'The Muppet Show - The Complete Third Season'
(Jim Henson, Frank Oz, et al / 4-Disc DVD / NR / (1976) 2008 / BVHE)
Overview: Wocka! Wocka! Wocka! The innovative variety show's sensational third season earned television's prestigious Peabody Award as well as an Emmy(R) Award nomination for outstanding Comedy-Variety or Music Program. Featuring a sensational lineup of hilarious guest stars - including Sylvester Stallone, Gilda Radner, Raquel Welch and Liberace - Season Three is loaded with more Muppetational moments than any show in primetime history.
DVD Verdict: Classic! Classic! Oh boy, so Classic! Same reaction to this one as the other sets! I had forgotten over the years what a fantastic program this was. Stellar guests stars, family-style humor, and creativity that is rarely seen today. This 3rd Season set is no exception.
Stand-out guest stars include Gilda Radner, Pearl Bailey, Jean Stapleton, Loretta Lynn, Liberace, Raquel Welch, Helen Reddy, Sylvester Stallone, Danny Kaye, Harry Belafonte, Lesley Ann Warren, Lynn Redgrave, Roy & Dale, Cheryl Ladd, and more. Unlike other variety shows, these guest stars genuinely seem to be having a ball and enjoying themselves. Cheryl Ladd's episode turned out to be one of my favorites; known mainly for "Charlie's Angels," she shows plenty of talent in singing & dancing (even more so than the somewhat stiff Raquel Welch).
Her karate duet with Miss Piggy ("I Enjoy Being A Girl") is adorable. Jean Stapleton shows that she can carry a tune better than her famous character Edith Bunker; Gilda Radner also has a pleasing musical voice.
The Bonus Features are fantastic; "Muppets on Puppets" is a one-hour black & white TV show from 1968 that is a VERY behind the scenes look at puppets/muppets; the different types, how to make them work, how to create them, and even a "behind the wall" look at Jim Henson & Frank Oz performing. Adults will really enjoy this; warning for parents who don't want children know how the "magic" happens, you may want to skip over this extra. Interesting to see Henson's flat-line persona in contrast to his extremely creative handling/vocals for the muppets.
"A Company of Players" is a present day featurette that also goes behind the scenes; VERY cool to learn about how Miss Piggy came to be (especially the "why" behind her infamous karate chops!) and the way that Frank Oz & Jim Henson worked together (likened to any famous comedy duo). The happy camaraderie in front of the camera also existed behind the scenes.
The Purina Dog Chow commercials are black and white featuring Rowlf the Dog & Baskerville; they are truly funny (still!). What they lack in picture quality, they make up for in fun. Sure is refreshing to see a simple commercial that can sell the message.
Overall picture/sound quality on this set is high; many older shows shot on videotape have not held up over the years; this one IS an exception. Good color and image detail (you can even see the wood grain on the set doors), and the sound is pleasing also. For families, children, and Muppet fans, this set is a must-have! This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs, and comes with all the Special Features mentioned above!