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Saturday Night Live: Season 1, 1975-1976 (1975)

Dan Aykroyd , Cheve Chase , Dave Wilson , A.D. Miles  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (219 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Dan Aykroyd, Cheve Chase, John Belushi, Jane Curtin, Garrett Morris
  • Directors: Dave Wilson, A.D. Miles, Christopher Guest, Mike Judge, Tom Schiller
  • Format: Box set, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 8
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: December 5, 2006
  • Run Time: 1594 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (219 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000JLQPYK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,102 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Saturday Night Live: Season 1, 1975-1976" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Features all 24 episodes from the first season in their original, 90-minute format, including all of the original music
  • Archival footage from the Today Show with Tom Snyder
  • Cast member screen tests

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Saturday Night Live: The Complete First Season boxed set is much more than the sum of its parts, in fact it's one of the most significant TV DVD releases yet. This isn't just an 8-disc set featuring 24 episodes of live sketch comedy, it's a big box of zeitgeist. This really is the complete first season, mostly uncut and complete with every musical act and short film intact (a few bumpers and transitions were removed to make it flow better on DVD). The first broadcast aired on October 11, 1975, hosted by George Carlin and featured musical guests Billy Preston and Janis Ian. At first, things seem a little raw: Carlin's opening monologue is painfully unfunny, Chase's first shot at the seminal "Weekend Update" is amusing but sloppy, and much of the cast seem to be holding back. But the groundwork is all there, and soon in subsequent episodes you can see it all start to come together (especially with John Belushi who lets his simmering intensity out to tremendous effect), proving that the first episode simply belies the historic impact the show would come to have on popular culture. Here you'll find the first airing of some of the many skits that stayed famous over the years: the Land Shark, Samurai Hotel, Chevy Chase's opening pratfalls and the impersonations of Gerald Ford which would spin off into the proud SNL tradition of presidential parodies.

The set is a very entertaining look at a significant point in TV and American cultural history. It is so 1975, but that's a major part of its appeal: did Chevy Chase really used to look that young? Did a young George Carlin really used to look so old? Check out Abba in those disco jumpsuits. And if you're a fan of The Muppets, seeing them here on late-night TV making jokes about getting drunk will blow your mind. Younger fans may not fully understand just how groundbreaking this show was at the time. For example, Richard Pryor hosting the seventh episode, which includes the famous "Word Association" sketch. Back then, to have a comedian of Pryor's reputation joking about drugs, sex, and race on live TV was a tremendous risk (it's also gratifying to see the obvious effect he had on the next generation of comics like Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock), and it helped established the show's cache as unpredictable and edgy. The DVD set is full of moments like this and, like the show itself, it has its ups and downs. Watching hosts like Rob Reiner (back when he was still in his "Meathead" days from All in the Family), Madeleine Kahn, and Desi Arnaz work their comedy chops with the cast are high points. Whereas the infamous Louise Lasser episode, which is known for being among the worst episodes in the show's history… not so much. Still, it's entirely to Executive Producer Lorne Michaels's credit that it's included here. It's a tremendous collection of everything that gave birth to Saturday Night Live, and the seed of what SNL would become, spawning many movies (not to mention a few catch-phrases), launching the careers of many great comedians, and providing TV viewers with some of the most famous, and infamous, moments in broadcast history. And it all started right here.

The set is packaged in a well-designed, sleek fold-out digi-pack with every episode listed on the sleeves, with hosts, musical guests, and the original air date. The special features include a rare look at the cast members' original screen tests, and a 1975 TV interview with the cast. --Daniel Vancini

