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The Jack Paar Collection

21 customer reviews

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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.

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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

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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: #95,872 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Jack Paar Collection" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Steves on September 6, 2006
I'm not sure why so many people are irked by what ISN'T in this collection. You can't put everything in any collection (unless it's the collected works of Francis Scott Key). I'm grateful for what IS in this collection and it's luverly to have this early Paar material on disc - plus the recent interviews, especially with Cavett. It reminds us how long it's been since talk shows centered on intelligent conversation instead of blather.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 26, 2004
An excellent example of how a box set should be done! All too often when a legendary figure passes on several cheap, quickly thrown-together packages flood the market in an attempt to cash in on the memory of the dearly departed. This is clearly an example of the opposite. Much painstaking and loving work has gone into this box. It sounds and looks just great.
The first disc is an excellent, revelatory documentary on Jack Paar featuring clips from his late night shows and commentary from those who followed in his footsteps as well as other famous admirers. I had seen this special when it first aired on PBS and it's great to finally own it on DVD.
The second disc features Mr. Paar's favorite monologues and interviews. It's plain to see how his style continues to be emulated across today's late night landscape. Not only is it interesting material as a comparison to today's hosts, but also as just plain old good entertainment. From Nixon to Bobby Kennedy to Cassius Clay his interviews are not only great "gets," they are fascinating. It's great to have what's essentially a "best of Jack Paar" DVD.
The third disc contains three episodes of his late night programs in their entirety. These are the kinds of shows I for one would LOVE to see late night on Nick At Night. Somebody needs to move on this! After seeing these three I want more. Trio has brought back classic David Letterman episodes (also great viewing 20 years after the fact) so why not Paar? The Cosby standup routine is especially funny.
All in all this 3-DVD box set is a great bargain for the price!
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