Christmas is coming early again this year, with the October 15, 2015, release of another batch of six great Danny Kaye Show episodes.
This third collection, called “Danny Kaye – Legends,” features Kaye swinging with A List guests, like Lucille Ball, Louis Armstrong, and George Burns.
The two previous releases included one disc with black-and-white episodes from the series’ sketch-centric first two seasons, and a second disc with color episodes from the music-heavy third and fourth seasons. As a bigger fan of the early shows, I’m not crazy about the idea of this time offering just two Season Two shows and four from the latter years, but completely understand the decision, since the bigger musical stars and the full color do make those shows seem much more contemporary.
Here’s what to expect:
• The Lucille Ball Show. Including this disc was a no-brainer. Danny and Lucy work great together, from the balloon dance opening to the quick-change sketch finale. This episode has been viewable in pieces on YouTube for several years, but it will be great to see it cleaned up and reassembled. (Episode 42, originally aired 11-4-64)
• The Tony Bennett Show. The crooner may be the reason for including this episode, but Danny reuniting with Imogene Coca, his Camp Tamiment co-star, from the 1930s, in spoofs of Swan Lake and the Mikado, will be my main reason for watching. (Episode 47, 12-9-64)
• The Shirley Jones Show. This episode may have been “love-themed,” but taping it was anything but, as recalled director Steve Binder (who would be fired after the next episode). On the plus (and perhaps more accurate) side, the Righteous Brothers perform “Lost That Lovin’ Feeling.” (Episode 68, 9-29-65)
• The Liberace Show. I’m really looking forward to this one, Liberace notwithstanding. It features Danny in one of his James Blonde spoofs, in a Giovanni sketch, and teaming with two lovely frequent guest stars (Victoria Meyerink and Vikki Carr) in the song Billy Barnes wrote for them, “Vickie.” (Episode 106, 1-11-67)
• The Satchmo Show. Louis Armstrong actually taped two episodes of The Danny Kaye Show a month apart in late 1966. Whichever one the DVD’s producers choose, whether the one with the Salute to St. Louis medley and Danny’s Paul Revere number or the one with “The Five Pennies Saints” and Kaye’s Spanish fairy tale “Jose and the Beanstalk,” they can’t go wrong. (Episode 104, 11-16-66, or Episode 107, 1-4-67)
• The George Burns Show. Burns’ wife and longtime comedy partner Gracie Allen died just a couple of years before this episode was taped, so it will be great to see the master back performing. He works flawlessly with Kaye, in a medley of old standards and in a Jerome sketch. (Episode 113, 3-1-67)
My thanks to DVD producer MVD Visual for continuing to make these shows available and for picking out another group of winners. Keep releasing them, and we’ll keep buying them.