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The Bootleg Files: Jack Benny’s First Farewell Special

BOOTLEG FILES 601: “Jack Benny’s First Farewell Special” (1973 television production featuring Bob Hope, Johnny Carson and Dean Martin).

LAST SEEN: It can be found on YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: No one wants to put it out on commercial DVD.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: There is no great push to get this released.

I don’t know who came up with the term “special” to define the one-shot variety productions that pockmarked television broadcasting from the 1950s through the mid-1980s. For the most part, these offerings were anything but special – most were forgettable, some were dreadful, but only a handful possessed the emotional or artistic quality that truly deserved to be called special.

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The Bootleg Files: That Certain Feeling

BOOTLEG FILES 577: “That Certain Feeling” (1956 comedy starring Bob Hope, Eva Marie Saint and Pearl Bailey).

LAST SEEN: An unauthorized video dupe is on YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: A possible problem with rights clearance.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely at this time.

During the early 1950s, a sense of staleness began to permeate Bob Hope’s film output. Movies like “My Favorite Spy,” “Off Limits,” “Here Come the Girls” and “Casanova’s Big Night” were burdened with a mechanical indifference, and even a reteaming with Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour in “Road to Bali” carried a sense of been-there/done-that. Yes, there were flashes of inspiration here and there, especially when Hope was paired with co-stars that matched his vibrancy – most notably in his instant-classic song-and-dance routine with James Cagney in “The Seven Little Foys.” But, for the most part, the fun was deflating and Hope’s star ranking at the box office was taking a slide.

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Classic TV on DVD – Carol +2 & Bob Hope Entertaining the Troops

TVonDVDYou have to give it to Lucille Ball. While there are countless stories about her latter years in show business and how much of a tyrant she was, she seemed to show a lot of respect for Carol Burnett. Burnett was prompted by network executives to build a big time television special. Burnett recruited Ball, who was more than happy to co-star. Burnett, an old school queen of comedy, shared the stage with Ball, another titan of comedy.

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