Named by TV Guide as one of the “50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time,” “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In,” was also one of the most groundbreaking. A fast moving barrage of rapid-fire one-liners, on-going sketches, musical numbers and hilarious social and political satire, it was an instant hit following its NBC prime-time debut in 1968. Hosted by Dan Rowan and Dick Martin, the unique variety series – a psychedelic take-off of a ’60s-style happening – perfectly captured the spirit of an era, launched the careers of many a comic actor and writer and fed a new generation’s conversations with hip catchphrases like “Sock it to me!,” “You bet your sweet bippy!,” and “Here come da judge!” “Laugh In” would go on to become one of the most popular shows in the history of television.
Never before available in its entirety on any format, beginning May 9, ROWAN & MARTIN’S LAUGH-IN: THE COMPLETE SERIES will be offered as a deluxe 38-disc collector’s set from Time Life and Proven Entertainment with David DiVona. Featuring all 140 original broadcast episodes plus the pilot, hours of specially-produced extras and featurettes, a bonus disc featuring hours of specially-produced extras, a 32-page collectible memory book featuring “liner notes” from producer/creator George Schlatter and more, ROWAN & MARTIN’S LAUGH-IN: THE COMPLETE SERIES will be available to pre-order exclusively at TimeLife.com/LaughIn for $250.
It was controversial. It was totally unpredictable and always funny.”
— George Schlatter
“Laugh-In” originally aired as a one-time special on September 9, 1967, and was such a success that it was brought back as a series, replacing “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” on Mondays at 8pm. With seasoned comedy team Rowan and Martin presiding over the zippy hour-long variety show which capably mixed sketch comedy and sight gags with trenchant political commentary, the comic regulars resonated loudly and hilariously – Goldie Hawn’s giggly blonde, Lily Tomlin’s snorting telephone operator, Judy Carne’s “Sock-It-To-Me” girl, Jo Anne Worley’s anti-chicken-joke militant, Ruth Buzzi’s perpetually-frustrated spinster and Arte Johnson’s “verrry interesting” German soldier, to name a few. And over the next six seasons, from 1968-1973, the off-the-wall NBC staple would become a pop culture phenomenon and the #1 rated show during the 1968-69 and 1969-70 television seasons.
The pioneering series — which would go onto to capture 6 Emmy Awards (for Outstanding Variety Series, 1971) and 31 nominations, as well as 2 Golden Globe Awards, including “Best TV Show” (1969) — can also be remembered by the seemingly endless parade of guest stars who flocked to the red-hot variety show for memorable appearances and cameos including Tim Conway, Bob Newhart, Debbie Reynolds, Liberace, Raquel Welch, Sammy Davis, Jr., Jonathan Winters, Carol Channing, The Monkees, Sonny and Cher, Barbara Feldon, Bobby Darin, Andy Griffith, Diana Ross, James Garner, Michael Landon, Buddy Hackett, Steve Lawrence, Jack Lemmon, Kirk Douglas, Robert Goulet, Flip Wilson, Don Rickles, John Wayne, a ukulele-strumming Tiny Tim and many more. The series’ most famous single moment, however, came in 1968 when presidential candidate Richard Nixon surprised viewers with a brief appearance in which he deadpanned “Sock it to me?,” before capturing the White House.
Initially, exclusively available online at TimeLife.com/LaughIn, ROWAN & MARTIN’S LAUGH-IN: THE COMPLETE SERIES commemorates the influential program’s landmark 50th anniversary with a handsomely-packaged DVD set from the TV DVD archivists at Time Life. Across 38 discs and 150+ hours of transformative entertainment, fans of classic TV, comedy and variety will be treated to the series in its entirety for the very first time: all 140 episodes, complete and uncut and remastered from the original broadcast elements for optimal viewing. 89 of the episodes (63%) have never before been released on any format, making this eagerly-anticipated completist’s set a valuable – and highly entertaining – collection.
Also included in the collection is the rare pilot episode, a collectible 32-page memory book loaded with archival photos, show images, classic jokes and one-liners, “liner notes” from creator/producer George Schlatter and an exclusive bonus DVD.
The collection includes more than 6 hours of exclusive bonus features including the complete 25th Anniversary Cast Reunion and interviews with Lily Tomlin and George Schlatter that are only available in this complete collection.
Other exclusive bonus features include:
- Interviews with Dick Martin, Ruth Buzzi, Gary Owens, Arte Johnson, Alan Sues
- The Laugh-In Pilot Episode
- Still Laugh-In: A Tribute to George Schlatter
- Laugh-In Bloopers
- How We Won the Emmys
- …and more!
With the combined efforts and input from one of the most talented ensemble casts and the largest, most creative groups of writers, editors, composers, directors, scenic and costume designers ever assembled, “Laugh-In” became an instant classic, transforming pop culture and the medium of television. And today, 50 years after the show first aired, it remains one of the most memorable and beloved shows in TV history.
Available Exclusively Online at TimeLife.com/LaughIn