Product Description

Nicknamed the "Not Ready for Prime Time Players," the original cast of Saturday Night Live ignited a comedy revolution with their mix of irreverent characters and satirical impressions of political figures and pop culture icons. From the premiere of this groundbreaking sketch comedy show on October 11, 1975, live from historic Studio 8H in New York City's Rockefeller Center, Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Jane Curtin, Chevy Chase, Garrett Morris, Laraine Newman, and Gilda Radner launched themselves into instant stardom and were often referred to as "The Beatles of Comedy." Created by Lorne Michaels over three decades ago, few other shows have had the cultural impact and relevance of Saturday Night Live. Nowhere else can you see the complete first season of SNL, featuring hosts George Carlin, Rob Reiner, Lily Tomlin, Richard Pryor, Elliott Gould, Candice Bergen, or original musical performances by Simon & Garfunkel, ABBA, Patti Smith Group, Jimmy Cliff, and Carly Simon. And if you're curious as to how the original cast was hired, check out the DVD bonus features that include the screen tests of each performer.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
363 of 384 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Groundbreaking Season October 25, 2006
Format:DVD
For several years, I stayed up well past 2am on Saturday nights hoping to catch reruns of the classic, full SNL shows from 1975-1980. NBC was re-airing some of these great programs in their entirety (not "best of" packages) with few exceptions, starting in the late 1990s in most NBC outlets. Unfortunately, the original cast shows were the exception and the Dana Carvey and/or Will Farrell years were the norm. After several years, I managed to videotape about 25-30 original cast shows, but only about 4 from the first season.

Younger audiences unfamiliar with the original SNL will likely be surprised by a number of things in viewing this great collection. Firstly, for those of us who remember, SNL was the most weird and cutting-edge show to be found in those days. The concept of "late night" television was certainly not then what it is today either. There really is no "late night" anymore, what with hundreds of cable/satellite channels and the Internet to keep us entertained around the clock. In the '70s, however, late night was a wasteland of old movies and reruns. Most stations ended their broadcast day by about 1 or 2am (for the tech-geners, this means the three network stations, one public station and typically about 3 or 4 local stations). As far as the networks were concerned, Johnny Carson owned the airways after the local news; this was literally true in many ways. Although not on air during the weekend, Carson Productions was quite a powerful entity, owning many weekend program slots. Beyond local news & the Tonight Show, there was little interest in developing a "late night" program. Secondly, SNL had huge shock value for a culture that wasn't used to seeing risqué material paraded constantly on broadcast TV.
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89 of 91 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
I must say that it is absolutely great that we can finally see the shows as they were originally broadcast (minus the 25 minutes of commercials that I hated sitting through). This is SNL in its prime. In seeing these uncut shows, you will see just how good the original cast was. Just one show from this season is better than any yearly "Best Of" they can put together from the current cast.

THE DOWN SIDE: There has been little effort made to restore the 30+ year old videotapes. The picture is often soft with color bleeding to the right of objects on screen. This is not the original way we saw the series live, so some restoration would have been nice. Other shows have gotten better DVD treatment.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW if you never saw the first season live:
1) Take away the 25 minutes of commercials and these "90 Minute" shows only run 65 minutes.
2) In those days the show was NOT called "Saturday Night Live", that title was used by sportscaster Howard Cosell for his weekly live vartiety show seen at 9pm, Saturday Nights on the ABC Network. This show's first season was officially called "NBC's Saturday Night" and introduced as "Live from New York, it's NBC's Saturday Night". These original titles were later re-shot as just "Saturday Night" for the hour long syndication run, and "The Best Of Saturday Night Live" for the later cut-down half hour syndication run.
3) While the first show seems to be a in the regular sketch format, the second show is more of a Paul Simon Special with Chevy Chase making a brief appearance to introduce the show, and later to do a "Weekend Update". The "Not Ready For Prime Time Players" make brief appearances in filmed segments.
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51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Set Is Plush and Deluxe-A Fan's Treasure November 28, 2006
Format:DVD
I will tell you now that my review is primarily about the box set itself. It's so nice and something that a fan of the show will really treasure.

SNL The Complete First Season (1975-1976) is a really sweet collectors item. A fan of SNL really would be pleased with this first season set release. Hopefully, the quality of future sets will measure up to the dedication and effort put into the first season set. If you have purchased those SNL "Best of Sets" in the past, don't even compare those to this release. This is a really nice deluxe box set.

The 1975-1976 cast were the one's who got the ball rolling with the series. Cast members from the debut season were Dan Akroyd, John Belushi, Jane Curtain, Chevy Chase, Garrett Morris, Laraine Newman and Gilda Radner. Surely these names ring a bell to you. The majority of the cast members went on to have successful film and television careers in the 1980's.

