For one who has harbored the impression that Carol Burnett has done everything in show business, and usually very well, it wasn't comforting to learn that she had never done a video. Now that void is filled.
In conjunction with J2 Communications, the five-time Emmy Award-winning comedian has two delightfully entertaining videos in the marketplace and more to follow.
The one-hour videos are her selections of memorable skits from "The Carol Burnett Show," which posted super ratings for CBS with more than 275 shows and just shy of 1,000 comedy routines. Burnett updates the material with bouncy reminiscences as the introduction to each video. The intros were shot in CBS's Studio 33, where the series was produced for 11 years (1967-1978).
It's also a joy to take a look at today's Carol Burnett, 53. She's come far from a struggle-filled childhood that included growing up with a grandmother who "strapped a Christian Science Monitor newspaper to her waist to keep her insides from falling out." As a young comedian, Burnett was so awed when she was introduced to actor Jimmy Stewart on a set that she stepped off a platform and plopped her foot into a bucket of whitewash, dragging the bucket along as she shuffled out a side door trying to avoid further embarrassment.
When J2 released the two new videos in time for Christmas sales ($29.95), the initial shipment was the largest on the two-year-old company's books.
With Burnett's legion of fans, selecting a handful of these all-time TV gems could have been risky, but you can't quarrel with the choices on the first tapes. Two more are scheduled for release late this year and possibly two more in 1989.
Most fans can easily recall the skits on the first two videos from the titles:
"Went With the Wind" -- A take-off on "Gone With the Wind."
Kidnapping -- Harvey Korman as the TV director who interviews Burnett after her husband was kidnapped.
The Family -- Burnett prepares for an appearance on "The Gong Show" with Korman and Vicki Lawrence.
Fire at Will -- Korman and Tim Conway and a cannon that never fires, in vintage Korman-Conway clownery.
Wrong Number -- Burnett and Conway hassle over a late-night call.
The Recital -- Burnett, Korman, Conway and Lawrence demonstrate their lack of talent as musicians.
Little Miss Showbiz -- Anthony Newley and Bernadette Peters join the regulars as Burnett comes up a cute "Shirley Temple" named Honey Bunny.
No Frills Airline -- Korman flies first class, Conway is in the new "no frills" section and Burnett is the stewardess.
Backstage -- Burnett is a "Southern Lady" who visits Sammy Davis Jr., when the star returns home for a special performance -- and gets one from his childhood acquaintance.
The Pail -- Korman is the psychiatrist attempting to find a reason for Burnett's crying jags.
It's impossible to pick a loser in that lineup. And, not hard at all to recall dozens more that should be included in the up-coming releases.