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Spike Jones: The Legend
Spike Jones The Legend
Actors: Spike Jones and the City Slickers, Doodles Weaver, Liberace, Helen Grayco
Genres: Comedy, Television
NR     2007     5hr 40min

Spike Jones, referred to by many as the "god father of music video mayhem," brought his special brand of notes and nuts to '50s network television. Sneezes, belches, coughs, razberries, tuned cowbells, auto horns, and gun-...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Actors: Spike Jones and the City Slickers, Doodles Weaver, Liberace, Helen Grayco
Genres: Comedy, Television
Sub-Genres: Comedy, Comedy, Classic TV
Studio: Infinity Entertainment Group & SJ2 Entertainment
Format: DVD - Black and White
DVD Release Date: 10/30/2007
Original Release Date: 04/02/1957
Theatrical Release Date: 04/02/1957
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 5hr 40min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 4
SwapaDVD Credits: 4
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 5
Edition: Collector's Edition
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Golden Spike's Age of Television
Ted Hering | Redding, CA USA | 10/24/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It's about time! There's been precious little available on DVD of Spike Jones and his City Slickers. Now, four hours of his 1951 and 1952 TV specials are available in this box set.

Spike toured America with his "Musical Depreciation Revue" in the 1940s and 50s. Those days are gone, of course. But these shows -- particularly the Feburary 1951 "Colgate Comedy Hour" -- is basically the one surviving documentation of what Spike's two hour stage show was like.

These shows were broadcast live. No editing or overdubbing was possible. Bloopers abound, as well as many spontanious moments. But that's not a bad thing. In fact, it's great fun -- a ride in a time machine back to early television and unique musical theatrics.

The original commercials (many featuring Spike and the gang) are left intact. (Yes, that's the voice of Jackson "Bluto" Beck on the Fab detergent commercial!) The original title cards and NBC network signoffs are here, too.

Keep in mind, the picture quality varies a lot from scene to scene. There was no videotape in those days, and the surviving film was made by pointing a 16mm camera at a black and white television monitor! Still, the transfers from film have been made with tender loving care, and are really quite watchable. I should add that if you were watching the show live, the picture was probably no better. Those out of focus shots were broadcast that way! This was 1950 technology, but it was "cutting edge" at the time!

There is a disc of bonus material, totaling about 25 minutes, with Weird Al's comments, memories from Joe Siracusa (the drummer on these shows, and one of the few surviving cast members), the late Thurl Ravenscroft explaining what was supposed to have happened during one of the gags that fell apart, and even two 1960s clips: a "Person to Person" interview, and a Spike Jones stand-up comedy bit from the "Ed Sullivan Show."

If that's not enough, a bonus audio CD is included, featuring two episodes of a 1945 NBC radio pilot. Not only do Spike and the gang play some of their big hits, but perform in a goofy sitcom that ties the music together. (Red Ingle steals the show as a college jock!) These radio performances have never been broadcast or circulated to the public before.

You've heard Spike Jones' records. But if you've never seen him, you're missing half the fun! And this box set is bound to be your best opportunity to do just that.
"
The Ultimate for Spike Jones fans...and music lovers everywh
Robert Badgley | London,Ontario,Canada | 11/29/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It was a shock when I first saw this item suddenly come up for sale.This DVD set is what every Spiker(Spike Jones fan) has been waiting to see and I am sure will watch over and over again.It is to Spike Jones' son Spike Jones Jr. that we owe much of our gratitude for this most welcome release.He dug into the families' holdings and came up with some pretty impressive treasures in this set.
The "product description" above is a little misleading so let me please clarify what exactly this set contains.This set contains THREE DVDs and ONE CD ,FOUR discs in all.It contains four shows with Spike Jones(on two DVDs),one disc with extras and an audio CD containing two rare /40s radio pilot shows.
Let's look at the shows.
The first is A Colgate-Comedy Hour Show from Feb.1/51.It clocks in at about 59 mins. and includes the entire show with commercials.
Highlights:
"Laura"-Spike chases down a lady wielding a nasty "scimitar" while screaming the songs' title-
Spike and crew during one number completely go wild and demolish their own"instruments" then attack a cameraman and destroy his "camera"-
Announcer Mike Wallace,future TV newsman and journalist,makes an appearance-
"The Poet and Peasant Overture"-Includes some hilarious moments with super mugger Freddie Morgan-
Mrs.Laverne Pearson and her twiddling belt buckle!(got to see it to believe it)-She also sings "Glo-Worm" accompanied by Dick Morgan,with the band giving it it's typical special treatment!-
*A Classic Spike Jones quote from this show,which defines everything Spike Jones to a "T"*:
Spike tells Mrs.Pearson that in order to sing with them she would have to have some music.Much to his chagrin she quickly produces same and hands it to him.
"This is your music?I often wondered what this stuff looked like!"

