Saturday, December 06, 2008

Blog DVD Review: A Shari Lewis Christmas

It is Saturday, so that must mean it is time for the blog DVD review! Since we are in the middle of the holiday season, it makes sense today to take a look at S'more Entertainment's A Shari Lewis Christmas. The Shari Lewis Show of course was the popular children's series starring Shari Lewis and her sidekick Lamb Chop! See skees53's blog DVD review of A Shari Lewis Christmas:

A Shari Lewis Christmas (S'more, $9.98) features Shari Lewis and her (both figuratively and literally) right-hand man (well technically girl), Lamb Chop, in three classic Christmas episodes of the children's series The Shari Lewis Show. For those unfamiliar with Lewis, she was a multi-talented ventriloquist that found success in sock puppets, particularly one that was a lamb that she named Lamb Chop. But Lamb Chop was hardly her only puppet. She also had Charlie Horse and other sock puppets as her "leading stars." Lewis and Lamb Chop made their debut on a WNBC morning show in New York City, and by 1960, they had their own children's show on NBC called The Shari Lewis Show, which is featured on this DVD. Her success continued on for generations and hit a new high in the early 1990s when she revived the Lamb Chop character for the "modern" generation in the PBS series Lamb Chop's Play Along. Here, we have three Christmas episodes from the original series that aired from 1960-1963, as well as one of the Christmas episodes from the WNBC morning show.
In the 12/24/1960 episode (21:05), Charlie Horse and Lamb Chop have a disagreement on Christmas presents. Lamb Chop thinks that people should buy Christmas presents for each other while Charlie Horse thinks that everybody should just buy one present for himself or herself. But is that what Charlie Horse really wants? We get to see even more of Charlie Horse's greed in the 12/23/1961 episode (22:56). Finally, the 12/22/1962 (22:05) involves Lamb Chop getting very upset about opening presents on Christmas, but just exactly why is he so against the idea of opening presents?
The DVD contains a few minor special features. Christmas Wishes from Shari and Lamb Chop (1:19) is just a short message that aired in movie theaters to wish movie-goers a merry Christmas. There really isn't much more to be said about it. Next, we have a Christmas episode of the WNBC morning show Hi Mom! (58:02), which was a weekday variety series that featured many different topics, but part of the entertainment in this episode comes from Lewis and Lamb Chop. This episode is completely intact, including commercials for movies, butter, baby bottles, and even Bosco.
The set is presented in a standard DVD case with a black and white snapshot of Shari and Lamb Chop on the cover (with color decorations surrounding them). Inside, we have just one disc with very basic artwork. As far as the menus, there is nothing truly out of the ordinary about them, with just a little Christmas music in the background and options of Play, Shows, and Bonus. There are no chapters placed within the episodes, nor are there any scene selection menus.
The unfortunate reality of the whole DVD is that this series is old and was not very well preserved. In fact, the video and audio, while it looks as if efforts to clean it up were indeed made, can be described as being pretty bad. Of course, these are not the originally filmed versions that were filmed and placed on the shelf and designed to remain perfect over several decades. These are all kinescopes that were preserved at the UCLA Film & Television archive.
What you'll notice about these shows is that the lighting levels are pretty bad, the picture sometimes jumps around, and the audio levels are INCREDIBLY low. No closed-captioning is available, at all. The runtimes for the episodes seem to suggest that perhaps some things were edited and removed from the episodes. In fact, you'll notice some strange edits here and there. However, my gut feeling is that the only thing that was removed was sponsorship elements, as these were episodes preserved in an archive. It seems unlikely to me that an archive would preserved materials that are intentionally edited to allow more commercial time.
This is a great DVD for those that love true vintage children's television, although personally I have to say that isn't really something I'm in to. Still, it was fun to see what children were watching on TV back in the "golden age" of television, and to see how much children's TV has changed over the decades. Back then, it was much simpler to entertain the youth of America, but these days, you have to go over-the-top, be cutting edge, and be flashy to attract the attention of children. Even Shari Lewis had to adapt to the "modern era" in her PBS series Lamb Chop's Play Along, which was nothing at all like this series. One thing that I find interesting, though, is that these are all Christmas episodes, while Lewis herself was actually Jewish. Of course, having a Hanukkah episode of a series would have been a little out of the ordinary in the 1960s, but she did do a Hanukkah episode of the PBS series in the 1990s. In any event, fans of Shari Lewis, puppets, or just vintage children's programming are sure to enjoy these episodes. They also have a lot of positive messages about what the Christmas spirit is all about that anybody is certain to get a lot out of.
-- Reviewed by skees53
(3.5/5 stars)

