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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Best of the Muppet Show: Peter Sellers/John Cleese/Dudley Moore (1976)

"Ladies and Gentlemen, it has been a splendid evening marred only by the fact that we blew up half the theater."
- Kermit the Frog (Jim Henson)

Review By: Brian Calhoun   
Published: September 19, 2003

Stars: Peter Sellers, John Cleese, Dudley Moore, Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy
Other Stars: Fozzie Bear, Rolf, Gonzo
Director: Philip Casson, Peter Harris

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (no objectionable material)
Run Time: 01h:19m:29s
Release Date: March 04, 2003
UPC: 043396006447
Genre: television


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

DVD Review

Has there ever been a television show as joyously entertaining as The Muppet Show? This humble reviewer thinks not. It is no small feat to create a show that dazzles those of all age groups, but Jim Henson's loveable creatures appeal equally to both young and old. With a wide range of comedic and musical talent that includes not one but two guest hosts who are no longer with us, this particular collection may in fact be the quintessential Muppet DVD.

Episode One: Peter Sellers

Unquestionably my favorite on the disc, with Sellers seamlessly slipping in and out of various roles. Particularly interesting is the introduction from Brian Henson, who informs us that Mr. Sellers refused to take part in the opening chat with Kermit, simply because he felt he could not be himself on stage. Playing other characters is second nature to him, however, and he delivers quite a few memorable performances here. One of my favorites is a crazy massage therapist that is guaranteed to have anyone in stitches. Five Kermits out of five.





Episode Two: John Cleese

I must admit that I was a tad disappointed by this second entry. This is certainly not a bad episode, but the laughs are more infrequent than I would have expected from a show hosted by one of the Monty Python geniuses. Other than a few laugh-out-loud moments, such as Gonzo's stretching incident, the episode is strictly mediocre. Even the Pigs in Space skit is somewhat of a letdown. Three Kermits.





Episode Three: Dudley Moore

Things are back on track with this final episode. While Moore's appearance is not as funny as the Sellers episode, he proves to be the most delightful of the three guests, thanks to his impressive musical talents. The late Mr. Moore demonstrates both his comedic skills as well as his amazing piano talents in several rousing musical numbers. This is another winning episode. Five Kermits.







Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A-

 

Image Transfer

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


Image Transfer Review: The 1.33:1 image transfer looks quite good for 1970s video-based material. Colors are not nearly as vibrant as those seen on more recent transfers, yet they are a step above what most likely appeared on the original television broadcast. Video noise is often evident, especially in fine details, lending a harsh characteristic to the picture. This is not a particularly impressive transfer, but it suits the show just fine.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The preservation of the original mono soundtrack is admirable, though fidelity suffers. A faint buzz can be heard throughout, particularly in quiet moments. Voices are clear and intelligible, yet often sound strident. While the soundtrack is fitting for the material, it is not especially pleasant to listen to.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 43 cues and remote access
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Family Fun, Kermit's Swamp Years, Stuart Little 2
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Muppetisms
  2. Movie Mania
  3. From the Archives
Extras Review: Unfortunately, there is very little offered here. Each episode features an introduction by Brian Henson, who discusses points of interest as well as his favorite moments. A section called Muppetisms is merely a brief 30-second joke courtesy of the old geezers. Movie Mania is a short but humorous parody on The Godfather called The Frogfather, which features Kermit doing his best Brando imitation. The only other relevant extra is Jim Henson's original pencil sketch for Animal. Also included is a trailer section for three family-friendly DVDs.

Extras Grade: C-

 

Final Comments

The Muppet Show is just as appealing today as it was thirty years ago. This collection of episodes, featuring a trio of fantastic guests, is a wonderful example of the charming nature of this series.

 


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