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The Jack Paar Collection


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The Jack Paar Collection + The Jack Paar Collection (featuring the documentary Smart Television: The Best of Jack Paar)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The first host of The Tonight Show , as well as an actor, radio personality and star in his own right, Jack Paar was an early TV pioneer who brought Americans many of the century's most fascinating guests: President John F. Kennedy, Judy Garland, Bill Cosby, Woody Allen and other entertainers and public figures who graced his stage. 3 DVDs. 1957-1965/color-b&w/6 hrs., 40 min/NR/fullscreen.

Amazon.com

Jack Parr kept a low public profile after turning over the reigns of The Tonight Show to Johnny Carson in 1962. Thus, his passing in January 2004, did not receive nearly the attention it deserved. The Jack Paar Collection restores the legacy of the talk-show pioneer who brought the art of conversation to the barren landscape of late-night television. But, I kid you not, it is an indispensable time capsule that preserves appearances and performances by politicians, personalities, and entertainers who shaped the 20th century. And Robert Goulet, too. Disc 1 of this three-disc set is an appreciation of Paar that combines vintage clips with reminiscences and insights from the likes of Regis Philbin, Hugh Downs, who served as Paar's announcer, Dick Cavett, one of his writers, and the Smothers Brothers, who were among the legendary performers who made their earliest TV appearances on the Tonight Show stage (there are hilarious clips featuring Woody Allen, Bill Cosby, and, from 1964, Kermit the Frog, then just a tadpole in local television).

As Paar demonstrated when he quit The Tonight Show after one of his jokes was censored, anything could happen. In one hilarious clip, he fouls up a Goulet-Judy Garland duet by mixing up their cue cards. Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales observes that, unlike predecessor Steve Allen and successors Johnny Carson and Jay Leno, Jack Parr's Tonight Show combined "the edge of journalism and sparkle of showbiz." Then-Sen. John F. Kennedy was one of the first politicians who ventured into this more informal, unpredictable setting. There is amazing footage of guest Richard M. Nixon playing piano. Discs 2 and 3 present the master at work. Disc 2 contains complete monologues and guest interviews with Nixon, the boxer formerly known as Cassius Clay, Liberace, Billy Graham, and Robert Kennedy. Disc 3 offers three complete broadcasts, including a 1964 program with Cosby and Richard Burton (an added bonus is an embedded clip of Burton's towering performance as Hamlet). Forgive the obvious pun, but to watch Jack in his prime is to see why today's hosts are just not up to Paar. --Donald Liebenson


Special Features

  • Documentary: Smart Television: The Best of Jack Paar
  • Interviews and monologues
  • Three complete episodes of The Jack Parr Program

