In the fall of 1986, an unsuspecting TV nation met a new kind of comedy hero who made Rambo look like Pee Wee Herman. David Rasche starred as the trigger-happy lawman whose hatred of criminal scum and yogurt eatin? creeps ... more »was matched only by his love of excessive force and a .44 Magnum. Over the next two seasons, this hilariously deranged lampoon of DIRTY HARRY and plenty of other targets became one of the most notorious series in television history and launched a rabid cult of fans that grows to this day. This is SLEDGE HAMMER! The complete first season of SLEDGE HAMMER! is now newly re-mastered (including removal of the laugh track) and loaded with an arsenal of exclusive extras that features uncensored footage, all-new interviews with stars David Rasche, Harrison Page and Anne-Marie Martin, audio commentaries and more, all given the "Hammer" seal of approval by Series Creator & Executive Producer Alan Spencer.« less
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 08/11/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Whenever someone says, "Trust me, I know what I'm doing" with a big gun in his hand, you know you should be worried. Either all hell is going to break loose or slapstick of the Three Stooges variety is on the way. You should be worried in either case. "Sledge Hammer" took the Dirty Harry character, made him inept and planted him right in the middle of a comedy. Sledge (David Rasche) talks to his gun. He does just about everything with his gun. His partner Dori (Anne-Marie Martin) displays a little more common sense. Unfortunately, Sledge rarely listens to what she or his boss Captain Trunk (Harrison Page) have to say and the result is bedlam.
A highlight of this series is "Miss of the Spider Woman" (if you love bad puns, you'll love this show for examle one episode is entitled "Dori Day Afternoon") where Sledge is mistaken for his neighbor. Unfortunately, his neighbor had a hit man after him. When the assassin poisons Sledge his reaction brought a smile to my face. "Great, when I finally die, I'm gonna see my neighbor's life flash before my eyes!" Gotta love a series that takes bad puns, slapstick and witty asides and crams them all into a twenty-two minute episode.
Anchor Bay does its usual stellar job here with a top-notch transfer. The images come at you just as fast and furious as the gags and there's few analog or digital blemishes. It helps that this series was shot on film vs. videotape as the overall quality is higher. The sound comes across with considerable presence. The DVD is packing heat with a lot of extras shoved into its shoulder holster. First-hurray! There's no laugh track on any of these. There's a very good 30 minute documentary included with the primary cast of Rasche, Martin and Page as well as key members of the crew. There's shared stories from the cast & crew about the trials they faced bringing the series to life. Also, the uncertainty they faced year to year as to whether they were going to be renewed, etc. We also get the promo spots, the "bumper" spots (i.e. "We'll be right back"). There's also a "case file" booklet with trivia, comments, etc. We also get a stills gallery, memorabilia gallery and "electronic" press kit where producer/writer Spenser discusses the show for sponsors and network affiliates. The icing onthe cake, though, are the 4 episode commentary tracks by writer/creator/producer Alan Spenser. A pity none of the actors were invited to participate.
A amusing show that many fans will be happy to finally have on DVD, "Sledge Hammer" looks very good on DVD with a sharp transfer and comes with a variety of strong extras. For folks who hate laugh tracks, the removal of the laugh track is a big plus. Additionally, stuffed in Sledge's holster are a documentary, promo spots, the electronic press kit, a 16 page booklet with info and trivia and commentary on 4 tracks by the creator of the show. Oh, and I forgot to mention this--it has the unaired pilot episode as an added bonus as well. Enjoy! "
Commentary Will Become Urban Legend!
