Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Do Not Adjust Your Set|
Actors: Eric Idle, Denise Coffey, David Jason, Terry Jones, Michael Palin
Genres: Comedy, Kids & Family, Television
Teatime 1968. In millions of homes in England something strange was happening and TV comedy around the world would never be the same again - ?Do Not Adjust Your Set?. Hitting audiences like a wet fish in the face it was we... more »
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Great shows but...
Gary W. McClintock | Clive, IA USA | 08/04/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'll cover both the Do Not Adjust Your Set and At Last The 1948 Show. I'm ecstatic to have some of these shows finally available in the U.S. The 1948 Show includes the original Yorkshiremen sketch and Adjust Your Set is a must if only for the Bonzo Dog Band performances (including one with Eric Idle singing lead!). The 1948 Show is the funnier of the two shows, but at only five episodes, it's a bit brief. There are sketches here not so very different from what Cleese and Chapman would do shortly later in Python. Every bit as good. Tim Brooke-Taylor's chartered accountant's dance is brilliant (God knows how many Python sketches that inspired). And seeing Marty Feldman makes me ache to get those shows of his that played in the U.S. one summer decades ago. And of course the Yorkshiremen sketch is one of the great comedy sketches of all time (written by Brooke-Taylor and Feldman! Take that, dead parrot!). Adjust Your Set was designed to be a children's show and the humor tends to be juvenile for the most part. But every now and then something slips in that screams Python (The shop sketch where ordering a long list of groceries gets you only a can of shoe polish. The famous person hanging from a cliff. A couple other sketches about irritating people where you can just see Eric Idle warming up for Nudge Nudge.) And anyway, I'm a huge Bonzo Dog Band fan, and there are at least a couple performances of songs I've never heard before, songs never released on albums.
My problem here is the DVD packaging. There is NOTHING in the packaging to tell me when exactly these episodes were broadcast. The DVD packaging claims these are all recently discovered episodes. So are these the only 5 surviving episodes of The 1948 Show? Plus just what does recently discovered mean? The first episode of Adjust Your Set I have on tape from years ago, a copy from a copy from a copy, originally recorded off UK Gold before making its way to the U.S. I know for a fact these aren't all the surviving episodes of Adjust Your Set. Am I to believe these are all the surviving episodes from the first season? The packaging of Adjust Your Set also lists Terry Gilliam as animator. But Gilliam's name only appears in the credits on episode 3 and there is nothing like the cartoons for which he is famous. There is in fact no animation at all beyond a few special effects for Captain Fantastic. Goofy, too, is that the same Terry Jones and Tim Brooke-Taylor interviews appear on both sets. Why? It feels like a rip-off. Couldn't there have been a bonus episode of The Frost Report or Marty Feldman's show? The Do Not Adjust Your Stocking episode?
I'm also curious to know if these episodes are considered to be complete. At least the first episode of The 1948 Show lists people appearing in the show who aren't in the episode on DVD. Is it just that the credits were wrong? (At least the DVD's appear to be complete episodes rather than some sort of highlight reel. I appreciate that a great deal.)
So, complaints, rather than hitting on the head. Nevertheless, I'm hoping they put out the other Adjust Your Set episodes. The Do Not Adjust Your Stocking episode (or was it a special?) is the only other one I've seen and it is much funnier than the early episodes. And it actually has some famous Gilliam animation in it. And how about those Marty Feldman shows? Any other 1948 episodes?
Adjust Your Expectations
M. J KILLEEN | Collingdale, PA USA | 08/24/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I will assume most Americans are seeing these shows for the first time, and the few who even knew it existed probably always heard that DNAYS was a kind of prototypical version of Monty Python. It's written by and features three of the Python members, but it really is more of a broad and silly show aimed at children. (The later episodes on the set begin to show more fully-developed sketch ideas - so perhaps the second season of DNAYS, which featured Terry Gilliam's animations - and which are NOT presented here - better represent the show).
Still, DNAYS is fascinating - like discovering a hidden gem from someone else's past. The best bits throughout this volume are probably the crazy songs by the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band (good enough to make you want to look up one of their CD hit collections). It's also nice to finally see David Jason (a legend in the U.K., but a virtual unknown in the States) - who is quite good at physical comedy, and Denise Coffey - a likeable actress with a great comic presence. Their `Captain Fantastic' vignettes are probably the most memorable part of the show.
The future-Pythons (Idle, Jones, and Palin) are predictably good, especially Idle - who shows a gift for musical comedy with great pop lead vocals on the song that ends Episode 7.
Don't expect Monty Python - but do expect to be fascinated.
