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This show was based on the famous SECOND CITY acting/comedy troupe touting FRED WILLARD and others. The shows strength was the almost "daffy" skits like COUNT FLOYDS late night movie, the dave thomas richard harris skit, and the MACKENZIE BROTHERS..not to mention the rip on GIVE EM HELL HARRY and JAMES WHITMORE. The original series ran starting in 1978, and was original to say the least, it's best attribute was that the WHOLE show was funny and not lopsided like SNL (where the first half is a gas and the last half sucks). No stupid skits like some of the character driven "we want to make a movie off of them" routines. The writing was ingenious and humorous. This is sometimes seen in syndication in smaller USA markets and COMEDY CENTRAL.
Finally SCTV on DVD. The first 5 DVD's released contain the first 9
episodes from the 90 minute series on NBC. Thirteen and one half hours.
There are more to come. HOORAY!!!!!!!!!!!!
Mine arrived today. Already I have watched the first three episodes. Talk about holding up. After 23 years, these shows are just as funny and refreshing as they were in 1981. In fact, I think I laughed harder today then I did a long time ago. SCTV never took cheap shots or the easy way. Their sketches had wit, charm, and intelligence. They never played down to the viewers. For example, I remember their version of T S Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral. Except they set it around a space shot at Cape Canaveral. One of my sons and I once tried to list all the characters each person played. Try it yourself. You may never get to the end. I could go on and on, but the time I spend writing this is keeping me away from the next episode.
I'm glad my Spam blocker let the e-mail notice for these DVD's from Amazon come through. I bought 6 sets. One for me and one for each of my grown offspring. When they were little I let them stay up late on Friday nights for SCTV. Probably the best thing I ever did for them.
John Candy played YOSH Schmenge and Eugene Levy played STAN Schmenge.
The names are reversed in your listings.
Here is a quote from the The New York Times Movies Review of The Last Polka: The Last Polka 1984 - Parody/Spoof/Satire/Mockumentary/Showbiz Comedy
Rating: NR (Suitable for Children) Running Time: 54 minutes
Directed by: John Blanchard
PLOT DESCRIPTION This HBO comedy special is a send-up of Martin Scorsese's The Last Waltz. Scorsese's film, it will be recalled, recorded the final concert of the rock group The Band. Polka deals with the rise and fall of that fabulous Lutonian twosome, the Schmenge Brothers. John Candy is Yosh Schmenge, and Eugene Levy is Stan Schmenge. "And ve are...der Happy Vanderers."
Here is the URL:
Toronto's comedy scene in the 1970s had become intensely vibrant. So
great that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) once devoted the
awkward Saturday night half-hour+ time slot following "Hockey Night In
Canada" and preceding national news, to the spirit of what would one
day become the SCTV phenomenon.
Speaking of which, IF anyone out there has a video copy of their hilarious version of the 1958 film, "Queen Of Outer Space", starring Paul Birch, LET ME KNOW! I remember Eugene Levy's voice and those of others dubbed over the actual soundtrack. This was the predecessor to the brilliant Mystery Science Theatre 3000! The spoof had to be just about the most brilliant, if not the funniest, thing I had seen to that point in my young life - it played some time in the mid to late 1970s. I've been told by reliable sources the show was called "Stay Tuned."
It seems John Candy was the man NBC was originally interested in to form a new sketch comedy series, but this generous and kind giant invited his friends and colleagues from 1970s Toronto Second City to be involved and we comedy aficionados can be thankful he did. The result was the most intelligent, creative and funny television series on the North American continent.
At this point in time, comedy in Canada had finally become comparable to anywhere in the world. For the writing/performing ensemble on "SCTV Network 90," they had reached the apex of brilliance during this time. Most of the cast went on to greater fame in later projects.
The series raised the confidence for Canadians who pursued comedy as a career and now the nation can boast many top notch domestic comedy series. Comedy is now an industry in which Canadians rival the best in the world and the development of SCTV Network 90 was an important part of that process.
Packed with bonus features and lots of great comedy, the five-disc DVD is
amazing, albeit over-priced at a retail value of $89.99. Who can afford
THAT? Luckily I got a discount through Wal-Mart's website.
SCTV remains as poignant and funny as it was when it first aired during the '70s on local Canadian television stations. It was in 1981 when the show moved to NBC, featuring extended 90-minute episodes. These are largely considered to be the best by the fans and members of the cast.
