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The Best of Spike Jones

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3-Disc Version

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Product Details

  • Actors: Spike Jones, Helen Grayco, Eddy Arnold, Howdy Doody
  • Directors: na
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Infinity Entertainment/Hepcat
  • DVD Release Date: November 24, 2009
  • Run Time: 260 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002Q5O6SE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #110,763 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Dubbed the 'Master of Musical Mayhem' by Rolling Stone, comedic bandleader Spike Jones and the City Slickers were hugely popular in the 40's, 50's and 60's, known for wacky skits and zany renditions of the day s most popular songs. An accomplished musician, Spike was a true innovator whose comedic madness was lightyears ahead of his time directly influencing such iconoclasts as Frank Zappa, Ernie Kovacs, 'Weird Al' Yankovic, Stan Freberg and George Carlin. From 1954-61, Spike came into living rooms across the nation with The Spike Jones Show (NBC & CBS). His special brand of music featured hilarious arrangements punctuated by sneezes, hiccups, snores, belches, gunshots, explosions, whistles, bird calls, cowbells, foghorns ... and anything else laying around at the time!Now experience this classic television on DVD for the first time digitally remastered and featuring Spike s biggest hits (over 60 melodies!) and most hilarious bits in a special-edition, three-disc collector s set, produced and edited under the personal supervision of Spike Jones, Jr. Features show regulars vocalist Helen Grayco (Mrs. Jones) and the City Slickers: Freddie Morgan Doodles Weaver, George Rock, Sir Fredrick Gas and Billy Barty. Also such stars of the day as Eddy Arnold, Zasu Pitts and Howdy Doody. Bonus Material: Two never-before-aired pilots, marking the band s television debut.

Customer Reviews

And the material could easily fit on two DVDs.
Dan Plankton
My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed it, as it brought back memories of the "good old days."
Robert C. Allen
Excellent set with some really great performances.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Robert Badgley on March 7, 2010
This is the newest and second release of rare Spike Jones TV material from the Spike Jones estate and produced by his son Spike Jones Jr.As welcome as it is,it presents a curious puzzle and feeling of unease with this reviewer.The Spike Jones material is a solid five stars all the way,no question,but the packaging this time around and the way it has been marketed in general leaves me cold.Let's look at the material first and then we'll discuss it's drawbacks after.
First off you are getting three wonderful discs here.Disc one gives us two entries:"The Best of Spike Jones" volumes one and two,released on VHS in 1985 and 1987.Both are culled from a myriad of his shows in the 50s,some you will have already seen on the first release of Spike Jones material over a year ago,the excellent "Spike Jones-the Legend".Spike Jones Jr.put the culled clips together to simulate what one of Spike Sr.'s shows would have looked like,and done a nice job I might add.
Volume One,like two and three to follow all open with the same sketch of music down through the ages:Cave men,to Mozart,to WC Handy,To Benny Goodman and back to the cave men.The first number is Farandole while the second takes on William Tell's Overture with Doodles Weaver at the helm.Here as in other volumes Jad Paul and Freddy Morgan doing a scorching job on the banjo's(you will also see Freddy play with his brother Dick ).Later we find Spike and boys depreciating "I'm in the Mood For Love" with it being capped off by a memorable performance from Billy Barty as Liberace and Earl Bennett as his brother George.Still farther on there is a great moment when we find George Rock on trumpet and Spike on the drums(a rare occurrence)playing Minka;a throw back to "the Other Orchestra" days.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Milton Gray on December 8, 2009
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This DVD set is a widely encompassing overview of the unique music and visual comedy of Spike Jones. Spike was an accomplished musician with a great sense of humor who created music that is not only genuinely funny in its wildly upbeat tempos and clever lyrics, but which also SOUNDED funny by his use of his expertly tuned collection of cowbells and other inventive gadgetry, too varied to describe in words. These embellishments gave his music, along with "normal" musical instruments, such a unique aural effect.

Spike hired a select group of accomplished musicians who were also great comedians, whom he called The City Slickers, and they and Spike performed inventive visual comedy with their zany music in live performances around the country. With the advent of early television, they were enormously popular for years with their own national weekly broadcasts.

Spike Jones had a true passion and genius for his creative work, and it is unlikely that he and his band will ever be equalled. It is indeed fortunate that his performances on television were recorded and are available today on DVD. Don't miss this inspired work.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Dan Plankton on December 4, 2009
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The talent -- comedic and musical -- on display in these DVDs is simply astonishing. Watching these DVDs I'm constantly going back and forth between cracking up at the humor -- some of it surprisingly audacious for the 1950s [at least from my perspective] -- and sitting with jaw dropped in awe at the musical inventiveness of Spike and his band. The high-energy treatments given to familiar melodies like Farandole and Sabre Dance (from the classical realm) and period pop tunes like Indian Love Call and Holiday for Strings (maybe the band's best song, performed here in a couple of treatments) are a blast of fun even if you don't know the "standard" arrangments. I was born 10 years after these programs were broadcast, so this is no nostalgia trip for me.

To be honest, this is a pretty bare-bones release that merely duplicates some VHS cassettes released in the 1980s, with a bonus disc of two pilot shows. And the material could easily fit on two DVDs. A printed listing of content (like song titles) would have been nice too. Also, there are lot of "ghost" type images and other minor visual issues -- I don't have the technical know-how to know if that could have been fixed. But flaws and all, this is a five-star release simply for the huge entertainment value. Sound quality is fine, considering the vintage -- for example, you can hear the nuances in the incredible banjo playing on Holiday for Strings.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Robert L. Nolin on December 29, 2009
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A one of a kind Guy. It's difficult to take a great band and bandleader with awesome music capabilities and screw it up and make it still sound good. This was my Dad's favorite of all time. There will never be another Spike Jones. He surely is missed. Thanks to modern technology these dvd's will remain forever.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Hank Shaw on March 29, 2010
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The Best of Spike Jones is an Excellent example of the Genius and Versatility of Lindley Armstrong Jones,a serious
Percussionist,who's legitimate Other Orchestra suffered,due to the fact that most People couldn't see past the City Slickers.The Musical Depreciation Revue is not only as Fresh today as it was during it's heyday ,but an Alternative
to some of the Dribble that is called Music today.The City Slickers actually came from the Feather Merchant's led by
Clarinetist and Singer Del-Porter.Spike even played on Bing Crosby's White Christmas,I must admit I have always been a Jones Fan ,this DVD set is a Must have if You enjoy the Zaniness and Musicality of the Group,if you've never heard of Spike or Songs like Cocktails for two,Chloe,The William Tell Overture,or Der Fuehrers Face,or seen Billy Barty run
around the Stage as the bottom half of a pair of Pants ,then You are in for a treat, I am sure that Spike Jones Jr.
the Executive Producer made this a Labor of Love,though You might think it Corny,to me it's a Superb display of Talent
and Comedy as well as Great Nostalgia.I hope You enjoy it as much as I did.You have to be pretty good to be this Bad.
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