Product Details

  • Actors: Hugh Downs, Jose Melis, Jack Paar, Cliff Arquette, Betty Johnson
  • Writers: Paul Keyes, Marty Farrell, Pat McCormick
  • Producers: Bob Shanks, Paul Keyes, Perry Cross
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Shout Factory
  • DVD Release Date: March 30, 2004
  • Run Time: 384 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001GWBMS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,634 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Jack Paar Collection" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A. McIntyre on March 31, 2004
As someone who grew up with Jack Paar's Friday night program, I love this three CD set. Smart TV, the interviews with famous politicians and the monologues are all first rate. All present Paar as he was, a man from whom you could expect the unexpected.
The third disc - three full length Paar programs -- was a slight
letdown. I am disappointed that the famous Garland/Goulet show
(which Paar thought was his best) was substituted for a subpar Paar/Garland program from London. All in all, a must for anyone who enjoys great TV.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By J. Beers on July 19, 2004
Verified Purchase
I bought this DVD hoping to recapture the 50's "Paar" experience. It didn't happen. Some short segments are very entertaining - but there aint' enough of em! Where, Oh Where, are Charlie Weaver, Genvieve, Dodie Goodman, Hans Conried, Hermione Gingold, Jack Douglas and his charming Japanese wife, Rieko? These were the "Regulars" we tuned in nightly to see interact with Jack. Jack himself would be disappointed. You 50's folks, think twice about buying this superficial compilation.
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53 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Fred Oberheide on April 19, 2004
In August 1998, a VHS 2 tape release titled "As I Was Saying"
was released. It was a very well done documentary about Jack
Paar, the pioneer and first to introduce the talk show format
to the American public. While the video quality was obviously
not as clear and crisp as that offered by DVD, it neverthless
was good and made for enjoyable viewing. It remains one of the
favorites in my 300 plus collection of VHS tapes. But like
almost all collectors, I am anxious to convert my collection
entirely to DVD as the titles are released in that format.
Several weeks ago, I read that "The Jack Paar Collection" was
being released on DVD, and that it contained many of the same
segments of "As I Was Saying". My order was immediately on its
way. It arrived yesterday. To say I was disappointed would be
kind. THIS 3 DISK DVD IS A TRAVISTY! No attempt, whatsoever,
has been made to restore the quality of the 35-40 year old
tapes. They are a visual CHAOS. Even the audio quality is bad.
To see and hear the GREAT Judy Garland looking the worst I have ever seen her SCREECHING out an unknown song called "Never Will
I MARRY" on a London stage is an outrage to all her fans.
There are three complete one hour shows squeezed onto one disk.
The visual quality is terrible. The shows themselves are not much better. The great actress Bette Davis is so hoarse during
her appearance, you can't understand her. And on, and on.
I just read that "As I Was Saying" has just been released on
DVD. Do yourself a favor and buy it, and leave this one in the garbage can where it belongs.
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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful By HH on May 15, 2004
In addition to what the other person said about the lack of clips, the extras include an interview with an NBC page??? Plus NO attempt to include clips of WHEN Jack Paar walked out, nor any of the other classic segments. This is just a compilation of public domain material not copyrighted by NBC they threw on without thought. Why don't they just put on the NBC special that Jack himself hosted in the mid 90's? It had all his best clips PLUS his own commentary about them such as with the Beatles "Didn't you ever think Ringo was underpaid?"...
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By David Siegfried on September 10, 2005
Being born in 1958, I never saw the Jack Paar show when it was on because I was too young, but I have always heard about the mercurial Paar. The set starts off well with a documentary featuring old footage mixed with current interviews with Paar sidekick Hugh Downs, Dick Cavett (who wrote for the show and was himself a Paar disciple) and the Smothers Brothers, among others. The second disk contains show highlights including Bobby Kennedy's first TV appearance after the assassination of his brother, the Liberace/Cassius Clay duet, Richard Nixon playing the piano, and a Billy Graham interview, which I could not suffer through.

The highlights of Disk 3 include Jonathan Winters teasing Bette Davis, who teaches everyone how to do an impression of herself (everyone smoking) and an obviously inebriated Judy Garland doing 2 songs and holding hands with Paar during the interview. Yes, Bette Davis is hoarse and Garland is way out there, but these are fascinating to watch BECAUSE of these quirks, you would never see anything like this done on TV today, it has gotten so slick and produced.

The drawbacks are: 1 Some of the clips from disk 1 are repeated on the other disks, which is maddening. 2. The great Judy Garland / Robert Goulet show is discussed, but the show is not shown, only a short clip. 3. Worst of all, where is the infamous walk-off???

I wouldn't purchase this set, but it is definitely worth renting to see the originator of the unscripted talk show format, perhaps the most copied format in all of TV. The on-line services have it available for rental.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mary Ingram on September 11, 2006
Jack Paar was the greatest of all talk show hosts then and

now. No question about that. This collection brought back

many, many memories of TV when it was really good. Paar was

the most interesting interviewer-his monologues were as

fascinating as any interview with his guests. This collection reminds you how funny Jonathan Winters was. I could listen to

Robert Morley for hours. It made me sad to see President

Kennedy and the wonderful promises we lost in his death.

The most intriguing facet of Paar was that he actually wasnt

in charge of the conversation-the guests were and that is what

set Paar aside from all other talk show hosts since. We have lost alot, I mean alot of good TV since Paar which is a very

sad thing.
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