season five laugh in

Jeri Jacquin

On DVD from Time Life, the company that continues to bring us comedy is ROWAN & MARTIN’S LAUGH-IN: The Complete 5th and 6th Season.

The gang is back for it’s fifth season on DVD with 24 episodes of the hit comedy series from 1971-1972. This is an epic year as finally Dick Martin gets a long awaited wish when Raquel Welch makes her lovely one and only debut on the show. Such a gorgeous woman and it is so much fun to watch Dick finally have his day!

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Of course if you are going to watch Laugh-In them you better be surprised for some amazing guest stars. Not from any one genre, era or walk of life, Laugh-In reaches around it all to bring such guests from television like Steve Allen and Johnny Carson. Also comedy from the likes of Carol Channing and Henny Youngman along with entertainers of song with Bing Crosby, Petula Clark, Liza Minnelli, Doc Severinsen and the legendary Johnny Cash.

Hollywood got in the act with Tony Curtis, Gene Hackman, Rita Hayworth, Vincent Price, Debbie Reynolds and John Wayne made an appearance.

Let’s not forget the Laugh-In regulars that include Lily Tomlin, Ruth Buzzi, Gary Owens, Alan Sues, Ann Elder, Dennis Allen, Barbara Sharma, Johnny Brown, Larry Hovis, Richard Dawson, Judy Carne, Arte Johnson, Henry Gibson, Jo Anne Worley and Teresa Graves. All brought in to celebrate the 100th episode because what’s a party without a little name dropping!

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This season also includes the classic characters and situations we come to expect from Dan Rowan and Dick Martin. The famous Cocktail Party and the announcement of who would receive the Fickle Finger of Fate is fun filled only to end the show with a trip to the Joke Wall.

The characters of Edith Ann (who is only five years old mind you – and that’s the trutttthhhhhh!) as well as the loving couple of Gladys and Tyrone and Ruth Buzzi’s Hollywood Reporter give us the scoop on childhood, being a couple and the buzz around Buzzi’s Hollywood.

Let’s not forget what Laugh-In also brought to television viewers of the show, it brought comedy sure, but also digs at sports and politics and the joke was on them. This 6-disc 24 episode Fifth Season makes sure we are in on all of it.

ROWAN & MARTIN’S LAUGH-IN: The Complete Sixth Season continues with the comedy and the stars bringing a final season to the show changing series. Now understand, this series wasn’t to go down without making sure every zing was thrown and every chance of shade uttered.

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Continuing with the previous years line up, the addition of Moosie Drier, Tod Bass, Brian Bressler, Patti Deutsch, Sara Kennedy, Jod Strunk, Willie Tyler & Lester, and Donna Jean Young join Dan, Dick, Lily Tomlin, Ruth Buzzi, Arte Johnson, Richard Dawson and Gary Owens to revel in a party from Downtown Burbank!

The final season’s celebrity line up is straight out of the sky as stars line up to have their moment with Jack Benny, James Caan, William Conrad, Sammy Davis, Jr., Dom DeLuise, Angie Dickinson, Sandy Duncan, James Farentino, Robert Goulet, Jack Klugman, Rich Little, Don Rickles, Mark Spitz, John Wayne, the beloved Michael Landon and the red head who needs no introduction but we’ll do it anyway – Carol Burnett.

The show takes aim at guns, laws, adult books, morality, the circus, Thanksgiving, beautiful people, sports, commercials, the family, airlines, actors, the Summer of ’72 and the golden state of California. Surprised? Of course not – everyone is fair game for this band of adorable and beloved misfits!

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As sad as the final season may have been at the time (and no longer sad now because all six seasons are offered by Time Life), the characters that I came to absolutely adore and excited to see every week at least came to play for one last season. Including Fickle Finger of Fate, Here Comes the Judge, the Joke Wall, General Bull Right, Big Al, Ernestine and Edith Ann along with The Swizzles and Robot Theater. That’s what makes this collection so epic, I can go back and enjoy myself time and time again with the comedy I grew up on!

Time Life continues to bring never before released anywhere classic collections of television shows for fans to revisit and remember what has made television so special. Time Life has released Mama’s Family, CPO Sharkey and The Tonight Show and they now reminds of us of a time when sex and politics were up for grabs with ROWAN & MARTIN’S LAUGH-IN. For more of what Time Life has to offer fans of classic television visit www.timelife.com.

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The amazing thing about both of these seasons is that no matter how much you watch, there is always something new to laugh about. Even more amazing are the issues Laugh-In raised in regards to women, people of color and politics that are no so far away from the same issue we deal with today. Giving their pokes and prods, this series got away with a lot more than is possible today.

Time Life has made it possible for us all to relive not only a time in our lives when humor was television king, but share with our growing families what made us all laugh in the 70’s. They may even learn that the series Laugh-In brought sayings that are still used today and for the same reasons.

That is what this series did for television, for comedy and for bringing awareness to things that are funny but also important in our lives. There’s nothing wrong with that in the slightest and Laugh-In gave me a funny bone that I’m proud to carry every day.

In the end – are you ready to celebrate laughter?

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