DVD Release Date: August 26, 2008 (MPI Home Video)
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 12
Running Time: 575 minutes
Runtime of Special Features: 50 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; English Subtitles
Special Features: Special episode from 1973; “A Talk with Trixie”
From the sun and fun capital of the world, Miami Beach, the Kramdens and Nortons come together one last time for more Honeymooners sketches on The Jackie Gleason Show! The Color Honeymooners: Volume 4 contains 12 of the 13 episodes from the 1969-1970 season the final season we ever saw these characters on TV on a regular basis, in a three-disc DVD set.
The Color Honeymooners turns the classic 50s series that was set in Brooklyn to a musical 1960s series set in Miami Beach. The characters are still the same, though the wives are played by different characters. Many were recreations of those classic 50s episodes, but some are new ones written just for this version of the series.
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
Paul Lynde guest stars in the season premiere, “Play it Again, Norton.” Bing Crosby guest stars in “Ralph Goes Hollywood,” where the whole gang heads to Hollywood t claim their prize from the previous episode. Alice and Trixie are kidnapped in Mexico in “Mexican Hat Trick.” An appearance on Mike Douglas’ show may end in disaster in “The Honeymoon is Over.” It is time for a trip to Hawaii in “Hawaii, Oh! Oh!” “The Match Game” finds the Nortons to be a perfect match for each other, but what about the Kramdens?
The episode “The Incredible World of Ed Norton” is the only episode from this season NOT included in this DVD set. This isn’t the first time episodes have been missing, but it probably has to do with a rights issue, as the same episodes that are omitted on DVD are also the same episodes that are not aired on American Life.
The packaging is pretty much the same as all of the previous sets, with an Amaray case that has the double-sided disc holder inside. There is a picture of Ralph and Ed on the cover with a blue background. Inside, there is a listing of all of the episodes and the original airdates. The set is broken down evenly, with four episodes per disc. Disc 3 contains the special features as well.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The main menu on each disc has clips from the episodes playing, with a main menu that lists all of the episodes and the option of Set Up. When you select an episode, it plays right away, without any intermediate menus. Set Up allows you to turn on the English subtitles. Chapters are placed throughout each episode.
Video and Audio Quality:
Once again, the video and audio is problematic, but not a disaster. There are obnoxious grain issues and washed out colors, and the audio seems to be dull and low throughout. Still, it could be worse. English subtitles are available on the set. The episodes all appear to be unedited, all running around 50 minutes or so, though some are closer to 47 minutes and I’m not sure why. This could be correct, as these episodes were from 1970, though there could be something missing from those episodes as well. I honestly do not know. Actual runtimes are as follows:
1. “Play It Again, Norton” (50:03)
2. “Ralph Goes Hollywood” (49:38)
3. “Mexican Hat Trick” (50:17)
4. “Case of the Cuckoo” (49:26)
5. “The Honeymoon is Over” (50:01)
6. “Happiness is a Rich Uncle” (47:02)
7. “Hawaii, Oh! Oh!” (49:03)
8. “The Sun and Raccoon Capital” (49:20)
9. “The Match Game” (50:04)
10. “Double Trouble” (50:32)
11. “We’re Off to See the Wizard” (46:32)
12. “Operation Protest” (49:39)
After all of those sets without any special features, we finally have a few on this set. The first is a 1973 special of The Jackie Gleason Show (25:23), which features a sketch about the Nortons and Kramdens. This features the cast members shown on the color version of The Honeymooners. This episode also includes the original sponsor opening from General Electric, which is nice to see. The other special feature is “A Talk with Trixie” (23:04), where Jean Kean talks about her experience as being Trixie on the series, and how she obtained the role and had been intended to play the role not just for this series, but for all of the series. A lot of this feature includes clips from her on the series.
Fans of Jackie Gleason are sure to enjoy this show, but I honestly think that unless you are a serious fan, these episodes will be a tad bit disappointing. I have a hard time getting into some of these episodes, and they seem to just kind of drag on with all of the musical skits placed in the episodes. But fans will definitely appreciate this set, and it gives some closure to this part of the series, even if a few episodes from this era still remain unseen on either DVD or TV.