TITLE: LAVERNE & SHIRLEY - THE SIXTH SEASON
DVD Release Date: May 21, 2013 (CBS DVD/Paramount)
Packaging: Clear plastic snap case
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 22
Running time: Approx. 9 hours, 8 minutes
Video: Full Screen 4:3
Audio Tracks: English Mono
English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Special Features: Episodic Promos on Select Episodes; Gag Reel
There's no stopping Laverne De Fazio (Penny Marshall) and Shirley Feeney (Cindy Williams) as they leave Milwaukee for Hollywood in Season Six of Laverne & Shirley! When the girls follow their dreams to Tinseltown, Lenny (Michael McKean), Squiggy (David L. Lander) and the whole gang pack up and move across country with them. In this 3-disc set, the girls take California as only they can in all 22 episodes. Starting over, the girls get new jobs, new friends and new adventures...from their first earthquake to being stuntwomen in a movie to almost getting married, the surprises never stop in one of television's most beloved sitcoms.
Laverne & Shirley's sixth season aired on Tuesday nights at 8:30pm ET/PT on ABC. After finishing out of the top 30 in ratings for the first and only time in season five, the show finished in a tie for 20th place with a 20.6 rating. The move to California led to a couple of additions to the cast. Leslie Easterbrook appeared as Rhonda Lee, their new neighbor and an aspiring actress. Ed Marinaro also guest starred as Sonny St. Jacques, a stuntman and their apartment building manager.
Season six premiered on November 18, 1980, with "Not Quite New York," in which after being fired from the brewery, Laverne and Shirley pack up and leave Milwaukee to join Frank and Edna in California. After moving to California, Laverne and Shirley are in for more shake-ups as they experience their first earthquake in "Welcome to Burbank." The girls have pulled some crazy stunts, but this is the first time they've ever been hired as stuntwomen for a major movie in "Studio City." Laverne agrees to be the target in Sonny's knife-throwing act in order to earn enough money to pay Shirley back in "Grand Opening." The girls land a job as gift wrappers at a department store, but some spiked candy creates havoc on their first day in "Candy Is Dandy." Lenny and Squiggy are the city's most eligible bachelors when they appear on The Dating Game in "Dating Game." Shirley dates a doctor whose ex-wife bears a striking resemblance to Miss Feeney in "The Other Woman."
Lenny and Squiggy clash with Laverne and Shirley when they vandalize a hotel room and try to pin the blame on the girls in "The Road to Burbank." In a fantasy episode, Lenny and Squiggy imagine that they are succesful silent-film stars in "Born Too Late." When Sonny Laverne is worried about his safety as a stuntman, he quits and becomes an insurance salesman in "Love Out the Window." When the owner of the Cowboy Bill's restaurant chain enlists the girls to housesit at his Hollywood home, they throw a party that could land them in hot water in "To Tell the Truth." After eating some spiked brownies, the girls almost walk down the aisle with two British rock stars in "I Do, I Do." Carmine's new career as a stand-up comic gets lukewarm reviews from his friends, whom he roasts as part of his act in "But Seriously Folks."
When the girls mistakenly think they were passed over for a raise, they send an angry letter to their boss...just before they realize they actually did receive the pay hike in "The Bardwell Caper (Part 1)." To retrieve a scathing letter they sent to their boss, Laverne and Shirley enlist Lenny, Squiggy and Carmine's help in order to avoid being fired in "The Bardwell Caper (Part 2)." When their dates move too fast for Laverne and Shirley, the girls turn to Edna for advice in "High Priced Dates." Frank and Edna's fifth wedding anniversary is cause for celebration in "Fifth Anniversary." When Sergeant Plout (Vicki Lawrence) goes AWOL, she uses the girls' place as a hideout in "Out, Out, Damned Plout." Laid up at home with a broken leg, Laverne falls asleep watching a classic vintage film on TV and dreams of what her friends' lives would have been like without her in "Laverne's Broken Leg." Carmine gives Laverne singing lessons so that she can sing at Cowboy Bill's "Hoot Night" in "Sing, Sing, Sing." With a Broadway producer in the audience, Shirley writes and directs a play starring her friends in "Child's Play."
Notable guest stars this season included Fred Dryer, Mitchell Laurance, Troy Donahue, Ilene Graff, Frank Ashmore, Jim Lange, Keith Coogan, Larry Gelman, Stubby Kaye, Richard Moll, Eric Idle, Peter Noone, Otis Day and Vicki Lawrence (returing as Sergeant Alvinia T. Plout).
Most of the episodes have running times of over 25 minutes. "Malibu Mansion" is noticeably shorter than the rest at a little over 21 minutes, so it appears to be a syndication print and missing about 4 minutes of scenes. A few other episodes run a little under 25 minutes. There's a disclaimer on the packaging which states: "Some episodes may be edited from their original network versions. Music has been changed for this home entertainment version." According to the episode guide at TV.com, most of the music was played on the jukebox at Cowboy Bill's or on the radio. Most, if not all, of the jukebox/radio music has been replaced with generic instrumentals. "Yesterday" by The Beatles is replaced by a generic instrumental in the season premiere, "Not Quite New York," in the montage scene of Milwaukee memories. Almost all of the cast performances seem to be intact. Only the cast singing "I Want to Hold Your Hand" by The Beatles appears to be missing from "Sing, Sing, Sing."
