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LOST TV COMEDY TREASURE!
R. Craig | New Haven, CT United States | 05/05/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"MACK AND MYER FOR HIRE is one of the great comedy treasures of the 1960's. Friendly, funny and bizarre, they are some of the most unusual and engaging comedy films of the period.
Funnyman Mickey Deems was approached by producer Sandy Howard shortly after his successful stint co-starring with Sid Caesar in the smash Broadway hit, LITTLE ME. Deems enlisted the aid of fellow funnyman Joey Faye, and produced over 200 episodes of this terrific program in a matter of months. Deems concocted the majority of the scripts himself, with help from long-time pal Stan Laurel, who often phoned Deems the morning of a shoot with fresh slapstick ideas for him. Filmed at break-neck pace in a tiny Long Island studio, the comedies have a charming spontaneity which keeps them fresh and timeless, and there is man a scene showing the boys riding their little motorcycle through many familiar New York locations.
What makes these films historically important is that they are, in fact, the very last incarnation of the character-based comedy short subject, a genre which had ended theatrical production at Columbia Studios in the late 1950's with the last of the Three Stooges shorts, and had been already superseded by the half-hour television situation comedy. The Mack and Myer films are very much in the tradition of the classic comedy two-reelers, in both look and spirit, and the fact that they were made in the mid-1960's make them a rare and wonderful "last gasp" of a hallowed comedic tradition, a brilliant punctuation to a beloved film genre.
The chemistry between Deems and Faye is superb, and as others observers have noted, there is a sweetness to the duo which is a significant revision of the often violent and confrontational relationship between comedy team members, such as the aforementioned Stooges. Although Meyer constantly thwarts Mack's efforts at a better life, their unshakable devotion to each other makes them an extremely engaging pair.
As for the comedy, it is superb, sublime, sensational. Even using hoary old gags you've seen a thousand times before (and what comedy series did not recycle material?), Deems and Faye bring them to life with a unique interpretation which still amuses forty years later. Aiding the comic pair are uncredited actors in bit parts, all of whom seem to get the broad comic spirit the series entails.
The six episodes unearthed by Alpha Video are all classics of the series. DUELING FOOLS is a rare period piece, featuring swordplay, ridiculous dialogue exchanges, and a surprise ending featuring Deems in full drag! MACK AND MYER MEET JENNIE is one of the most touching, heartfelt light comedies of the period, and WACKY WIZARDRY plunges headlong into fantasy territory, as the boys battle wits with a most bizarre and diabolical magician. Always, Mack & Myer are front and center in these whirlwinds of kookiness, and always, they are better, if befuddled and exhausted, for the experience. The episodes all have a vaguely moral flavor, as the boys learn important life lessons from their Job-ian trials.
Originally syndicated in 1963, and unseen for many years, it is both a joy and a revelation to view these lost comedy treasures again. Deems once stated, "I never worked harder at being funny," and this dedication to his art shows in every frame of the series. For any serious fan of television and film comedy, MACK AND MYER FOR HIRE is must-see TV.
The Funniest ever
Mickey Deems | 12/13/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I never worked so hard at being funny Mickey Deems"
Mack and Myer dvd
Carlos Agustin | 10/26/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Just got my dvd. 6 episodes. Range in quality from fair to good.
Overall, a good product for the price.