05 July 2008

Rosemary Clooney, Girl Singer

The intro to The Rosemary Clooney Show.

The latest DVD to arrive from NetFlix was Girl Singer - Songs from the Classic TV Show. The Rosemary Clooney Show premiered in 1956 and lasted for 39 episodes. I love watching vintage TV variety shows so I was looking forward getting this DVD. Unfortunately, it wasn't exactly what I expected.

I rent these old variety shows on DVD for the same reason that I like watching concert movies: I enjoy the patter in between the songs and sketches. Nowadays, musicians are all over the place giving interviews but it wasn't always that way. The variety shows let you see another side of the artists, even it is was scripted or staged. I also like getting a glimpse of what it was like to watch TV back in the day, outside of the classics we all grew up with like I Love Lucy.

Unfortunately, the Girl Singer DVD didn't provide me with that. I guess the producers thought that what people really wanted to see were the performances instead of the patter, so that is what you get. This is a DVD full of musical clips from the show interspersed with remembrances from her kids, her nephew, and her brother. It is a shame because her family members keep commenting on her wicked sense of humor, yet we never get see any of that in the clips. The program was recorded shortly after Clooney's death in 2002, so the kids all have tears in their eyes which gives the whole thing a melancholy atmosphere.

I was surprised to find bonus features on the DVD. Most of the vintage movies and TV series seem to be slammed onto DVD with barely a menu, let alone extra features. Girl Singer was produced in 2004, and I guess by then companies realized that viewers want bonus features on every DVD. The features on Girl Singer don't give really feel like they are giving added value at all. There are some additional interviews and commentaries on each song that was included in the main feature. Since this is a DVD where people can stop it to go get a snack or whatever, that stuff could have been included in the main feature. It seems like they just cut it out to make you feel like you were getting something extra.

I would say that Girl Singer was mildly interesting, especially if you only knew that Rosemary Clooney was George Clooney's famous aunt and never actually heard her sing. If you are big fan you might want this for your collection. Honestly, though, I'm not sure if it is worth more than a rental.
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