The Carol Burnett Show: Treasures from the Vault Review: Includes a Bonus Pizza Review

A look at new products from Carol Burnett and Pizza Hut.
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In today’s world where everyone is always busy, sometimes it nice to have an evening with nothing to do.  Time to just hit the couch, order a pizza, and pop in a DVD for some binge-watching.  I recently did just that, and the selections were Pizza Hut's Stuffed Garlic Knots Pizza and The Carol Burnett Show: Treasures from the Vault (Collector's Edition).

Ah, the thoughts that race through one's head as they wait with hungry anticipation for their dinner to arrive.  Exactly how big was this vault and who was in charge of it?  How do you lose something from a vault?  Is not the point of a vault to insure that things are not lost? 

With the train of thought on the subject of the post-vault-guard career of the guy who lost episodes of The Carol Burnett Show running out of fuel, and no pizza currently available, the first episode is cued up.  Jonathan Winters and Dionne Warwick make for a pleasant distraction bringing their own respective styles of comedy and music to the already stellar cast of Carol Burnett, Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence, and Lyle Waggoner.  Carol brings Jonathan out for the opening Q & A and we get just the right amount of his wackiness.

The doorbell rings as the first episode wraps and it’s time to sit down to this new creation that Pizza Hut has been advertising almost non-stop for the last month.  Opening the box we see the always disappointing difference between advertising and actuality.  Where is all the pizza?  The “knots” sit so far in from the edge of the pizza that this large size is almost half crust!  It certainly does not appear that way on TV.  The knots do have a pleasant, though a bit light for my taste, garlic flavor.  The term “stuffed” appears to be a generous in this situation as there is not much cheese in these “knots.”  The pizza is good but not enough of it.

Oh well, the next episode features Barbara Feldon and Joan Rivers.  It’s sure to be satisfying.  Being best known for playing opposite Don Adams in Get Smart, Feldon proves to be far more versatile than often given credit.  She offers a pleasant rendition of “If You’ve Got the Money, I’ve Got the Time” that shows off her musical abilities.  Joan Rivers stand-up routine reminds us of the humor that she built a career on.  Bluntly delivered with rapier-sharp timing, she cuts the audience up.  Harvey joins Carol for a heartfelt segment of The Old Folks that is the highlight of the show.

With the excessive amount of pizza dough now digesting and thus drawing blood from the brain, we need some energy.  Who better to deliver it than Sonny and Cher?  Four years before they would launch their own variety show, the chart-topping duo would join Carol and her crew along with Nanette Fabray for some fun.  For the most part the comedy skills of Sonny and Cher are not on display in this episode and sadly neither are their music skills.  Cher sings the awkward “You Better Sit Down, Kids" and then Sonny joins her for “Living For You.”  Everyone, except Vicki, show up in the finale, though Sonny seems to spend most of the production trying to be seen while working with a taller cast.

As the evening grows later, it’s time to throw a log on the fire and get into the Christmas spirit.  Carol gives us opera stars Eileen Farrell and Marilyn Horne for this outing and of course our talented regulars.  If you enjoy opera, there is plenty of amazing music here, but the comedy in this episode is a bit flat.  The first Family sketch has much unrealized potential and gets things off to a slow start.  The simple premise of Carol's meek reporter interviewing Lyle's “Hugh Handsome” relies too much on physical gags to save the one-joke bit. 

The biggest laugh in the episode comes from the ironic programming of following the musical number “Hey, Big Spender” with the Christmas Carol finale that opens with “What Child is This?”  Sadly, this episode is sleep-inducing and the rest of the new six-DVD release from Time Life that hit shelves on February 9th, also available in a three-disc and single-disc set, had to be enjoyed at a later date.

Catching up with the gang one or two episodes a day for the next few weeks was a nice way to end a day.  I’m not sure we need this many episodes with Nanette Fabray in one collection but okay.  The comedy of the cast along with Jonathan Winters, Joan Rivers, Soupy Sales, Paul Lynde, Art Carney, and Mickey Rooney, make this release worth watching. 

The episodes look and sound great and there is plenty of bonus material.  The problem with these limited releases is the bonus material seems to be getting repetitive. Some of this is due to the fact that the featurettes contain footage taken from the individual interviews, which are shown on the same disc.

The bonus material never seems to quite go with the episodes on that particular disc.  Would it have been that hard to put the celebrity interviews on the same disc as the episode they appeared in?  Perhaps that is being handled by the same guy who was in charge of the vault.

Recommendation:  The Carol Burnett Show: Treasures from the Vault (Collector's Edition) simply contains better material than the previous releases.  Sure, the only Tim Conway we get to see is in the bonus material, but there are enough quality sketches to make this one worth owning.  Unfortunately there is not enough quality pizza in the Stuffed Garlic Knots Pizza from Pizza Hut to make the purchase worthwhile.  Wait till they can make it look like the picture.  All the good taste in this evening came from Carol.   

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