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Barry Manilow - The First Television Specials
Barry Manilow - The First Television Specials
Actors: Barry Manilow, Penny Marshall, Ray Charles, John Denver
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Television
NR     2007     5hr 0min

Before there was MTV, there was Manilow TV, and now BARRY MANILOW: THE FIRST TELEVISION SPECIALS DVD box set gathers together five of Manilow's early network television specials from 1977 to 1988, over a decade in the care...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Barry Manilow, Penny Marshall, Ray Charles, John Denver
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Television
Sub-Genres: Pop, Rock & Roll, Manilow, Barry, Television
Studio: Rhino Records
Format: DVD
DVD Release Date: 11/06/2007
Original Release Date: 01/01/2007
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2007
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 5hr 0min
Number of Discs: 5
SwapaDVD Credits: 5
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
Edition: Box set
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Barry's 1st Television Specials finally on DVD!
Robert Welborn | Illinois/Florida | 11/10/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I received this on Thursday and was so excited to get it. I have always been a huge Barry Manilow Fan, so when I heard they were going to release this box set with Barry's first 5 television specials, I had to have it!!! I already had the first special, 1st on VHS and then when it came out on DVD I sold the VHS tape on eBay. I love these specials, I was especially excited about having the Swing Street special and the One Voice specials. These are my favorites and bring back a lot of fond memories. The only problem I have with this box that it is too hard to get the discs out of the case. It took me 10 minutes to get the second disc out of the case...I had to keep working and twisting it and finally got it out...AND IT NOW HAS A SMALL CRACK in the center, so if you get this be careful...very careful when trying to remove the discs. Other than this one problem, these specials speak for themselves. The music is incredibly timeless. You will really be glad you purchased this set!"
Awesome Collection of Barry Material 1977-1988!
Kathy W | Baltimore | 01/07/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Where was I ????? I grew up during these shows and cannot believe I missed them all, somehow! Geeze. Oh well, I'm here now! Never too late. This is a 5-DVD boxed set of award winning TV specials, broken down by disc and listed below. Special guests on these shows include: Ray Charles, John Denver, Dionne Warwick, and Kid Creole and The Coconuts, and others. The first show airing on March 2, 1977 (my birthday--I was 28--that means Barry would have been 34 during this first special). It was filmed at the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, Illinois and won the Emmy for Outstanding Music Special. It includes a guest appearance by Penny Marshall (Laverne & Shirley) (If you can't remember which girl was which, Penny was the blond). This package is laid out nicely. Folding out into 5 individual disc holders, each section lists the songs on the disc and explains a bit about that particular show. I did not time all the DVDs but I understand they aired as one-hour specials, so they are probably about 45 minutes each, which would total almost 4 hours of entertainment! (In the OLD DAYS, we only had about 15 minutes of commercials per one-hour show.)

