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Car 54 Where Are You: Complete First Season (2011)

Joe E. Ross , Fred Gwynne , Nat Hiken , Al De Caprilo  |  NR |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)

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Car 54 Where Are You: Complete First Season + Car 54 Where Are You?: Season 2 + Sgt. Bilko: The Phil Silvers Show - First Season
Price for all three: $79.64

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Product Details

  • Actors: Joe E. Ross, Fred Gwynne, Charlotte Rae, Al Lewis, Beatrice Pons
  • Directors: Nat Hiken, Al De Caprilo
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Shanachie DVD
  • DVD Release Date: April 12, 2011
  • Run Time: 780 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004KDYR5W
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,036 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

Cast Member Round Table with Hank Garrett and Charlotte Rae, hosted by Robert Klein

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

It took a while--half a century since it first aired, to be exact--but one of the last great sitcoms from television's golden era of the '50s and early '60s has finally come to video. That would be Car 54, Where Are You?, released here with all 30 first-season episodes (plus one bonus feature) on four discs. The show was the brainchild of Nat Hiken, who created it, produced it, cast it, wrote and directed several episodes, and even penned the familiar theme song ("There's a scout troop short a child / Khrushchev's due at Idlewild…"). Hiken had earlier been responsible for The Phil Silvers Show (a.k.a. Sgt. Bilko), which brilliantly skewered the U.S. Army. Here he takes on the New York City Police Department--specifically the 53rd Precinct in the Bronx, home turf of Officers Gunther "Ooo! Ooo!" Toody (Joe E. Ross) and Francis Muldoon (Fred Gwynne) and those who suffer from the antics of the two bumbling patrolmen. Like, say, The Honeymooners, this is old school, black & white TV, with comedy that's broad and accents that are broader (it was not only set in the Bronx, but filmed there). Unlike many more recent sitcoms, it features characters who are neither glamorous nor photogenic; it's hard to imagine the stubby, motor-mouthed Ross, the whiny, squinty-eyed Al Lewis (who plays Officer Leo Schnauser), or even the tall, more patrician Gwynne (who, along with Lewis, would later join the cast of The Munsters) getting much play as leading men now. Nor is there anything cutting edge about Car 54. There are no murders or other violent crimes, and Toody and Muldoon are less likely to nab any criminals (unless the former's 12-year-old nephew helps, as in "Quiet! We're Thinking") than be fooled by them ("No More Pickpockets" and "The Paint Job" are but two examples). The show's old-fashioned sensibility cuts both ways; typical of its time, it has a chauvinistic tone (the wives are generally depicted as shrill harpies) and almost no minority presence, but its good-hearted, Borscht Belt, "who's on first?" type of humor is a refreshing contrast to the snide one-liners that pass for laughs these days.

Many users have objected to the boxed set's bare-bones presentation, noting that the episodes are not in chronological order and are the shorter, syndicated versions, in addition to the lack of any production information, liner notes, photos, and so on. These are all valid complaints, but when it comes down to what really matters--is it funny?--Car 54, Where Are You? is an undeniable hit. --Sam Graham

Product Description

Car 54 Where Are You, one of the best loved and funniest TV shows of all
time finally comes to DVD for the first time. All 30 episodes of the
Nat Hikenfirst season (1961-62) are included in a set of 4 DVDs, each newly
remastered from the only known set of 35 mm fine grain prints.

The show stars Joe E. Ross as Gunther Toody and Fred Gwynne as Francis
Muldoon, a lovably inept squad car team that patrols the Bronx's 53rd
precinct. Muldoon plays the long-suffering voice of reason who invariably
reins in his short stocky partner¹s dimwitted schemes and patiently listens
to his hilariously inane prattle. The perfectly cast ensemble of supporting
actors includes Beatrice Pons as Toody¹s domineering shrew of a wife, Al
Lewis as the rubber-faced, irascible Officer Leo Schnauser, Charlotte Rae as
Schnauser¹s moody, hot-tempered wife and Paul Reed as the perpetually
exasperated captain Block. Each episode was filled out with talent drawn
from New York's pool of seasoned film and TV veterans, borscht belt
comedians and Broadway stage actors, and the first season features
memorable guest star appearances by show biz pros Molly Picon, Wally Cox,
Jan Murray, Maureen Stapleton, Jake La Motta and many more.

The show was the brainchild of Nat Hiken, already famous for his highly
acclaimed Sgt. Bilko show, and many critics feel Car 54, with its quirky
story lines, offbeat characters and hilarious dialogue even surpassed Bilko
as a comic masterpiece. Drawing on his 25 years of writing experience for
top comedy shows on radio and television (Fred Allen, Milton Berle, Martha
Raye), Hiken created a show rich with New York humor and offbeat characters
in scripts that were polished jewels of comedy. Soon television would opt
for more formulaic programming, and Car 54 Where Are You was the last gasp
of an early golden era of New York television.

