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  • Jack Paar: As I Was Saying & More [VHS]
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Jack Paar: As I Was Saying & More [VHS]

18 customer reviews


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Product Details

  • Actors: Jack Paar, Paul Keyes, Hal Gurnee, Hugh Downs, Muhammad Ali
  • Directors: Michael Macari Jr.
  • Producers: Bruce Colgate, Michael Macari Jr., Karen Bernstein, Susan Lacy, Tamar Hacker
  • Format: Box set, Black & White, Color, NTSC
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 3
  • Studio: Kultur Video
  • VHS Release Date: March 23, 2004
  • Run Time: 115 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00000G3AN
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #274,349 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

In just five years, Jack Paar changed the way Americans watched television. The first successful host of the Tonight Show (Steve Allen, Ernie Kovacs, and others were given chances prior to Paar), from 1957 to 1962 Paar made the late-night talk show a staple. In an era when celebrity still carried a measure of dignity, Paar both treated his guests with respect and got them, for the first time, to open up to the American public.

As I Was Saying... breaks up Paar's career between three videos. The first tape concerns itself mostly with Paar's pre-Tonight Show life: his start in radio, his stint in the Army, and his early days in Hollywood, where Jack Benny served as his mentor. Paar's Army hitch proves to be a turning point in his life--it was then that he first performed in front of an audience, and his job hosting the acts that come through to perform for the troops brought him national fame and Benny's attention.

The second tape shows the development of Paar's conversational humor, along with plenty of clips from the Tonight Show. There are early clips with Bill Cosby and Woody Allen, clips with Jonathon Winters and Buddy Hackett, and a sampling of Paar's own monologues. Paar's defining moment is explained in detail: after NBC censored a joke he made about a water closet (the British term for a restroom), Paar walked off the show; his return, a month later, is considered one of television's classic moments. He strolled onstage, struck a pose, and looked right into the camera. "As I was saying, before I was interrupted...," he said, and the audience erupted.

The third tape is hosted by Paar himself and is an edited tour through his post-Tonight Show career and life. Almost no mention is made of his failed variety show or brief stint as a Johnny Carson competitor; instead, there are clips of Paar as a guest on Carson's show and on Pat Sajak's short-lived program. There is also footage from Paar's African excursions, which are little more than well-filmed and -narrated home movies. They're nice for Paar completists, but hardly as entertaining as the first two tapes. --Randy Silver

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 6, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
Jack Paar's five-year era as host of the Tonight Show was the definitive one, with an emphasis on intelligent conversation as opposed to the scripted celebrity huckstering of whatever happens to be for sale this week that, with the exceptions of Dick Cavett's various shows, became the post-Paar talk show norm. Paar was a kind of national obsession in his day, reaching a level of fascinated attention that was never matched by his successor, Johnny Carson, or anyone else in the talk show field, and deservedly so. For those unfamiliar with Paar and unable to get to the Museum of Television and Radio in either New York City or Los Angeles, this video is required viewing. Most of it is taken from an American Masters special, and people would be well advised to tape that show off the air rather than order this video if they get the chance, since the section of this one not aired on PBS amounts to little more than home movie filler. The problem there is that the show is so seldom broadcast that you might find yourself waiting for years for the opportunity to do that, and the chance to watch the flamboyantly charismatic Paar host the Tonight Show is a revelation that should be an American birthright. I would have edited this show differently, but the discerning viewer will practically be driven to weep that we were stuck with the comparatively pedestrian Carson during all those years when we might have had Paar.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 9, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
I agree with the other reviewers about the high quality of Jack Paar's shows. He was the best talk show host ever. He makes Jay Leno look like a real twit. I especially agree with reviewer John Ellis that snippets of the show are just not the same as whole programs. Fans of Jack Paar don't want CLIPS, which are someone's interpretation of what is worth watching. Put the whole series on DVD and let us see them uncut, as they were originally broadcast, commercials and all. Now that would be a worthwhile product!
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 24, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
Jack Paar's version of the TV talk show was a glittering carnival of raconteurs, much more anecdotal and compelling than the vapid and shallow excuse for "conversation" that we're currently suffering through in our television talkfests. The decline got under way when Paar's departure left us with Johnny Carson as his Tonight Show successor, a man interested in comedy but plainly not his guests' stories. Dick Cavett, a Paar writer, kept the torch delightfully alive for a while with the various permutations of his own talk show, but now only Charlie Rose's PBS series offers any real conversation and the rest only feature what amount to meaningless seated vaudeville turns aimed at advertising whatever happens to be for sale that week. Very corporate in philosophy. I wish that I'd been the editor of these tapes; I'd've done it differently, but they're quite worthwhile as a glimpse of what the definitively charismatic Paar did and why America obsessed over him like no television personality before or since
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By E. Beyer on January 24, 2010
Format: DVD
Just a little background on this piece (I was involved in the production of the program as production manager, assistant editor and a half dozen other things).

What is on the DVD is what went into the 3 VHS set, and the transfer to DVD was done with then state-of-the-art multi-pass encoding equipment from the original master tapes, which came from the digital editing system, using the same files that created the original PBS broadcast program. We did go back and add a little material here and there to the first two parts of the show that we had been forced to cut fromt he broadcast version due to running time issues. The last portion was created especially for the video release version.

The comment that Kultur was responsible for a sub standard product is not true. We created the DVD and provided it to Kultur to distribute. The quality issues made mention of came into play LONG before the DVD encoding was ever done. You see, I know something that you don't: There are essentially NO original 'master tapes' of Paar's Tonight Show days. At the time video tape was brand new, and a daily show was not a place to waste that. NBC was required to keep 'air checks' for legal reasons. At the time, they made kinescopes of the shows (16mm film camera pointed at a TV monitor) for several years. Later in the run they did switch to video tape. Here comes the tragic part -- in the 70s, NBC got tired of paying for the climate controlled warehouse space in NJ where the tapes and much of the film records (of Paar and countless other programs) were stored, and had them disposed of. I suppose they are in a NJ landfill someplace at this point. Some of the Kiniscopes are apparently in the Library of Congress, but when we made "...
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 15, 1998
Format: VHS Tape
Jack Paar initiated the late night talk show and hasn't been equaled. The interview clips are wonderful - Judy Garland being silly, Robert F. Kennedy in the first interview after his brother's death, Bill Cosby as the first black comedian on network television. All in all a superb video any television buff must have.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By John Ellis on April 22, 2004
Format: DVD
This collection is a wonderful portrait of Paar, who was an egotist but very charming. My only objection is - give us more of him with his great guests. Where is Dody Goodman, Beatrice Lillie, more Jonathan Winters, Judy Garland, Bette Davis? - neither this nor the other recent DVD issue of Paar really showcases him at his best, in the company of the great talents he drew to the Tonight Show and established the reputation that Johnny Carson and Leno today still feed off. Paar touring Africa is interesting. Paar with his guests was fascinating. Will someone finish mining his vaults?
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