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Saturday Night Live: Season 4, 1978-1979

4.5 out of 5 stars 132 customer reviews

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(Dec 02, 2008)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Returning for a fourth season (1978-1979), the cast and writers of SNL maintained their reputation for hilarious characters and innovative sketch-comedy creating hits such as The Blues Brothers (John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd), Nick the Lounge Singer (Bill Murray), Candy Slice (Gilda Radner), The Loud Family (Jane Curtin), Fred Garvin: Male Prostitute (Dan Aykroyd), and The Nerds (Bill Murray and Gilda Radner). Other favorites include the return of iconic host Steve Martin (with Dan Aykroyd as the “wild and crazy” Festrunk Brothers) and Buck Henry’s inappropriate “Uncle Roy”. The complete fourth season of SNL features classic performances from hosts Fred Willard, Carrie Fisher, Kate Jackson, Milton Berle, Michael Palin, Eric Idle, Elliott Gould, Frank Zappa, Gary Busey, and Walter Matthau. Unforgettable musical guests such as Peter Tosh, Mick Jagger, The Doobie Brothers, Bette Midler, Talking Heads, Devo, Van Morrison, Grateful Dead, Rickie Lee Jones, James Taylor, and the legendary Rolling Stones playing live from studio 8H.

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The fourth season of Saturday Night Live is a peak year for appearances by most of the iconic characters associated with the original Not-Ready-for-Primetime-Players. Steve Martin and Dan Aykroyd are still red-hot as the wild and crazy Festrunk brothers from Czechoslovakia. The Coneheads (Aykroyd, Jane Curtin, and Laraine Newman) treat host Frank Zappa to their alien madness. John Belushi and Buck Henry appear in yet another samurai skit, with Belushi as a sword-wielding, Japanese optometrist. Aykroyd continues to have a hammerlock on Jimmy Carter with insightful impressions of the then-president. Bill Murray and Gilda Radner appear several times as nerds Lisa Loopner and Todd LaBount. Even Belushi's hated Bees turn up in a one-off sketch co-starring Walter Matthau in a The Bad News Bears satire. One of the show's most underrated, recurring sketches--the St. Mickey's Knights of Columbus monthly meeting--occurs several times with a certain warmth and preciseness that suggests they spring from a writer's childhood memories. The fourth season took place at a time before SNL hosts were largely ephemeral celebrities. Thus, sort-of cult figure Buck Henry hosts twice, as does Monty Python's Michael Palin. Perennial favorite (at least during the early years) Elliot Gould hosts once. So do Richard Benjamin, Kate Jackson, Cicely Tyson, Fred Willard, Eric Idle, Matthau, Zappa, and Maureen Stapleton. Rising stars Carrie Fisher and Margot Kidder each host a show, the former game to perform in a sketch inspired by Star Wars, the latter happy to appear as Lois Lane alongside Murray's Superman. Not every episode is brilliant, and the season opener, more or less hosted by the Rolling Stones, is a bit of a train wreck. What stands out are several sketches that are television classics, including Aykroyd's brilliant impression of Julia Child bleeding everywhere in her studio kitchen; the first broadcast performance of Aykroyd and Belushi's Blues Brothers; Garrett Morris singing a Mozart piece at Matthau's request; Aykroyd's weirdly avuncular "Fred Garvin: Male Prostitute;" Paul Shaffer's remarkable impression of rock impresario Don Kirshner; and a Twilight Zone spoof starring Rick Nelson accidentally lost at the Leave It to Beaver residence.

Musical guests in season four include the Stones in a rocky performance, Ornette Coleman in an abrasive one, James Taylor doing fine, as do Van Morrison, the Chieftains, the Doobie Brothers, Talking Heads, and the Grateful Dead. The Gould show has two highlights besides the wonderful Christmas edition of the St. Mickey's sketch: Mick Jagger (making up a bit for the earlier Stones fiasco) surprising everyone by joining Peter Tosh in a number, and an appearance by comedy team Bob and Ray. Bob Elliott's son, Chris Elliott, of course, eventually became a cast member of SNL, and consequently Chris' daughter, Abby Elliott, joined the 2008-09 cast. --Tom Keogh

Stills from Saturday Night Live – The Complete Fourth Season (click for larger image)










Special Features

Disc 7:
  • Today Show Interview with John Belushi - 7/27/78
  • Today Show Interview with Gilda Radner - 4/14/80
  • Tomorrow Show Walter Williams - Mr. Bill
  • Trailers

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Don Pardo, Jane Curtin, Garrett Morris, Bill Murray, Laraine Newman
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
    • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
    • Subtitles: English
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
    • Number of discs: 7
    • Rated:
      NR
      Not Rated
    • Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
    • DVD Release Date: December 2, 2008
    • Run Time: 1347 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (132 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B001FFBI9G
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,253 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "Saturday Night Live: Season 4, 1978-1979" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Top Customer Reviews