"The First Barry Manilow Special" (1977)
begins with a clip of tiny Barry and Grandpop taking him to the "record-your-own-voice" studio, which you may have heard about in Barry concerts and in some of his CDs. He is forever grateful to Grandpop for caring for him and his Mom and for recognizing the musical ability in B long before B recognized it in himself. The show moves quickly into a clip pf "It's A Miracle" in concert. Barry is in a blue-sequined stretchy outfit that showcases his baby-blue eyes. His shoulder-length curly brown hair is bopping all over the stage. Next is B in a beautiful shade of blue denim jacket, singing "This One's for You" with so much feeling, so much passion. Close ups are great, too. With tinted aviator glasses and in bell-bottom jeans, B talks about his "roots" and how he started in New Jersey on a little piano. He moves into a routine with Penny Marshall as a bartenress and he as the piano player. After Penny leaves the set and closes the bar for the night, he stays, playing "Could It Be Magic?". A fan is blowing on him as you see his curly brown hair blowing around on his left side. More great close-ups of those baby blues on "Mandy" next, B in a beautiful British-styled long-coat white tuxedo. "Jump Shout Boogie Medley" is next, which includes the very jazzy "Cloudburst". How on earth can he sing that fast (you know, where you sound like an auctioneer)? Next is "Bandstand Boogie" With Penny Marshall dressed as one of B's ladies, she sings and dances with the act. They even do a boogie-woogie dance number together. "A Very Strang Medley" follows, sometimes referred to as VSM. These are jingles that B did for commercials. Included are the jingles B wrote for Kentucky Fried Chicken, State Farm Insurance, Stridex, Bandaids, Dr. Pepper, Pepsi, and McDonalds. Oh, God! There are bubbles coming up from the floor on the finale!--just like Lawrence Welk! (Am I telling my age or what!) "New York City Rhythm" follows with a video clip of Barry walking around Manhattan and Times' Square. He walks into an apartment in a brownstone and begins singing "Sandra" as an observer to the life of the lady in the apartment. This is a song of a very depressed woman who drinks too much--sad song. It's done in a way where he tells her story in song. "Early Morning Strangers" is next, set in what you perceive as his apartment, as he again sings as though he is telling you a story about people who spend their nights together but don't really know each other in the morning--"It's no good to live without love. Bye, bye, Baby", he sings. "I Write the Songs" is the end of disc 1 and B explains that [the Spirit of] MUSIC (not B) writes the songs that makes the whole world sing. Great close ups of those baby blues again, B wearing a pretty blue shirt. Then we flip into a concert setting of the same song, B in a white sequined shirt and white heeled 70s shoes, ending with a final shot of young B and Grandpop as the credits roll. Some of the material in this disc I have on various Barry CDs. It's great to see a visual of the performances.

"The Second Barry Manilow Special" (1978)
This one begins with Barry's very proud mom in a taxi bragging about her son to the driver. This special aired on ABC in 1978 and received 4 Emmy nominations. Barry begins, singing "Beautiful Music" and telling how music has helped him over the years. He is speaking from a large theater in California. Ooooo.Wait till you see the absolutely ADORABLE clip on "Daybreak". Oh, this is just too awesome. We have a light blue jean, purple Brooklyn sweat-shirted Barry singing and bringing in children singing it, then switching to senior citizens, and culminating with cartoon characters, like singing butterflies, and then everybody. He's funny in this clip, too. Oh, his beagle "Bagel" is in this one, too. He even gets smacked in the head with a prop. "I Was A Fool (To Let You Go)" is a 40s style song and he and 4 backup singers dress as 40's crooners to sing it, costumes, and choreography included. "Copacabana" starts with B in sweatshirt and jeans and transforms into a full scale lavish production, complete with Zigfield stairs and costumery. Barry is hopping around like a little boy with a wild silver frilly shirt and blue Adidas tennis shoes. Ray Charles makes a special appearance, singing "One of These Days," a beautiful song written by. . . guess who? (hint--BM). Barry performs "It's A Miracle" as an upbeat duet with Ray Charles next--slightly different than usually performed. Love that sweater on B, too. He's got some neat lookin' outfits in this collection of DVDs. "Tryin' To Get The Feelin' Again" is done solo, B back in jeans and sweatshirt. Oh my Lord, you should see Barry dressed nerdishly in the next scene. I didn't recognize him until he started talking. In the routine, he and a girl keep saying the wrong things to each other, as two people who both think nobody likes them. Then we flash to current 1978 Barry and he sings "All The Time," as though he is remembering a time when he was not adorable. (Yeah, right!--Nice try, Barry!) Next, we see the filled theater with B at his white piano, singing "Can't Smile Without You" as the audience claps along. The crowd goes wild as he begins the last number, "Looks Like We Made It". They scream off and on throughout the song and hand him flowers, a stuffed Snoopy dog, and a standing ovation at the end of the concert.

