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The Best Of Hootenanny
The Best Of Hootenanny
Actors: Jack Linkletter, The Chad Mitchell Trio, Theodore Bikel, Johnny Cash, Marshall Brickman
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Television
NR     2007     0hr 30min

For the first-time on home video, a deluxe 3-DVD set of the hit ABC show that started the '60s! — In the pre-Beatlemania days of April 1963, a weekly folk music concert called Hootenanny found its way onto the American te...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Jack Linkletter, The Chad Mitchell Trio, Theodore Bikel, Johnny Cash, Marshall Brickman
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Television
Sub-Genres: Pop, Presley, Elvis, Cash, Johnny, Classic Rock, Comedy, Classic TV
Studio: Shout! Factory
Format: DVD - Black and White - Best of
DVD Release Date: 01/16/2007
Original Release Date: 04/06/1963
Theatrical Release Date: 04/06/1963
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 0hr 30min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 3
SwapaDVD Credits: 3
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 9
Edition: Box set
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

A Lot Of Fun
H. Silver | Park Forest, IL | 01/24/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Over the past years, we 've become very accustomed to the pristine digital sound and high-def images of the modern DVD. As such, the not-so-sharp black-and-white images and less-than-perfect sound quality of this DVD might turn off some audio/video purists. [The sound and picture are not bad by any means; they are just not up to modern-day standards.]

I am not such a purist, so I was easily transported back to Saturday nights in 1963 and 1964 watching "Hootenany" on the old black-and-white TV. Jack Linkletter was an affable enough host, who would give a brief plug for the college campus they were on and then introduce the folk acts. Most of the major folk acts were there and did two songs at a time: The Chad Mitchell Trio, the Limeliters, the Brothers Four, Judy Collins, Bob Gibson, Theodore Bikel, Joe and Eddie, Ian and Sylvia, the Travelers Three, the New Christy Minstrels, et al.

The Kingston Trio and Peter, Paul, and Mary were not on the show. The story I always heard was that it was in protest for Pete Seeger not being allowed on the show (because of his McCarthy-era blacklisting). Or maybe they just didn't need the exposure Hootenany gave the other acts. Given that the show did allow the Chad Mitchell Trio to do their famous broadside "The John Birch Society" (it's on the DVD), apparently the producers weren't that afraid of offending the right-wing nuts of the day.

It's fun to contrast the acts on the show with current acts that one sees on Saturday Night Live, Leno, Letterman, etc. Nowadays, the performers all sing and play into their own mikes, wear T-shirts and jeans, and have scruffy hair. Back then on the Hootenany show, almost all the performers in a group sang and played their guitars into a single mike; all the men wore white shirts, skinny ties, and sport coats (or Mr. Rogers-type sweaters), and the women all wore dresses; and they all have short hair. (I'm not passing judgement on either era; I was just amused by the contrast.)

The acts included a mix of mostly folk, with some bluegrass (e.g., Flatt and Scruggs and the Dillards), gospel (e.g., Clara Ward Singers), old-timey (e.g., the Carter Family), blues (e.g., Leon Bibb), and comedy (e.g., Woody Allen and Vaughn Meader doing his famous John Kennedy spoof -- pre-assassination, of course).

On many of the songs, the audience was invited to sing along (after all, it was billed as a hootenany). As a graying baby-boomer, it was a lot of fun for me to relive the innocence and optimism of the early 60's before the assassinations, the war, the riots, Watergate, the culture clashes, etc. It was just a lot fun."
Hootenanny is FINALLY on DVD!
David Mandau | Takoma Park, MD | 12/13/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Even though it was a hit show, Hootenanny was blown out of the water by the British Invasion, and soon replaced by Shindig and other shows. Hootenanny disappeared off the face of the earth, never to go into syndication or see a home video release.

Finally, though, Shout! Factory has found sources for 3 DVDs worth of shows, making them available in the beautifully packaged Best of Hootenanny. There's lots of Kingston Trio-styled folk, to be sure, but also some amazing performances by non-folk artists like Johnny Cash, Herbie Mann, Clara Ward, Marion Williams, Bob Gibson, The Carter Family, Bill Cosby and Woody Allen.

The result is an amazing time capsule--complete shows that haven't been seen by ANYONE in over 40 years!

A must-have for fans of popular music of the '60s."
Played out by '64? - no way
Phil S. | USA | 05/21/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I can't agree with the above product detail: the only thing that hasn't transcended time in the production and content of these discs is that it appears that there are next to no minorities in the audience, though the mix of ethnic groups on stage, or in the spotlight, is inevitable. Even at that early stage in the Civil Rights era, *talent* often found a way.
"Hootenany" was to Folk Music what "Shindig" was to Rock & Roll/Rock and both shows lasted two years. Both were superbly energetic showcases of styles and featured well-known and upcoming stars.
Some viewers might be surprised by the appearance of the new, intellectual stand-up comedians who found a place in the proceedings: Bill Cosby, Woody Allen, Louis Nye, a Steve Allen exponent, who nonetheless transcended the Tonight Show slickness with a very funny, though overlong, character bit; Jackie Vernon, the poker-faced precursor of Rodney D., had some good stuff, too. Nothing to knock you over, but enough to get an affirmative nod from Lenny Bruce. The best is Vaughn Meader, in his Classic JFK imitation and insightful (apparently) unrehearsed answers to questions from the audience.
The eclectic list is too long to recite, so let's say highlights are the segments with Marion Williams, Ian And Sylvia, The Rooftop Singers (sorry, no "Walk Right In"), Jimmie Rodgers, the Carter Family, Johnny Cash (at the early end of performance decline which would work itself out in a few years), the Simon Sisters, Doc Watson...
Although we are watching kinescopes, the original technical direction is actually much better than what we have today - the hyperactive cameras spend 95% of the time on the performers, unlike this 1963-64 program where the happy, appreciative, and studious attendees make it an *experience*."
A "Must Have" for 60's Folk Music Fans
Ron D. | OK | 02/08/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I was 9 when Hootenanny came on the air but I remember it to this day. Through the years I've looked for it in DVD collections of old TV programs, etc., to no avail until now. The music is as enchanting and fun as I'd remembered it, but what a delight to re-discover acts who did not go on to become household names, and to see comedy performances by a very young Woody Allen and Bill Cosby.

These were "real" concerts, where the crowd was close enough to touch the performers and for the performers to get an instant read of the audience reaction. No break-the-eardrum sound systems, no pyrotechnics, no prancing and preening across the stage in outrageous costumes ... just the fans, the performers and the music. Pure and simple. What a joy!