • The Elbow: Dem Bones/The Elbow—Carol and Harvey
  • The Old Old Movie: Rancid Harvest—Carol, Harvey, Vicki, Lyle
  • Charwoman: Without Me She Is Nothing—Carol
  • Goodnights

Show #1019, Original Air Date: March 5, 1977

Guest Starring: Hal Linden

  • Q&A
  • The Ham Actor: Astro-Bowl—Carol and Harvey
  • I Won’t Last a Day without You—Hal Linden
  • Talk: Carol and Hal Linden
  • The Oldest Man: The Captain—Harvey and Tim
  • Riverboat Mini-Musical—Carol, Harvey, Tim, Vicki, Hal Linden, Dancers and Singers
  • Goodnights

Show #714, Original Air Date: January 5, 1974

Guest Starring: Steve Lawrence

  • Q&A
  • Monkey Man—Carol, Harvey, Tim
  • Maybe This Time—Steve Lawrence
  • Stella Toddler: Grauman’s Chinese Theater—Carol, Harvey, Lyle
  • In Buddy’s Eyes—Carol and Steve Lawrence
  • The Ad Men—Harvey, Tim, Lyle, Steve Lawrence
  • Finale: With a Pow! Pow! With a Bang! Bang! Bang!—Carol, Harvey, Tim, Vicki, Lyle, Steve Lawrence, Dancers and Singers
  • Goodnights

While time has made a few of these sketches not quite as funny as they once were, Carol Burnett and the rest of the cast were consummate performers, and that shines through throughout the set. Watch a few of these sketches and it will quickly become obvious why stars of today like Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Ellen DeGeneres and others site Carol Burnett as one of their biggest comedic influences.

Presented the 1.33:1 aspect ratio, this video looks good for a series that’s essential 40 years old. The show does occasionally show its age, with some blemishes here and there, and occasional fading. Colors look surprisingly vibrant, really showing off Bob Mackie’s amazing costumes. Detail is as probably as good as it could be for a standard definition presentation.

The English Mono track does elicit a slight hiss, but it shouldn’t interrupt the viewing experience. Dialogue is always clear enough to understand. The many songs in the show sound fine, just don’t expect a particularly ‘bombastic’ experience. While not perfect, this track is more than acceptable.

The following special features are available:

  • This Time Together: A cast reunion that includes Carol, Vicki Lawrence, Tim Conway and Lyle Waggoner. They have some laughs, answer some questions, and show some clips.
  • Interviews: Some short interviews with guest star/cast member Tim Conway and another frequent guest, Steve Lawrence. Carol Burnett and Vicki Lawrence also chime in.
  • Gags and Gowns: A tribute to Designer Bob Mackie and his amazing costumes.