"Not Quite New York" (11/18/80) (25:08)
"Welcome to Burbank" (11/25/80) (25:09)
"Studio City" (12/2/80) (25:07)
"Grand Opening" (12/9/80) (25:06)
"Candy Is Dandy" (12/16/80) (25:08)
"Dating Game" (12/30/80) (25:08)
"The Other Woman" (1/6/81) (25:06)
"The Road to Burbank" (1/13/81) (25:07)
"Born Too Late" (1/27/81) (25:08)
"Love Out the Window" (2/3/81) (25:08)
"Malibu Mansion (2/10/81) (21:02)
"To Tell the Truth" (2/17/81) (25:06)
"I Do, I Do" (2/24/81) (24:55)
"But Seriosuly Folks" (3/3/81) (25:07)
"The Bardwell Caper (Part 1)" (3/10/81) (24:47)
"The Bardwell Caper (Part 2)" (3/17/81) (25:12)
"High Priced Dates" (4/7/81) (25:04)
"Fifth Anniversary" (4/14/81) (25:08)
"Out, Out, Damned Plout" (5/5/81) (25:07)
"Laverne's Broken Leg" (5/12/81) (25:08)
"Sing, Sing, Sing" (5/19/81) (24:52)
"Child's Play" (5/26/81) (25:09)
The 3-disc set contains all 22 episodes from the sixth season (1980-81). The packaging is similar to recent seasons. It comes in a clear plastic snap case. The cover art features a photo of a smiling Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams. The Laverne & Shirley logo is in white above the photo. Their names are printed at the top of the artwork. The color scheme of the set is primarily purple and orange. The same photo as the cover art is used on the spine of the case. On the back of the case, there are four episode screenshots from various episodes. The main photo is of Laverne, Shirley, Sonny and Eddie trying to get an antenna working for the TV. The other three are circular photos that include Laverne, Shirley, Lenny and Squiggy. A short synopsis of the set, a listing of the special features and the DVD specs are provided. Inside the case, there is a plastic holder that holds Discs 1-2 back-to-back. An embedded holder in the back of the case holds Disc 3. The episode titles, short summaries and original airdates are listed by disc number. A orange and purple background is used. The episode titles and special features are printed in white text. The original airdates and episode summaries are printed in yellow text. There are three episode snapshots on the right panel, which include most of the cast members. The discs are just plain looking with a light gray background. They have the show logo and episode titles printed on them. The lettering has a holographic type effect to it. Discs 1 and 2 each contain 7 episodes. Disc 3 includes the final 8 episodes of the season.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus are very colorful and easy to navigate. The main menus have the same design and background as the cover art. Disc 1 uses the same photo of Marshall and Williams. Disc 2 pictures McKean and Lander. Disc 3 features Phil Foster and Betty Garrett. The show logo is above the photos. Episode titles are listed vertically in white text on the right side of the screen. There are blue rectangular icons next to the episode you highlight. These icons turn purple upon your selection. When you select an episode, it takes you to a sub-menu where there is a screenshot from that particular episode. You can play the episodic promos from this screen. The subtitles menu features a photo of Laverne, Lenny, Squiggy and Shirley. A previews option for some other CBS DVD/Paramount TV releases is available at the start of the first disc. They give you the option of going directly to the main menu. There are some very old promos (2:23) for the third seasons of Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, and Mork & Mindy. Other promos are for various classic television series on DVD and the final season of Cheers. Chapters are placed at the appropriate places within the episodes. There are no scene selection menus.
Video and Audio Quality:
The video and audio quality appears to be on par with the fifth season, which was a big improvement over seasons two-four. The sixth season, once again, appears to be remastered for this release. There is a small amount of dirt, debris and other digital artifacts. They generally have been cleaned up nicely. The overall color of the episodes is good. I didn't see any major issues. Some of the opening credits appear to be poorer quality, but that's not a big issue. They had a new opening credits sequence this season after the move to California. There are no vintage closing logos. They have only the CBS Television Distribution logo. There is a blue Paramount logo at the end of gag reel.
The audio is a standard English Mono track. There is no mention of it being a restored track like the fifth season release. I didn't notice any major problems. The volume is at a good level. The dialogue is easy to understand. English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing are available on all of the episodes.
We didn't have any special features on the Laverne & Shirley DVD releases until the fifth season. The sixth season special features are similar to what was available for the previous release. There is a gag reel and episodic promos for select episodes.
Gag Reel (Disc 1) (5:06) - The gag reel is specific to the sixth season and was produced for the cast and crew after the season ended. The video quality isn't the best, but it's watchable. There is quite a bit of dirt, debris and splices on it. The bloopers are fun to watch. There is a fair amount of bleeped out profanity. I would have liked to see the entire, unedited blooper reel. This appears to be edited from the original source. At least it runs about two more minutes longer than the fifth season gag reel.
Episodic Promos - These are 35 second or so promo clips that were used in syndication. They are included for all of the episodes, except for "Out, Out, Damn Plout" and "Sing, Sing, Sing." These promos give you a good general idea what each episode is about. They are interesting to watch.
After a very long four-year wait between the fourth and fifth seasons, it was only about a year wait for the sixth season, which is still longer than most fans were hoping for. The set is a bit disappointing because of the music substitions and one episode missing about four minutes of footage. I'm not sure what happened with the "Malibu Mansion" episode and why it appears to be from a syndication print. I think most fans can handle the music changes, but it's extra disappointing when actual scenes are cut out of the DVD releases. On the positive side, the episodes have very good video and audio quality. The gag reel is also a nice special feature to have, but it would have been great to have even more bloopers included.
Many fans consider the move to California the moment when the show jumped the shark and started to going downhill. While this season isn't as strong as any of the Milwaukee seasons, it's clearly the best of the three California seasons. Some of the memorable episodes this season included "Not Quite New York," "Welcome to Burbank," "The Dating Game," "To Tell the Truth," the two-part "The Bardwell Caper," and "High Priced Dates." There were also some funny guest stars such as Eric Idle and Vicki Lawrence. Marshall and Williams always excelled at the physical comedy. This season they had to deal with an earthquake and being stuntwomen in a movie.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 2/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4/5
-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 05/21/13
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