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Laverne & Shirley - The Third Season


TITLE: LAVERNE & SHIRLEY - THE THIRD SEASON


Info:

DVD Release Date: November 27, 2007 (CBS DVD/Paramount Home Video)
Color / 1977-78
MSRP: $38.99
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 24
Running time: Approx. 9 Hours, 59 Minutes
Audio Tracks: Dolby Digital - Restored English Mono
Video: Full Frame 1.33:1
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; No Subtitles; Closed Captioned
Special Features: None


Introduction:

TV's favorite, funniest females, Laverne & Shirley (Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams), are back on DVD for the Third Season! You'll fall in love with Milwaukee's brightest bottlecappers all over again, as the girls' zany adventures take them from the high seas of a cruise ship to their highest comic heights as they pilot an airplane! Join the girls, along with their kooky friends Lenny and Squiggy (Michael McKean, David L. Lander), along with the rest of the gang and some terrific guest stars, for more hilarious classic comedy. This collectible 4-disc set includes all 24 episodes, each one loaded with love and laughter!


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Laverne & Shirley's third season premiered on September 20, 1977. It continued to air on Tuesdays at 8:30-9:00 P.M. on ABC. This season it edged out Happy Days (31.4 rating) for the #1 slot with a 31.6 rating. Laverne & Shirley would remain the #1 rated show for one more season before falling out of the top 30. The show received three Golden Globe nominations this season for Best TV Actress - Musical/Comedy (Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams) and Best TV-Series - Musical/Comedy.

Memorable episodes included "Airport '59," in which Laverne and Shirley take their first plane trip. The girls have an argument after Shirley's new boyfriend (Dale Robinette) asks Laverne out. The girls want to meet Fabian (as Himself), but don't even have concert tickets in "Laverne and Shirley Meet Fabian." Shirley is taken to the hospital and learns that her appendix is about to burst in "Shirley's Operation." Mrs. Babish's mentally challenged daughter, Amy (Linda Gillin) comes for a vist, and develops a relationship with Lenny in "The Slow Child." Laverne goes to Shirley's dental student cousin, Mikey (Bob McClurg). Squiggy fails the written portion of his driving test in "The Driving Test." Shirley wants to become a member of the Ladies' Auxilliary Milwaukee Police, but must compete an intense obstacle course first in "The Obstacle Course."

Notable guest stars included Ed Peck (Officer Kirk on "Happy Days") as the Packer Fan in "Airport '59." George Pentecost guest starred as Cramer in "The Robot Lawsuit." George Memmoli ("Hello, Larry") played Uncle Tom in "An Affair to Forget (Part 1)." Fabian appeared as himself in "Laverne and Shirley Meet Fabian." Ken Lerner guest starred as Pete and Carol Ita White made her final appearance as Rosie Greenbaum in "Laverne and Shirley Meet Fabian." Harry Shearer was the voice of Max Shotz in "The Second (Almost) Annual Shotz Talent Show" and the interviewer in "Bus Stop." Christopher Guest appeared as Greg Harris and Carl Gottlieb was the Station Manager in "Bus Stop."


Packaging:

The 4-disc set includes all 24 episodes from the third (1977-78) season. The packaging is consistent with the second season release. They use an Amaray movie-style case with clear outer edges. The cover art features a photo of Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams. It definitely looks like it is from one of the later seasons and not a season three photo, but I guess that is not that big of a deal. The Laverne & Shirley logo is in pink in the middle of the case and "The Third Season" is in a bottlecap to the right of that. Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams are listed at the very top of the case. The color scheme of this set is purple, pink and white. On the back of the case, there is a large photo of Penny and Cindy and three smaller photos. Two are screenshots of Penny and Cindy from the episodes The third is a publicity shot of David L. Lander and Michael McKean. A short synopsis of the set is given, and the DVD specs are listed at the bottom. A tiny photo of Penny and Cindy is on the spine of the case. There is a plastic holder in the middle of the case that holds the second and third discs. The first and fourth discs are in embedded holders. The embedded holders appear to be much sturdier than what they used on the second season set, so the discs don't pop out as easily and shouldn't become loose and possibly be scratched. Episode titles, original airdates and short summaries are listed by disc in the backgrounds, which are white in color. The disc number and episode titles are listed in pink. The original airdates and short summaries are in black text. There are six photos inside the cases. Overall, the packaging is improved over the second season set. It is just a better presentation. Continuing the trend of other recent CBS DVD/Paramount sets, the discs are very plain looking and just have the show logo on them and have a silver background. The Laverne & Shirley logo on them gives a hologram-type effect when you turn them into the light. Photos of the cast on the discs would have been much nicer. Here is the breakdown by disc: Disc 1 - Episodes 1-6, Disc 2 - Episodes 7-12, Disc 3 - Episodes 13-18, Disc 4 - Episodes 19-24.


Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus are very basic, but they look nice and are easy to navigate. They have the same yellow and white background that was used on the second season packaging. Each disc has a different photo. Disc 1 has the same photo of Penny and Marshall that was used on the season two cover art. Disc 2 has a photo of Cindy and Penny wearing a pilot's hat. Disc 3 features David L. Lander and Michael McKean. Disc 4 has Penny and Cindy in sweaters. They have the Laverne & Shirley logo above the photos and a silver bottlecap with The Third Season written on it next to that. The episodes are listed vertically in black text in a pink background box. The episodes titles have white borders that turn yellow when you highlight them and then blue when you make your selection. The font that they use for the text looks like the one that The Brady Bunch used. A "Play All" button is available for those who want to watch the episodes without any interruptions. A previews option for some other CBS DVD/Paramount TV releases is available at the start of the first disc. Chapter stops are available within the episodes, but no separate scene selection menus are offered.


Video and Audio Quality:

After watching the first two seasons, I think the third season doesn't look quite as good. While the first season look outstanding and remastered, the second season dropped a bit in quality. For the third season, these episodes look to be in worse shape. Since the show was shot on film, there are a few scenes with some dirt, debris and other digital artificats. Something that I noticed on the set that was less visible on the earlier releases is that there are a number of scenes with some white specks and static on them. I'm not sure what happened here, but I was expecting the quality to improve from season to season. The episodes are presented in their original full screen (1.33:1) and in their original broadcast order. They are spread out well over 4 discs with no more than 6 episodes per disc. For the closing logo enthusiasts, you will be disappointed to see that the Paramount mountain logo is gone. A Miller-Milkis Productions, Inc. and Henderson Production Company, Inc. logo is embedded in the credits. The new CBS Paramount Television logo is also visible.

The audio is in Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono, and I didn't notice any major problems. The volume is at a good level, and the dialogue is easy to understand. Closed captioning is available. While the opening and closing theme songs are intact, there are some music substitutions and scenes edited out entirely in the episodes. On the back of the case, it says in very small text: "Some music has been changed for this home entertainment version. Some episodes may be edited from their original network versions." They didn't mention that any episodes were edited on the second season, although that wasn't the case. While Laverne & Shirley didn't use quite as much music as the early seasons of Happy Days, there was still a decent amount that was spread throughout the episodes (although not every episode had music). Most of the music that has been replaced on this set with generic instrumental music was played on the jukebox at the Pizza Bowl. In fact, I could only identify one song ("Chances Are" by Johnny Mathis) that could be heard on the jukebox. Most of the cast performances seem to be included (especially the original compositions that were written specifically for the show), but there appears to be at least two of Carmine's (The Big Ragu) performances that were edited out entirely. The episodes run from 23:30 to 25:11 in length. 17 of the 24 episodes run over 25 minutes in length. Only two run under 24 minutes.

I've checked the music listings on the episode guide at TV.com. It may not be 100% accurate or complete, but it is the only list that I had to go by. It is interesting to note that original artists title cards are included in the closing credits, unlike the second season set where they were removed. They note that the recording artists contributing to the series are: Ike Cole, Cyndi Grecco, Eddie Mekka and Johnnie Ray (only in one episode). Unfortunately, I didn't hear any songs by Ike Cole and Johnnie Ray on the DVD. If you notice any missing scenes or substituted music, please post in this thread.

Robot Lawsuit - Laverne sings "On the Good Ship Lollypop" in the original version of the episode, but it is not present on the DVD.

Laverne's Arranged Marriage - Carmine's opening number appears to be cut at the beginning of the episode. The episode begins awkwardly with some applause from the audience. The music on the jukebox has been replaced with some generic instrumental music.

An Affair To Forget (Part 1) - Two songs on the jukebox were replaced. Carmine's performance of a Mexican song on the cruise is included. He dances with Edna. I'm not sure of the name of the song, but it is one that I've heard many times.

Laverne and Shirley Meet Fabian - Two songs on the jukebox were replaced. Fabian's performance of "Turn Me Loose" is included. It appears that he lip-synched the song, as his mouth doesn't always match the words.

New Year's Eve - 1960. There were six songs originally on the jukebox in this episode. Unfortunately, only one of them is included. "Chances Are" by Johnny Mathis plays on the jukebox near the end of the episode. I guess if they could have only one song for this episode, this was the most appropriate choice that fit the scene. It was a bit strange to see everybody doing the twist without Chubby Checker's "The Twist" being played in the background, but that song was replaced with some generic instrumental.

The Slow Child - "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do" by Neil Sedaka is replaced on the jukebox. They did include an Irish instrumental theme and a nice rendition of "Danny Boy" by Eddie Mekka.

The Second (Almost) Annual Shotz Talent Show - Lenny and the Squigtones' "Night After Night" is included. Other performances that are included are Carmine singing and dancing to "Get Happy" and Laverne & Shirley singing "Aba Daba Honeymoon" in chimp suits on roller skates. Since this episode runs only 23:52, it seems likely that one of the music performances at the talent show was edited out entirely.

The Dentist - This episode runs only 23:30. Carmine's performance of "Personality" at the start of the episode was cut out entirely.

Bus Stop - "Milwaukee Moon" (written by Michael McKean) is included at the end of the episode. The entire cast sings it.

