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SCTV - Best Of The Early Years (1981)

Joe Flaherty , Eugene Levy  |  NR |  DVD
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Joe Flaherty, Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, Dave Thomas, John Candy
  • Writers: Andrew Alexander, Brian Doyle-Murray, Brian McConnachie, Jim Fisher, Jim Staahl
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • 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: October 24, 2006
  • Run Time: 415 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000H6SY1O
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,835 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "SCTV - Best Of The Early Years" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Andrew Alexander answers fan mail with Scott Dobson
  • Looking back with Andrea Martin: Andrea Martin looks back on her theater roots, SCTV and the charecters it spawned
  • The McKenzie Brothers "Take Off, Eh!" : A look at the impact "The Great White North" had on Canada: available for the first time in 20 years
  • SCTV at The Firehall: Executive Producer Andrew Alexander gives a  behind-the-scenes tour of SCTV's home for 20 years

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

SCTV's best half-hour episodes from 1978 - 1980 are showcased in this 3-DVD collection. From its humble beginnings in 1976, SCTV transformed from a half-hour comedy airing monthly in Canada on the Global Television Network to a widely embraced series that, by the third season, was airing weekly on the CBC and syndicated in the U.S.

Guy Caballero and Edith Prickley were born in the early years. The McKenzie Brothers started here. Earl Camembert, Floyd Robertson, Johnny LaRue, Sammy Maudlin and Bobby Bittman—characters destined to become household names—were first beamed into consciousness here.

Starring: John Candy, Robin Duke, Joe Flaherty, Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, Rick Moranis, Catherine O'Hara, Tony Rosato and Dave Thomas

Special Features Include:

Commentaries by Robin Duke, Joe Flaherty and executive producer Andrew Alexander

The featurette "Looking Back With Andrea Martin,"

CBC news magazine segment "The McKenzie Brothers - Take Off, Eh"

Examining the impact The Great White North had on Canada

"Andrew Alexander Answers Fan Mail."

Even the worst of SCTV would be superior to much of what passes for contemporary sketch comedy. This three-disc set collects 15 of the now-legendary 30-minute syndicated episodes from 1978-80 that initially formed the bedrock of SCTV's Network 90 incarnation (now available in its entirety on DVD). There are but three episodes from season 2, which feature SCTV's most popularly known ensemble: John Candy, Joe Flahrety, Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, Rick Moranis, Catherine O'Hara, and Dave Thomas. Arguably the best of these is "On the Waterfront Again," with Levy's old school and out of touch comedian Bobby Bittman and O'Hara's B-list entertainer Lola Heatherton appearing on "The Sammy Maudlin Show" to promote their hopeless remake of the Brando classic. The bulk of this collection hails from season 3, which lamentably saw the departure of Candy and O'Hara, but also the auspicious arrival of Rick Moranis. Also joining the cast were the unsung Tony Rosato (who does a wicked Lou Costello in "Midnight Express Special") and Robin Duke. They would later make the jump to Saturday Night Live, which gets an upstart thumping in the episode, "Thursday Night Live." One of the season's running gags is a series of promos for Taxi Driver, recast with Woody Allen, Dick Cavett, Gregory Peck, and even Bob Hope ("You talkin' to me? Nobody talks to me that way. I didn't let Darryl Zanuck talk to me that way."). Thomas's definitive Hope also pops up to upstage Bittman on "The Sammy Maudlin Show" to promote "I Owe Peking 2000 Dollars," and alongside Moranis' uncanny Woody Allen in the masterpiece, "Play It Again, Bob." Thomas and Moranis make their momentous first appearances throughout this season as bickering, beer-swilling brothers Doug and Bob McKenzie, SCTV's breakout characters. "The Great White North" (a.k.a. "Kanadian Korner"), their sublimely silly improved segments, introduced such Canadian patois as "Take off," "Hoser," and "Beauty, eh?" into the pop culture lexicon.

SCTV mastered the art of cross parody. "My Factory, My Self," one of Martin's finest half hours, somehow combines An Unmarried Woman, Coming Home, Norma Rae, Kramer vs. Kramer, and The China Syndrome. It's unfortunate that The Early Years represented in this collection do not extend to the first season (Harold Ramis fans, arise!). But these gems are dazzling in their--to quote the hilarious "The Trial of Oscar Wilde" sketch--"sparkling wit and unbelievable intelligence." Some of the references are dated (anyone remember gossip columnist Rona Barrett, transformed here into sportscaster Ronny Barrett?). But we agree with SCTV station manager Guy Caballero. This is "the hippest comedy you'll ever see." --Donald Liebenson

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
57 of 62 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Wait on the real thing! January 3, 2008
The people that released this DVD make me want to throw my DVD player out my window (my big screen TV is too heavy to lift) and land it on their heads. WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?

