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Barry Manilow: The First Television Specials

30 customer reviews

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5-Disc Version
$199.89 $149.95

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Product Description

Before there was MTV, there was Manilow TV, and now BARRY MANILOW: THE FIRST TELEVISION SPECIALS DVD box set gathers together five of Manilow's early network television specials from 1977 to 1988, over a decade in the career of one of music's most enduring artists. Taken as a group, these outstanding shows didn't simply win Emmy's and score big ratings, but they also beautifully showcase the man's remarkable range as a musician, entertainer and creative force. Manilow is joined by special guests ranging from Ray Charles, to John Denver, and Dionne Warwick to Kid Creole and the Coconuts, yet in the end there is no doubt who the true star of these shows is. Turn on BARRY MANILOW: THE FIRST TELEVISION SPECIALS and get the feeling all over again. Disc 1: (1977) The First Barry Manilow Special
Disc 2: (1978) The Second Barry Manilow Special
Disc 3: (1979) The Third Barry Manilow Special
Disc 4: (1980) One Voice
Disc 5: (1988) Barry Manilow: Big Fun On Swing Street

Amazon.com

Barry Manilow: The First Television Specials includes five television network specials broadcast over 11 years, each one more interesting and adventurous than the last, and all built around the crowd-pleasing talents of singer-songwriter Barry Manilow. This five-disc set begins with 1977’s "The First Barry Manilow Special," in which the plucky, New Jersey-born entertainer mixes live concert footage with studio sets, familiar hits with lesser-known numbers. Manilow spends some time recalling his days as a lounge pianist at sundry establishments, and even includes a sketch--co-starring Penny Marshall as a weary waitress--in which he shares insight into how discouraging his dues-paying period could be. Besides lavish renditions of "Mandy" and "Could It Be Magic," Manilow includes a novelty medley of famous jingles he wrote for McDonald’s, Dr. Pepper, State Farm, and much else. He also introduces his passion for the music and style of the 1940s--a theme that pops up again and again in his subsequent TV work. "The Second Barry Manilow Special" from 1978 reveals a more athletic-looking star, and Manilow appears to be having fun taking a much different approach to his craft. Instead of playing before big crowds, the casually-dressed singer performs solo in an empty theater, addressing the home audience right through the camera and telling engaging tales about his life and love of music. Highlights include a funny, opening bit in which Manilow’s mother bends the ear of a cab driver by bragging about her boy; a jaunty "Daybreak" that includes kids and seniors singing along; a duet with Ray Charles on "It’s a Miracle;" and a touching scene in which Manilow plays a shy, single guy meeting a lonely girl at a wedding reception.

"The Third Barry Manilow Special" (1979) also opens on a comic note, featuring Manilow as a neurotic student in a driver’s education course, swerving dangerously on the road above LA’s famous "Hollywood" sign. Some very nice tunes ("Weekend In New England," "Why Don’t We Try a Slow Dance") are supplemented by a cute question-and-answer session with an group of diehard fans, and a sweet medley of Everly Brothers hits performed with John Denver. Program four, called "One Voice" (1980), is solid but peculiarly downbeat, including sad song cycles on such themes as separation, breakups, and fathers and sons. For the latter, Manilow comes very close to raw emotion recalling an experience in which the father who abandoned him at two years of age made a brief, "hello" appearance backstage at a concert, then was never heard from again. A little ray of hope and light is woven around a guest appearance by Dionne Warwick, who does a sexy "Déjà vu" with her host. Finally, "Big Fun On Swing Street" (1988) is something of a time capsule on 80s obsessions with music videos shot on big sets, garish lighting, and a forced sense of retro-style. Still, this special has the most to offer musically, as it includes such luminaries as Stanley Clarke, Phyllis Hyman, Carmen McRae, Diane Schuur, Gerry Mulligan, Kid Creole and the Coconuts, and Tom Scott. Manilow gets his share of screen time, but he’s quite generous toward his guests, making sure they get to play some serious jazz. Put together, all five of these shows make it clear that Manilow is an all-around entertainer, a versatile music man who gets bored repeating himself and likes to challenge fan expectations--to a point. --Tom Keogh