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

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
The Shari Lewis Show TV.com Page


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, January 18

Abbott Elementary - "New Tech" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
When a new computer program is introduced at Abbott, Janine is excited to finally help Barbara out with something. However, Barbara is reluctant to accept change and finds herself in a tricky situation when she decides to lie about her students’ results rather than admit defeat. Elsewhere, Melissa surprises Jacob when she offers up a friend to assist with his lesson on unions, but she ends up teaching Jacob an important lesson herself.

black-ish - "Bow-Mo" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Dre calls into a radio show and gets humiliated in front of Diane and tries to redeem himself. Meanwhile, Bow tries to bond with a group of young female doctors and learns a hard truth.

American Auto - "Millbank, Iowa" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
The group travels to Iowa for the opening of a new factory.

Grand Crew - "Wine & Hip Hop" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Sherm tags along as Nicky sells a house to a famous rapper; Noah and his date get into a fender bender; Anthony deals with dating while vegan.

Tyler Perry's House of Payne - "Payneful Suffering" (BET, 8:00PM ET/PT)
As the family prepares for Janine's return, everyone and everything goes awry.

Tyler Perry's Assisted Living - "Forgive and Forget" (BET, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Reginald seeks forgiveness from his estranged son.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of January 17)

Tuesday, January 18

  • Rob Lowe (The Grinder/Parks and Recreation) - Catch Rob on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Francia Raisa (How I Met Your Father/growni-ish) - Francia is a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Ricky Gervais (After Life/The Office) - Ricky appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC. He also talks about After Life on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Hilary Duff (How I Met Your Father/Younger/Lizzie McGuire) - Hilary will be on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. She also talks about How I Met Your Father on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Adam DeVine (Workaholics/Modern Family) - Adam is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Valerie Bertinelli (Hot in Cleveland/CafĂ© Americain/Sydney/One Day at a Time) - Valerie talks about her new book Enough Already on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am and in the 10am hour and on The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Ana Gasteyer (American Auto/People of Earth/Suburgatory) - Ana appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Steve Harvey (The Steve Harvey Show) - Steve is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Kym Whitley (Young & Hungry/Animal Practice/Sparks) and Finesse Mitchell (Outmatched/A.N.T. Farm) - Kym and Finesse guest host The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Alyssa Milano (Who's the Boss?/Romantically Challenged) - Alyssa talks about Netflix's Brazen on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Rose McIver (Ghosts/Woke) - Rose is a guest on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jason Biggs (Outmatched/Mad Love/Drexell's Class) - Jason and his wife Jenny Mollen are guests on The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jenny McCarthy Wahlberg (Two and a Half Men/Jenny) - Jenny chats about The Masked Singer on a repeat of Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Tony Shalhoub (We Are Men/Stark Raving Mad/Wings) - Tony talks about The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.


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

Maude - The Complete Series (2021 Release) Mom - The Eighth and Final Season Punky Brewster (1984-88) - The Complete Series (2021 Release) I Dream of Jeannie - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) The Andy Griffith Show - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)

10/19 - Maude - The Complete Series (2021 Release)
11/02 - The Honeymooners Specials - A Christmas Carol
11/02 - Mom - The Eighth and Final Season
11/02 - Punky Brewster - The Complete Series (2021 Release)
11/02 - Sex and the City - The Complete Collection (Blu-ray)
11/09 - Saved by the Bell (2020) - Season One
11/09 - Younger - The Complete Series
11/16 - Kevin Can F*** Himself - Season 1 (Blu-ray)
11/23 - Dead Pixels - Seasons One and Two
11/30 - I Dream of Jeannie - The Complete Series (Mill Creek) (2021 Release) (Blu-ray)
12/07 - The Andy Griffith Show - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
12/07 - Rick & Morty - Season 5 (Blu-ray) (Blu-ray Limited Edition Steelbook)
12/14 - The Abbott and Costello Show - Season 1 (Blu-ray)
12/14 - Letterkenny - Season 9
01/04 - Work in Progress - Season 2
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

