Car 54 Where Are You: Complete First Season
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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.
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
Top Customer Reviews
# Disc-Chapter AirDate Title
1 1-6 17/Sep/61 Who's For Swordfish?
2 3-3 24/Sep/61 Something Nice for Sol
3 2-7 01/Oct/61 Home Sweet Sing Sing
4 3-7 08/Oct/61 Change Your Partners
5 4-2 15/Oct/61 I Won't Go
6 3-8 22/Oct/61 Muldoon's Star
7 4-1 29/Oct/61 Paint Job
8 1-5 05/Nov/61 Love Finds Muldoon w/ Alice Ghostly
9 1-4 12/Nov/61 Gypsy Curse w/ Maureen Stapleton
10 4-4 19/Nov/61 Thirty Days Notice
11 8-2 26/Nov/61 Catch Me on the Paar Show w/ Hugh Downs
12 2-3 03/Dec/61 The Taming of Lucille
13 2-1 10/Dec/61 Put It in the Bank
14 4-3 17/Dec/61 Get Well, Officer Schnauzer
15 4-6 24/Dec/61 Christmas at the 53rd
16 4-5 07/Jan/62 The Sacrifice
17 2-5 14/Jan/62 Boom, Boom, Boom
18 2-6 21/Jan/62 Toody and Muldoon Crack Down
19 1-7 28/Jan/62 Toody's Paradise
20 3-6 04/Feb/62 How High is Up? w/ Shari Lewis
21 2-4 11/Feb/62 Toody and the Art World
22 1-1 18/Feb/62 What Happened to Thursday?
23 3-1 25/Feb/62 How Smart Can You Get?
24 3-5 04/Mar/62 Today I Am a Man
25 1-2 11/Mar/62 No More Pickpockets
26 1-8 18/Mar/62 The Beast Who Walked the Bronx
27 2-2 25/Mar/62 The Courtship of Sylvia Schnauzer
28 3-4 01/Apr/62 The Auction
29 1-3 08/Apr/62 Quiet! We're Thinking
30 3-3 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!
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I never watched this before I bought it but I love any shows from the 50's to the 80's and this is just a fine example of great tv.Published 21 days ago by Kevin
Decent video and audio recording quality so far. One of my favorite TV comedies.Published 1 month ago by Greg Davidson (Ella Guru from Captain Beefheart)
There's a Hold-up in the Bronx, Brooklyn's broken out in fights, CAR 52 WHERE ARE YOU? The First Team-up of Fred Gwynn, and Al Lewis, along with the comedy of Joe E. Ross. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Matt Stuart Jr.