Car 54, Where Are You? – The Complete Second Season (a J!-ENT DVD Review)
April 18, 2012 by Dennis Amith
Brilliantly written, hilarious and fun! “Car 54, Where Are You?” is a delightful, classic comedy series that made me people laugh back in 1962-1963 and will continue to make people laugh today! All of the final 30 episodes from the second season have been digitally remastered and if you loved this series, the DVD sets are simply a must-buy! Highly recommended!
© 1961-1962 Eupolis Productions. 2011 Shanachie Entertainment Corp. All Rights Reserved.
DVD TITLE: Car 54, Where Are You? – The Complete Second Season
DURATION: Episodes 31-60 (760 Minutes)
DVD INFORMATION: Black and White, Standard Definition, Full Screen
COMPANY: Shanachie Entertainment Corp.
RELEASE DATE: April 24, 2012
Directed by Nat Hiken, Al De Caprio
Written by Nat Hiken, Terry Ryan, Tony Webster, Gary Belkin, Art Baer, Ben Joelson, Will Glickman, Sydney Zelinka
Produced by Nat Hiken, Billy Friedberg
Associate Producer: Louis Melamed
Music by John Strauss
Cinematography by George Stoetzel, J. Burgi Contner
Casting by Edith Hamlin
Art Direction by Richard Jackson
Set Decoration by J.C. Delaney, Fred Ballmeyer
Joe E. Ross as Officer Gunther Toody
Fred Gwynne as Officer Francis Muldoon
Paul Reed as Captain Martin Block
Al Lewis as Officer Leo Schnauser
Beatrice Pons as Lucille Toody
Hank Garrett as Officer Ed Nicholson
Ruth Masters as Mrs. Muldoon
Charlotte Rae as Sylvia Schnauser
Albert Henderson as O’Hara
Nipsey Russell as Officer David Anderson
Gerald Hien as Katz
Mickey Deems as Officer Charlie Fleischer
Lawrence Fletcher as Inspector
Frederick O’Neal as Officer Wallace
Martha Greenhouse as Rose
Ossie Davis as Omar
Many critics and comedians believe that CAR 54 is one of the greatest comedy series ever to appear on television. Long out of circulation, this brilliant show can now be enjoyed by the legion of fans who have been clamoring for its release on DVD and new generations who will have a chance to view it for the first time. Last year’s release of season 1 was greeted with great excitement by both critics and fans and sold very strongly. The show was set in the Bronx’s 53rd precinct, where the cops depicted are all great comedic characters, as are the residents of the neighborhood they patrol. The central figures of the show are the Mutt & Jeff squad car team of Toody and Muldoon, played by Joe E. Ross and Fred Gwynne.
CAR 54 Where are You?’s creator Nat Hiken was already famous for his highly acclaimed Sgt. Bilko Show, and he drew on his 25 years of writing experience for top comedy programs on radio and television (Fred Allen, Milton Berle, Martha Raye) to produce a hilarious show rich with New York humor, polished scripts and offbeat characters. The second season’s episodes feature guest appearances by TV and Broadway personalities of the day including Sugar Ray Robinson, Molly Picon, Larry Storch, Mitch Miller, Shari Lewis and many more.
Toody and Muldoon are back in the second and final season of the popular classic NBC series “Car 54, Where Are You?”, which will be available on DVD courtesy of Shanachie Entertainment!
Back in 1961, one of the popular comedy shows on television was “Car 54, Where Are You?”. The series had a New York flavor as it was shot in the Bronx and despite rumors at the time that the series used canned laughter, an audience did watch the series and their laughter was recorded and synced to the series before airing on NBC.
Featuring episodes written by Nat Hiken (known for his work on many sitcoms) and episodes directed by Hiken along and also Al De Caprio and Stanley Prager, the series would last two seasons from 1961-1963 but the only reason for it being canceled was not due to ratings but because NBC wanted to own 50% of the show, which the owners/studio responsible for the sitcom was unwilling to give up.
While the series remained dormant for many years, it wasn’t until 1987 when many people had a chance to watch the show on “Nick at Nite” back in 1987 and it would run on that cable channel through 1990 and then later on airing on Comedy Central throughout the early ’90s and led to a 1994 film adaptation which was poorly drafted and didn’t do well in the box office (although, original cast members Lewis and Russell did appear in the film).
With the success of the first season DVD release of “Car 54, Where Are You? and Shanachie Entertainment will be releasing the second season ala newly remastered on DVD in April 2012.
“Car 54, Where Are You?” is a series about two NYPD police officers Gunther Toody (played by Joe E. Ross) and Francis Muldoon (played by Fred Gwynne). Both work for the fictional 53rd precinct in the Bronx and are assigned to Patrol Car 54.
