Great *Value* But Not Full Performances...
Alex Honda | Los Angeles, CA USA | 12/06/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The BEST OF ED SULLIVAN 4 DVD SET includes the single DVDs The Very Best of the Ed Sullivan Show: Unforgettable Performances Volume 1, The Very Best of The Ed Sullivan Show Volume 2 - The Greatest Entertainers, The Best of Broadway Musicals - Original Cast Performances from The Ed Sullivan Show, and Ed Sullivan's Amazing Animal Acts - DVD. Even though most of the performances are only clips, they usually start in the middle and go to the end of the set, it didn't mess up the experience of watching the very talented guests that appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show."
There's a mixed bag of performances and SOFA Home Entertainment, the producers of the DVD set, did a good job of cleaning up the footage. Each DVD is entertaining and although I wasn't born yet, I can see why millions watched Sullivan's show. There really is something for everyone!
===== UNFORGETTABLE PERFORMANCES DVD =====
Carol Burnett (who also appeared on "the Ed Sullivan Show") hosts this special and features some top stars. Most of the performances are just clips but some are complete. It shows episodes from when the Sullivan show began in the 50s and also includes interviews with some of the more infamous/famous guests that graced the show. Highlights include:
* Elvis Presley's first and third performance on TV.
* Barbra Streisand's first appearance in 1963 performing "When The Sun Comes Out." Only the last half of the performance is presented.
* Sammy Davis, Jr. & Ella Fitzgerald. Full performance of Davis and Fitzgerald "S'Wonderful" duet. Very cool as the two start scatting and improvising throughout the song.
* Rolling Stones. Half performance of "I Can't Get No Satisfaction."
* Fidel Castro. Sullivan goes to Cuba and interviews Castro.
* The Beatles. Complete performance of "Ticket To Ride" and they meet and greet Ed.
* Janis Joplin. Half performance of "Raise Your Hand."
* The Young Rascals. Beginning and edited performance of "Good Lovin'."
* The Doors. Controversy with the censors and how they wanted "The Doors" and "The Rolling Stones" to change certain lyrics. Stones changed, but Doors did not. Ray Manzarek of the Doors talks about it.
* Jackson 5. Complete performance of "I Want You Back."
===== THE GREATEST ENTERTAINERS DVD =====
Hosted by Burt Reynolds this special picks up where the first one left off. More rock acts and stand-up comedians in this set. Some of the guests that appeared on the show discuss what it was like. Again, performances aren't complete. Highlights include:
* Frankie Lymon
* 5th Dimension
* Petula Clark
* Tom Jones
* Johnny Mathis
* Cool Novelty Acts and Acrobats
* The Beatles
SPECIAL FEATURE: "SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS"--05:39-minutes
Ed goes around the world looking for stories. In Cuba, to talk to Castro. Spoleto, Italy, to talk to Giancarlo Manatti. Tokyo, Japan, shows a kids' baseball team. And finally Ed goes to Ireland to kiss the Blarney Stone.
===== BEST OF THE BROADWAY MUSICALS DVD =====
Narrated by John Raitt (Oklahoma!), all of the performances--with the exception of Ethel Merman's "There's No Business Like Show Business" which is not complete--are the full performances done by the original actors from their respective Broadway shows.
Sullivan also talks to Broadway composers Rodgers & Hammerstein and Lerner & Lowe.
I didn't care for the Celeste Holm performance of "I Can't Say No" from Oklahoma!
SPECIAL FEATURE: BROADWAY MUSICAL TRIVIA
Text, written on a 3x5 card graphic, that shows plot synopsis, cast, songs, producers, run dates and how many performances including revivals, and if the musical was adapted into a motion picture.
===== ED'S AMAZING ANIMAL ACTS DVD =====
No special features and no narration or host. The clips are in color and black & white, and even though some are really old and blurry, it doesn't interfere with viewing pleasure. Highlights include:
* Clyde Beatty, lion tamer, loses control and Ed must go to the audience while you can hear the lions growling in the background. This has a voice over and was taken from the "Greatest Entertainers" DVD.
* Elephants doing handstands on balance beams.
* Gymnastic Chimps who also smoke and ride motorcycles.
* Dogs who walk down ladders on their front paws.
* Monkeys riding on the back of Grey Hounds.
* Tightrope-walking Sea Lions.
* Bears that dance and ride motorcycles.
* Birds that can add and subtract.
Fun set and though I only listed some of the highlights above, there are many more to be found on this four DVD set."