Release Date: November 12, 2013 (Time-Life)
Packaging: Viva Eco-Box
Number of Discs: 1
Number of Episodes: 2
Running Time: 115 minutes
Running Time of Features: 18 minutes
Audio: English mono
Subtitles and Captioning: none
Special Features: Bonus Holiday Sketches
It's time for more Carol Burnett on DVD, with a little bit of Christmas cheer on the side! Even though The Carol Burnett Show never had a full hour-long Christmas special, she did plenty of sketches just in time for Christmas, and the Christmas with Carol Collection brings together two episodes of the series that aired just before Christmas in 1974 and 1978, along with sketches from 1967 and 1968 episodes to a single disc release.
The DVD contains two episodes, and the highlights from the episodes come from the usual suspects on the series: The Family (which ended up landing Vicki Lawrence in her most well-known almost a decade later) and Tudball and Wiggins. As one would expect, Christmas is not so great in "The Family: Christmas: Home for the Holidays," and Mrs. Tudball makes a surprise visit to the office at the worst possible time in "Mrs. Wiggins Gets Bombed on Christmas." Details of the episodes are as follows:
Show #813, Original Air Date: December 21, 1974 (51:25)
Guest Starring: Alan Alda
-The Family: Christmas: Home for the Holidays (Carol, Harvey, Vicki, Alan Alda)
-Nobody Does It Like Me (Carol and Alan Alda)
-Morton of the Movies (Carol, Harvey, Vicki, Alan Alda)
-Finale: Take Me Back to Manhattan (Carol, Alan Alda, Harvey, Vicki, Dancers and Singers)
Show #1113, Original Air Date: December 18, 1976 (45:56)
Guest Starring: Helen Reddy, Ken Berry
-Mrs. Wiggins Gets Bombed on Christmas (Carol, Tim, Vicki)
-Blue (Helen Reddy)
-German Water Inspector (Carol, Tim, Ken Berry)
-Song and Dance Man (Ken Berry, Dancers and Singers)
-Finale: Magazine: Strike Up the Band (Carol, Vicki, Ken Berry, Helen Reddy, Dancers and Singers)
There is nothing out of the ordinary about the packaging for this DVD. It comes in a standard Viva Eco-Box (thankfully, those are not the ones with the recycling logo cutout that invariably get crushed), with a few episodic photos on the front cover and a description of the episodes on the set on the back. Inside, you'll find the disc, along with an insert that lists all of the details about each episode.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The main menu has a photo of Eunice in her Christmas apron, with options of Play All, Episodes, and Bonus. Selecting Episodes brings up a submenu that has a photo of Carol, along with a listing of the episodes on the disc. Once you select an episode, you get a list of the sketches from the episode (if you start with Q&A, it will start the episode from the beginning). Bonus lists all of the special features on the set, along with a Play All option for the special features.
Video and Audio Quality:
As was the case with the previous release of the series, the video and audio quality is not perfect... it looks about how you'd expect from a videotaped series from the 70s. You can expect to find a few defects here and there, but it is nothing major. Unfortunately, there are no subtitles or closed-captioning on the episodes.
There are some special features on the DVD, but they aren't nearly as numerous as what we saw on the previous releases. In fact, all we have here are sketches from some of the first two seasons of the series, which have mostly been unseen since their original airing. From the December 25, 1967 episode (yes, they aired a new episode on Christmas night), we have Q&A (2:48), "Christmas Night Quarrel" (5:44), and "Charwoman: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." (6:04). Next, from the December 30, 1968 episode, we have a performance by Carol Burnett, "The Twelve Days After Christmas" (3:08). It would have been great to have seen full episodes from this era, as they just look and feel so much different from what would come later.
This DVD doesn't offer a whole lot, but it is nice to see more Carol Burnett arrive on DVD. However, with one complete episode, another mostly complete episode, and brief excerpts from two other episodes, I think that this set will probably have a somewhat more limited audience. In particular, I think that fans of Carol Burnett are going to want to add this to their collection, and fans of Christmas episodes of TV series will love this, but this is by no means "the best of" the series. That isn't to say that this is a bad release (and honestly, I hope that smaller releases like this come along), but it is certainly hard to recommend it to the mass public. There are still plenty more episodes of this series that remain unreleased, and hopefully, we'll continue to see more of them.