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Best of Spike Jones Collection [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: 12.23
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Product details

  • Format: Colour, DVD-Video, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Classification: NR (Not Rated) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Spike Jones
  • DVD Release Date: 24 Nov 2009
  • Run Time: 208 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002Q5O6SE
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 56,938 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

(2009/INFINITY) NTSC, Code 0, B&W, 1954-61, 208 Mins.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic SPIKE! 12 Feb 2010
Verified Purchase
Spike Jones led the craziest band of all time, the City Slickers. Although his recordings have been hugely popular since the 1940s, few collectors, especially in the UK, have ever had the delight of seeing the band in action. This set puts that right. Made up from various TV shows between 1951 and 1957, it is a treat for all Jones fans and anyone who appreciates crazy comedy applied to extremely brilliant musicianship. Most of the routines in this compilation would have been performed just once, on 'live' television, with no chance of re-takes, over-dubs or any of the techniques available to latter-day broadcasters. The print and sound quality is remarkably good considering the source material, 16mm prints taken 'off the air'. As an added bonus there are two never shown pilot shows. Most of this collection was available many years ago on VHS format. Nice to have it on better quality DVD.
"For the Love of Mike, don't miss SPIKE"!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By sb
If you liked the various video excerpts of the Spike Jones Show found on YouTube, do yourself a treat : These DVDs contain all the numbers you want to see, plus others you'll be happy to discover.

/!\ European music lovers, buy this boxset with confidence : Contrary to what Amazon states, it is NOT area-restricted with a Region 1 code. It will play just fine in a Zone 2 DVD-player, as usually used in Europe (and Japan).

