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Pioneer Entertainment presents
The Judy Garland Show - Volume 5 (1963)

"Forget your troubles, c'mon get happy...."
- Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand

Review By: r   
Published: May 20, 2001

Stars: Judy Garland, Jerry Van Dyke
Other Stars: Barbra Streisand, The Smothers Brothers, Donald O'Connor, Ethel Merman
Director: Bill Hobin

MPAA Rating: G for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 02h:00m:00s
Release Date: May 15, 2001
UPC: 013023153998
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A+ A+A-A C

DVD Review

I have an identical twin brother, and we both know The Wizard Of Oz by heart. Right now, at any instant, we could break into song and dance, mimicking Dorthy Gale from Kansas to the Lollipop Kids. I'm sure were not alone in our Ozian obsession: there are others who have memorized the dialogue, the music and the dance steps; older folks like us who have grown-up on JUST the yearly airing and the soundtrack album to remind us of the film. Of course today, there's the DVD video, so you can tune into the wonderful land of Oz as often as you dream, even see the deleted scenes and all kinds of other goodies to make the Wicked Witch shriek, "Yes, Aunty Em, there's nothin' like the extras!"

So Dorothy was Judy Garland and Judy Garland was Dorothy, and that was about as much as I remember growing up. My nostalgia for this tiny, super-talented diva was limited to one production in which she sang the greatest American ballad ever. However, my parents knew a different Judy. They loved all that had come after Somewhere Over The Rainbow, Judy's award winning performance in A Star is Born to her stage show with young Liza with a "Z". And there was the short-lived The Judy Garland Show, which aired on CBS at nine o'clock at night (Judy was too dangerous for kids), now available on this nifty DVD from Pioneer.

Slap this piece of history into the DVD player and you'll see what your parents—or your parents parents—saw: Jerry Van Dyke, The Smothers Brothers, Barbra Streisand, Ethel Merman, Donald O'Connor, and this sensational little woman that is Dorothy all grown-up, sing and dance and make you laugh in two original episodes (including the premiere)...damn, that's great TV! It made me wonder where it went; where did that kind of talent go? Over the rainbow I suppose. It's true, you really had to do it all back then, the studio executives demanded it; but apart from that, just getting all those super stars on one soundstage and suddenly all the special effects in the world can simply go to hell. I mean it. This was it. This was the "real stuff", all heated-up and served piping hot.

Yeah—I was blown away.

No reverb, no special lighting, just a barren stage with minimal sets and these sensational talents filling in the gaps. M'GOD, what a show! And they canceled it because Judy didn't have the right TV appeal. Damn those CBS executives—what in the name of show business where those monkey suits thinking? The Wicked Witch really got our gal after all. Thank goodness we have this technology to piece it all back together, like the scarecrow, slap it back on our TVs and see, for ourselves, that little girl, all grown up, belting out songs like she's holding a conversation (she and the "funny girl" didn't even break a sweat). It was just something she was born to do: entertain the world.

So this it what we had before digital effects, gruesome reality shows and cartoon characters—not that I don't like seeing the Simpsons ham it up (I dig that stuff, you bet)—but this kind of programming makes me crunch up on the couch and hold my knees like I was six all over again. Yeah—I know, c'mon, shut up already. You're sounding like a jerk. A sentimental creep. But it really moved me, most sincerely. The performances where lucid, raw, and very real. Barbra Streisand WAS the find of the century (started singing two years before she taped this show and like Judy, doesn't read a note of music); The Smothers Brothers had stellar comic timing (I had tears running down my face—I'm not lying), and Judy Garland, well...insecure and electrifying, she allowed everyone to shine as bright or brighter than herself.... Legends, each and everyone of them.

Rating for Style: A+
Rating for Substance: A+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: No obvious artifacts or pixelation at all. As with any televised variety show from the 1960s, there were the occasional hard blacks and bright washouts—but this was videotape and theatrical lighting getting their act together. I simply didn't care. The picture quality was outstanding, crisp and clean, almost surreal in its comfortable range of grays. Easy on the eyes.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglishno
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The original mono track demonstrates how videotapes most effective use was in recording sound, which even in mono proves to be a real treat. Clear, delicate highs and smooth, mellow bottoms—probably better on my Panasonic than the old RCA Victor of the day. There is also a 5.1 audio re-mixed from the original mono track by Ted Hall at Pop Sound—WELL, it's studio recording at its best: lovely highs and outstanding lows, as if Judy recorded them only yesterday. Tears! We're talking tears in the eyes, folks.

Audio Transfer Grade: A

 

Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 33 cues and remote access
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Mort Lindsey and Bob Wynn
Packaging: other
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Outtakes
Extras Review: The menu design with its chorus of angelic voices crooning while stars rotate behind a still of Judy singing, looking toward the sky all washed in emerald green is, well, perfect. A window revealing a visual montage of musical numbers from the show floats in a black and white bubble under the title. What can I say? It worked for me.

The audio commentary was, much to my chagrin, not included on the screener. Ahhhhhhhhh! The outtakes, although few and short in length, are a blast; just watching Judy graciously accepting blame for a musical mistake and proclaiming she needed the Rank gong (the signature opening for Rank films—a man with a big mallet hitting a gong) to cue her the next time around.... Fantastic stuff. The broad really had a sense of humor.

Extras Grade: C

 

Final Comments

Grab a copy for yourself, get a bunch of friends together and dress-up in Botany 500 suits and Bob Macke fashions for the ladies, smoke non-filtered Pall Malls, drink Miller High Life beer while gobbling down handfuls of Chex mix—and pretend you're Somewhere Over The Rainbow, with the woman who was Dorothy, and her little dog, too.

 


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