Specifically shot as a bonus extra for this release is a brand-new
free-wheeling round table conversation between Bronx-raised comedian Robert
Klein and two of the regular cast members --Charlotte Rae, who played Sylvia
Schnauser, and Hank Garrett, who played Officer Ed Nicholson, one of the
cops of the 53rd precinct. Rae and Garrett share stories, anecdotes and
memories with Klein (a fan of Hiken¹s work) that shed light on what went on
behind the scenes.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
120 of 120 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Here is the correct viewing order April 15, 2011
Somebody was drunk when they compiled the episodes for this set. Here is the correct viewing order:
1 17/Sep/61 Who's For Swordfish?
2 24/Sep/61 Something Nice for Sol
3 01/Oct/61 Home Sweet Sing Sing
4 08/Oct/61 Change Your Partners
5 15/Oct/61 I Won't Go
6 22/Oct/61 Muldoon's Star
7 29/Oct/61 Paint Job
8 05/Nov/61 Love Finds Muldoon
9 12/Nov/61 Gypsy Curse
10 19/Nov/61 Thirty Days Notice
11 26/Nov/61 Catch Me on the Paar Show
12 03/Dec/61 The Taming of Lucille
13 10/Dec/61 Put It in the Bank
14 17/Dec/61 Get Well, Officer Schnauzer
15 24/Dec/61 Christmas at the 53rd
16 07/Jan/62 The Sacrifice
17 14/Jan/62 Boom, Boom, Boom
18 21/Jan/62 Toody and Muldoon Crack Down
19 28/Jan/62 Toody's Paradise
20 04/Feb/62 How High is Up?
21 11/Feb/62 Toody and the Art World
22 18/Feb/62 What Happened to Thursday?
23 25/Feb/62 How Smart Can You Get?
24 04/Mar/62 Today I Am a Man
25 11/Mar/62 No More Pickpockets
26 18/Mar/62 The Beast Who Walked the Bronx
27 25/Mar/62 The Courtship of Sylvia Schnauzer
28 01/Apr/62 The Auction
29 08/Apr/62 Quiet! We're Thinking
30 22/Apr/62 I Love Lucille

I knew something was wrong when disc 4 was telling me it had episodes with Al Lewis before he became a part of the police squad. In the first episode on disc 1 he is already a member, and the Christmas episode would NEVER be the last episode of the season. So the order was just messed up!
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100 of 103 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Show, But A Botched Release April 13, 2011
Verified Purchase
First of all, This is a great show, and I'm glad to see it out on DVD. The quality of the video is good, they did nice job there. However, what they did not do a nice job with is the packaging - Shanachie should fire Lorien Babajian for providing such a poorly designed package. With a cardboard package I kind of expect there to be a slipcase, but Shanachie does not provide one. That's strike one.

What is even worse are the way the discs are stored within the package. It is just horrendous!!! I have never seen anything like it before, and I hope I never have to see it again! Most cases have some sort of spindle that the discs snap into from the center hole. Not Car 54, no way - this case has slots at the bottom that the discs "slide" into and are held in place by a little plastic tab on each side. Very frustrating packaging. I can easily see a lot of returns for people who scratch their discs getting them out, or even people cracking them if they use force, so heads up Amazon! The instructions are printed directly on the discs (how tacky): "To Remove From Tray - Push Down, Pull Up" - YEAH I GET THAT, RIGHT? This is also where it would have been a good idea to include a slip case, just in case the discs get dislodged from this dreadful packaging!- That is Strike Two - Needless to say, I promptly removed the discs from the package and stored them in slim line cases next to the original on my shelf.

I STRONGLY RECOMMEND ANYONE WHO PURCHASES THIS RELEASE TO HAVE EMPTY CASES READY TO PUT THE DISCS IN.