The second Show is another Colgate Comedy Hour Show from Sept.16/51.It clocks in around 53 minutes and is missing footage of singing star Billy Eckstine and probably some commercials and a minor sketch.
Highlights:
An hilarious Foreign Legion sketch with the gang-and watch for Sir Fredric Gas doing an Ajax commercial with a "camel"!-
The Wayne Marlin Trio-a strength/acrobatic act doing some slick turns and Spike himself gets involved-
-the beautiful Helen Grayco doing a wonderful turn singing "Mad about the Boy"-
The third show is An All-Star Revue Show from June 7/52 and comes in around 59 mins and is complete with all commercials.
Highlights:
Jim Backus,of later Mr.Magoo fame,does a funny turn as an RCA records PR man-
A couple of neat acts-one with two gents playing smalls bells along with Spike and the group-the other with a fellow "drumming" along to the beat of the music on plates,that he deliberately breaks and still continues playing on with the shards!-
Sir Fredric Gas in "Chloe"-
Spike and the boys at the Hollywood Bowl-
And,my favourite,an appearance by legendary Liberace with his brother George-they do an extraordinary job on "September Song" and Liberace even sings!-with all the attention on his glam wardrobe in later years people forgot sometimes what a rare and talented man he was-
The last show presented is another All-Star Revue this time a show from Jan.12/52.It is about 53 mins.long.It is missing footage of guest star opera singer Jan Peerce and probably a minor sketch and some commercials.
Highlights:
The very talented Freddie and Dick Morgan together-
A xylophone player does a short but amazing act with his instrument-
Watch for some flubs...this was live TV after all!-the first is the unbreakable breakaway beer steins-the second is Spike and George Rock eating frozen waffles because the sponsers' mascot couldn't get the toaster plugged in!-
Spikes'all "girl" band singing:
"It's tough to be a girl musician-especially if you happen to be a man!".Absolutely hilarious-
Young and adorable Spike Jones Jr.makes his TV debut with a proud Mom and Dad looking on-
All of these shows are kinescope prints,that is to say they were put to film by aiming a TV camera off stage towards a TV monitor! So the quality varies in each.The worst of the bunch in so far as clarity and condition is the first show.It has some picture jumps and other artifacts and is generally not as clear as the others.But they certainly did the best they could do and considering its' age we are lucky to have this at all.And even though the other shows have their own age/film related deficiencies they generally have been transferred onto DVD in good condition.
All the shows are variety shows.To those who do not remember these types of shows they more or less presented an eclectic variety of acts within their time formats.The acts,revolving around the headliners,could range from anything to sword swallowers,to plate spinners to dog acts.To those that do recall these shows it's a reminder of what we've lost over the years.They were great arenas for talented acts that never would have gotten exposure for themselves in any other way.
These shows also give you a good taste of just how frentically paced a Spike Jones routine/show could get.There are many times in these shows that the cameramen just cannot keep up with the action going on before them and sometimes things are visually missed completely.And of course there was Spike himself.I love to see him throw down those drumsticks after one of his numbers and catch them as they come back up.And his clothes.....loud?? More like an atomic explosion!!!
The Third DVD in this set contains about a half hour of rare interviews with Spikes' band members including his wife,the entire clip from the 1960 "Person to Person" show and Spikes' appearance on the Ed Sullivan show in 1961 doing his Leonard Burnside routine....showing he hadn't lost his comic edge at all.
The final disc is a CD.These are two never before heard radio pilots from 1945.Wonderful fun and another treasure in this set.
In conclusion this is a musical historical treasure set that no true Spiker out there should be without.Visually and aurally Spike Jones and his band was a whirlwind of frentic cmic and musical entertainment.It was all designed to keep your funny bone in high gear for the entire show.Spike was a consummate musician,performer and a shameless self promoter.His band(in its' various incarnations) counted amongst them some of the best and talented musicians in the business.They had to be to do what they did and accomplish over the years.
A final and important note.
You may have noticed the discrepancy in some of the show times quoted above.Two are 59 mins.long while the others are only 53 mins.long.I wasn't sure about this situation myself but was bothered enough by it to contact SJ2 Entertainment(the producers of the set) regarding just this thing.Honsetly I was expecting no answer at all or a quick qip from some disinterested desk jockey as has been the usual repsonse to my many queries to various companies over the years.
I actually received an answer and who should reply?....why none other than Spike Jones Jr.himself!! I was thrilled and he replied quickly,graciously and gave straight forward answers to my queries.Regarding the time differences issue in the shows he told me:
"The kine's we have in our library were edited like that.Honestly,not sure why.These kine's,as well as others were ordered by my Dad".
That solved that problem.
But even better news for all us Spikers out there:
"We hope there will be a follow up.There's a great deal more material that we'd like to share with audiences.Keep up the good thoughts and hopefully,we'll release another set this time next year".
What grand news,and as they say in TVland,you have heard it here first folks!!
So let's all give this set the support it so richly deserves.Get your copy today.And a BIG thanks to Mr.Spike Jones Jr. and family."
Spike Jones DVD brings back memories
Bruce E. Roberts | California | 12/13/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I remember a lot of these shows from when I was a kid and seeing them again sure was wonderful. Spike Jones and his wacky band did some crazy things back then and this set has the best. The video quality is not as good as today's are, but then again this was recorded by placing a 16mm camera at a TV set and shooting as the show went out live. Kineoscope was recorded on a wire as tape recording had not been invented yet. But it's still very enjoyable watching. Package arrived in perfect shape and on time as well."
Fans of Really Old Television will love this
Irv E. | Boston, MA USA | 12/27/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Anyone old enough to remember the Colgate Comedy Hour will appreciate this collection of kinescopes from that show. The Colgate Comedy Hour featured a variety of stars from the 40s and 50s. Spike Jones was a band leader, famous for his outrageous ripoff satires of popular songs of the era. Probably most famous for an anti-Hitler song "Der Fuhrer's Face", featured in a Walt Disney Cartoon, and a hit number "All I want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth". These DVDs feature several full length Colgate Comedy Hour shows that he did, complete. They are silly, stupid, and hilarious!

As one would expect from kinescopes (the only means of saving live TV in those days--recording on film directly from a TV monitor), the quality of the video is not terribly great, but it's good enough to enjoy shows that would otherwise be gone forever. We're lucky to have these..the kinescopes of many of the great shows of the era were not preserved, and these are certainly watchable. Enjoy! I do."