Any true fan of SCTV is willing to wait as long as it takes to get all of the original series INCLUDING Harold Ramis in chronological order the way they SHOULD be released.

I bought all of the previous 90-minute volumes, but until you people release this fabulous series the right way, you WILL NOT get any more of my money, you HOSERS!
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great December 6, 2006
First of all, the cover of this set is misleading because it lists John Candy and Catherine O'Hara as though they were on equal footing with the rest of the cast. But if you're a big fan of either, you'll be disappointed because there's hardly ANY of their material on these disks. Tony Rosato and Robin Duke are funny. So was Shemp Howard. But we all know how we feel about those Shemp episodes! Not quite what we paid the admission price for.

Secondly, as others have pointed out, this is a random selection of the early half-hour shows, with some overlap of later "best of" shows which are already out on DVD. And not one bit of Harold Ramis. (Some ads for this set even mention Martin Short, who was nowhere near this project!)

But thirdly, this still is a very, very funny set. If you love SCTV, you will laugh your way through these discs, with lots of Bob & Doug, Count Floyd, and movie parodies such as Taxi Driver as done by Dick Cavett, etc. This may be all we ever get of the early years, so if you're a fan, grab them while you can. What's next? SCTV...the Cinemax years??
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62 of 71 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No Harold Ramis??? September 12, 2006
How the producers of this set could leave off the star of the show, is beyond fathomable. Any true fan of SCTV knows that the early years, the half hour shows, were the best. When it moved to NBC, it lost it's edginess and never was quite the same. The star that made those early years so great was Ha-Harold Ramis. C'mon! Officer Friendly? Moe Green? It's a crying shame. They wonder why sales tailed off for the later DVD's, and they do something as dumb as this. Sad. Why don't they ask the FANS what they want?
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
I've been waiting for years for the half-hour SCTV shows to be released on DVD as I always felt that their best material was in the half-hour syndicated format. Then, when they finally do release some of the half-hour shows on DVD I discover that the publisher leaves out some of the best material?! I can't believe it. This show was not the same with Duke, Rosato, or even Short. The crew of D. Thomas, J. Candy, H. Ramis, J. Flaherty, E. Levy, C. O'Hara, R. Moranis and A. Martin is what this show was all about. Until I can get ALL the material featuring those specific cast members, I'm going to have to consider very carefully whether or not I'll be buying this or any other set. I'm giving this 3-stars for the good material that is here, I only wish that what was here was all 5 stars worth of material that I wanted.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Cop Out February 15, 2008
A best-of set? In whose opinion? They short-changed us here, folks. Why not do it right and issue ALL of the 30-minute episodes?; that's what the hardcore SCTV fans really wanted. Instead, we got a sampling, an hors devours tray. Bad job, Shout Factory! Please go back and get this right.
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37 of 46 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars WHAT A WASTE - HERE IS A LIST OF THE CHANGES November 21, 2006
Three discs, includes one insert per disc with episode info.

What's On It

15 30 minute episodes

Three episodes from series 2: Municipal Election (2-6), 30th Anniversary (2-11), and On the Waterfront Again (2-19)

Twelve episodes from series 3: Thursday Night (3-2), My Factory My Self (3-4), Death Motel (3-5), Play It Again Bob (3-7), Gaslight (3-8), Sammy Maudlin (3-11), Hollywood Salutes Its Extras (3-14), Irwin Allen Show (3-15), Big Brother (3-16), Two Way TV (3-17), Midnight Express Special (3-19), and Dick Cavett (3-24)


Commentary: Joe Flaherty and Robin Duke, Andrew Alexander

Featurette: Looking Back With Andrea Martin

Featurette: The Mackenzie Brothers: Take off, Eh (CBC The Journal profile)

Featurette: SCTV at the Firehall


1 Election:

2 30th Anniversary:

