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4.2 out of 5 stars
When Things Were Rotten (1975)
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55 of 61 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
These episodes from Mel Brooks' short-lived 1975 television series are good, wacky fun. Brooks and his team present a gag-filled, often hilarious send-up of the Robin Hood legend, some two decades before the feature film, "Robin Hood: Men in Tights" (which suffers by comparison with this series). Talented Dick Gautier is well cast as the dashing hero, while Dick Van Patten displays admirable comedic skills as the portly and always hungry Friar Tuck. Among the cast (many of whom will be recognizable to fans of 1970's television) are Sid Caesar as a French nobleman and Misty Rowe as a ditzy, sexy, and scheming Maid Marian. Watch for Dudley Moore's guest role, which includes a turn at the piano, as a visiting sheik who plans to wed Marian!
Overall, this is fun television -- complete with sight gags, nutty dialogue, over-the-top anachronisms, a silly theme song, and skillful comedic acting. For fans of Brooks, historical parody, and 1970's television, this is highly recommended.
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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 8, 2007
Format: VHS TapeVerified Purchase
In the back of my mind, for DECADES, I have wondered why "When Things Were Rotten" was cancelled so quickly. As a kid, after all, I loved it. After buying this tape, though, I now know. Despite the wonderful site gags, the off-topic lines by characters directly to camera, the much-beloved comic geniuses who guest-starred, and despite the fact that it came from my hero Mel Brooks -- it's just a lot more stupid than funny. Even the theme song isn't as funny as I remembered it. And the sets look like a high school play. Oy!

So should you buy this? If you love Mel Brooks as I do, then yes you should. After all, there are a ton of funny gags and lines that even Richard Gautier's really poor delivery can't kill. The potential was here, but didn't really come to fruition until "Robin Hood: Men in Tights" many years later.

A disappointment? Yes. But some pain can only be exorcised by putting yourself through it.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on July 16, 2013
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
For this short-lived TV series (13 episodes, never repeated as far as I know) to have made such an impression that I would immediately BUY IT 38 years later is quite amazing. Let's see what was going on in 1975. I was 10. I was watching Saturday Night Live's first season, I had gotten into Monty Python when the local PBS station started showing Flying Circus around that time, I don't think I had seen Blazing Saddles or Young Frankenstein yet so I wouldn't have known who Mel Brooks was. I guess I knew the Robin Hood legend so I could see the potential for parody. So after viewing a few of these episodes again, I can say that this purchase is well worth it. The gags are low-brow but still funny. Comedy veterans Dick Gautier, Dick Van Patten, and Bernie Kopell are great. I had forgotten how cute and funny Misty Rowe is. And so far, there have been some great guest stars - Sid Caesar, Dudley Moore (I also had forgotten how much I liked him), and Steve Landesberg (pre-Barney Miller but thanks to the Blazing Saddles DVD I know he had been in the pilot for the Blazing Saddles TV show [as the Gene Wilder character]). I still have another 7 episodes to watch but I'm already enjoying this so for a price under $20, I would say that's a good value!
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on August 22, 2013
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
The show was just as I remembered it and I was not disappointed with the content at all but the DVDs were... dare I say it? Rotten!!!! The DVDs would not play all the way through the DVDs, around the Fourth episode they would freeze then stop. the same with the second DVD. If I hadn't up loaded them on my computer and rescued them by burning a new set I would not have seen all of the episodes.

