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on December 13, 2005
I have been a big fan of Laverne and Shirley since it first aired in 1975. Now, here we are 30 years later, and it still remains one of my all-time favorite sitcoms. I knew this set had been kicking around for awhile now, but I finally got around to picking it up just last week. I've now had a chance to watch all three discs and was quite pleased with the quality of the transfers and the sound. There are no extras included here, no outtakes or deleted scenes, no commentaries or other goodies, but I'm not complaining. It was, after all, a SITCOM, and that's how they keep the prices on these box-sets low.

The series is set in 1950's Milwaukee, and follows the trials and tribulations of two working class girls from the suburbs, their eccentric but loveable neighbors, "Lenny & Squiggy"(Micheal McKean and David Lander), and the girls' misfortunes at dating, finding romance, and generally just trying to make their way in the world. The supporting cast included singer Eddie Mekka(Carmine Ragusa) who played Shirley's occasional boyfriend, Phil Foster(Frank DeFazio), Laverne's loud-mouthed, hard-working Italian father who owns the "Pizza-Bowl", and several other guest stars like Henry Winkler and Ron Howard. Season one DOES NOT include the character of Mrs. Edna Babish, which was played by the charming Betty Garrett, who became the girls' landlord, and later married Laverne's father, Frank. (Betty was still working on All in the Family at the time). It should also be said that the scripts and dialogue here were a little choppy at times, but you have to remember that this was the first season, and the show gradually improved as time went on, which brings me to my complaint...

WHERE IS THE REST OF THE SERIES? I see the shelves at Wal-Mart lined with other TV shows and sitcoms that weren't half as popular as this one was, and they're up to Season 4 and 5 already... What is Paramount's problem? Laverne and Shirley got so much better in later years. As a matter of fact, season 2 is where things really took off. Betty Garrett was added to the cast, and we were also introduced to Rosie Greenbaum, one of the girls' enemies from high school who married into money and likes to degrade them by calling them "bimbos". The scripts and the acting became more solid too. Eddie Mekka was given a number of dance/singing parts, which showcased his talent as not only an actor, but a fine musician as well. I have many favorite episodes, so many that I couldn't begin to mention them all. There were also a number of "two-parters" that aired such as "The Cruise", "You're In the Army Now", "Murder on the Moose-Jaw Express", "The Bardwell Caper", "Festival", and "Death Row". On a more somber note, the series seemed to jump the gun after season 5, when the girls packed up their belongings and headed out west to start a new life in California. Several new cast members were added, such as Leslie Easterbrook(Rhonda Lee), Ed Marinaro(Sonny), and Norman Bartold(Mr. Hildebrand). The show basically ended when Cindy Williams' character was written off after she married Walter Meeney, an army doctor who was stationed overseas. Though Penny Marshall tried to hold the show on her own, it was all downhill from there. The last episode of the series featured Eddie Mekka bidding farewell to the cast as he set off to make a name for himself on Broadway.

Laverne and Shirley ran for 8 years and was one of the highest rated sitcoms of the decade. Critics hated it, but the public adored it. The main audience of the show was middle-class America, who found it easy to relate to. It also spun off a short-lived cartoon series, and a number of kids toys and collectables. I don't know when (or if) Paramount will go ahead with season 2, but I'm patiently awaiting their decision. Several years ago, Columbia House issued a collection of 10 VHS tapes featuring some of the best episodes. These are now out of print and no longer available, however copies tend to pop up on eBay from time to time. In conclusion, I would say that this is a welcome addition and a good place to start, but I would like to see the better episodes come out on DVD eventually. Maybe next year. We're waiting Paramount... Until then, enjoy these memories!
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on December 9, 2005
I just called Paramount because I have been frustrated with their lack of more releases of L&S on DVD. I have made several calls over the last several months. I just spoke with a very nice guy who said that if you call them and vocalize wanting to see more seasons of L&S released on DVD, it will make a difference. Please call them at 323.956.5000 and ask for the Marketing and/or Home Entertainment Dept and tell them to please release more seasons on DVD. Pass this on to your friends and pass the word. Call every day or every other day or once a week. If we bombard them with calls they will see that there is a demand. If the # is blocked from this review, they are in the 323 area code - 555.1212 ask for Paramount Pictures for the main #. Thanks for reading. PLEASE PASS THE WORD! Signed, one huge L&S fan!!!!!!!
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on November 1, 2004
Probably one of the funniest duo's in comedy since Laurel and Hardy or Abbott and Costello. The pairing of Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams was an instant success that won many fans. I have waited a long time for this, and I only hope that Paramount doesn't drop the project after season 1.

The DVD's are nice and clear. Superb transfers and good sound. I was astounded at how clear the picture was. Almost as if these videos were being shown for the first time! I couldn't detect any flaws at all, other than than a few sound glitches now and then, but nothing major.

