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Car 54 Where Are You: Complete First Season

Car 54 Where Are You: Complete First Season

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Newly remastered 4-DVD Set from the original 35mm fine grain film prints and released in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of it's original broadcast. It took a while--half a century since it first aired, to be exact--but one of the last great sitcoms from television's golden era of the '50s and early '60s has finally come to video. That would be Car 54, Where Are You?, released here with all 30 first-season episodes (plus one bonus feature) on four discs. The show was the brainchild of Nat Hiken, who created it, produced it, cast it, wrote and directed several episodes, and even penned the familiar theme song ("There's a scout troop short a child / Khrushchev's due at Idlewild…"). Hiken had earlier been responsible for The Phil Silvers Show (a.k.a. Sgt. Bilko), which brilliantly skewered the U.S. Army. Here he takes on the New York City Police Department--specifically the 53rd Precinct in the Bronx, home turf of Officers Gunther "Ooo! Ooo!" Toody (Joe E. Ross) and Francis Muldoon (Fred Gwynne) and those who suffer from the antics of the two bumbling patrolmen. Like, say, The Honeymooners, this is old school, black & white TV, with comedy that's broad and accents that are broader (it was not only set in the Bronx, but filmed there). Unlike many more recent sitcoms, it features characters who are neither glamorous nor photogenic; it's hard to imagine the stubby, motor-mouthed Ross, the whiny, squinty-eyed Al Lewis (who plays Officer Leo Schnauser), or even the tall, more patrician Gwynne (who, along with Lewis, would later join the cast of The Munsters) getting much play as leading men now. Nor is there anything cutting edge about Car 54. There are no murders or other violent crimes, and Toody and Muldoon are less likely to nab any criminals (unless the former's 12-year-old nephew helps, as in "Quiet! We're Thinking") than be fooled by them ("No More Pickpockets" and "The Paint Job" are but two examples). The show's old-fashioned sensibility cuts both ways; typical of its time, it has a chauvinistic tone (the wives are generally depicted as shrill harpies) and almost no minority presence, but its good-hearted, Borscht Belt, "who's on first?" type of humor is a refreshing contrast to the snide one-liners that pass for laughs these days. Many users have objected to the boxed set's bare-bones presentation, noting that the episodes are not in chronological order and are the shorter, syndicated versions, in addition to the lack of any production information, liner notes, photos, and so on. These are all valid complaints, but when it comes down to what really matters--is it funny?--Car 54, Where Are You? is an undeniable hit. --Sam Graham Review One of the funniest television series of all time. Nat Hiken was a comicgenius. --Leonard MaltinHilarious...one of the finest television series ever produced. --Robert Klein See more
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