Saturday, December 20, 2008

Blog DVD Review: The Best of Password - The CBS Years

It is Saturday, so that must mean it is time for our weekly Blog DVD Review! Today we take a look at BCI Eclipse's The Best of Password: The CBS Years. Password was of course the classic word playing game show that still lives on today in the form of Million Dollar Password hosted by Regis Philbin. But before Reege hosted, there were many other incarnations! On this set, we see the early years of 1962-67. See Seth Thrasher's blog DVD review of The Best of Password: The CBS Years:

The Best of Password: The CBS Years (1962-67) (BCI, $29.98) is now on DVD...but you'd better buy it while you can! For those of you not yet made aware, Navarre - the parent company of BCI - decided to close operations at BCI this past week, leaving any additional game show releases in question, as well as leaving doubts about the long term availability of this recently released DVD set. It is entirely possible the initial production run will be the only production run. Given that two of my favorite game shows were in the release pipeline for 2009 - Tattletales and What's My Line – I'd just like to take a moment to strongly encourage Navarre to continue to use the license negotiated by BCI so that fans may enjoy new titles *like* What's My Line, in addition to subsequent editions of Match Game and The Price is Right.
In regards to this release, however, contained within this DVD are 32 episodes of the classic game show Password - all from the 1960s CBS run of the show (hence, the title...). Included are 25 nighttime episodes, as well as seven daytime shows. 24 of the 25 nighttime episodes are in black and white, while the final nighttime episode as well as the 7 daytime shows included are presented in color. Celebrities included in the episodes presented include Carol Burnett, Dick Van Dyke, Jane Fonda, Jack Benny, Robert Goulet, Sammy Davis Jr., Betty White (who ultimately would marry show host Allen Ludden during the series' run), Lucille Ball, Bob Newhart, Vivian Vance, Gene Kelly, James Stewart, Woody Allen, Nancy Sinatra, Frank Gifford, Elizabeth Montgomery...(takes a breath)...Bob Denver, Irene Ryan, Donna Douglas, Martin Landau, Lauren Bacall, Eddie Albert, Bea Benederet, Peter Lawford; not to mention the first THREE hosts of The Tonight Show - Steve Allen, Jack Paar, and Johnny Carson.
As some of you may be buying the set for the extremely lengthy list of celebrities involved and not the game itself, a quick primer: Password was a game show in which two teams, featuring a contestant and their celebrity partner, attempted to get their partner to guess a word by giving them one-word clues. For example if the password were "dog," the easiest clue to give would be the word "cat," with an inflection to indicate that you're looking for an opposite. You couldn't use hand gestures, and you were limited to only one word at a time. If your partner guessed incorrectly, then the other team got to attempt to play the same word. Control alternated until the word was guessed correctly and points were earned, or the word couldn't be guessed in the maximum number of turns, at which point a new word was played. Guessing a word on the first clue was worth 10 points; the second try was worth 9, with the value decreasing by 1 point for every clue given. First to 25 points wins $250 and goes to the bonus game. Winning team plays the bonus game, in which the clue-giver has 60 seconds to get their partner to guess up to 5 different words. Each word guessed is worth $50, with the top payout being again $250, for a total of $500 per game. Depending on the point in the run, contestants may or may not be allowed to play an additional game.
With that over with, the episodes as presented, are about what you would expect for 45 to 50-year-old television programs whose episodes were never expected to even be reran, let alone released for home enjoyment four decades later. The episodes on discs one through three are all in black and white as the series was only preserved in black and white until very late in the show run. The video is fairly decent, though there are issues with a couple of episodes on the first disc - one in particular has significant issues. The 5th and 6th episodes on disc one (N022 – Jack Benny and his wife Joan; N028 – Anne Bancroft & Robert Goulet) both suffer from strange instances of color noise and distortions in the episodes. The Benny episode is particularly bad, and has another, more major, flaw in the audio. The audio is distorted through the entire episode, with a garbled sound affecting some vocals and sound effects. This episode was never rerun on GSN for precisely for this reason, and it is assumed that the problem exists with the master copy itself. The rest of the episodes look fairly well, and there are no other major flaws.
The episodes are presented in 2 two-disc slimcases inside a box. The packaging art on the slimcases is exceptionally clever, with the artwork depicting tickets to see the show. Having seen a number of old tickets to game show tapings in my day, these images are most likely based on scans of legitimate tickets, with only minor changes (such as insertion of disc numbers) made. The ticket on the first case is from a January 28, 1964 taping. The ticket on case #2 is from November 11, 1965. Also included in the set are "liner notes," whose front cover features a third ticket, this from the September 21, 1964 taping. The liner notes feature a full set of credits, a run-down of the format of the show and its history, information on its creating, and a set of Did You Know trivia bits. At the bottom of the second and final page is a dedication to Allen Ludden and Betty White, as well as credit to the two people who compiled the set and thanks to a few other individuals. While the liner notes aren't nearly as comprehensive as those included with their Price is Right or Match Game DVD sets in particular, they're still a great addition.
The only real problems with this DVD set are the rampant issues with the Jack Benny episode (which, as stated earlier, has never aired on Game Show Network in the channel's 14-year existence for precisely this reason), the smaller problems with the Bancroft/Goulet episode...and the fact that the publisher doesn't exist anymore as they were folded a few days ago. Strong sales of this title in particular could convince Navarre to push forward with future releases nonetheless, so if you're looking for a cheap stocking-stuffer or you're a fan of any of the celebrities involved OR if you're a fan of game shows or you want to see more game shows on DVD, then PLEASE purchase this DVD set. If you discover you're not a fan of the show after purchasing, then fine - sell it online or to one of the retailers who purchase used DVDs. Give the show a chance though and I think you'll like it. Or another reason to but this set is if you discovered the format in its new incarnation on Million Dollar Password on CBS Sundays and love that. Even if you don't, I still might get to see What's My Line, more volumes of The Price is Right, and so much more on DVD if enough people show interest in this set so I can't really recommend this set enough. STRONG RECOMMENDATION.

