THIS IS YOUR LIFE showcased extraordinary lives - and television brought them into Americaâ€™s living rooms. Creator and host Ralph Edwards honored uncommon people, sometimes famous, sometimes known only to a few. The stories were always filled with laughter, tears and tender memories as the guest was surprised by people from their past. Now, available for the first time ever on any home video format, 18 of the best loved original episodes are available in this digitally remastered 3-DVD "Ultimate Collection." THIS IS YOUR LIFE is one of television's most enduring classics and a must for every DVD collection.
â€¢ Over 8 hours of classic TV at its finest
â€¢ Closed Captioning (CC)
â€¢ 30-page Collectors Booklet
â€¢ Rare behind-the-scenes photos
â€¢ Never-before-seen memorabilia
â€¢ Show introductions by creator and host Ralph Edwards
Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy - World-famous comedy team
Lou Costello - Consummate clown with a poignant past
SIRENS OF THE SILVER SCREEN
Bette Davis - "The First Lady of the American Screen"
Jayne Mansfield - Voluptuous film star of the â€˜50s
COUNTRY MUSIC GREATS
Roy Rogers - Singing "King of the Cowboys"
Johnny Cash - Country musicâ€™s "Man in Black"
TV COMEDY SUPERSTARS
Milton Berle - "Mr. Television"
Betty White - Loveable Golden Girl
WORLD WAR II SURVIVORS
Rear Admiral Samuel G. Fuqua - Pearl Harbor hero
Hanna Bloch Kohner - Holocaust survivor
MUSIC MOVERS & SHAKERS
Bobby Darin - Rock and roll idol
Dick Clark - Star-maker and producer
1970's MUSIC ICONS
Carpenters - Richard & Karen, the decadeâ€™s top duo
Shirley Jones - Academy Award-winning actress and The Partridge Familyâ€™s singing mom
Jesse Owens - Inspirational track star
Duke Kahanamoku - Swimmer, "Father of Surfing"
MASTERS OF HORROR
Boris Karloff - Immortalized Frankensteinâ€™s monster
Vincent Price - Hollywoodâ€™s "Master of the Macabre" In this era of television warts-and-all biographies, true Hollywood stories, and Punk'd, one fears that This Is Your Life is about due for an unfortunate extreme makeover. But as this wonderful three-disc set demonstrates, it would be sacrilege to tamper with the testimonial tone of this venerable series. This 18-show compilation spans the years 1953 (Roy Rogers) to 1987 (Betty White). Here are represented a diverse gallery of 20th-century icons--some that you recognize, some that you've hardly even heard of. The stellar roster includes show business legends (Milton Berle, Lou Costello, Boris Karloff, Vincent Price, Dick Clark), World War II heroes (Rear Admiral Samuel G. Fuqua), Olympic champions (Jesse Owens), and music greats (Johnny Cash, Bobby Darin, Richard and Karen Carpenter). The most fun part of each episode is the "reveal," in which the series creator and host Ralph Edwards ("Mr. This Is Your Life Himself") surprises the unsuspecting honoree. The basic Kubler-Ross stages of TIYL are Confusion (when Edwards enters the scene), Denial, Shock (when Edwards utters those immortal words, "This Is Your Life"), and Acceptance. Add to these Relief (as when Bob Hope realizes it's Jayne Mansfield, and not he, who is to be honored), and Annoyance (watch Robert Wagner roll his eyes as Edwards barges into a movie pre-production meeting to nab Bette Davis).
Two episodes are particular standouts. The first, broadcast in 1954, features Laurel and Hardy; the first and only time that the comedy team appeared live on television in the United States. The second, broadcast live in 1953, pays tribute to Hanna Bloch Kohner, a Holocaust survivor. This is a laudable episode, but the unfathomable enormity of the Holocaust makes for awkward moments that play like darkest satire. "You lived a lifetime of fear, terror and tragedy," Edwards observes to his shocked guest. "You look... not at all like a survivor of Hitler's cruel purge of German Jews. These, as well as happier events, we will relive here in just a moment...." For members of the Greatest Generation and Baby Boomers, this collection will be a priceless time capsule. Just as Candid Camera captured ordinary people in the act of being themselves, so did this television institution, at its best, peek behind the public persona of extraordinary people. Milton Berle is rendered humbled and speechless during his tribute. In another priceless and poignant moment, Bud Abbott notes how he almost lost his former estranged partner's friendship "through foolish pride." Bette Davis, on the other hand, comes as advertised: demanding, difficult, and indomitable. --Donald Liebenson