3 On the Waterfront:

4 Thursday Night: Closing credits music changed to Season 4 generic theme (obscuring Cronkite's rambling monologue)

5 My Factory:

6 Death Motel: Edna Hymbecker no longer sings Killing Me Softly

7 Play It Again, Bob: Closing credits music changed to Season 4 generic theme

8 Gaslight:

9 Sammy Maudlin:

10 Hollywood Salutes: Star Wars title music in Sneak Previews has been replaced; Hawaii 5-O theme music in Hawaii 5-Ho has been replaced; closing credits music changed to Season 4 generic theme

11 Irwin Allen:

12 Big Brother:

13 Two Way TV: The Cruisin' Gourmet has been replaced with Tex and Edna Boil from 3-6 (The Lone Ranger Show)

14 Midnight Express Special: Randy Newman's "Pants" has been replaced by generic music

15 Dick Cavett: Love Boat Deer Hunter promo is cut
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
The episodes on this latest SCTV DVD set are definitely worth watching, but I must protest one new feature, the labeling as episode commentaries material that isn't in fact actual commentaries. At least two of the episodes have what is labeled as a "commentary" but what are really just a member of the SCTV production staff responding to general questions about the show. While these comments are interesting, they have nothing to do with the specific show they are linked to and the pairing of the two is pointless. They should have run the comments as a separate added feature, perhaps along with a montage of still photos from the show, but I imagine it was simply cheaper to do it this way so they could claim to have more commentaries on the individual episodes when, as I say, these particular verbal recordings are nothing of the sort.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Thank you!
Published 29 days ago by donaldelfman
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but could have been better!
Good audio commentary, good episodes, but Shout! Factory should put out all original 78 episodes from the first three seasons.They probably never will because of financial issues. Read more
Published 1 month ago by NASH T.
5.0 out of 5 stars SCTV is finally back on the air on DVD
I have been waiting for these to come to DVD for forever. LOVE these and they still stand up to the sands of time. Hilarious writing, performances and shows. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Heather
1.0 out of 5 stars Mildly disappointed.
I don't know how "The Best" were selected for this set. Perhaps my memory of SCTV has faded over the years but I do remember a good deal of SCTV early years episodes that were most... Read more
Published 21 months ago by petergee
5.0 out of 5 stars SCTV is Back on the Air!
This is a neat compilation of some of the best SCTV material. I'm still waiting for the very first season to appear on DVD, but until then, this set will do nicely, especially... Read more
Published on September 20, 2012 by CG
5.0 out of 5 stars SCTV; Best Of The Early Years
These DVDs's exceeded my expectations. The DVDs' was full of great SCTV moments and was a real treat.
Published on January 30, 2010 by Bruce Durham
Let me explain this one star review right out of the gate. These shows are GREAT, this boxed set is NOT. Read more
Published on October 6, 2009 by M. Salmestrelli
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointingly un-funny...
Why was this program so damned funny when I was a teenager? Probably because it was on late and I was high. Read more
Published on December 31, 2008 by G. Johnston
3.0 out of 5 stars Like many ,many others
I was disappointed in the selection of skits. I'm not an SCTV historian, with perfect knowlege of what was season 1, 2, 3, etc. Read more
Published on January 1, 2008 by Younghoss
5.0 out of 5 stars a classic
I'm glad I found the SCTV series on DVD, I'm a big fan,the shows always makes me laugh.
Published on November 13, 2007 by Amazon Customer
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Topic From this Discussion
MUCH cheaper at
It's also weird how Amazon keeps changing the price. It keeps flip flopping between $29.99 and $31.99.
Nov 22, 2006 by Pawn |  See all 2 posts
Which episode can I find the "Cats" Sketch?
That was a Saturday Night Live sketch.
Apr 6, 2009 by Julia A. Green |  See all 2 posts
High Q
SCTV Network 90, Vol 1 Disc 1
Dec 26, 2007 by R. Mend |  See all 3 posts
No Harold Ramis - BIG MISTAKE
Absolutely, it's a huge mistake to release these shows without the Harold Ramis shows from Season One. How about releasing ALL of the half-hour syndicated shows in full season sets, one for each season? That way fans could buy just what they want, be it all the shows or just certain seasons.

As... Read More
May 2, 2007 by Valnastar |  See all 2 posts
why are they releasing the episodes like this
The reason any DVD release gets problematic always relates to rights/money. As actors, the respective contractual rights almost never provide basis for refusing cooperation or making new monetary demands. It's only the creative & production artists that can effect copyrights and withold release... Read More
Oct 29, 2006 by R. Aronin |  See all 9 posts
Full Season Sets of the 30-minute Eps Be the first to reply
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