01/18 - Tim Allen to Star in The Santa Clause TV Series; Lifetime Reunites with Jenna Dewan
01/17 - Celebrating Betty White: America's Golden Girl Airs Jan. 31 on NBC; Netflix Premieres Murderville on Feb. 3
01/16 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of January 17, 2022)
01/15 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Quantum Leap and Life Goes On Reboots in the Works at NBC; Weekend of Tributes for Betty White and Bob Saget
01/14 - Fri-Yay: Cobra Kai Continues to Be a Delight; Fox Announces Premiere Date for Welcome to Flatch, Hulu to Release First 7 Episodes on Same Day
01/13 - MeTV Acquires Full House, Launches with Bob Saget Tribute; Dickinson Gets Documentary Retrospective
01/12 - TCA Winter 2022 Press Tour: ABC; Hulu Orders More of The Great
01/11 - Hulu Orders Reboot, Sitcom About a Sitcom Being Rebooted; Emily in Paris Renewed for Season 3...and Season 4!
01/10 - Remembering Bob Saget of Full House and Dwayne Hickman of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis; Betty White's 100th Birthday Tribute on BUZZR & GSN
01/09 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of January 10, 2022)
01/08 - SitcomsOnline Digest: CBS Reboot of The Honeymooners in the Works; Remembering Marilyn Bergman
01/07 - Fri-Yay: ABC's Abbott Elementary Is a Solid and Promising New Sitcom; Fast Foodies Brings More Comedic Guests for Season 2
01/06 - More Betty White Tributes Scheduled; Growing Belushi Returns Jan. 19 for New Season, Includes Guest Appearance by According to Jim Co-Star
01/05 - Peacock Unveils Wolf Like Me; Freeform's New Comedy Single Drunk Female
01/04 - USA Network Acquires 9-1-1; Space Force Season 2 Drops Feb. 18 on Netflix
01/03 - Fri-Yay: Networks Have a Few Promising Comedies for 2022; Betty White Tribute Marathons on CMT, MeTV, TV Land, Decades, Hallmark, etc.
01/02 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of January 3, 2022)>
01/01 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Remembering Betty White; Lost in Space a Hit for Netflix
12/31 - In Memoriam: Remembering TV Legend Betty White and the Other Sitcom Stars We Lost in 2021
12/30 - New Year's Eve 2021 and New Year's Day 2022 TV Marathons
12/29 - Celebrate the End of 2021 with Snoop Dogg & Kevin Hart; UPtv's Binge Week Continues with Reba, Gilmore Girls
12/28 - HBO Max Announces January Slate; New Campaign for 2022 Includes Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin and The Flight Attendant Season 2
12/27 - Atlanta Returns for Third Season on March 24 on FX After 3 Year Break; Bridgerton Returns for Second Season on March 25 on Netflix
12/26 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of December 27, 2021)
12/25 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Grey's Anatomy Potentially Headed Toward Another Season; Lorne Michaels Looking to Retire
12/24 - 2021 Christmas Eve and Christmas Day TV Marathons & Movies
12/23 - Hallmark Channel January 2022 Schedule; Search Party Final Season on Jan. 7
12/22 - Hallmark Channel and MeTV Celebrate Betty White's 100th Birthday; Ben Savage to Star in Lifetime Movie
12/21 - Showtime Announces We Need to Talk About Cosby; Nick Announces Warped!
12/20 - COZI TV Columbo Toast on New Year's Day, Brings Back McMillan and Wife, Banacek and McCloud; Better Things Final Season Premieres Feb. 28
12/19 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of December 20, 2021)
12/18 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Jeff Garlin Fired from The Goldbergs; The Golden Palace Headed to Hulu