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Barry Manilow, Penny Marshall, Ray Charles, John Denver
  • Format: Box set, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 5
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Rhino Music
  • DVD Release Date: November 6, 2007
  • Run Time: 300 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000VWQDVC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #132,850 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Robert Welborn on November 10, 2007
Format: DVD
I received this on Thursday and was so excited to get it. I have always been a huge Barry Manilow Fan, so when I heard they were going to release this box set with Barry's first 5 television specials, I had to have it!!! I already had the first special, 1st on VHS and then when it came out on DVD I sold the VHS tape on eBay. I love these specials, I was especially excited about having the Swing Street special and the One Voice specials. These are my favorites and bring back a lot of fond memories. The only problem I have with this box set...is that it is too hard to get the discs out of the case. It took me 10 minutes to get the second disc out of the case...I had to keep working and twisting it and finally got it out...AND IT NOW HAS A SMALL CRACK in the center, so if you get this be careful...very careful when trying to remove the discs. Other than this one problem, these specials speak for themselves. The music is incredibly timeless. You will really be glad you purchased this set!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Kathy W TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 7, 2008
Format: DVD
Where was I ????? I grew up during these shows and cannot believe I missed them all, somehow! Geeze. Oh well, I'm here now! Never too late. This is a 5-DVD boxed set of award winning TV specials, broken down by disc and listed below. Special guests on these shows include: Ray Charles, John Denver, Dionne Warwick, and Kid Creole and The Coconuts, and others. The first show airing on March 2, 1977 (my birthday--I was 28--that means Barry would have been 34 during this first special). It was filmed at the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, Illinois and won the Emmy for Outstanding Music Special. It includes a guest appearance by Penny Marshall (Laverne & Shirley) (If you can't remember which girl was which, Penny was the blond). This package is laid out nicely. Folding out into 5 individual disc holders, each section lists the songs on the disc and explains a bit about that particular show. I did not time all the DVDs but I understand they aired as one-hour specials, so they are probably about 45 minutes each, which would total almost 4 hours of entertainment! (In the OLD DAYS, we only had about 15 minutes of commercials per one-hour show.)

"The First Barry Manilow Special" (1977)
begins with a clip of tiny Barry and Grandpop taking him to the "record-your-own-voice" studio, which you may have heard about in Barry concerts and in some of his CDs. He is forever grateful to Grandpop for caring for him and his Mom and for recognizing the musical ability in B long before B recognized it in himself. The show moves quickly into a clip pf "It's A Miracle" in concert. Barry is in a blue-sequined stretchy outfit that showcases his baby-blue eyes. His shoulder-length curly brown hair is bopping all over the stage.
Read more ›
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Deanna S. Neeley on November 11, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
If you are a Barry Manilow fan, this set of DVDs will bring back memories and give you some surprises! Some of the songs are a little different than the ones you hear on CDs. The lyrics on some of the songs are a little different. One of Barry's original songs was sung by Ray Charles. I have not heard this song before and it is too bad because it is good. You will love seeing the guests sing along with Barry. The harmonies, arrangements and settings make this such an entertaining visit with Barry Manilow.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Dorrie Wheeler on December 2, 2007
Format: DVD
Fans of Barry Manilow will be pleased with the DVD box set release of "Barry Manilow: The First Television Specials." The box set includes five of Barry's television specials which aired between 1977 and 1988. This release is sure to be a treat. The Emmy winning episodes are available all together on DVD for the first time.

Barry is joined on the specials by his many celebrity friends. Special guest stars include Dionne Warwick, John Denver, Ray Charles and Kid Creole and the Coconuts to name a few.

Barry Manilow "The First Television Specials" was released by Rhino.
The five disc box set is very nice. It's similar to the Barbra Streisand Television Specials DVD which was released several years ago. If you are a fan of Barry Manilow and you remember watching these specials on television once upon a time you will love owning this set. This deluxe set would make a wonderful holiday gift.

Barry Manilow: The First Television Specials
Disc 1-The First Barry Manilow Special
Disc 2-The Second Barry Manilow Special
Disc 3-The Third Barry Manilow Special
Disc 4-One Voice (1980)
Disc 5-Barry Manilow: Big Fun On Swing Street (1988)

Back before the days when everyone had satellite television and cable, Barry Manilow's television specials were very anticipated. He was at the peak of his success in the late 70's and mid 80's. If you are a fan of Barry Manilow, this is one deluxe set you won't want to miss out on.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Game Ace on January 7, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I received this in good time and the quality is really good both visually and audio. I do enjoy seeing these specials once again,however, there are parts missing from at least the first two shows. For example, I remember when the first one was on TV back in the seventies that there was a comedy scene between Barry and Penny when they were in a marriage scit where they were taking their vows and listing till death, divorce, arguements, dissagreements, ect, do you part. Obviouly these have had parts editted out. I really don't like when they do that. I can understand for TV because of more comercial time, but, not when on DVDs when the customer is paying for the videos. In other words stop the editting!
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