Muppet fans, Jim Henson historians, country music enthusiast, comedy lovers, dog lovers, puppet lovers and/or pun aficionados -- here's a DVD you won't want to miss.
As you may know, The Jimmy Dean Show was an hour-long variety show hosted by country music star Jimmy Dean which ran from 1963 to 1966 on ABC. And you may also recall that it was on The Jimmy Dean Show that Jim Henson got his first national television exposure with the character Rowlf the Dog. Rowlf was a regular on the show, appearing in every show alongside Jimmy in a special 7-15 minute comedy sketch. Jimmy Dean's show was a success for ABC and Jim Henson's budding career. Dean stated in his autobiography that the sketches with Rowlf were the most popular part of the show, and it has even been said that Rowlf drew over two-thousand fan letters a week (which was more than even Jimmy Dean). Rowlf was brought to life through the puppeteering, writing and craftsmanship of Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Jerry Juhl, Jerry Nelson and Don Sahlin. The sketches of Rowlf and Jimmy Dean are comedy gold and real Muppet treasures. Sadly copies of these bits have been elusive, rare and sparsely seen in the past – however thanks to Time-Life that's changing.
Last week Time-Life quietly released their first DVD in their "The Best of The Jimmy Dean Show" series. The single disc "volume 1" features some of the best comedy sketches and performances from The Jimmy Dean Show – showcasing such names as Buck Owens, Charlie Rich, the Chuck Cassey Singers and, of course, Rowlf the Dog. In fact the disc holds almost 20-minutes of Rowlf and Jimmy material. You can see Rowlf sing and dance; praise the one any only Lassie; sling puns; ham it up; and even showcase an admirable impersonation of Winston Churchill. This DVD is sure worth your time, and your money, to check out (and with the average retail price coming in under $10, how can you pass it up?)
This is the first DVD release of The Jimmy Dean Show; and this also marks the first commercial release of this rare Muppet material. I will keep you posted on the release of future volumes in "The Best of The Jimmy Dean Show" series that feature Rowlf the Dog. I'm told more volumes are in the works, but ultimately the fate of series all depends on the success of the earlier releases. So pick up this DVD and enjoy a look at classic comedy from legendary comedy pair – Jimmy Dean and Rowlf the Dog.