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Continuing the enormous success of the previous two years, the third season of SNL (1977-78) showcased a fearless cast that created some of the most memorable sketches to ever appear on the show. With hilarious breakthrough characters like The Nerds (Bill Murray and Gilda Radner), Coneheads (Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin), lounge singer Nick Winters (Bill Murray), Samurai Warrior (John Belushi), a singing King Tut (legendary SNL host Steve Martin) and featuring Father Guido Sarducci (Don Novello) as well as "The Franken and Davis Show" (Al Franken and Tom Davis), SNL continued to define itself as the pinnacle of irreverent humor and political satire. The complete third season of SNL contains unforgettable appearances by hosts Steve Martin, Michael Palin, Hugh Hefner, Buck Henry, Robert Klein, Chevy Chase, Madeline Kahn, Richard Dreyfuss, O.J. Simpson and the winner of the "Anyone Can Host" contest, Miskel Spillman, and classic musical performances by Elvis Costello, Billy Joel, Ray Charles, Leon Redbone, Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Ashford & Simpson, Meat Loaf and The Blues Brothers.
Television history continued to be written in the third year of Saturday Night Live. After a wobbly debut in SNL's second season, Bill Murray got some traction as a performer and America began to see just how brilliant a comedian he truly could be. Dan Aykroyd owned Jimmy Carter with his extraordinary impression of the late-1970s president, and he partnered with Steve Martin three times in Festrunk Brothers sketches featuring the "wild and crazy" Czech siblings looking for a "swinging" time with American "foxes." John Belushi mined familiar territory with his image as a brash reprobate, Jane Curtin (with Aykroyd) made "Weekend Update" her own, and Garrett Morris remained a rock-steady second banana. Laraine Newman proved, as always, to be the cast's chameleon-like wild card, capable of anything. As for Gilda Radner, her luminous charm and gifts in the classic television comedienne tradition balanced the show's steep irony with pure mirth. There is so much to talk about when listing highlights of Saturday Night Live: The Complete Third Season. The attention-grabbing "Anyone Can Host" contest was a cute stunt that resulted in SNL's Christmas episode being officially hosted by 80-year-old Miskell Spillman, a non-celebrity. Spillman proved game enough to pull off an opening monologue (with Buck Henry) and participate in several sketches. But the truly notable event in that December 17, 1977 program was the first appearance of Elvis Costello (replacing the previously-announced Sex Pistols), who underscored the dangers of live television by interrupting his own performance of "Less Than Zero" and instructing his band, the Attractions, to play "Radio Radio" instead. (For a moment, no one watching could have predicted what was about to happen--whether benign or bizarre.) Also of significance to longtime viewers of SNL was the return of Chevy Chase (on 2/18/78), the show's first breakout star who left the series early in season two, as host. By now, the story of Chase's backstage brawl with Murray just before showtime that night is legend, and it's easy to see how flustered Chase looked in a clunky opening monologue. (He recovers sufficiently for some fine sketchwork and a cameo appearance harassing Curtin on "Update.") Andy Kaufman did one of his best bits portraying a non-English-speaking comic who plays drums and drags a woman out of the audience for a nonsensical sight gag. The Coneheads (Aykroyd, Curtin, Newman) return in a very funny "Family Feud" piece, while Al Franken and Tom Davis continue to have an impact with a sketch that finds Franken attacking his own parents. Belushi mixes pop culture influences in a big way in "Samurai Night Fever." Hosting three times, Steve Martin makes as huge an impression on season three as anyone, introducing his musical novelty number "King Tut" and playing a lonely lover in a wistful-slapstick sketch in which he dances with Radner.
The overall slate of musical guests is good though not great, and except for Costello, Randy Newman, Keith Jarrett, and Paul Simon, the artists tend toward middle-of-the-road. Besides Martin, there are a few other strong hosts, including Buck Henry and a magnificent Michael Palin, who opens his show by dumping a plate of seafood and two cats down his pants. Faring less well as hosts are O.J. Simpson, Hugh Hefner, and Michael Sarrazin. As always, there are hits and misses over the course of another sprawling season of Saturday Night Live. --Tom Keogh
Beyond Saturday Night Live The Complete Third Season on DVD
SNL Cast Member DVDs
More Comedy from Universal Studios
All Saturday Night Live DVDs
Stills from Saturday Night Live The Complete Third Season (click for larger image)
The orginal cast was the very best. Still funny after all these years.Published 1 month ago by Mlcarr1
Classic SNL rocks! Inside it lists who the guest host and musical guests were for each episode so you can jump to the ones you want to see most. Read morePublished 2 months ago by C. GRECO
While the quality of the video is a little scratchy, I don't mind since the original was taped about 40 years ago. The team is as hilarious as they were when I first saw them. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Ann S.
Of course I love it, but the appearance of the un-convicted O.J. Simpson (and we all know he committed the horrible murders) throws a dark shadow over the collection. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Jeffrey Marx
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|Things We Did Last Summer - Extra.||
also, I seem to remember a second set by the Blues Brothers and a different ending to Garrett Morris' bit, with a montage of him with the lawn jockeys and the song "Nobody does it better." Am I mis-remembering this?
Mar 23, 2011 by Dan Fiorella | See all 5 posts
I'm hoping they release the 1984-85 season with Christopher Guest, Billy Crystal, Harry Shearer (there for half that season) and Martin Short on DVD also. That was a good year. Shearer as Mike Wallace - good stuff.
Jan 9, 2009 by bass boy | See all 6 posts
|Art work Question||
May 17, 2008 by Julie Neal | See all 3 posts
|Which retailer has the cheapest price?||
It was $41.99 at Costco last week. That's as low as I've seen it.
May 26, 2008 by MrG | See all 6 posts
|Laraine Newman voicing children series.||Be the first to reply|
|Yet another question....||Be the first to reply|