To say that the show relied solely on John Candy for success is unfair, although partly true. First billed, arguably the greatest actor on the show, Candy's legacy remains a stirring picture of loneliness -- he turned down roles on SNL, citing devotion to fellow SCTV pals. Incidentally a few of them, most notably Martin Short, did indeed make the move to SNL where their careers hit a rock in the road. I never enjoyed Short on SNL although he is hilarious here. Dave Thomas, who recently turned up in the horrendous BEETHOVEN'S 5TH (please, Universal, no more!) is funny as are Flaherty, Levy and Moranis. If you're not familiar with these actors, you'll probably notice their faces as you watch - Flaherty was in BACK TO THE FUTURE PART II, Levy was Jim's Dad in AMERICAN PIE, and Moranis was in HONEY I SHRUNK THE KIDS.
Overall this DVD set, which Conan O'Brien claims very well may be the funniest you will ever own, and Ben Stiller raves about in a dedication pamphlet included in the DVD, is a good place to start if you're new to the world of SCTV and have only heard of it recently - or if, like me, you've been waiting forever for them to (finally) release it on DVD!
P.S. If you're a fan of John Candy, you probably know that he didn't have a "great" film career, although under the supervision of John Hughes (his De Niro/Scorsese-esque collaborator) he made what is arguably the funniest comedy of the '80s, and my favorite of all time, PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES, widely considered to be one of the best comedies ever made, adored by many, featured on Roger Ebert's great movies list, boasting 100% positive reviews on RottenTomatoes.com with over 20 reviews (average rating of 8.2/10 - extraordinary!) and which was yet again featured on AFI's list of 100 great comedies. I've never met a single person who dislikes SCTV or PLANES...
Check them both out if you want a good laugh and a good time.
Sorry to pose the question, since I have to say I don't know myself. This
was easily the cleverest show I have seen. And it's the only TV comedy I
know that is sometimes really fascinating.
In the episode where the broadcast is jammed by the Soviets, I found that along with the funny premise and its very funny execution (the stroboscopic image, the "new mini-cam", "Uzbeks"), there was a genuinely creepy vision of media under state control.
But it would give entirely the wrong impression to suggest that the show was ever preachy, even though it belittled the socially irresponsible from time to time. It was always exuberant fun.
Just so everyone understands, this was the series made for NBC, not the original lower-budget (but very good) years, nor the following year on Cinemax, which I didn't see.
Unfortunately I haven't seen any of them in over ten years. This is one of the very few things I would own on DVD if it were available.
"Battle of the PBS Stars", "Chariots of Eggs", Guy Caballero forgetting to stay in his chair, the frightening lust of Edith Prickly, and of course "Great White North". They deserve to be preserved.
When NBC hired the producers and cast members of "Second City Television" for "SCTV Network 90," they provided them with a larger budget and longer programming time than the original show had. As a result, the performers/writers elaborated on the show's original premise of a cheap TV station. Established characters like Joe Flaherty's Guy Caballero and Andrea Martin's Edith Prickley were deepened with more quirks that often thematically unified the sketches, such as an episode when Guy's job as station owner is threatened when he forges a check. The sketches became lengthier and more layered, exploring further possibilities in television satire, such as a "Godfather" parody likening TV executives to mob bosses. And SCTV still maintained its comic bite, thanks to both the writing and the performers. The humor remained intelligent and insightful and unlike SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE never became self-consciously hip or stale. SCTV 90 provided some of the greatest TV comedy ever, the like which we may never see again.
It's so darned funny! Who couldn't love "I Was A Teenage Communist"?
There are millions of fans I suppose, but I felt like it was like an
inside joke I shared with the cast. Silly, nonsensical, insane,
insanely funny, comedy as high art.
Dave Thomas playing Bob Hope as if he were Bob Hope in a parallel universe on parole with a shiv tucked in his pants.
There was something dangerous about that show. Early on "Saturday Night Live" had an air of danger. As if I was watching something that threatened to spin loose and leave large bloody gashes in the audience. Later SCTV struck me in similar way. The difference was I was getting older and my sense of humor became sardonic.
I just finished watching Season 3 of SCTV, and have to say that show was truly inspired. Just goes to show the power of giving creative control to the actors themselves, and allowing them to develop their characters and ideas as a group. That, and I'm amazed by how ambitious this show was. The time-slot was actually very long for a comedy show, and it's remarkable that they could come up with so much great material. If you remember the era this was created in and the pop-culture that goes along with it, this is a real treat. And, for film buffs that weren't yet born when the show first aired, you're sure to catch the references to the landmark films and TV shows of the time that you may have seen or collected. As a fan of pop-culture and satirical comedy, this series is a real gem. Highly recommended.
In an alternate universe, SCTV is still on the air after 30 years, and
SNL was cancelled after the 1979 season. And the people living in that
alternate universe are both much happier and better off than we will
SCTV is simply one of the greatest television programs ever. Surreal, topical, and laugh out loud funny, it simply must be experienced to be believed. And the performers were easily the most talented bunch ever to work on a television comedy. Now an entirely new generation can behold and enjoy this gem.
Thank God for DVD!
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