    Format: DVD
    I'm very familiar with this season and would like to offer up a few of my favorite moments. This last season for Belushi and Aykroyd, along with the third season, includes the troupe's finest hours.
    Season 4 highlights:

    1. Rolling Stones - You may be slightly disappointed by this season-opener if you're a big Stones fan. There is no opening monologue from them, which could have been interesting. Those duties are instead helmed by NYC mayor (actually, I think he was just campaigning at the time), Ed "How Am I Doing" Koch. Jagger shows up as the main guest in a very funny Tom Snyder bit, and Ron Wood & Charlie Watts are patrons of the always-classic Olympia Café. As for the music, it comes in one big chunk, as opposed to the usual two segments. Somewhat disappointingly, the boys perform songs exclusively from the then newly-released "Some Girls" album ("Shattered", "Beast of Burden" and "Respectable"). Amazingly, their biggest hit from that album, "Miss You", is ignored. Worst of all, Mick's voice is in unusually bad form; he sounds strained, hoarse and froggy throughout. My biggest - indeed oddest - memory of this episode's original airing was the talk that followed at school on Monday. "Did you see Mick tongue kiss Keith Richards!?" As time passed and my memory got sketchier, I thought this may have been urban legend, but after getting a copy a few years ago, Mick does actually - if not "tongue kiss" - lick Ron Wood's closed mouth, and tries a similar move on Keith, who seems to shy away from it. Incidentally, this episode also includes the great Nerds "refrigerator repairman" sketch, also the subject of some talk at school that week!

    2.
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    7 Comments 57 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    SNL used to be the most inovative and funny show of the late 70's. It reinvented the variety show with a "supporting cast" and a rotating guest host every week. They knew how to create a funny pieces and keep it moving forward. Every show was not a masterpiece but the hits were more than the misses.

    This season had the two best episodes ever with the two most unlikely hosts - Cicley Tyson and Maureen Stapleton.

    The following are a list of the 20 guest hosts and musical guests:

    Rolling Stones

    Fred Willard / Devo

    Frank Zappa

    Steve Martin / Van Morrison

    Buck Henry / The Greatful Dead

    Carrie Fisher / The Blues Brothers

    Walter Matthau

    Eric Idle / Kate Bush

    Elliot Gould / Peter Tosh with Mick Jagger

    Michael Palin / The Doobie Brothers

    Cicley Tyson / Talking Heads - This is the best episode ever. It starts Garrett Morris opening the show in drag as Cicley. And gets even better when she appears on Black Perspectives. She and Garrett visit the wide butts.

    Ricky Nelson / Judy Collins

    Kate Jackson / Delbert McClinton

    Gary Busey / Rick Danko and Paul Butterfield / Eubie Blake and Gregory Hines

    Margot Kidder / The Chieftans

    Richard Benjamin / Rickey Lee Jones

    Milton Berle / Ornette Coleman

    Michael Palin / James Taylor

    Maureen Statpleton / Linda Rondstat and Pheobe Snow - Maureen has a great skit with Lorraine Newman as the stereotypical Jewish mother.

    Buck Henry / Bette Middler

    Again, this is when SNL was funny, so prepare to do something than rarely happens when watching SNL today - laugh til it hurts.
    Comment 29 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: DVD
    "Saturday Night Live: The Complete Fourth Season" is a seven-disc box set containing all the shows from the 1978-1979 season. This is one of the great years of the NBC sketch comedy show, which has just passed its 33rd anniversary. Maybe it's nostalgia, but it seems the comedy landed a lot more frequently then than in the current season of "SNL."
    Some of the skits in this set include Nick the Lounge Singer (Bill Murray singing the "Star Wars" theme to a uninterested cocktail lounge audience), Candy Slice (Gilda Radner), The Loud Family (Jane Curtin), Fred Garvin: Male Prostitute (Dan Aykroyd), and the Nerds (Bill Murray and Gilda Radner). Also included is the "Wild and Crazy" Festrunk Brothers (Steve Martin, Dan Aykroyd) and Buck Henry's inappropriate "Uncle Roy." Guest hosts include Fred Willard, Carrie Fisher, Kate Jackson, Gary Busey, and Walter Matthau. Musical guests include Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones, the Doobie Brothers, Bette Midler, Talking Heads, Devo, Van Morrison, the Grateful Dead, James Taylor, and Rickie Lee Jones.
    1 Comment 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
    This review is for SNL season 4, Episode 7. This episode is a wonderful memory from my childhood. (It aired in 1977 when I was 9.) Carie Fischer hosted amid all the hype from Star Wars, and it is a pleasure being reminded just how lovely she was in her prime. The Blues Brothers make an appearance for three songs, and classic skits like Mr Bill and the Loud Family are featured. The 47 year old me finds Jane Curtain hosting Weekend Update to be every bit as captivating as the 9 yr old me did.
    Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    Nice to see how the show evolved and the actors evolved. Missed many episodes due to work schedules back in the day.. Very nostalgic. The satire is still relevant today. Brought back a lot of memories of the times.
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