Please, do us a favour and release all 8 seasons of Laverne and Shirley... I haven't seen some of these episodes in YEARS! My personal opinion is either release the series in its entirety or don't even bother. The whole purpose of these DVD re-issues is for to us to enjoy all those golden memories again right? Then do us a favour Paramount and release EVERY episode that ever aired. TV Land was only airing certain episodes, and then showing them out of sequence. I was not impressed. So please, let us enjoy all these old episodes again, complete and uncut, the way we remember seeing them.

Thank-you Laverne & Shirley for all the laughs!
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on October 12, 2006
It's a simple matter of mathematics. Season one is a HALF SEASON (15 or so shows). The cost of this half season is listed at $35. It stands to reason a full season would cost $70. Would you pay that for season 2???

OK, now the reason the show is so expensive. Music COPYRIGHTS. Each song used as background music on the show has a separate copyright. Satisfying the holders of these copyrights is expensive. So the cost is passed on to the consumer. Same story with Happy Days. And did you notice no WKRP? Any show that uses Top 40 music has this problem. I recently purchased "Love at First Bite" with George Hamilton, to find "I Love the Night Life" by Alicia Bridges REPLACED by another generic tune. I guess she wanted too much money. For L&V to do this would spoil the flavor of the show.
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on November 30, 2004
When I was 12, Laverne and Shirley was my favorite show! Never missed an episode and would often write my own episodes for my friends and I to enact.

I always watched the reruns and tried to tape episodes when I could, so when this was released on DVD, I had to have it.

Each episode, for me, anyway, is a trip down memory lane. But it also showcases the outstanding comedic talents of Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams. They were as good as Lucy. I spent an evening belly laughing and still pop it in when I have had a rotten day and need a chuckle!

This is a great set for the major fan, but also a good way to introduce the latest generation to this great show!
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on April 21, 2005
I, like many others, have been patiently waiting for the other seasons of L&S for quite sometime now. In just over 3 months, it will be ONE YEAR since the release of Laverne & Shirley's complete first season, with no further mention of Paramount deciding to go ahead with the rest of the series. I also agree that I can do without the California episodes, since the show seemed to jump the gun after season 6. I'm also in agreement that season 5 was perhaps the most refined of the entire series, with good plots and scripts, and solid acting. "Murder on the Moose-Jaw Express" also ranks as one of my all-time favourites, with "The Diner" running a close second. "Betty pick up your hash blacks please" LOL.

However, with that said, these DVD's are a great beginning. The transfers are solid, crisp and clear, and the sound is good too. There are no extras, outtakes, or any other goodies, and even the DVD cases themselves are plain and uninspiring, but that's OK with me since I hardly watch the extra stuff anyway, although some of the outtake scenes would probably be a hoot to watch. The chemistry between Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams worked magic on the screen, although off camera their relationship was anything but rosey. (they have since reconciled and are good friends today). Also, season one doesn't include the later character of Mrs. Babish, the girls landlord (played by Betty Garrett) and Rosie Greenbaum, one of the girls arch-enemies.

On the whole, not a bad collection, but certainly not the best. Perhaps if Paramount doesn't decide to give us any additional seasons, then maybe they could come out with a "Best of Laverne & Shirley" DVD, featuring all the better episodes? Anyway, we just have to be patient and wait and see I guess. I don't understand why a sitcom that practically saved ABC in the 70's has only had one season released so far. (CBS had M*A*S*H and All in the Family). Come on Paramount, get your show together. (literally). I'm waiting, and so are many others.
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on August 19, 2004
At long last, "Laverne & Shirley" finally comes to DVD. This series was one of the most consistantly funny shows on television in the 70's. Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall share a chemistry that hasn't been seen in a female comedy duo since Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance in "I Love Lucy" in the 50's (to which they've often been compared). The two leads work off each other with impecable comedic timing and although their "notorious" feuding became the stuff of tabloid headlines, that didn't happen until later in the series.
Season one shows the girls with a slightly "rough around the edges" type style......something that softened as the series went on. It also introduces several quirks that became trademarks of the series......BooBoo Kitty, milk and pepsi, the letter "L" on all of Laverne's shirts.
The DVD set presents the series in a remarkably clear and sharp picture. Perhaps I've been watching the show in syndication for to long but I was greatly impressed with the clarity and sharpness of the picture quality. I noticed the improved clarity right from the opening credits. It was like I was watching it again for the first time. Alas...........there are absolutely no extras (unless you count a preview of the second episode coming at the end of the first episode and "extra"). Perhaps Paramount didn't want to spend a lot of money on a DVD package they weren't sure would sell well. Well, hopefully "Laverne & Shirley, Season One" will sell well enough for Paramount to include extras in future seasons. Despite that, L&S is well worth a dip in your pocket if you're looking for good, old-fashioned, silly and fun comedy. Williams and Marshall are masters at their craft.
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on April 17, 2005
To me, this show was MUCH better than "Happy Days"; funnier, not as corny, and with much better performances by the leads. Cindy Williams as Shirley, and Penny Marshall as Laverne, created a classic television comedy that Paramount has finally premiered on DVD!

