DVD Release Date: February 26, 2008 (MPI Home Video)
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 8
Running Time: 450 minutes
Runtime of Special Features: N/A
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; English Subtitles
Special Features: None
From the fun and sun capital of the world, Miami Beach, it’s The Jackie Gleason Show... or more appropriately, The Color Honeymooners! And The Color Honeymooners: Collection 2 brings you eight episodes from December 1966 through April 1967 to a three disc DVD set! However, there is one episode that is NOT included, and that is the episode “Life upon the Wicked Stage.”
For those that are unfamiliar with the series, it is basically the last variation of one of the greatest classic sitcoms of all times, The Honeymooners... you know, Ralph and Alice Kramden and Ed and Trixie Norton. Only this time, they aren’t living in New York City, but instead are living in the fun and sun capital of the world, Miami Beach. And we have Sheila MacRae as Alice in this version (sorry, no Audrey Meadows!) and Jane Kean as Trixie. This version was in color (hence the name “The Color Honeymooners,” though it originally aired and the titles on the episodes call it “The Jackie Gleason Show”) and aired in the late 60s, on CBS of course. It sure isn’t the classic Honeymooners we all remember from the 50s, but it is one last effort by “the great one!”
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
Ralph thinks Alice is pregnant and takes a job as a Santa in “Run, Santa, Run.” It’s a battle of the sexes in “King of the Castle,” who will win? The guys are going to get more than just a movie when Ralph buys a movie ticket for Ed--a movie that wins a color TV--in “Movies are Better than Ever.” Alice’s brother-in-law tries to talk Ralph into buying a hotel in “Without Reservations.” Ralph buys his boss’ daughter a watch with money collected from his bus in “Rififi, Brooklyn Style,” which sounds like a bad idea if you ask me. Jackie Gleason makes a special guest appearance in “Ralph Kramden Presents.” You’ll have to watch to see what I mean! The Kramden and Norton households become one, but will they be too close for comfort? Find out in “Flushing Ho.” Ralph may just become a murderer if the fortune teller is right in “Sees All -- Knows All.”
We essentially just have a basic Amaray style case with an insert holding two of the discs... there really isn’t a whole lot to say about it. The cover has a cast shot on it, and inside, we have a listing of the breakdown of which episodes are on which disc, as well as original airdates. The disc artwork is the same on all three discs--the same picture of Jackie Gleason that is on the cover. Disc One contains three episodes, Disc Two contains two episodes, and Disc Three contains three episodes.
Menu Design and Navigation:
Again, we also have very basic menus. The main menu on each disc gives options of Play All, Set Up, and then there is a list of episodes. There is a video that plays in the middle of the screen with clips from various episodes on the set. When you select Play All or an episode, you get exactly what you selected, nothing more or less. Set Up just lets you turn the subtitles on. Of course, you can just as easily do that with the subtitles button on your remote. Chapters are placed at all of the appropriate places.
Video and Audio Quality:
I can’t say that I was very impressed with the video and audio quality on the set. This is an older show, of course, and it is a show that has generally just sat in the vault. Therefore, it isn’t surprising that nobody has really taken the time to clean these episodes up too much. Basically, we have the typical grain issues and audio that just seems a bit mumbled and low at times. However, if it is any consolation, the episodes generally seem to be unedited. Runtimes are as follows:
1. “Run, Santa, Run” (50:19)
2. “King of the Castle” (48:44)
3. “Movies are Better than Ever” (50:48)
MPI is usually pretty good when it comes to special features, but for this series, they have a tendency to completely forego special features. Then again, these episodes in and of themselves are among the least known episodes of the series, and just having them on DVD is a big enough surprise.
If you are expecting something along the lines of the “classic 39” episodes or even the widely syndicated “lost episodes” of the 50s, you are guaranteed to be sorely disappointed by the episodes on this set. But if you are willing to expect something “a little bit less” and just enjoy the series for what it is--a late 60s version of a 50s classic--then you might find yourself enjoying these episodes.
What troubles me, though, is the omission of the “Life upon the Wicked Stage” episode. I have a feeling something came up at the last minute preventing this episode from being released, as the runtime (450 minutes) would indicate nine episodes, when we actually have only eight. I hope that we’ll find out what is going on “one of these days.” However, until then, if you are a fan of the Jackie Gleason’s work, this set is worth looking into.