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Lotsa Luck - The Complete Series


TITLE: LOTSA LUCK - THE COMPLETE SERIES


Info:

DVD Release Date: November 29, 2005 (S'more Entertainment, Inc.)
Color
MSRP: $39.99
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 22 + Pilot Episode
Running time: Approx. 550 minutes
Audio Tracks: English Mono
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; none; English Closed-Captioning
Special Features Include:
Lotsa Luck Pilot Episode
Dom DeLuise Interview
Dom DeLuise Bio
Dom's Bird Tricks
Lotsa Luck Trivia Quiz
Breakfast with Dom
Lotsa Luck Photo Gallery


Introduction:

Dom DeLuise stars as Stanley Belmont in his first major TV role in the hilarious 1973 sitcom "Lotsa Luck". Stanley's job as custodian at the New York City bus company's lost-and-found department was tough enough, but the real comedy took place once he got home each night. America loved watching the easily-annoyed Stanley as he bumbled his way through one problem after the other, with his bossy mother (Kathleen Freeman), goofy sister (Beverly Sanders) and her unemployed husband (Wynn Irwin), all under one roof! Making ends meet without making everyone crazy was always a struggle, but together with his best friend "Bummy Pfitzer" (Jack Knight), Stanley always succeeded in getting the laughs and giving America some of its zaniest sitcom moments. Look for cameo appearances by the likes of Suzanne Somers, Harold Gould and Ruth Buzzi in these classic "Lotsa Luck" episodes, especially compiled to bring back loads of memories and lotsa laughs!


Episodes Included:

Lotsa Luck aired on NBC from September 10, 1973 until May 24, 1974. A total of 22 episodes were produced during the show's one and only season. Dom DeLuise received a Golden Globe nomination for Best TV Actor - Musical/Comedy. It was based on the London Weekend TV Series "On The Buses," which was created by Ronald Chesney and Ronald Wolfe.

This 4-disc set contains all 22 episodes of the series plus the original pilot episode.

Some guest stars to look for include Harold Gould, Mel Carter, Alex Rocco, Ruth Buzzi, Helen Page Camp, Johnny Brown, Louisa Moritz, Ronnie Schell, Alan Oppenheimer, and Suzanne Somers.


Packaging:

The DVD cover art features a color photo of Dom DeLuise in his custodian uniform with his hand on his chin. It has a yellow background with Lotsa Luck written in white. The packaging is a standard movie-style snapcase that has clear outer edges. The back of the case lists a summary of the set, and it gives some of the credits of the cast and a list of the bonus features. When you open up the case, there are over-lapping disc holders on each side. The discs have Lotsa Luck written on them with a black & white photo of Dom DeLuise. They comes in various colors. Disc 1 is yellow, Disc 2 is red, Disc 3 is light blue, and Disc 4 is neon orange. I thought that was a nice touch as sometimes discs on dvd sets fall out easily and are scratched. It would have been nice for them to include a little sheet with the episode titles listed, original airdates, guest stars, and summaries.


Menu Design and Navigation:

The main menu features the Lotsa Luck logo in white with a photo of Dom DeLuise on the right hand side of the screen. It has a yellow and orange curtain background. The instrumental ending theme can be heard, and it loops after about 30 seconds. There are options for Play All and Episodes. The bonus features are listed on each disc's menu. The Episodes sub-menu feature the vocal theme song in the background, and they have the episode titles listed on lockers. Disc 2's main menu has a photo of the cast with a gray and red background. Disc 3 has the same photo as Disc 1 with a blue curtain background. Disc 4 has the same photo as Disc 2 with a green curtain background. There are no scene selection menus or chapter stops within the episodes.


Video and Audio Quality:

I was pleasantly surprised with the video and audio quality. The back of the packaging says the episodes were "Carefully Re-Mastered For Best Possible Picture Quality." The picture is quite clear for being over 30 years old now. Lotsa Luck was filmed on tape before a live studio audience. It looks similar to All in the Family, That's My Mama, Chico and the Man, and other sitcoms from the early 1970's that were shot on tape. There was a tiny white speck in the first episode in several scenes that I watched, but it wasn't too distracting. The second episode had a few very minor video glitches. All episodes appear to be unedited running over 25 minutes in length.

The audio is your standard mono track from the early 1970's. The volume is at a good level and the dialogue is easy to hear. Lotsa Luck had a catchy theme tune written by Jack Elliott and Allyn Ferguson. They also did the theme for Barney Miller. I noticed the font in the credits looked very similar to what was used on Barney Miller. My guess is that there were a number of people that were involved with both shows.