Finally strike three is the lack of information that comes with such a great series - all you get is the name of each episode printed behind where the discs are stored, and if the episode had a guest star it says "with (so and so)" after the title.
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105 of 114 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars WATCH OUT! April 14, 2011
By Stanley
Verified Purchase
Unbeleivable that any manufacturer would chose the type of packaging they designed for this unfortunate great old TV show. Shanachie, correct me if I'm wrong, is new to the DVD business but has been manufacturing CD's for years which is probably what they should stick to. For "Car 54" the four DVD's of this set are not even mounted on spindles. Instead they are placed on top of each other with no protection and only a slight plastic tab to provide tension to hold them in place. When I first opened the package, two of the DVD's immediately fell out and landed on the floor - of course they're scratched now. The other two DVD's also became scratched when I removed them from the box because you actually have to slide them against one another to remove them - guaranteed scratches everytime you view them.
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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars car 54 where are you? April 15, 2011
Verified Purchase
THE FIRST TIME ON DVD WHAT A SCREW UP THIS COMPANY SHOULD REDO THE FIRST SEASON AND SEND A NEW COPY WITH THE SHOW IN THE PROPER ORDER IT WAS MADE AND SEND THE PROPER ORDER DVD SET TO THE PEOPLE WHO ORDERED THROUGH AMAZON.COM AS A REPLACEMENT FOR THE INCORRECT EPISODE ORDER THEY PUT THE EPISODE ORDER LIKE THIS DISC#1 EPISODE 6,19,15,23 26,24,25,5. DISC#2 EPISODE 4,28,16,11,9,27,30,29. DISC#3 EPISODE 13,14,7,22,12,1,17,21. DISC#4 EPISODE 2,8,10,20,3,18. HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO CHANGE THE DVD TO SEE CAR 54 WHERE ARE YOU IN THE CORRECT ORDER? MAYBE SHANACHIE.COM CAN GIVE US THE BLUE PRINT. YOU ONLY HAVE TO CHANGE THE DVD 19 TIMES TO WATCH 30 EPISODES IN ORDER. WHAT A TREAT! DAVE BLANCHETTE HOPES THIS EPISODE ROAD MAP HELPS.
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Shows are syndicated versions, horrible packaging April 23, 2011
Verified Purchase
First of all, let me join the chorus of other "Car 54" lovers that I am so glad these shows *finally* appear on DVD. They are quite hilarious in an early 1960s sort of way, and Gwynne and Ross are terrific together. There are some wonderful performances throughout, especially the episodes with Alice "M" Ghostly and Carl Ballantine. Look for comedian Nipsey Russell and Billy Sands (from "Bilko" and "McHale's Navy") in several episodes. Classic TV that holds up well.

HOWEVER, there are many, many reasons TO NOT PURCHASE this set, First of all these episodes are the SYNDICATED versions, and are NOT UNCUT! In fact, several have horrible, disjointed cuts where material was excised and the scene begins in the middle. Each show should run 27 minutes, but instead they are clocking in around 25 1/2, which is unacceptable. This fact is not mentioned in any advertising or the box - which to me is pure deception.

Second, these shows are OUT OF ORDER - they are neither presented by production nor air date! If you're aiming for the hard-core DVD collector market, why would you mix the episodes up - especially as there is character development as the season progressed? In another forum, the DVD makers said they spoke with Car 54 "experts" who helped decide the order. I don't believe it. My guess? The episodes are arranged this way for music licensing and the like. Rhino did this with their Monkees TV VHS box set years ago. That is, episodes were not in order due to "licensing fees" (read: cheap.)

Menu authoring is barely at a public-domain level. There are no animated menus, no Car 54 theme playing in the background, no scene selection, no play all function. Each DVD menu is a static and colorized photo of Toody and Muldoon with episode titles. No motion at all.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Truly brings back memories. Tooty & Muldoon.
Published 15 days ago by edonmac
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Funny as hell....Brought back a ton of memories...
Published 15 days ago by Jerrylee Desantis
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the funniest TV comedies of all-time
Yeah, okay, the storylines are sometimes painfully predictable, but who cares? The gang is hilarious! the quality is great too.
Published 26 days ago by Joseph Consoli
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent!!!
got both volumes of this. great family shows and such witty humor , my only complaint is that it was only on for 2 years. Read more
Published 1 month ago by and the blind shall see
3.0 out of 5 stars Grteat
This is a great family movie and I would reccomend it to anyone that likes comedies. thank you for your consideration,
Published 2 months ago by Mary
5.0 out of 5 stars Belly laugh therapy for the sick?
I bought Car 54 for my daughter-in-laws father who's being treated with chemo. According to my daughter in-law he's enjoying it. Read more
Published 3 months ago by James Peters
1.0 out of 5 stars The one star is for the packaging NOT the series
Car 54 is pure farce, you won't find satire like Sledge Hammer, or clever sight gags like Police Squad. There is no social commentary like Barney Miller. Read more
Published 4 months ago by DavidH
5.0 out of 5 stars CAR 54 WHERE ARE YOU
WONDERFULL COMEDY. A LAUGH A MINUTE. GREAT FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY.OLDIES ARE THE WAT TO GO.THIS DVD IS FOR YOU.
Published 4 months ago by John W. Bosch
5.0 out of 5 stars car 54 Where Are You: Complete First Season
great show and dvd quality seems to be very good. ther is a alot of laughs. you will not be disappointed.
Published 5 months ago by SPARROW
5.0 out of 5 stars good show
rhis it a good way to get this show and be able to watch it when ever you want to watch
Published 6 months ago by Marguerite Poll
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FINALLY!!
Yes I too am excited that they finally released this show. Now for Its About Time, The Second Hundred Years and other 60s comedies.
Feb 8, 2011 by Willard Onellion |  See all 3 posts
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