The show, a mid-season replacement as "Happy Days" had been, had a first-season run of 15 episodes ... so here is what the first boxed set should contain:

1) The Society Party - The boss's nephew wants to mingle with the "commoners" ... so invites the girls to a dinner at his Nana's manor -- where the girls show up wearing stolen gowns provided by Lenny and Squiggy, and get busted mid-dinner!

2) The Bachelor Party - With Laverne's father away and the girls managing the Pizza Bowl, L&S show a bad error in judgment when Fonzie talks them into letting a bachelor party go on there after hours.

3) Bowling for Razzberries - A bowling tournament is Laverne's big chance to finally get back at a bowling rival ... but by the night of the contest she falls ill, and is so doped up on medication she can hardly walk.

4) A Nun's Story - An old high school buddy, crazy Anne-Marie, shows up for the reunion as a nun.

5) Father at the Altar - Laverne decides to marry her boyfriend of only two months before the Navy ships him off.

6) Dog Day Blind Dates - Laverne and Shirley unwittingly have blind double dates set up with 2 criminals who plan to heist the bank next to the Pizza Bowl.

7) Once Upon a Rumor - Shirley's stuck zipper (with Squiggy trying to help her) leads to a rumor around the brewery that Shirley is a "fun date."

8) One Flew Over Milwaukee - Shirley drives everyone nuts when she loses her pet canary.

9) Dating Slump - Shirley becomes sullen and depressed when Carmine finds a new girlfriend.

10) It's the Water - L&S set out to earn promotions at work when they try out for a beer tasting position.

11) Fakeout at the Stakeout - A robber, "The Milwaukee Masher," is terrorizing local women; L&S set out to help Laverne's cop boyfriend catch him.

12) Hi, Neighbor - Lenny and Squiggy move into the girl's building.

13) How Do You Say "Are You Dead?" in German? - The girls set out to help a German delivery guy who faints in their living room.

14) From Suds to Stardom - Another Shotz Brewery talent show has the girls determined to win this year - after losing 4 years in a row.

15) Mother Knows Worst - Shirley's domineering mother pays a visit, and drives Shirley crazy criticizing her friends, clothes, home, life ... until Laverne finally sets the old gal straight.

"Laverne and Shirley" was an instant hit, and ran for eight years. The show relied a lot on silly humor and schtick and physical comedy, but could always be guaranteed for a lot of laughs, and remains a TV classic. Thanks so much Paramount, and please don't hesitate on other seasons - the two-parter where they catch a murderer on a train to Moosejaw, Canada (season 5- as mentioned by another viewer) is still the BEST!! (remember- THE COCOA'S POISON!) LOL!
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on October 30, 2004
FINALLY, after a long time waiting, Paramount Home Video is releasing all those great sitcoms we all love and remember, one of my favourites being Laverne and Shirley of course!

These DVD's are long overdue in my opinion. I was very impressed with the quality of the transfers, and I couldn't help but marvel at the vibrant colours and sharpness of the picture, despite the fact that the master prints are nearly 30 years old... Colours that I never even noticed on the re-runs come through crisp and clean on the DVD. The sound, although being mono, is also quite good, but there were times (especially with the music scenes) where the volume peaked a little too high, but no big deal. All 15 original episodes are here, complete and unedited, the way we remember them.

I sincerely hope that Paramount releases ALL seasons of L&S, and not cheat us out of the later episodes. One of my all-time favourites, and one which another reviewer all ready mentioned, is "Murder on the Moose Jaw Express", which aired in two parts and featured an all-star cast that included Scatman Crothers (always a hoot), Charlene Tilton, Conrad Janis, and several others. This was basically a spoof of "Murder on the Orient Express", but MUCH more funny. Curiously enough, this particular episode isn't shown anymore, even in the re-runs. I only hope that Paramount decides to give it to us-if they even release season 5 that is... I guess time will tell, but PLEASE, don't stop at season one!

Now that we've been given a teaser, let's hope we get the entire series. L&S is a great reminder of what comedy USED to be like. Along with "All In The Family", "Happy Days", "Mary Tyler Moore", this show will always by synonymous with the 70's. Thank-you for the memories-and the laughs. Keep 'em coming Paramount. I'll be the first in line!
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on August 28, 2006
To P. Chelune - Cindy "Shirly" Williams never said anything negative about Armed Forces members in the 90's. It was a quoted by a Cindy Williams who was a senior research fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Check out the link for proof.

[...]

You should check your facts so you don't blindly hate someone.

Regarding Season 1, it's great! Hurry up with Season 2!!
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