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Chico and the Man - Television Favorites


TITLE: CHICO AND THE MAN - TELEVISION FAVORITES


Info:

DVD Release Date: September 27, 2005 (Warner Bros. Home Video)
Color
MSRP: $9.97
Number of Discs: 1
Number of Episodes: 6
Running Time: Approx. 150 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; English, Spanish, and French Subtitles; Closed captioned
Special Features: None


Introduction:

Chico is brash young Chico Rodriquez, played by Freddie Prinze. The Man is curmudgeonly old Ed Brown, played by Jack Albertson. Put them together and you get Chico and the Man, the culture-clash, attitude-clash, age-clash comedy hit about mismatched mechanics running a rundown L.A. garage.

Chico and the Man comes to DVD for the first time ever in this 6-episode compilation featuring some of the finest and funniest shows of the series. The laughs begin with the pilot, when Chico fast-talks his way into a job at Ed's garage. In later episodes, complications with family and friends, money and machismo, broken hearts and broken-down cars provide the comedy... but throughout the joking, the two main characters build a solid relationship out of their differences. Muy funny!

Chico and the Man aired on NBC from 1974-1978. A total of 88 episodes were produced over the show's four seasons. The show was an instant hit during it's first season. It ranked #3 overall with a 28.5 rating in 1974-1975. In 1975-1976, it ranked #25 with a 20.8 rating. Besides Freddie Prinze and Jack Albertson, the show starred Scatman Crothers as Louie, Bonnie Boland as Mabel (1974-1975), Isaac Ruiz as Mando (1974-1977), Ronny Graham as Rev. Bemis (1975-1976), and Della Reese as Della Rogers (1976-1978). Tragically, Freddie Prinze took his own life in January 1977. Gabriel Melgar as Raul Garcia and Charo as Aunt Charo were added to the cast following his death. The show's theme song, "Chico and the Man," was written and performed by Jose Feliciano.


Episodes Included:

This set includes 6 episodes from the series. Some of the guests stars on these episodes include Penny Marshall, Jose Feliciano, and Cesar Romero. Here is the list:

1. Pilot Episode (original airdate: 09/13/74)

Chico tries to persuade Ed to give him a job in the garage.

Guest stars: Rodolfo Hayes as customer, Sidney Clute as police officer #1, Jerry Fogel as police officer #2

W: James Komack, Don Nicholl, & Michael Ross, Bernie West
D: Peter Baldwin

17. If I Were a Rich Man (01/31/75)

Chico has fallen head over heels in love and Ed is trying to turn him right side up.

Guest stars: Isaac Ruiz as Mando, Liberty Williams as Marilyn Simmons, Perry Cook as customer

W: Jerry Ross
D: Bill Foster

24. Chico and the Van (10/17/75)

A city official claims Chico's van is illegal, so he moves in with Ed.

Guest stars: Penny Marshall as Anita, Ralph Manza as Mr. Gomez

W: Ann Gibbs & Joel Kimmel
D: Jack Donohue

41. Chico's Cousin Pepe (02/11/76)

Chico's blind, women-chasing, singing cusin visits.

Guest star: Jose Feliciano

W: Fred S. Fox & Seaman Jacobs
D: Jack Donohue
Note: The title song is sung in this episode by Jose Feliciano.

58. Chico's Padre (02/04/77)

Chico's long-lost rich father, Gilberto, returns to give him a better life.

Guest star: Cesar Romero as Gilberto Rodriguez

D: Jack Donohue

62. Ed Talks to God (03/04/77)

Chico tries to change Ed's mind about not attending his own birthday party by having Ed's old friend impersonate God.

Guest star: Edward Andrews as Blinky Foster

W: Michael Morris
D: Jack Donohue

Note: Freddie Prinze's last episode.


Packaging:

The packaging is an Amaray movie-style case. The front cover features the Chico and the Man logo in white, with a photo of Freddie Prinze and Jack Albertson inside a TV set. The back cover has a small photo of Chico and another one of Ed taking a bath. There is a short summary of the set, and the episodes are listed as well. The outer edges of the case are clear plastic. Inside the case, there are additional photos of Chico and Ed. There is a larger photo of Ed and Chico on the rightphand side. The episode titles with the writing and directing credits are listed on the left side. I think it would have been nice for them to include short summaries of the episodes as well as the guest stars and original airdates. The single disc features the Chico and the Man logo and the same photo as the cover art (only it's cropped a bit).


Chico and the Man DVD Menu Chico and the Man DVD Menu

Menu Design and Navigation:

The main menu features a photo of Chico and Ed on the right and the show logo in the upper- left corner. A short instrumental version of the theme can be heard in the background. There is a brick background with car parts also. There are 3 options on the menu: Play, Episodes, and Languages. The Play option will play all 6 episodes on the disc. When you select Episodes, it takes you to a sub-menu which has a photo of Freddie on the right side with a brick background with some car parts as well. The episode titles are listed vertically in 2 columns. The episode titles are in a black and white font, like the show logo. When you highlight an episode, it is underlined in black that turns light blue upon your selection. The languages option gives you the option of choosing English, Spanish, or French subtitles. The languages sub-menu features a photo of Ed. Unfortunately, there are no scene selection menus or even chapter stops within the episodes.


Video and Audio Quality:

I've seen the episodes before on TV Land and currently on the AmericanLife Network (which airs them unedited). The quality of the episodes on this disc is about the same. Chico and the Man was shot on videotape, so there is no dust and debris that you would see on film. There is an occasional video blip here and there, but these episodes generally look excellent and as good as can be expected given their age. The episodes appear to be complete and unedited - running around 24-25 minutes in length. The audio is in Dolby Digital - English Mono. The sound is typical of what you would see on a lot of 1970's sitcoms like Sanford and Son, All in the Family, Good Times, etc. I didn't notice any major problems, and the audio is at a good level. I've always loved listening to the theme song by Jose Feliciano. Closed captioning is available on all the episodes. There is an option for English, Spanish, and French subtitles. I think it would have been cool to have the episodes dubbed in Spanish also.

1. Pilot (25:53)
17. If I Were a Rich Man (25:34)
24. Chico and the Van (24:32)
41. Chico's Cousin Pepe (24:34)
58. Chico's Padre (24:34)
62. Ed Talks to God (24:18)


Special Features:

No special features on this set. Just the 6 episodes are included. If they have plans for any future releases, it would be nice to see some bloopers, original network promos, and interviews and/or commentaries with Isaac Ruiz and Della Reese.


Final Comments:

Looooking gooooood! This is not a full season release that I'm sure many people would have liked, but this is priced cheaply and is a nice starter set. Chico and the Man has long been one of the most popular 1970's sitcoms message boards right here at Sitcoms Online. I remember when the show first came on TV Land. It was like everyone had rediscovered the show and came together to share their memories. Freddie Prinze had so much talent and charisma. I know he would have been a major star for many years. His legacy lives on with his son, Freddie Jr., on the new ABC sitcom "Freddie." Let's hope for some full season sets of Chico and the Man in the future!


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 4.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 10/09/05

To purchase the DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000A0GXGK/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20


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