Spike Jones Jr. (the son of our favorite entertainer) lovingly assembled the program to form a "best of" selection. If you want to watch some complete shows, as they where originally broadcast -- including advertisements for the program's sponsors -- the other boxset "the legend" will offer you four 1 hour programs, plus a bonus audio-CD. Some of the numbers shown in "the legend" are also in the "best of" selection, but that won't make you regret from buying both. Enjoy !
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ridiculous fun 7 Sep 2013
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A superb set of three DVDs of the incomparable Spike Jones and his band of fellow comics stroke musicians. These discs are taken from the Spike Jones Show shown on American TV from 1954 to 1961. A lot of the humour is of the slapstick variety, but now and again there are surreal comic moments. For those who have never seen Spike and like their humour with both subtlety and clamour plus a hint of the surreal, then this is highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars excellent 31 Aug 2013
By smokey
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previously had vhs recordings of this amazing band and their leader, this DVD is a wonderful compilation. brings back memories
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  23 reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spike Jones-5,Packaging-1 7 Mar 2010
By Robert Badgley - Published on Amazon.com
This is the newest and second release of rare Spike Jones TV material from the Spike Jones estate and produced by his son Spike Jones Jr.As welcome as it is,it presents a curious puzzle and feeling of unease with this reviewer.The Spike Jones material is a solid five stars all the way,no question,but the packaging this time around and the way it has been marketed in general leaves me cold.Let's look at the material first and then we'll discuss it's drawbacks after.
First off you are getting three wonderful discs here.Disc one gives us two entries:"The Best of Spike Jones" volumes one and two,released on VHS in 1985 and 1987.Both are culled from a myriad of his shows in the 50s,some you will have already seen on the first release of Spike Jones material over a year ago,the excellent "Spike Jones-the Legend".Spike Jones Jr.put the culled clips together to simulate what one of Spike Sr.'s shows would have looked like,and done a nice job I might add.
Volume One,like two and three to follow all open with the same sketch of music down through the ages:Cave men,to Mozart,to WC Handy,To Benny Goodman and back to the cave men.The first number is Farandole while the second takes on William Tell's Overture with Doodles Weaver at the helm.Here as in other volumes Jad Paul and Freddy Morgan doing a scorching job on the banjo's(you will also see Freddy play with his brother Dick ).Later we find Spike and boys depreciating "I'm in the Mood For Love" with it being capped off by a memorable performance from Billy Barty as Liberace and Earl Bennett as his brother George.Still farther on there is a great moment when we find George Rock on trumpet and Spike on the drums(a rare occurrence)playing Minka;a throw back to "the Other Orchestra" days.There is the famous"It's tough to be a girl musician,especially when you happen to be a man"sketch and all ends with the "RCA Favourites" moment featuring the songs"Captain of the Spaceship","Chloe","Holiday For Strings","You always Hurt the one You Love", and "Cocktails for Two".The end credits(also as in the other volumes)find the band and gang heading out the studio doors and waving with Spike telling us "Don't forget to write".
Volume Two on Disc one starts off with the"In a Persian Market"Medley followed by the Pete James sketch of him socking-himself-with-his-digits routine.Spike and the boys slaughter Orchi-Cornya with Freddy Morgan as a banjo strumming Stalin!Watch here,as throughout these discs,for those quick moments of a wild-eyed Spike and the throwing down,bouncing and catching(almost always) of his drumsticks.Cool...love it! Eddie Arnold makes an appearance and there is a prison sketch with Joe Besser,well known as a later Stooge of the Three Stooges.Near the end Mimi Benzell attempts to make it through "Indian Love Call" with Spike-she doesn't know him vewwy well,do she? Then the end credits.
Disc two features "The Best of Spike Jones-Volume Three",released in 1988 on VHS and another newer compilation a Spike Jones musical "Wreck We-Um".Highlights in Volume Three include the banjo talents of Freddy and Dick Morgan and Jad Paul.Billy Barty does an hilarious turn singing"That Old Black Magic" and doing great impressions of Cagney,Durante and singer Johnny Ray.He shows up again later dancing with the Barton Twins-you have to see it to appreciate it!Super talented eccentric violinist Wilbur Hall makes an appearance wearing his long toed shoes(reminiscent of English Music Hall performer Little Tich) and actress Zasu Pitts makes an appearance with Spike singing "Love In Bloom",City Slicker style.It is a good thing Spike is there to help because she seems lost a good deal of the time.Howdy Doody,Buffalo Bob Smith and Clarabell the Clown drop by and "jam" with Spike on "Bye,Bye Blackbird":Clarabell plays the trombone and Buffalo Bob plays the accordion!."Wreck We-UM" opens with the Sabre Dance then Billy Barty does another hilarious turn as Cagney in "Yankee Doodle Dandy";costume and all.He makes his entrance out of Moussy Garner's bass!There is the well known several headed-long clarinet gag,blown by Spike.The best clip is from the show with Perez Prado,a then popular purveyor of the Latin sound which was quite "in" then.Here Spike and Perez have a battle of the bands to the song "Endless Love" and it is simply hilarious.With some wonderful and bizarre sight gags thrown in along the way the show ends.
Disc Three is the treasure of the entire release and finds the only two and ultra rare TV pilots ever produced by Spike for television;both directed by veteran Eddie Cline,with credits going back to Sennett and Buster Keaton.They were filmed during the summer of 1950 and hawked around Hollywood for a couple of years,with no takers.Both pilots feature the same opening(with slight variations)with a small tv screen,as the titles roll on and George Rock telling us"For the love of Mike,don't miss Spike".Also you will see a couple of cards with the words"commercial" which appear during the course of the show as a cue to the potential buyer/sponsor where his product advert would be placed.The first pilot is called"The Foreign Legion" and it opens with Spike and the band and the Barton Twins singing their version of "O Sole Mio".After this comes Spikes' oft played Foreign Legion routine both on radio and in live shows,with a bit of beefing up for TV.Dick Morgan has a running gag in which he appears every so often eating and throwing away his deviled egg sandwiches.The sketch hasn't aged so well and doesn't quite hold up all the way through in the funny department,but it is still great to see and have.One precious moment comes when Spike and Freddy Morgan talk closely together but Freddy breaks up,breaking up Spike and they have to start the bit again.The show ends with a message from Spike to the younger viewers and a "don't forget to write" and sign off.The next pilot is called"Wild Bill Hiccup".It starts with the quite appropriate "Pass the Biscuits Mirandy" song.Then it's into another oft played live and on radio sketch and beefed up for TV;"Wild Bill Hiccup".It's a two beat rhythm throughout and every one is doing a two step and rhyming their lines.On radio it is hilarious but again for TV it doesn't always entirely work but there are many nice moments.Spike is continually riding a hobby horse and his outfit?...you just have to see it!Joe Siracussa does his two head bit,Freddy Morgan does a Chinese laundry man with a mule routine,lovely and velvet toned Helen Grayco sings "One more for the Road" and then the whole gang ends it off with an old fashioned hoe down featuring Frankie Little and Junior Martin.At the end Spike has another "talk" with the youngsters and ends off with "don't forget to write".
These shows are pure Spike Jones and with everything Spike it is always gags,gags and more gags,both sight and sound.There's nothing like it anymore and Spike was about the best proponent of this type of musical humour.There were others throughout the years but none have had more of a lasting impact than Mr.Jones.That is why it is so gratifying to see these releases from his son of his fathers' material.
By the way the set has been transferred nicely to DVD so there are no problems with video or sound.The entire set itself while contained in a wider than normal slip case is itself covered again in a matching cardboard outer cover.
Now let us get quickly to what has bothered me about this newest release.First of all the packaging is the most obvious drawback here.This is a disappointingly cheap affair,unlike that of the first release.That one you will recall had all the discs in their own separate compartments,nice and tight and on a plastic "platform".
This release has two of the three discs feathered.That is the first two sit one overlapping the other;the one on a full spindle while the other has a half one to hold it on.Not only does it make getting the discs out quite hard but it increases the chances of scratching them.And if one wants to watch the second disc,what does one do with the first one?You have to put it down somewhere in order to get the second out,right?You need to have(preferably)an empty slip case on hand to put it in.Now isn't this more trouble than a consumer should ever have in order to enjoy this product?You're darn tootin' it is!There is no "platform" here so the first two discs sit pinned directly to the bottom of one side of the inner case and the third has its' own spot on the inner cover of the other side.I would gladly have paid a little extra to get what I had in the first release;without question.
The second problem here is a more minor critique but I think one that should be mentioned.It is that this release,to me,should have been the FIRST release.Since this contains "best of" compilations/material,wouldn't it have been better from a marketing standpoint to release these first? There is an old saying"start as you mean to go".When Mr.Spike Jones Jr.released "The Legend" he released complete individual shows with their respective release dates;wonderful,high class all the way and just what a Spiker like me wants.So one would expect a continuation of same,right?To me it would have made more sense to release the compilations and whet the appetite of the fans for the shows from which they came,THEN release the complete TV shows.Finally,as I just briefly mentioned,there are NO given release dates for ANY of the material in this new release in the liner notes.VERY disappointing.
In conclusion this material is historically significant and a must have for any Spiker out there.Jones was a complete and utter original and was the most popular and enduring musician/comedian/entertainer of his ilk.His material alone gets a five star rating all the way.However the marketing strategy and especially the cheaper packaging of this release has caused some serious concerns here and marks must be deducted.I can only hope that in future releases(and we all hope there ARE future releases),that Mr.Jones Jr.goes back to the format and higher quality of the first release.That is exact release dates,better liner notes and most especially complete Spike Jones shows from which the clips of this release were culled from.
Thank you music lovers and thank you Spike Jones Jr!
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funniest Music Ever Created 8 Dec 2009
By Milton Gray - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This DVD set is a widely encompassing overview of the unique music and visual comedy of Spike Jones. Spike was an accomplished musician with a great sense of humor who created music that is not only genuinely funny in its wildly upbeat tempos and clever lyrics, but which also SOUNDED funny by his use of his expertly tuned collection of cowbells and other inventive gadgetry, too varied to describe in words. These embellishments gave his music, along with "normal" musical instruments, such a unique aural effect.