While the short and stocky Officer Gunther Toody who is not so smart, is more apt to getting in trouble, the tall and skinny officer Muldoon is one to have bright ideas but somehow, due to Toody being the person who tends to make the decisions, ends up getting both in trouble.
And because the two tend to get themselves into unfortunate predicaments, they are an embarrassment to Captain Block of precinct 53. And somehow Toody and Muldoon also affect the other officers at the precinct which continues to build the frustrations of Captain Block.
In season two of “Car 54, Where Are You?”, what happens when Toody and Muldoon are selected to drive the President of the United States from the airport to the United Nations? What happens when Toody has to watch over Captain Block’s parrot and accidentally teaches it the words “I hate Captain Block”? And what happens when Muldoon stays with Toody and his wife and both begin to feel uncomfortable with each other?
All this and more in the adventures of Toody and Muldoon in the second and final season of “Car 54, Where Are You?”.
“Car 54, Where Are You? – The Complete Second Season” includes the following episodes (spoilerless summaries):
NOTE: Episodes are not listed by airdate
- EPISODE 31: Hail to the Chief - Officer Gunther Toody and Officer Francis Muldoon are selected to drive the President of the United States from the airport to the United Nations but before they can, they must be tested by the Secret Service.
- EPISODE 32: One Sleepy People – Muldoon stays with Toody temporarily but after watching a TV show, both Muldoon and Lucille think they are getting to close with one another.
- EPISODE 33: A Man is Not an Ox – Toody and Muldoon try to find ways of being different.
- EPISODE 34: Schnauser’s Last Ride – Schnauser talks about the day he was forced to give up riding his horse on patrol.
- EPISODE 35: Toody and Muldoon Sing Along with Mitch – Mitch Miller of “Sing Along with Mitch” gives the officers a chance to sing, but the group tries to find a way to ditch Toody from their singing group.
- EPISODE 36: Occupancy, August First – The police and others try to evict Mrs. Bronson.
- EPISODE 37: Remember St. Petersburg - A group of swindlers target the Schnauser’s, thinking Leo is a Count from Russia.
- EPISODE 38: That’s Show Business – The Precinct invests in a play but not aware the play is about a corrupt police department.
- EPISODE 39: Toody, Undercover – Toody has an undercover job to stop a group of robbers but he may be helping them out instead.
- EPISODE 40: I Hate Captain Block – What happens when Toody accidentally teaches Captain Block’s parrot the words “I hate Captain Block”!.
- EPISODE 41: A Star is Born in the Bronx – Sylvia goes on a diet so she can be part of a play.
- EPISODE 42: Pretzel Mary – The officers want to do something good for a homeless woman, so they replace her furniture…not knowing she is actually a millionaire who likes to behave like a homeless person and hides her money in her furniture.
- EPISODE 43: 142 Tickets on the Aisle – The precinct decides to attend a Broadway play.
- EPISODE 44: Stop, Thief! – Toody and Muldoon mistake Captain Block of being a kleptomaniac.
- EPISODE 45: J’Adore Muldoon – The officers try to boost Muldoon’s confidence, so he can invite Captain Block’s niece to Mardi Gras.
- EPISODE 46: The White Elephant – A group of crooks move next door to a bank and plan to break the wall down but they are constantly interrupted by Toody and Muldoon.
- EPISODE 47: Benny the Bookie’s Last Chance – Toody and Muldoon try to help ex-con Benny in having a candy store business, but can Benny stay out of trouble?
- EPISODE 48: The Presidential Itch – Toody and Muldoon run against each other for President of the Brotherhood Club.
- EPISODE 49: Toody and Muldoon Meet the Russians – Toody and Muldon must guard a Russian official.
- EPISODE 50: Here We Go Again – Conrad Nogal wants to do a show about Muldoon’s father who cracked a world famous case…but what happens when Muldoon find his father’s diary which reveals the truth of what really happened?
- EPISODE 51: The Star Boarder – The Toody’s wonder if the boarder is a preacher.
- EPISODE 52: The Biggest Day of the Year – When Toody tells everyone at the precinct that today is the biggest day of the year, everyone begins to panic.
- EPISODE 53: Here Comes Charlie – The precinct tries to help recovering alcoholic, Charlie.
- EPISODE 54: See You at the Bar Mitzvah – Muldoon and Toody tries to help Joel Pokrass have guests at his Bar Mitzvah.
- EPISODE 55: I’ve Been Here Before – When criminals learn from the show “Crime Busters”, Toody’s favorite TV show, Toody manages to bust some of their plots.
- EPISODE 56: Joan Crawford Didn’t Say No – What happens when Mrs. Bronson, the marriage broker, promises people that they can marry movie stars.
- EPISODE 57: Lucille is Forty – Toody wants to cheer up Lucille who has turned 40.
- EPISODE 58: The Loves of Sylvia Schnauser – The precinct uses Sylvia Schanuser as a decoy to rid the town of Discovery Publishers (which is ran by con artists).