Cute and funny, if not hilarious, offering from Idle, Jones,
Captain Opinionated | Los Angeles, CA USA | 08/08/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In 1968, one year before "Monty Python's Flying Circus," Eric Idle & Terry Jones were approached by producer Humphrey Barclay (who knew Idle from Cambridge revues & Jones from Oxford revues) to do a kid's TV show which would also feature the abrsurdist Bonzo Dog Dooh Dah Band (featuring Neil Innes of future "Rutles" fame). Desperate to gain exposure as performers as well as writers (having previously written for, among other shows, "The Frost Report"), they hastily agreed. Jones automatically brought in his writing partner, Michael Palin (another Oxford revue alum), and, at Barclay's suggestion, the cast was rounded out with two non-University performers, Denise Coffey and David Jason (who would go on to the classic series "Only Fools & Horses). The writers of the show (Idle, Jones, & Palin) agreed not to specifically write for children but to simply write what they found funny. And, thus, "Do Not Adjust Your Set" was born and quickly developed a following among adults as well as kids. At the end of it's first series (there would be two in all), an American animator/writer, Terry Gilliam, would join the fold. Among the show's many admirers were two writer/performers of "At Last the 1948 Show," Graham Chapman & John Cleese, who knew the Idle, Jones, & Palin as fellow "Frost" writers. The following year, the two camps got together and "Python" was created.
Unfortunately, as was the standard practice at the time, after being broadcast, the video for the programmes were erased and the show was lost to time. Or so was the belief until recently, when a handful of the shows were rediscovered and, now, released on DVD. So, now that the history of the show is out of the way, the question remains, "Is it funny?"
The answer for me is, "Yes," but it's not as funny as Python or Chapman & Cleese's "'48 Show" (which has also rediscovered and released on DVD concurrently with this title). Being for kids, many of the items are more cute than side-splitting and certainly a lot less harder edged than Python would be. Noticeably missing is the darkness and savagery of Python, which was clearly brought to the table by Chapman & Cleese (and is visible in the "'48 Show"). The pieces tend to be on the juvenile and zany side with quick blackouts abounding. All in all, it's very much like "Laugh In" but with a more English sensibility.
All of the performers are very good and mesh well together. The Bonzos especially stand out with their oddball musical numbers. There are 9 episodes here and they are all of a consistent quality. I very much enjoyed them but can't say that I was doubled over in laughter. And, much to my disappointment, there are no Gilliam cartoons on this release, despite him being listed in the credits of one episode.
The main problem is that all of the performers are rather diminutive and cuddly and, thus, there are no real authority figures for them to play off of. Idle is the most authoritarian of the bunch but no one is near as upright, straight, or fearsome as Chapman & Cleese could be. This X factor gave Python much of its strength, where, for example, putting an irritating Palin together with an exasperated Cleese could produce a "Dead Parrot" sketch. "At Last the 1948 Show" does not suffer from this problem as Chapman & Cleese's co-stars, Tim Brooke-Taylor & Marty Feldman, were smaller in stature and played a different range of characters from Graham & John.
David Jason & Denise Coffey have a running serial, "Captain Fantastic" that is reminiscent of silent films that is amusing but overdone. From a historical viewpoint, of course, the show is fascinating... you can see Idle, Jones, & Palin developing the characterizations and ideas that they would later polish to perfection in "Python." Don't get me wrong, every once in a while, there will be a great scene and the tone for the whole show is light and fun. It's just not as hysterical as "'48 Show" or "Python.""
The Bonzo's in all their Absurd Magnificence
James D. Sigrist | Portland, Oregon | 01/18/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I gave this video five stars because it is the only thing I've seen yet that has actual moving pictures of the Bonzo Dog Band. Being that they weren't on TV in the US at all during the 60's, it is quite amazing to be able to see them here in all their original glory. I was completely open mouthed amazed with all of them. Vivian of course was a major howl, but the rest of the lads were right up there with him. Roger Ruskin Spear in particular was a major scream. Rodney Slater was a real oddity as well and Legs Larry was hilarious. So was Neil. It was just so amazingly great to come upon this. Like coming upon a time capsule. There is quite a bit of the Bonzos throughout these shows. Unfortunately, most of it is not done live, however it is fascinating to hear a lot of their songs in developmental stages. There is almost an hour and a half of Bonzo material on these disks. There are no chapter stops except for the beginning of each show. There is no copy guard either, so it is possible to assemble all the Bonzo clips on your own disc. This is what I did using a hard disc DVD recorder. It all worked out beautifully and made the purchase of these DVD's very much worth it. As for the comedy bits with all the others on the show, well, there are a few things but it really is truly amazing how much improved things got when the Pythons became the Pythons. I bought this for the Bonzos and it did not disappoint."