The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes

| September 14, 2015

The latest Time Life releases of Carol Burnett Show episodes  are dedicated to the so-called “Lost Episodes,” which is to say those episodes from the series’ first five seasons that haven’t been seen since their broadcast from 1967-1972. The first of these sets, The Ultimate Collection, includes 45 episodes chosen by Burnett herself spread across 22 DVDs. This set will put you back about $200, though. So if that’s a bit too pricey for you, there’s also the more affordable retail Lost Episodes collection, which instead features 16 of those episodes on 6 DVDs.

I had the opportunity to get a look at this retail Lost Episode collection and I can tell you that, if you’ve picked up any of these multi-disc Carol Burnett Show collections from Time Life, you’ll find this one to be right in line with the others. The material is every bit as funny and nostalgic as that collected elsewhere and the array of guests are equally impressive. Most notable among these guests is of course Burnett’s personal hero Lucille Ball, while other guests include Carol Channing, Bing Crosby, Phyllis Diller, Steve Lawrence, Bob Newhart, Chita Rivera, Burt Reynolds, and Flip Wilson.

My personal favorite guest in this collection, however, is the brilliantly funny Don Rickles. There’s a classic crack-up scene in one sketch where Rickles delivers an unscripted aside to the audience that nearly sends Harvey Korman in hysterics. That episode alone is worth seeking out this set for if you’re a series fan!

One thing that is to be expected from a set like this is a severe dip in video quality from time-to-time. Given that the materials are almost 40 years old and the fact that it was recorded on video tape, we’re lucky to have some of these episodes archived here at all. The episode that stands out to me most in this regard is the first episode on disc 6, featuring Flip Wilson. A sizable portion of two or three minutes finds the color going almost entirely green as that section of the elements has aged so poorly. It’s something to be aware of, but again, it’s to be expected of such archival efforts, efforts for which Time Life should be applauded.

Special features on the 6-disc version alone boast over 5 hours of content, including:

  • A backstage tour of CBS Studio 33 where the show was originally taped
  • 13 exclusive retrospective interviews with Alan Alda, Julie Andrews, Vikki Carr, Carol Channing, Bill Hader, Jack Jones, Jim Nabors, Queen Latifah, Gloria Loring, Don Rickles, Lesley Ann Warren and more
  • Never-Before-Seen Bloopers & Outtakes
  • Newly produced featurettes
  • Bonus sketches including “Morton at the Movies” and “The Dentist”
  • And the opening number from the historic Julie and Carol at Lincoln Center TV special with a new introduction by Carol Burnett

About the Author:

Jef is a writer and educator in Chicago, Illinois. He holds a degree in Media & Cinema Studies from DePaul University, but sometimes he drops it and picks it back up again. He's also the Editor-in-Chief of FilmMonthly.com and is fueled entirely by coffee (as if you couldn't tell).
Filed in: TV on DVD
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