Wayne Klein | 07/17/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A friend of mine got a review copy of "Sledge Hammer: Season One" and let me take a look yesterday since I'm a long time "Hammerhead." Brother, let me tell you -- this baby's packed to the nines with special features. I thought I knew the show well but even I was surprised.First off, the shows NEVER looked this good. Every episode looks brand new and has stereo audio (2.0 as opposed to 5.1.). What's really great is that Anchor Bay went to the time and trouble to remove the network imposed laugh track that marred the first thirteen episodes of the show. (Based on the way he talks about it on the DVD, my guess is creator Alan Spencer insisted on that one.)Time has treated the show well as it was WAY ahead of its time. While there are the occasional outdated 80's references, there are plenty of topical wisecracks that prove strangely prophetic. At one point, Sledge Hammer rails about liberals mucking up his crime fighting system and literally daydreams about invading Iraq! Time has also treated the cast well. They're all featured on an all new documentary called "Go Ahead, Make Me Laugh" that was informative as well as touching. It's clear that David Rasche, Anne-Marie Martin, Harrison Page and Alan Spencer all love each other.Spencer does audio commentary on four episodes, supposedly completely unedited, and I think one of them will be the topic of much discussion. Here's my appraisal of the commentaries:"Under The Gun" (The Pilot Episode): Spencer talks a mile a minute at a Robin Williams pace on this. He doesn't let up because he seems to want to cram in as much as possible for the fans who have waited so long for this release. Trust him, he knows what he's doing. You'll definitely get your money's worth."Witless": This famous episode spoofed the Harrison Ford thriller "Witness" and Spencer recounts his struggles with the network censors (who were sensitive to offending the Amish) as well as star Rasche's kindness to a bit player. Spencer stream of consciousness comments about James Bond made me laugh out loud."All Shook Up": Another well known episode is about Hammer's attempt to thwart a serial killer knocking off Elvis impersonators around town. Spencer talks at length about his late friend Andy Kaufman and gives him full credit for getting him into the King of Rock & Roll."The Spa Who Loved Me": Here's the season finale with that insanely impossible cliffhanger. This is the commentary people will be talking about as something unexpected happens midway through and I can't tell whether it's a joke or not. The fact that Spencer was a good friend of Andy Kaufman makes me suspicious, although I've listen to it three times and it sounds totally convincing. The message blogs will have a field day with this and I'm eager to see how Spencer will respond in interviews when they ask him what the heck was going on. (I'd like to know the EXACT date he recorded audio in LA.)"Sledge Hammer: Season One" was worth the wait. Alan Spencer dedicates the set to his three favorite "teachers" Oliver Hailey, Marty Feldman and Andy Kaufman. I think they'd be very proud of their prize student."
THE BEST DVD RELEASE OF A TV SERIES EVER!!!!!
Daniel Kepley | Viola, DE USA | 10/14/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Anchor Bay, one of my favorite DVD releasing companies, has created the gold standard for all TV series on DVD! And what better series than SLEDGE HAMMER! to get this treatment! One of the funniest series of the 1980s, this show is about a San Francisco cop named Sledge Hammer (David Rasche) who LOVES violence and talks to his gun. Sledge's antics (e.g. blowing up a building with a bazooka to take out a rooftop sniper, making a thug beat himself up, etc.) are an endless source of frustration for his boss, Captain Trunk (Harrison Page). Only his partner, the smart and patient Dori Doreau (Anne-Marie Martin), seems to understand, if not tolerate, Hammer and his bizarre, as opposed to brutal, methods of fighting crime. I grew up on the reruns of this series and it is just as funny as when I first saw this series! One of my favorite episodes is when Sledge, in an attempt to hide from hitmen sent by a Mob boss who wants him dead, ends up with an Amish farmer and his daughter ("Witless"); the ending is priceless! Another favorite episode is when he investigates the murders of Elvis impersonators ("All Shook Up"). There are many great things about this DVD set! First, as creator Alan Spencer tells us at the beginning of Disc 1, the laugh tracks that were imposed by ABC because test audiences were too stupid to notice the humor of the series have been removed from the first six episodes! Second, the picture quality of these episodes look better than before! Third, there is a retrospective documentary where Spencer, Rasche, Page, and Martin look back on the series. And finally, there's the original pilot and a ton of promotional material (TV ads, electronic press kit, photo gallery, and bumper). I think that any company who is releasing a television series to DVD should look to SLEDGE HAMMER!-SEASON ONE for guidelines on how to package the series. I'm looking forward to SEASON TWO, which is coming out next summer. Required viewing for '80s nostalgists and comedy fans! And remember, "Trust me, I know what I'm doing.""
Trust me I know What I am doing!
Rudolf Horak | Hill AFB, Ut | 06/12/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Hey all. It's clasic tv at it's best! This was one of my favorite tv shows of the 1980's. You can go to the sledgehammeronline website to see more details. I am so glad this series is brought back to life in dvd."
Thank Goodness For Alan Spencer
Daniel Kepley | 06/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Alan Spencer is one of the funniest people on earth. Thank goodness his wonderful series SLEDGE HAMMER! is making its debut on DVD, as America could truly use a laugh right now. Can't wait for season two."