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Danny Kaye: Legends

2015, 2-disc set with 6 uncut episodes

November 4, 1946 - Lucille Ball - These two talented red-headed comedians work so well together! During 1964 the Danny and Lucy agreed to appear on each other’s shows. Lucy and Danny perform a hilarious sketch in which they  try to fire their maid with no luck. The hilarity is in their facial reactions. “The Balloonists” is a rather upbeat song between Danny and Lucy and plenty of–you guessed it–balloons! It’s an okay song number; the fun is watching them try to pop all the balloons on the stage. The ending sketch features Danny and Lucy as 2 actors in a company of 6. Unfortunately, the other 4 actors are missing due to bad weather, so they are left to fill all the roles by themselves. What follows is comedy gold as they rush back and forth, trying to remember what role they are supposed to be doing. During Danny’s talk with the audience, he lets you watch a behind-the-scenes clip from rehearsal, letting you see what madness ensued backstage! John Gary makes an appearance in this episode, as well. He has a wonderfully soft voice, but his 2 numbers are too slow for my taste. However, I loved listening to John and Danny sing a number together. John tries cracking a few jokes, as well, and Danny’s reactions are priceless!

December 9, 1964 - Imogene Coca, Tony Bennett - You don’t want to miss this episode! A sketch featuring Danny, Imogene Coca, and Harvey Korman is pure comedy gold. You’ll be rolling on the floor with laughter! Harvey Korman, at one point, has the role of a Japanese father. There’s just one problem. His fake beard won’t stay on. It falls to the floor. Korman and Coca manage to continue the scene (with some grins and giggles mixed in), but once Danny enters ad-libs and improvisations fly! At the close of the episode, he admits to never having such a wild time before. Imogene Coca and Danny Kaye have a spectacular chemistry together throughout this episode. They started their careers around the same time, both honing their talents in the Catskills of New York. Seeing them in their first sketch together, one can tell that it isn’t their first time working together. It’s a comical skit about a husband and wife in England, with the husband unable to keep a job for the Christmas season. Tony Bennett, of course, is Tony Bennett; what else can a person say! He’s a wonderful singer, with great popularity. This episode has easily become one of my favorites!

September 29, 1965 - Shirley Jones, Righteous Brothers - Shirley Jones is adorable next to Danny as they sing and act out sketches all based around the relationships of men and women. Their Adam and Eve sketch is amusing. Ending with a song, the sketch leads into the perfect introduction for the famous Righteous Brothers. Even though I’m a child of the ‘80s, I grew up listening to Oldies thanks to the influence of my parents. Their performance is legendary indeed as they sing “Sticks and Stones” and “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’.” Danny and Shirley continue their theme of men and women as they play a long-engaged couple, Shirley trying desperately to get Danny to propose to her. During one of their songs, there is even outdoor footage of the two of them dancing through a park…a rarity in those days for shows like this. The ending sketch–done all in song–is a court trial: Man vs. Woman featuring Danny, Shirley Jones, the Righteous Brothers, Harvey Korman, and a group of jurors. It’s an amusing episode with some clever lyrics and lines, but the neatest part of the show is Danny’s ending talk. He invites one of the audience members to sit with him in front of the camera. A teenage girl from Japan, an exchange student, to talk with him about her experience in America. It’s quite adorable!

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The Best of the Danny Kaye Show

2014, 2-disc set with 6 uncut episodes

Disc 1

September 25, 1963 - Jackie Cooper - Appropriately featured on this disc is Episode 1, with a spectacular opening number by–no, not Danny; a special guest star is revealed. While other sites will plainly tell you who that guest star is, I prefer to keep it a secret. Why? Even though the sequence is short, the hilarity is in who is revealed in what should have been Danny’s place. So if you’re curious, you’re just going to have to buy the DVD. The rest of the episode has a fair amount of humor, mainly involving the two sketches featuring Danny and guest star Jackie Cooper. The first features a nervous Danny taking his first ride on an airplane seated next to a jinxed Jackie Cooper. As you can imagine, Danny gets the brunt of the abuse in this scene, but it’s hilarious. The second features the two of them at a club as musicians on a revolving bandstand. Lovelady Powell, the other guest star, is mediocre, at best.

October 23, 1963 - Gene Kelly - Danny begins this episode with a song, which he sings wonderfully. But I  found the youthful girls dancing in this scene to be a bit of a distraction. The highlight of the song, though, came near the end when Danny hops in and jumps rope with them. The audience provided an approving applause; it was certainly impressive. The sketches in this episode are mediocre, with highlights being Danny’s amusing drunk persona and his “Madame Beauty” persona in the second. Of course, the show doesn’t truly light up until Gene Kelly enters. Danny and Gene appear as two friends amicably chatting about what dancing truly is. Gene impressively dances to Danny’s recipe for linguine. They dance together, since a song, and finish up with “Ballin’ the Jack,” which I always love listening to Danny sing.

January 22, 1964 - Art Carney - The first sketch with Art Carney and Danny Kaye is a hilarious one, mainly because of Art Carney. For those of the right generation (or for those of us younger people who enjoy classic television), you’ll remember Art Carney from The Honeymooners. His talent for comedy and improv are fantastic, and I got the feeling that he rather overpowered Danny’s role in this sketch. Still, you can’t deny his talent. While it would have been nice to see Danny with a bit more comedy, I don’t think even he had the power to stop the whirlwind of humor known as Art Carney. Rod Serling (The Twilight Zone) makes a guest appearance narrating “The Safety Zone,” a sketch featuring Art Carney playing a stranded pilot in Yama, “heaven on earth,” and Danny playing a 400-year-old leader of the civilization. The final sketch features a philharmonic orchestra in which Danny is trying to conduct while Art Carney, the pianist, wants to play with a flourish. (Side note: Art Carney really could play the piano, and he does a wonderful job at it!) There’s no talking; it’s simply physical comedy, which Art Carney also excelled at. Danny’s sit-down with the audience is a wonderful piece of comedy and song. All in all a good episode, but mostly because of Art Carney’s humor.

September 15, 1965 - Harry Belafonte - This is by far my favorite episode in this 2-disc set. Danny is in high spirits during. There are moments of unplanned laughter and smirks as he and Harry try not to laugh during serious moments. Harry Belafonte is also a fun, entertaining singer; he and Danny work real well together. The opening song is another favorite of mine. It’s a parody of the song “Who Will Buy” from Oliver! To hear Danny and Harry sing their version together was wonderful. Danny also does his popular concert song “Pavlova.” After Harry’s 2 song numbers, Danny dances onto the screen wearing a black dress shirt–open at the collar–and black pants…all in an attempt to imitate Harry Belafonte. The two sing “Momma, Look a Boo Boo,” and the rendition is hilariously enjoyable!

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Christmas with Danny Kaye

2012, 1 disc with 2 episodes

#Christmas #Best #Legends

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