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Vitaphone Comedy Collection Volume 2

6 customer reviews

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2-Disc Version
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Frequently Bought Together

Vitaphone Comedy Collection Volume 2 + The Vitaphone Comedy Collection Volume One - Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle/Shemp Howard (1932-1934) + Classic Shorts From The Dream Factory Volume 3
Price for all three: $68.05

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Editorial Reviews

Samuel “Shemp Howard” Horowitz wrote his own rules for comedy from the very beginning. Heckling his way into brother Moe’s “rough house” act with Ted Healy, Shemp was an original Stooge. After Larry Fine filled out the team, fame beckoned, but Shemp balked at playing second banana to Healy and lit out on his own as a Vitaphone player. Shemp quickly rose from bit parts in shorts like Gobs of Fun to supporting player alongside Daphne Pollard and Harry Gribbon (and even pro baseball’s famous Dean brothers), and went on to steal the show in the Joe Palooka series based on the hit comic strip. Shemp’s character of Knobby Walsh quickly became the comedic center of the series, and Shemp emerged as a new king of comedy. Hollywood beckoned Shemp away from the east coast confine of Vitaphone out west, where he carved out a comfortable spot as a film comedian until fare and fate and family compelled him to return to his roots in The Three Stooges. Here’s to Shemp!

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Product Details

  • Format: NTSC
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Archive Collection
  • DVD Release Date: February 19, 2014
  • Run Time: 421 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,168 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Mark Kausler on April 10, 2014
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I'm glad I purchased this collection of Vitaphone two-reelers featuring Shemp Howard. This set takes him from his second banana parts opposite Harry Gribbon and Daphne Pollard to his best second banana part as Knobby Walsh in the Joe Palooka comedies, every one of Shemp's appearances as Knobby are in here. In creating the part of Joe Palooka's tough manager, Shemp revealed a talent for comic acting, and the ability to turn his mannerisms into a character.. He also worked with Roscoe Ates and Ben Blue, there are a few examples of his support of them in this collection. He was already developing a lot of the shtick he used in his Columbia Stooge comedies, including the "I can't see!" routine, and the friendly build up to a violent slap which he uses in the Palooka shorts. It's a combination of extreme nervous energy followed by a tough belligerent attitude that defines Shemp's comedy approach in the early 1930s. There is also a fascinatingly low-brow quality to these comedies. They are not quickly timed slapstick car chase pictures like Mack Sennett made, nor do they have much of the "heart" appeal that Hal Roach favored in his pictures. These comedies were made for the cigar-chomping, Racing Form reading, baseball and fight fans who got a big rise out of a tough comedian hitting a milquetoast type comic. The slapstick dished out here is a very personal kind, Jules White carried it to an even more extreme plateau in his Columbia two reelers. Quality of the transfers here is very good from beginning to end. If they are from 16mm prints, which has been speculated, then they are really clean and first-generation 16s. Let's hope that Warner Bros. puts out some more comedy collections, I'd like to see Joe Penner's one and two reelers in a DVD collection!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By kgmonster12 on July 14, 2014
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Another argument,if needed,for the canonization of one of the movie's underappreciated comic wise guys.
There's early 20th Century comic gold in these Shemp hills, and first rate quality prints to boot. If your
interest in movie history is deep, these shorts belong in your collection. Great, rare stuff indeed.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Paul Carruthers on June 8, 2014
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Well, Sony offered us the first glimpses of Shemp's solo career at Columbia Pictures with their "Rare Treasures" 3 disc set and now we have what many Shemp Howard fans have been clamoring for--the Shemp Vitaphone comedies, with more of an emphasis on featuring the lovable, grease-mop haired comedian than the previous Volume 1.

Although, the set gets off to what is in my opinion a very bumpy start with the less than spectacular "Gobs of Fun" short. Shemp barely registers in this picture & apparently, dialect comedians were all the rage back in the 1930s and 40s, but the 2 lead "comedians" from Gobs rarely registered a smile from me--much less a chuckle or guffaw.

Things get much better on Disc 1 by the time we get to "Smoked Hams", "So You Won't T-T-T-Talk" and especially the hilarious "A Peach of a Pair." Three Stooges fans will no doubt recognize the material from "Peach" seeing as how it inspired the stooge classic "An Ache in Every Stake" and inspired the alum punch scene from "No Census, No Feeling."

And I have to wonder, was Roscoe Ates the inspiration for Porky Pig? Maybe not, but that was certainly the first thing that popped into my head when I got a taste of his comedy.

Disc 2 is mostly comprised of the Shemp "Joe Palooka" shorts & if I had to be totally honest, as big as a Shemp fan as I am, I was a little underwhelmed by the Palooka series. And that's not to say there are not any good ones, but compared to the Shemp/Daphne Pollard/Roscoe Ates comedies, Palooka falls a bit short of the mark.

Maybe it's because I'm not exactly a fan of the sport of boxing, I don't know. In any event, that's the only thing preventing me from giving this a 5 star rating.

But overall, if you are a fan of the great comedian, Shemp Howard then the 2nd volume of Vitaphone comedies should please you--especially Disc 1.

4 stars
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