"The Third Barry Manilow Special" (1979)
Begins with Barry as a not-so-good student driver in the Hollywood Hills, with traffic backed up for miles. You will probably recognize the instructor as a bit-part actor, too from old shows, like maybe "Twilight Zone". Then the performance starts with B in a gorgeous baby blue sequined outfit singing "Ready to Take a Chance Again" while the crowd screams. B does a little Q & A session, then sings "Weekend in New England".
"(Why Don't We Try) A Slow Dance" is next, done as a Doo-Whop song. Oh, Lordy! Here's B in large framed glasses and a red & green large plaid shirt--something you would wear to fix the pickets on the fence. Next, he goes into a broadway type production of "I Write the Songs," in a conga line and continuing with a great comedy/musical/dance routine. The late great melodious John Denver appears, singing
"What's On Your Mind". Barry continues in red boots, performing the "Everly Brothers Medley" duet with John--"Bye, Bye, Love" "Kathy's Clown" "Let It Be Me" "Until I Kissed Ya" "Hey Bird Dog" "Wake Up Little Suzie" "All I Have to Do is Dream".
"Copacabana" is next, Barry in all white with gold tie and gold suspenders. He sits on the stage steps to sing the BM classic "Even Now". The final song is the eternally sensual "Somewhere In the Night" sung by B as he plays the pretty white piano. The blue lighting accents those baby blues on the close ups.

"One Voice" (1980)
The first Barry special of the 80s begins with age 37 Barry in what appears to be a black satin shirt and trousers with a black velour jacket, singing "You Could Show Me. He calls this his "low-key opening". The so-hot-it's-on-fire "Whose Been Sleeping In my Bed" follows, one of my favorites. He peels off the jacket and wiggles in the tight trousers a lot. Another of my favorites is next, "Rain". I love the plunk-plunk rain drop sound on this one, along with B's singing, of course. B sits at the piano to perform most of the ever-so-pretty "When I Wanted You". A WWII clip shows B dressed as a sailor on a ship singing "I Don't Wanna Walk Without You". Oooooo, this is one of my MOST favorites. I just adore this song. He also does a tap dance routine of a respectable length in the sailor suit, as though he is day-dreaming it from the ship's belly. "We'll Meet Again" is next, which he has done for his London audience on one of my CDs. He tells us the song came from England and was about those separated from their families during that war. WWII clips follow as B sings the song and he says he hopes it [war] doesn't have to happen again. Dionne Warwick sings a high-powered "After You," then follows with two back-to-back duets with Barry playing piano and singing, "Déjà vu" and "I'll Never Love This Way Again". Barry solos next on "Sunday Father and Son," an emotional song about a father who lives for the Sundays when he gets to spend time with his little boy. He candidly talks about how he grew up without his father and how he saw him years later, one last time. It sounded like a very cold meeting from his father, but who knows what the man really thought in his heart. I think that just maybe he was very proud of B but just didn't want to interfere at this stage of his life. Barry composes himself and sings "Ships" and then concludes with the beautiful song he wrote the concept of in his sleep, "One Voice", accompanied by a choir of young people. They show you how he sets up and practices with the choir in advance. Then they transform into "show night," complete with choir robes. Awesome song--profound!

