Bob Newhart is one talented man. His signature deadpan humor has managed to find new audiences almost every decade since he started his career. His first comedy album from 1960, The Button Down Mind Of Bob Newhart, won two Grammys : Album Of The Year and Best New Artist – a feat which had never been done before. He then had his first hit TV show in the 70s, The Bob Newhart Show, where he plays psychologist to a bunch of oddballs. Then in the 80s, he had his second hit TV show Newhart. Here Bob found himself as an innkeeper in rural Vermont…which happen to populated with oddballs. In 2003, he was Papa Elf in Elf, which has forever cemented him into the world of around the clock holiday programming on basic cable. Recently in 2013, he won a Primetime Emmy for a guest starring role in Big Bang Theory.
Not bad for a guy who went to my high school. (We were a few years apart.)
Shout! Factory brings you seasons 5 and 6 of the aforementioned, The Bob Newhart Show. This program is not from my era of Bob Newhart, which of course would be the 80s. However having seen a few episodes here and there over the years, I do know how funny it is.
Seeing as I can’t discuss the classic episodes or the funniest moments, I did want to make sure that the quality of the disc lived up to Shout! Factory standards and it does. Wherever the best source material for these re-releases lives, I know Shout! Factory digs them up. I do wish that they would put the 4×3 material into a 16×9 “pillar boxed” frame, so I wouldn’t have to resize my TV. Maybe I’ve got something set wrong, although I’m pretty tech savvy. At least, that’s what I tell my son.
I am a bit confused by one thing. Last year, Shout! Factory released the entire series in a box set with all sorts of extras. These stripped down releases of the show’s last two seasons seem a bit random to me, especially since fans would want the whole deal. But, that’s why I don’t make the million dollar decisions. One interesting note : the show was created by Lorenzo Music and David Davis. Any Retroist fan worth their Atari 2600 should recognize that first name. Music was the deep, lazy voice of Garfield, and – for a time – Peter Venkman in The Real Ghostbusters cartoon. Pretty cool.
Need to talk to a good shrink? Then take a seat on the couch and watch The Bob Newhart Show seasons 5 and 6. (Available February, 3rd.)