So again a big thumbs up on the content

A big thumbs down for the DVDs themselves.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I was in 5th grade when this show premiered on ABC on Wednesday nights in the fall of 1975. I remember it so vividly. It was a hilarious show that was way ahead of its time. The show featured Dick Van Patten (as Friar Tuck) and Bernie Kopell (as Alan A Dale) before each would find greater success in the other hits "Eight is Enough" and "The Love Boat". The antics of Robin Hood (played by Dick Gautier), and his merry men were very short lived-the show was cancelled several weeks into its run and ended after only 13 episodes. If I remember correctly the very last showing was on a Saturday night (Christmas eve) and it was a repeat of the bell episode. With guest stars such as Sid Caesar and Dudley Moore, it's a mystery as to why this hilarious show did not last longer. Mel Brooks was and is a legend and this series is one of the most long awaited titles I have been waiting for to add to my collection.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2014
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
The term 'Lost Treasure' must have been invented for this comedy series, which I never thought would ever see the light of DVD! This show ran for only 13 episodes during the 1975-76 broadcast season. It was actually co-created by the great Mel Brooks (at the height of his creative powers, right after Blazing Saddles, and Young Frankenstein). I was really young, like in 3rd grade, when it was on - but I actually remember loving this show - and being very depressed, when it was suddenly canceled (it wasn't until the Monty Python series started being shown in America, on PBS, about a year later - that my comedy spirits brightened again!) I am surprised that I was actually able to still remember a number of episodes quite well, when I re-watched them on DVD recently (I guess this show had such an impact, on my 8 year old brain, that it was somehow 'burned' in memory - but now I'm thinking, I couldn't have really understood all those requisite Mel Brooks' 'double-entendre' jokes at that age could I, who knows? What's more mysterious, is that Monty Python seemed completely understandable a year later, at the ripe old age of 9 years?! But back to Brooks' small-screen masterpiece = The writing was top-notch, acting spot-on (and appropriately over-the-top). I really don't understand why this show was not a Big/Huge Hit at the time! To sum up, this is certainly not 'high brow' humor - but it is just about as good/ Funny as it gets (much better, more inspired than the later film: "Robin Hood, Men in Tights"). Order this DVD for yourself, before it goes out-of-print again - for another 30 something years!
note: Mel Brooks recently received the American Film Institute (AFI) Lifetime Achievement Award = Richly deserved, since Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, and (the original film version of) The Producers, are among the funniest, and best written comedy films ever made (along with Annie Hall, Sleeper, Bananas, and "Love & Death" -written & directed by W. Allen - with scribe assist by Brickman on the first two, and of course, big/heavy assist from Tolstoy, on the Last one - didn't "War & Peace" keep you in stitches, when you read it in college, especially the first 900 pages!)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 9, 2013
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I remember watching this show when I was a kid and wondering where it went so quickly. After years of seeing the fuzzy cut up bootleg versions this is a welcome DVD set. The episodes look great! Yea, it's stupid but it's good! It's Mel Brooks! Look closely for him in one episode. And I'll watch anything with Misty Rowe in it. Great stuff that was cancelled too soon.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 26, 2013
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I am not sure if i will be the first to veview this item,I am
writing this review Offline !

first of all,I had this on vhs,was very excited at the prospect to get it on dvd!
Plus extra episodes not available on the vhs release.

This production not expected to dissapoint,as I watch now !
The quality of transfer is good if not excellent--no,I will say excellent!!!

sometimes you read in reviews of dvd products that have been released for first time on dvd,
complaints like " it seemed to be transferred from the videotape"
Not so here !!!
good resolution,good color !!

such guests as Cid Caesar,Dudley Moore,Paul Williams ,more

as to dvd playability,you usually read that when it is dvd on demand,that it may not play on
dvd recorders,but I have a LG Brand dvd tuner/player/recorder,it plays fine on mine,of course
your results may vary !!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2014
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Perhaps no modern critic would love it. Mel Brook's "When Things Were Rotten" is silly, stupid, full of sight gags, and nothing more than that.

But I found it enjoyable. This particular take-off of Robin Hood is just plain fun. Henry Polic II (who just passed away) gives a wonderful hammy, vaudeville like performance as the evil Sherriff of Nottingham and Misty Rowe is just wonderful and beautiful as Maid Marion. Dick Gautier, Bernie Kopell, and Dick Van Patten are all great in their respective roles, and while the series was short-lived, it did have its strengths, especially for those who love their comedy broad.

Perfect for litte kids, who love cartoons (it is a cartoon), and has absolutely no questionable humor or any politically correct message. Or for that matter, any other kind.

Great present for the kid in all of us. Give it a try.

JThree
Williston ND
carolyn3@midco.net
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 25, 2014
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
My two older children an I remember this show very well, and what's more, we loved it. When the set arrived, my daughter almost ripped it out of my hands, but I held on tight. After all, age does have its privileges, and the first watching is mine! All mine! To place the cherry on the sundae, it's still as hilarious now as it was then, if not more so. In this show the humor seems to improve with age, for it seems a bit funnier now than it did in 1975. I'm glad I thought to look to see if it was available, because not to have it to view once more would be a major loss. Great picture, great sound, great memories! What more could you ask?
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