-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher
(4/5 stars)

To purchase the DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Amazon.com

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
Password TV.com Page


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Monday, October 18

The Neighborhood - "Welcome to Your Match" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
When Calvin and Tina enlist the services of a professional matchmaker for Marty, they can’t help but get too caught up in the process. Also, Dave and Gemma adopt new roles during an unexpected date night.

Bob Hearts Abishola - "Greasy Badge of Honor" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
After indulging in a luxurious girls’ day with Dottie and Christina, Abishola worries she’s losing touch with her humble Nigerian roots. Also, Goodwin feels threatened when Kofo gets a pitch meeting with Bob.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 18)

Monday, October 18

  • Zach Galifianakis (Baskets) - Watch Zach on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Jennifer Aniston (Friends/Muddling Through/Ferris Bueller/Molloy) - Jennifer appears on a repeat of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Amanda Peet (Brockmire/Togetherness/Bent) - Amanda is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Paula Pell (Girls5eva/Mapleworth Murders) - Paula appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Selena Gomez (Wizards of Waverly Place) - Coldplay featuring Selena perform on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Jamie Foxx (Dad Stop Embarrassing Me!/The Jamie Foxx Show) - Jamie is a guest on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • David Duchovny (Californication) - David appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Liza Koshy (Liza on Demand) - Liza is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Shalita Grant (Search Party/Santa Clarita Diet) - Shalita appears on Tamron Hall, so check your local listings.
  • Jennifer Tilly (Out of Practice/Shaping Up) - Jennifer talks about the killer remake of Chucky on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Tamera Mowry-Housley (Sister, Sister/Roommates) - Tamera bakes kid approved Halloween treats on Access Daily, so check your local listings.
  • Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso/Son of Zorn/The Cleveland Show) - Jason talks about NBC's Saturday Night Live and Apple TV+'s Ted Lasso on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Holly Robinson Peete (Hangin' with Mr. Cooper/For Your Love/Love, Inc.) - Holly talks about Hallmark's Christmas Kick Off on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Dylan Gilmer (Tyler Perry's Young Dylan) - Dylan talks about NBC's Tonight Show: Kid's Edition on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (June-October)

Head of the Class - The Complete Third Season Family Ties - The Complete Series (2021 Release) Hot in Cleveland - The Complete Series (2021 Release) Young Sheldon - The Complete Fourth Season Maude - The Complete Series (2021 Release)

