A&E Home Video celebrates the 30th anniversary of the television series "Monty Python's Flying Circus" by bringing back the British export in digitally remastered boxed sets of videos as well as two sets of DVDs.
Monty Python's founding members -- Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin -- rewrote the book on comedy when they began their series on Oct. 5, 1969. Years later, Python devotees can still recite scenes and sketches from memory.
The video release consists of two sets (more to follow next year), with three volumes each. Each has two episodes:
Set One: Vol. 1, "Whither Canada" and "Sex and Violence"; Vol. 2, "How to Recognize Different Types of Trees From Quite a Long Way Away" and "Owl-Stretching Time"; Vol. 3, "Man's Crisis of Identity in the Latter Half of the Twentieth Century" and "It's the Arts."
Set Two: Vol. 4, "You're No Fun Anymore" and "Full Frontal Nudity"; Vol. 5, "The Ant, An Introduction" and one untitled episode. Vol. 6 has three untitled episodes.
The three-volume video sets are listed at $29.95, or $12.95 each. DVD sets are $24.95, with a two-pack listing for $44.95. To order any A&E release, call 1-800-423-1212.
In addition to the episodes on the videos, the DVD sets contain additional content, including legendary skits from the premiere season such as "tasty bits of dead people," "the funniest joke in the world," "musical mice" and "a man with three buttocks"; a glossary of Pythonisms; photos; and troupe biographies.
Several movies followed the highly successful television series, including "The Life of Brian," available on video ($14.98) and DVD ($24.98) from Anchor Bay Entertainment (1-800-745-1145). The movie is the story of a hapless peasant named Brian, mistaken for the Messiah in 32 A.D. He was born in a manger a short distance from where Jesus Christ was born and at about the same time.
A&E is offering more British wit, "The Very First Jeeves and Wooster," available in a set containing the initial five episodes of the television series about a resourceful valet and his dim-witted master, Bertie Wooster.
Also with British flavor comes "Bernadette Peters in Concert," $19.95 from Acorn Media (1-800-474-2277). The 91-minute video is from the American diva's performance in London's Royal Festival Hall. Peters won a Tony Award last year for her current role as Annie Oakley in "Annie Get Your Gun" on Broadway.