Saturday Night Live: Season 3, 1977-1978
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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
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When SNL (at this time it was NBC's Saturday Night Live) first came on it changed the variety format from skits and musical numbers to what is now called sketch comedy with music from popular and upcoming rock groups. Each episode was "hosted" by an actor who was usually promoting their new film.
Each show had an opening skit that end with "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night", the credits followed, then the guest host would come out do some sort of monologue. This would fade into either an original SNL cast commercial (remember The Taste Bud's for Budweiser) or a parody of a commercial. Skit, musical guest, skit, Weekend Update, skit, second musical number, skit and closing.
The show had a number of reoccuring skits, which were rotated to keep them fresh (unlike today when they get an idea they flog it to death!). The best were Two Wild and Crazy Guys (Steve Martin and Dan Aykroyd), the coneheads (Aykroyd, Jane Curtin and Lorraine Newman), Samuari "Whatever" (John Belushi), the Killer Bees (cast).
If you have not seen the original episodes uncut then you will understand why this show was so revolutionary. And remember that at this time people had to stay up to watch the show "Live" as most people did not own VCR's in 1977. So it became a fashionable for groups of young people to have parties and watch the show.Read more ›
Sure there are some dated cultural jokes, a few lame musical guests and an occasional skit that falls flat. However, each episode is still, for the most part, solidly entertaining. As I sat down with these discs today partaking of nothing stronger than a few Diet Cokes, what I noticed is just how watchable these shows still are. Even when not at their best, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Jane Curtin and the others each did at least interesting work, and always in their own personal style. What resulted was a true comedy variety show, a witty take on middlebrow culture that though edgy at times, rarely takes a cheap shot or wallows in the gutter.
Originally 90 minutes long with commercial breaks, each commercial-free episode here runs between 66 and 68 minutes.
This third season may be the best in Saturday Night's history. Most every show includes at least one of SNL's most famous recurring skits as well as some hilarious forgotten moments. For example, the first show includes Lorne Michaels upping his offer to the Beatles from $3,000 to $3,200 and a commercial parody for the Kromega III, "a watch so complex it takes two people to make it work.Read more ›
I taped most of this season in its entirety over the years, and am quite familiar with the strength of these episodes. I especially like the Steve Martin/Blues Brothers appearance, as well as the season-ender with Buck Henry/Sun Ra.
I've shared my thoughts on the value of the original SNL before, so instead, I'd like to point out a few highlights to look forward to:
1. Chevy Chase returns for first time hosting duties on 02/18/78. There was quite a bit of backstage animosity/tension towards him, and one particular spat ensued over the Weekend Update anchoring duties. Bill Murray, still the "new kid," was out to hold his ground against Chase, and became defensive of Jane Curtin. Apparently, Belushi - who was the clearest Chase rival - delighted in stirring up the situation to the point that Murray punched Chase right before air time. The fight was broken up, with Murray walking away calling Chase a "medium talent." If Chase seems nervous, this was why. Still, Chase does a superb job performing under these circumstances. More trivia: this is the only time Belushi, Aykroyd, Murray and Chase ever share screen time together (for a military-themed skit). Even more trivia: Billy Joel, as Chase tells us, missed his 10th high school reunion to appear.
2. Steve Martin/The Dirt Band (aka Nitty Gritty...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was fortunate to have received two tickets for this SNL performance from my ad agency, J Walter Thompson, and this show was unbelievable. Read morePublished 2 months ago by russbooker
Original SNL brings back great memories of hanging out with friends on Saturday and watching SNLPublished 4 months ago by Joe L.
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