06/08 - The Critic - The Complete Series
06/08 - Fuller House - The Fifth and Final Season
06/08 - Fuller House - The Complete Series
06/08 - Our Cartoon President - Season 3
06/15 - The Office - Season 1 (Blu-ray) / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9
06/15 - Parks and Recreation - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
07/07 - No Activity - Season 2
07/13 - The Unicorn - Season 2
07/20 - Head of the Class - The Complete Third Season
07/27 - Family Ties - The Complete Series (2021 Release)
07/27 - Hot in Cleveland - The Complete Series (2021 Release)
07/27 - The Neighborhood - Season Three
08/20 - The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet - Deluxe Edition (100 Episodes) (Time Life)
08/20 - The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet - Standard Edition (50 Episodes) (Time Life)
08/24 - The Jim Gaffigan Show - Season 2
09/07 - Young Sheldon - The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)
10/19 - Maude - The Complete Series (2021 Release)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

10/17 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of October 18, 2021)
10/16 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Could a Looming Strike Shut Down TV Production?; GAC Family Acquires Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, Silver Spoons, and More
10/15 - Dickinson Final Season Date Announced; Superstar: Robin Williams to Air Next Week (Oct. 20)
10/14 - Antenna TV's Bewitched 24-Hour Halloween Marathon; Rewind TV's Sabrina Witch-O-Ween Marathon
10/13 - Head of the Class Reboot Premieres Nov. 4, Guest Stars Robin Givens; The Bear Coming to FX
10/12 - CBS Picks Up First 2 New Series for Full Seasons; On My Block Spinoff Series Cast Set
10/11 - Netflix Orders That '90s Show Featuring Red and Kitty; Nash Bridges Movie Premieres Nov. 27 on USA Network
10/10 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of October 11, 2021)
10/09 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Netflix Orders That '70s Show Spinoff Featuring Debra Jo Rupp and Kurtwood Smith; Nash Bridges Revival Movie Premiere Date Set
10/08 - Fri-Yay: CBS’s Ghosts Is the Most Interesting New Comedy of the Year; Insecure to Hold Festival for Final Season
10/07 - Mini Desperate Housewives Reunion on Hallmark Christmas Movie; The Kids Tonight Show Premieres Oct. 14
10/06 - And Just Like That... We Get a Premiere Date; The CW Holiday Specials Schedule
10/05 - New Peanuts Holiday Special on Apple TV+, PBS to Air Classic Holiday Specials; COZI TV Acquires Heartland
10/04 - Disney Channel Orders Season 5 of Raven's Home; Freeform Picks Up Phoebe Robinson Comedy
10/03 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of October 4, 2021)
10/02 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 11 Premiere Date Set; Lori Loughlin Returns to TV Role
10/01 - Fri-Yay: The Fall 2021 Sitcom Line-up Is Pretty Bare; Bounce Renews Johnson for Season 2
09/30 - It's a Wonderful Lifetime Expands with 35 New Movies; Hulu & Lifetime Acquire Castle
09/29 - Curb Your Enthusiasm Returns Yet Again; Archer Returning for Lucky Season 13 on FXX
09/28 - Nick at Nite Acquires Mike & Molly; NBC Orders Night Court to Series
09/27 - MeTV Network Halloween Schedule; HBO Max Renews The Other Two for Third Season
09/26 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of September 27, 2021)
09/25 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Night Court Reboot Gets Series Order; Season Premiere Date Set for The Orville
09/24 - Fri-Yay: Ted Lasso Wins Big at The Emmys; CBS Expands Ghosts Premiere to One-Hour; Remembering Willie Garson of Sex and the City, Director Jay Sandrich
09/23 - TBS, TNT and truTV Launch Fall-O-Ween, a Programming Block of Halloween Classics; HBO Max Comedy from Mindy Kaling Debuts November 18
09/22 - Paramount+ Renews Rugrats for 2nd Season; Eva Longoria Producing Disney Sci-Fi Comedy
09/21 - Family Guy, King of the Hill, The Cleveland Show and Futurama Joining FXX; HBO Max's Ten Year Old Tom Details
09/20 - 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards Winners; Turner Celebrates Latinx Heritage Month with George Lopez, Tacoma FD and More
09/19 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of September 20, 2021)
09/18 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Brooklyn Nine-Nine Comes to an End; FXX Goes Full Blown Animation Domination with New Acquisitions
09/17 - Fri-Yay: NBC Reportedly Wants to Reboot The Office; Remembering Norm Macdonald of The Norm Show/Norm