Spike hired a select group of accomplished musicians who were also great comedians, whom he called The City Slickers, and they and Spike performed inventive visual comedy with their zany music in live performances around the country. With the advent of early television, they were enormously popular for years with their own national weekly broadcasts.

Spike Jones had a true passion and genius for his creative work, and it is unlikely that he and his band will ever be equalled. It is indeed fortunate that his performances on television were recorded and are available today on DVD. Don't miss this inspired work.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Endlessly entertaining 4 Dec 2009
By Dan Plankton - Published on Amazon.com
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The talent -- comedic and musical -- on display in these DVDs is simply astonishing. Watching these DVDs I'm constantly going back and forth between cracking up at the humor -- some of it surprisingly audacious for the 1950s [at least from my perspective] -- and sitting with jaw dropped in awe at the musical inventiveness of Spike and his band. The high-energy treatments given to familiar melodies like Farandole and Sabre Dance (from the classical realm) and period pop tunes like Indian Love Call and Holiday for Strings (maybe the band's best song, performed here in a couple of treatments) are a blast of fun even if you don't know the "standard" arrangments. I was born 10 years after these programs were broadcast, so this is no nostalgia trip for me.

To be honest, this is a pretty bare-bones release that merely duplicates some VHS cassettes released in the 1980s, with a bonus disc of two pilot shows. And the material could easily fit on two DVDs. A printed listing of content (like song titles) would have been nice too. Also, there are lot of "ghost" type images and other minor visual issues -- I don't have the technical know-how to know if that could have been fixed. But flaws and all, this is a five-star release simply for the huge entertainment value. Sound quality is fine, considering the vintage -- for example, you can hear the nuances in the incredible banjo playing on Holiday for Strings.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best of Spike Jones 30 Dec 2009
By Robert L. Nolin - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
A one of a kind Guy. It's difficult to take a great band and bandleader with awesome music capabilities and screw it up and make it still sound good. This was my Dad's favorite of all time. There will never be another Spike Jones. He surely is missed. Thanks to modern technology these dvd's will remain forever.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars City Slicker Scoop 30 Mar 2010
By Hank Shaw - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
The Best of Spike Jones is an Excellent example of the Genius and Versatility of Lindley Armstrong Jones,a serious
Percussionist,who's legitimate Other Orchestra suffered,due to the fact that most People couldn't see past the City Slickers.The Musical Depreciation Revue is not only as Fresh today as it was during it's heyday ,but an Alternative
to some of the Dribble that is called Music today.The City Slickers actually came from the Feather Merchant's led by
Clarinetist and Singer Del-Porter.Spike even played on Bing Crosby's White Christmas,I must admit I have always been a Jones Fan ,this DVD set is a Must have if You enjoy the Zaniness and Musicality of the Group,if you've never heard of Spike or Songs like Cocktails for two,Chloe,The William Tell Overture,or Der Fuehrers Face,or seen Billy Barty run
around the Stage as the bottom half of a pair of Pants ,then You are in for a treat, I am sure that Spike Jones Jr.
the Executive Producer made this a Labor of Love,though You might think it Corny,to me it's a Superb display of Talent
and Comedy as well as Great Nostalgia.I hope You enjoy it as much as I did.You have to be pretty good to be this Bad.
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