Here is the episode breakdown by disc:

Disc 1
----------
1. Olive's Present
2. The Bare Facts
3. Trial Separation
4. Stanley and The Librarian
5. The Suit

Disc 2
----------
6. Mom's Secret
7. The Winning Purse
8. The Family Plot
9. The Shrink
10. The New Stan
11. Arthur's Inheritance

Disc 3
----------
12. The Belmont Connection
13. Will You Marry Me?
14. Do Me A Favor
15. Stan and The Wealthy Widow
16. The Talent Show

Disc 4
----------
17. A Little Order of Law and Order
18. You Oughta Be in Picturea
19. Stan's Assistant
20. Arthur Makes His Move
21. Bummy's Girl
22. Get Off My Back


Special Features:

There are a few, short special features that add some enjoyment to the set. Here is a breakdown:

Disc 1 - Lotsa Luck Pilot - This pilot episode is not nearly as good quality as the other episodes. It appears to be from a videotape source. It even has a voiceover for "The Girl with Something Extra - next on NBC" in the closing credits. It's nice they included it to complete the series.

Disc 1 - Dom DeLuise Interview (19:11) - Dom sits at a table for the interview. He talks about being raised in Brooklyn and how he got bit by the acting bug. He tells a few stories about Milton Berle and Herbie Gardner. For about the last 8 minutes or so, he talks about Lotsa Luck. He mentions a variety of topics including the cast, writers, how they ad-libbed some of the show, and how one of the episodes they did was pretty controversial.

Disc 2 - Dom DeLuise Bio (5:49) - This features a narrator talking about Dom's life from the start to the present. A number of still photos and video clips from Lotsa Luck are shown. It talks about his life as an actor, author, and chef. Many of his tv appearances, film roles, and voice work for animated features are mentioned. He has written 2 cookbooks and a number of children's books. He has even developed his own spice line which is available from his website - http://www.domdeluise.com . This was a nice feature, but not very detailed like an A&E Biography would be.

Dom DeLuise and his bird on Hollywood Squares - June 2003
Dom and his bird on Hollywood Squares - June 2003

Disc 3 - Dom's Bird Tricks (3:10) - Dom's multi-talented bird performs a variety of tricks including playing dead. A lot of talent in this family.

Disc 3 - Lotsa Luck Trivia Quiz - An interactive section that gives you 6 multiple choice questions. If you answer 5 correctly, it takes you to expert mode where the questions get even more difficult.

Disc 4 - Breakfast with Dom (3:43) - Dom eats breakfast and talks about how they actually ate all that food and drank coffee on the show.

Disc 4 - Lotsa Luck Photo Gallery (2:34) - This features a variety of still images that look like they were taken from the dvds. The photos are shown in a tv set while some music is played in the background.


Final Comments:

I never expected to see a rare 1970's sitcom like That's My Mama available on DVD. Lotsa Luck seemed like more of a longshot, but these one-year wonders are made for DVD even if they have smaller fan bases. I think Lotsa Luck may have aired on Ha! or The Comedy Channel in the early 1990's. The show was pretty funny and had a good supporting cast. It seemed like a mix of All in the Family and The Honeymooners. It's nice for fans of Dom DeLuise and the show to have the complete series on DVD. The bonus features are pretty short, but they are entertaining. It would have been nice to hear some commentary by Dom on a few of the episodes since he was available to do the interviews. S'more Entertainment, which produced this set, has already released 1950's sitcom Mister Peepers and has plans for Good Morning, World (Goldie Hawn) in upcoming months. They will be a company to keep an eye on for some of these rarely seen gems.

UPDATE: Our good friend Arny Schorr of S'more Entertainment asked us to let you all know that if you purchased DVD sets of classic sitcoms Mister Peepers and Lotsa Luck and had some problems, replacement discs are available now for free. For Lotsa Luck, an incorrect pilot episode was placed on original sets. It was given that way to them by the distributor. When the problem was identified, they went to work and discovered the correct pilot episode. They subsequently remastered Disc One to include the right pilot. There are a number of people who've contacted them for a replacement disc but in the interest of making sure no consumer is offended we are spreading the news that buyers of this set can get a replacement disc, for free!They are also replacing discs for Mister Peepers where Sony, on the initial manufacturing run, placed two of the same discs onto each box set. To learn how you can get replacement discs of each, click here. And don't forget to visit the S'more website for information on their classic TV series on DVD.


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

Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 2.5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

--Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 11/06/05 (updated on 05/05/06)

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

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000BTGXZG/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20


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