- EPISODE 59: The Puncher and Judy – A woman asks her boyfriend to give up amateur boxing.
- EPISODE 60: The Curse of Snitkins – Toody and Muldoon try to get the shy officer Snitkin and convince him to join the precinct.
VIDEO, AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Car 54, Where Are You? – The Complete Second Season” receives the special treatment with remastering (mastered from the original 35 mm film) and presented in black and white (full screen), although there are scratches and dust that can be seen if you are focused on looking at them, the picture quality for this TV series that is 50-years-old is fantastic.
I’ve seen old series that look terrible and it’s good to know that the series looks great on DVD. You do see interlacing and edge enhancement but for the most part, I don’t think any fan could feel bad about the picture quality as this series looks very good considering its age. While the majority of all the episodes have very good contrast, strong blacks and good grays, there are some episodes where the interlacing and dust is a slight bit noticeable such as “How High Is Up” but for the most part, the majority of all the episodes look very good.
As mentioned with the the first season release, I’m not too familiar with Shanachie’s DVD releases but if they continue the quality for their classic series as they have done with this release, I looking forward to other titles they will be releasing.
Audio is presented in monaural and dialogue is clear and understandable. No hissing, pops, crackle or any terrible audio issues at all!
There are no subtitles in this release.
“Car 54, Where Are You? – The Complete Second Season ” comes with the following special features:
- Joe E. Ross Stand Up Comedy Routine – (11:17) Despite for being known as a raunchy comedian on the burlesque circuit, after “Car 54, Where Are You?” ended, Joe E. Ross attempted to capitalize by breaking into the legitimate night club circuit.
“Car 54, Where Are You? – The Complete Second Season ” is presented in a digipack case (similar to the first season).
Brilliantly written, hilarious and fun! “Car 54, Where Are You?” is a delightful, classic comedy series that made me people laugh back in 1961 and continues to make people laugh today!
And here we are a year after the release of the first season DVD, with the final second season now being released on DVD and the final adventures of Toody and Muldoon.
This series written by Nat Hiken was an absolute blast because the comedy was well-written and unpredictable. The laughter by the audience helped enhance the excitement of the series and interesting enough, the partnership of Joe E. Ross and Fred Gwynne as Officer Toody and Muldoon and the other police officers of Precinct 53 were just fun to watch. The series had a touch of vaudeville but it was its writing that made it so hilarious and fun!
My first introduction to this comedy series like many people during the ’90s was on “Nick at Nite”. I have never ever heard of this series until it was shown on television late during my high school years and suffice to say, you would imagine that this series would have received a VHS release during the ’90s but unfortunately by the time it did come out on VHS, it was already 1999.
So, there was no doubt that many people have been awaiting the release of “Car 54, Where Are You?” on DVD. And when these were released on VHS, you were only treated with two episodes per video tape. And many wondered if the format if the series was release on DVD would be four episodes per DVD but time had pass and I figured, may this series was lost. Sure enough, “Car 54, Where Are You?” gets its digitally restored treatment courtesy of Shanachie Entertainment.
As for the episodes, every episode is fun and enjoyable as we see Toody and Muldoon often get into trouble, but with the second season, we start to see more involvement with Toody’s wife, the Schnauser Family and also Captain Block as well.
It’s unfortunate that for a show so popular, that it was canceled because the producers and NBC couldn’t come up with any agreement on ownership and thus chose to stop production of any more episodes. But at least with these two season DVD box sets, fans can own and watch these classic episodes.
As for the DVD, all 30 episodes from the first season, were remastered from the original 35 mm film and picture quality is great. As mentioned, there is a bit of interlacing and some dust but by no means is bad or does it take away from the enjoyment of the series. The majority of the episodes do look good especially considering the age of this series. As for audio, there is no audible hissing or pops at all. And although it would be nice to have some featurette included for the special features, we do get a stand up comedy routine featuring Joe E. Ross.
As for the DVD case, I know that there were some who disliked the case and found it too difficult to remove the DVD’s from them. I have not had a problem with them, but typically when it comes to DVD cases in general, I’m very careful of removing them (having cracked one before), especially from those that utilize specialized DVD cases.
It’s also important to note that I also had no problem playing all four DVD’s. I’ve tested it on my Sony Blu-ray player, my iMac and also PC and had no problems with playback whatsoever.
But I was very pleased with this DVD release and fans of the series should expect to be entertained. Personally, “Car 54, Where Are You?” is one of the best situational comedies ever created and it’s sad that this series has not been replayed on television as much as it should have. But its release on DVD featuring the final 30 episodes of the second season on DVD is an awesome deal, especially at under $20.
Overall, if you love classic comedies, “Car 54, Where Are You? – The Complete Second Season” is highly recommended!
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