The great thing about the DVD box set is that it includes the episodes in their original 90 minute format for the first time on DVD--with all musical performances in tact. Season one musical guests included Simon & Garfunkel, Joe Cocker, Neil Sedaka, Desi Arnez, Carly Simon, Kris Kristopherson, and Gil Scott-Heron among others. Each single sided disc includes three 90 minute episodes. The disc case includes the name of the guest host, the musical guest and the episode air date. The first air date on the set is October 11th, 1975 and the set ends with the air date July 31st, 1976.

Another nice feature of the set is a booklet which includes really awesome black and white cast photos from the shows first season. Special features include original screen tests, a 1975 interview with the cast and the aforementioned collector's booklet with the cast photos.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars SNL is only good in the first seasons
Please make it possible to rent the classic SNL, back in the good old days when it was actually funny. This one was a waste of time.
Published 9 days ago by Katchak Yol
5.0 out of 5 stars Bought as Gift
I purchased this as a gift for a friend that loves the old SNL skits. She loves it, so I'm rating it 5 stars.
Published 11 days ago by Laci Ledbetter
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic!!!
Two masters of their craft Mr. Richard Pryor, and the musical guest, Mr. Gil Scott-Heron on the same episode. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Darren P. Calhoun
5.0 out of 5 stars The Original
I quit watching SNL a long time ago; as I recall it went network shortly after the 5th season, and has been going down steadily ever since. Read more
Published 2 months ago by S. Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars When It Was Getting Funny
It took a few shows for Saturday Night Live to hit its stride, but this first groundbreaking episode was a good introduction to comic genius to come. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Cynthia Cunningham
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good
This is a must for any SNL junkie. It has the entire original cast. Some slow parts as it is the first season but some great stuff too. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Deb
1.0 out of 5 stars Give this a pass.......don't waste your time or money
I spent every Saturday night from 1978 onward glued to the TV to watch this series. This first season is terrible. I am thankful that I never watched it way back then. Read more
Published 2 months ago by angela
5.0 out of 5 stars SNL...
going back in time. I loved SNL got to see a lot of host that have since passed. A lot of musical gues from this season I didn't really care for but other than that the skits... Read more
Published 2 months ago by scary movie junkie
2.0 out of 5 stars Better a 1am
It is amazing how different a show is when you are watching it at 1 am vs in the evening on the DVR. Seemed funnier at 1am.
Published 3 months ago by Robert Gould
5.0 out of 5 stars Chirstmas Present for my Son
He has seen bits and pieces on You Tube, was great to sit down and see complete episodes from start to finish.
Published 3 months ago by Larry Shank
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where is the booklet?
The booklet was only available until supplies ran out. It's easy to see it before purchasing next to the digipack in the slipcase. You might still be able to find a copy in stores and exchange yours.
Jul 9, 2009 by gswithen |  See all 2 posts
Louise Lasser Episode
After her closing monologue, I looked her up for more info (I'm a traditional college student, so I wasn't born until about a decade after this show aired). It seems that Louise was rather picky about this show: she insisted some film be aired and also refused to appear with any cast member but... Read more
Jul 21, 2007 by L. P. Trojanowski |  See all 5 posts
Anyone else think the video quality is bad?
You know, that was 1975, it was a new show, and video in those days was not DVD quality, in fact they didn't even have beta yet, I remember watching the original show on tv, and I thought it looked "ghostly" then. plus i'm sure it had to be transferred from some old format to dvd.
Apr 23, 2007 by R. S. Lawrence |  See all 3 posts
If anyone from Universal is reading this. . .
I am longing for Episode 5:12 -- Kirk Douglas was the guest host. How long will I have to wait? Why did they do all those "Best of" sets before doing the logical thing and releasing the shows as they were?
May 9, 2007 by Swithin |  See all 4 posts
Mr Bill
The Mr. Bill shorts started out from that home movie that was sent in by a viewer. The popularity of the original short initiated a long-term contract to produce more Mr. Bill movies. Wait til you see future seasons; almost all of the Mr. Bill films are "home movie" quality. Funnier... Read more
Aug 31, 2007 by S. Wetzel |  See all 3 posts
Who composed / where to get theme to POLICE STATE sketch? Be the first to reply
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