"Barry Manilow: Big Fun on Swing Street" (1988)
I LOVED the "Swing Street" CD anyway, and here it is, in visual format! Barry looks great! He was always cute, but now, at age 45, he looks like a man, mellow and settled, solid and handsome. Barry does a great job combining jazz, swing, and blues in this DVD. It begins with B talking about how he loved the 40s music. He tried putting the 40s and 80s music together to develop Swing Street. The song "Swing Street" is first up, a great jazzy-blues song. The snappy "Big Fun" and "Right This Way" follow. "Hey Mambo" (with Kid Creole and The Coconuts) finds B in a relaxed attire with white pants and a red satin open-chested calypso shirt, complete with straw hat. This is a great song and a great arrangement, as B and Kid Creole belt out this peppy one together, surrounded by dancing and partying. The gorgeously haunting song "Stardust" follows amidst a blue background, with B singing solo. "Not Another Night of This" follows, sung by Phyllis Hyman. Next up is the haunting blues song "Summertime," done in duet with Diane Schuur. B is dressed in a red shirt, red tie, white jacket with black lapels, black trousers--very striking outfit! He is playing piano and singing during this number, as you can well see that he wears his soul in his eyes. A jazzy "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)" follows, another duet with Diane Schuur while B plays piano and sings and as we view a set labeled "Paradise Café". The beautiful "When October Goes" continues the show, another Barry solo as he tinkles the ivories. "Black & Blue" is a blues duet with Phyllis Hyman. The blues continue with "Paradise Café" as B continues playing piano and singing. "Evie" (Eeee-Vie) follows, a bouncy quickie intro song, inviting Carmen McRae to come up and sing "Blue," as she duets a blues song named "Blue" with Barry. (That makes it a blue-Blue, I guess.) After all that blues, it's time to pick up the pace with "Dancin' Fool" as B as he dances his way down the set's street in a black tux.--nicely choreographed. I wish this number had been a tad longer. I was really getting into it. "Stompin' At The Savoy" is done in a 40s Dance Club setting, B in an all white tux and shirt, singing and conducting the orchestra. As he exits onto Swing Street, he puts on a long white coat with a red satin lining. Wow!--Super classy! The beautiful and sexy "One More Time" finishes the DVD as he slips on a black trench coat, with a red satin lining, over his black tux, and finishes the song leaning against a lamppost on Swing Street. He walks away as the sax continues to play. Great DVD--comes in at about 45 minutes of superb entertainment.

Watching these DVDs chronologically carries you through about 11 very hot years of Barry's career. HOURS of great watching!--not only for yourself, but makes a WONDERFUL gift. I tell you what! You'd better start watching the set early on a day you are off work `cause it's hard to stop! On a scale of 1 to 5, I give the set a 25!
Can't Get Enough
Deanna S. Neeley | Ogden, Ut USA | 11/11/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If you are a Barry Manilow fan, this set of DVDs will bring back memories and give you some surprises! Some of the songs are a little different than the ones you hear on CDs. The lyrics on some of the songs are a little different. One of Barry's original songs was sung by Ray Charles. I have not heard this song before and it is too bad because it is good. You will love seeing the guests sing along with Barry. The harmonies, arrangements and settings make this such an entertaining visit with Barry Manilow."
Excellent DVD Release for Manilow Fans
Dorrie Wheeler | 12/02/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Fans of Barry Manilow will be pleased with the DVD box set release of "Barry Manilow: The First Television Specials." The box set includes five of Barry's television specials which aired between 1977 and 1988. This release is sure to be a treat. The Emmy winning episodes are available all together on DVD for the first time.

Barry is joined on the specials by his many celebrity friends. Special guest stars include Dionne Warwick, John Denver, Ray Charles and Kid Creole and the Coconuts to name a few.

Barry Manilow "The First Television Specials" was released by Rhino.
The five disc box set is very nice. It's similar to the Barbra Streisand Television Specials DVD which was released several years ago. If you are a fan of Barry Manilow and you remember watching these specials on television once upon a time you will love owning this set. This deluxe set would make a wonderful holiday gift.

Barry Manilow: The First Television Specials
Disc 1-The First Barry Manilow Special
Disc 2-The Second Barry Manilow Special
Disc 3-The Third Barry Manilow Special
Disc 4-One Voice (1980)
Disc 5-Barry Manilow: Big Fun On Swing Street (1988)

Back before the days when everyone had satellite television and cable, Barry Manilow's television specials were very anticipated. He was at the peak of his success in the late 70's and mid 80's. If you are a fan of Barry Manilow, this is one deluxe set you won't want to miss out on.