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!
More Coming Soon!
The Best of the Danny Kaye Show
2014, 2-disc set with 6 uncut episodes
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!