The Driving Test - Laverne & Shirley sing "The Twist". I guess if they only wanted to pay for that song once, this was the scene to choose instead of hearing it on the jukebox in an earlier episode. Laverne actually sings it a second time, so maybe they had to pay for it twice.

The Obstacle Course - Two songs on the jukebox were replaced.

Debutante Ball - "Take Good Care of My Baby," by Bobby Vee, was replaced on the jukebox.

The Dance Studio - The hula routine scene is included. Another scene that is included is Carmine dancing to "By Myself," which he sings in the pre-recorded background. This was reportedly Eddie Mekka's favorite episode of the series.

Breakin' Up and Makin' Up - The scene of Laverne, Shirley and Carmine singing "Running Bear" at the beginning of the episode is included. Another unidentified song by Laverne and Shirley is heard later in the episode. While Laverne plays the piano, Shirley sings "If I Loved You." Nice that they included all three songs in this episode.

Here is the episode breakdown by disc, including the running times:

Disc 1
---------
3-1 - 39. Airport' 59 (09/20/77) (25:04)
3-2 - 40. Tag Team Wrestling (09/27/77) (25:07)
3-3 - 41. The Pact (10/04/77) (25:11)
3-4 - 42. Robot Lawsuit (10/25/77) (24:52)
3-5 - 43. Laverne's Arranged Marriage (11/01/77) (24:27)
3-6 - 44. An Affair To Forget (Part 1) (11/08/77) (25:08) *

* Note: An Affair To Forget (Parts 1 & 2) is known as Cruise (Parts 1 & 2) on various online episode guides.

Disc 2
---------
3-7 - 45. An Affair To Forget (Part 2) (11/15/77) (25:12)
3-8 - 46. Laverne and Shirley Meet Fabian (11/22/77) (25:06)
3-9 - 47. The Stakeout (11/29/77) (24:56)
3-10 - 48. Shirley's Operation (12/06/77) (25:09)
3-11 - 49. Take My Plants, Please (12/13/77) (25:06)
3-12 - 50. New Year's Eve - 1960 (12/27/77) (24:56)

Disc 3
---------
3-13 - 51. The Mortician (01/10/78) (25:10)
3-14 - 52. The Horse Show (01/17/78) (25:04)
3-15 - 53. The Slow Child (01/24/78) (25:04)
3-16 - 54. The Second (Almost) Annual Shotz Talent Show (01/31/78) (23:52)
3-17 - 55. The Dentist (02/07/78) (23:30)
3-18 - 56. Bus Stop (02/14/78) (24:48)

Disc 4
---------
3-19 - 57. The Driving Test (02/21/78) (25:06)
3-20 - 58. The Obstacle Course (02/28/78) (25:07)
3-21 - 59. Debutante Ball (05/09/78) (25:05)
3-22 - 60. 2001: A Comedy Odyssey (05/16/78) (25:01)
3-23 - 61. The Dance Studio (05/23/78) (25:07)
3-24 - 62. Breakin' Up and Makin' Up (05/30/78) (25:04)


Special Features:

Unfortunately, there are no special features included for the third consecutive time. It would have been nice if they could have made up for the music substitutions with some extras. Laverne & Shirley's first appearance would have been a great "bonus" episode to include, but you'll have to buy Happy Days - The Third Season to see it.


Final Comments:

Hello! After finishing in third and second place for the first two seasons, Laverne & Shirley became the top-ranked show for the 1977-78 season. It even narrowly surpassed Happy Days by 0.2 ratings points. It would hold the #1 ranking for one more season. I feel like the show was at its peak from seasons 2-5. There weren't a ton of notable guest stars in this season, but there were many funny scenes and episodes. The chemistry of the cast is undeniable.

Fans are probably pleased with only having to wait about 7 months between the season 2 and 3 releases after a 2 1/2 year delay between seasons 1-2. It would be nice if they continued to release them at a regular pace. There is, once again, quite a bit of music that has been replaced. Most of it was background music that was played on the jukebox, so it wasn't really that important to the scenes. A few other scenes have been edited out because of music licensing issues, but I guess that has to be expected these days. Some people thought there was too much of The Big Ragu, but I'm one of those who wanted MORE Ragu. I am one of the purists who wants to see the episodes as close to their original versions as possible, but I will take whatever completely unedited episodes they will give us. I'd pay a premium price if they included all of the original music, but I'm not sure the casual fan would do the same. I've read some comments that people thought the second and third seasons were still over-priced, so you can't please everybody. Another issue that I have with this set is the video quality. I would have expected that the video quality would have improved each season, but it seems to have dropped with each release. Season one had outstanding, remastered video. Season two's video wasn't quite as nice but generally very good. Season three's video seems to have the most problems. There is simply too many white specks and static in some scenes. If shows can be remastered when they go into syndication, why can't they receive the same kind of treatment on DVD?

Don't forget that Laverne & Shirley's first appearance on Happy Days can be found on Happy Days - The Third Season. They make two other appearances that season.


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

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

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 11/26/07

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

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000UX6TL6/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

Questions or comments about this set? Post on our message board:

http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=214306


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