Featured DVD of the month – MAMA’S FAMILY: THE COMPLETE SERIES – Vicki Lawrence’s classic series is all here, and you could win it!

Featured DVD of the month – MAMA’S FAMILY: THE COMPLETE SERIES – Vicki Lawrence’s classic series is all here, and you could win it!

I talked this up on the weekly podcast, but I’m happy to throw as much love to this set as I can. Growing up, there were few comedies on TV I enjoyed more than MAMA’S FAMILY… which, if you know me, may sound odd, but I always loved watching it. Vicki Lawrence has created a character (with a little help from Carol Burnet) of Thelma Harper aka “Mama”, and instantly became a household favorite for many, originally airing its pilot in January of 1983. Some aren’t aware that the show is actually a spin-off of “The Family” comedy sketches on THE CAROL BURNET SHOW (running from 1974 to 1978). There was also a made for TV movie in 1982 named after Mama’s daughter Eunice (played by Carol Burnett). But what’s most interesting about the show, and almost unheard of by today’s television standards, is the show originally ran on NBC for two seasons and was then shut down, despite the network continuing to air reruns for a full year after. Then on September 27, 1986, MAMA’S FAMILY was born yet again as a first-run syndication series by Joe Hamilton Productions and Lorimar-Telepictures. Some changes were made and a few characters added, and (according to Wikipedia) the show’s second life garnered substantially higher ratings than it did during its first and became the highest rated show in first-run syndication for the entirety of its second life. The series ran for an additional four seasons, ending with a series finale on February 24, 1990. That’s pretty impressive for any TV production. And now you can own every episode thanks to the fine folks at StarVista Entertainment/Time Life. And I’m happy to say these look better than ever, especially considering I’ve previously only seen them on an analog television in their original airings.


The box set, which comes in a beautiful box case housing 24 DVDs, features all sorts of great extras. You get the original EUNICE made for TV movie I mentioned, select “The Family” sketches from THE CAROL BURNET SHOW, interviews with the cast, and a special roundtable session with Vicki Lawrence (Mama), Ken Berry (Vint), Dorothy Lyman (Naomi), Beverly Archer (Iola), and Allan Kayser (Bubba). There’s also interviews with the crew and people behind the show, and featurette on the series… more Mama than you can shake a stick at! This is one of those ‘ultimate’ collector’s items you simply must own. You can purchase it online from StarVista.  But because we like to do cool and amazing contests here at Bigfanboy.com, we’re also folks a chance to win this set directly from us.  Just send us an e-mail (if that link doesn’t work use hotfishstudios [at] hotmail.com to enter) with “I want my Mama!” in the subject line, and tell us what you’re favorite episode of MAMA’S FAMILY is and why.  We want this to go to a true fan, so you better know your episode well.  Contest is open to U.S. residents only, all entries must be received by October 7, 2013.  One e-mail entry per household – multiple entries will be discarded.

FAIRFAX, VA — From the first time the wildly-popular sketch “The Family” aired on “The Carol Burnett Show” in 1974, Vicki Lawrence has been followed by a buxom, blue-haired, purse-lipped, 65-year-old widow. This is, of course, Thelma Mae Crowley Harper, Lawrence’s indelible, abrasive and smart alecky alter ego who would eventually be spun-off into her own delightfully offbeat sitcom “Mama’s Family,” which debuted on NBC on January 22, 1983 and ran for six seasons. This July, StarVista Entertainment/Time Life, in conjunction with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, invites all classic TV aficionados and sitcom lovers to spend some quality time with one of television’s original dysfunctional families with MAMA’S FAMILY: THE COMPLETE SERIES. Marking the first time the entire run of this fan-favorite series will be released to DVD, the set will initially be offered exclusively online, available for pre-order for $199.95 at MamasFamilyDVDs.com

Set in the fictional city of Raytown, MAMA’S FAMILY revolves around the eye-opening escapades of the Harper clan, headed by formidable matriarch, Mama Harper, a fiery-tempered no-nonsense woman who does not suffer fools gladly. In fact, she makes everybody suffer a little with her patented snappy retorts that truly put the “diss” in dysfunction. Across 130 thirty-minute episodes spanning six seasons, viewers are treated to hilarious – and sometimes heart-warming — family comedy of the highest degree. Adding to the unforgettable mix are Mama’s journalist sister, Fran (Rue McClanahan, The Golden Girls), who lives with her; her youngest son, Vint (Ken Berry, F-Troop), who moves in with his two teenagers after he is evicted; and Naomi (Dorothy Lyman, All My Children), who marries Vint by Episode 4. Mama’s extended family includes her two daughters, highfalutin’ Ellen (Betty White) and high-strung Eunice (Carol Burnett), as well as Eunice’s husband, Ed (Harvey Korman).

MAMA’S FAMILY: THE COMPLETE SERIES will arrive in a handsome collector’s set featuring all 130 episodes on 24 DVDs. The first two seasons feature the rare, original broadcast masters (the “Joe Hamilton” cuts) of the episodes which fans have clamored about for years; they also feature Harvey Korman’s hilarious introductions as Alistair Quince (spoofing Alistair Cooke). The set also contains over ten hours of specially-created programming including: a cast reunion roundtable with Vicki Lawrence (Mama), Ken Berry (Vint), Dorothy Lyman (Naomi), Beverly Archer (Iola), and Allan Kayser (Bubba), all-new cast and crew interviews, including the aforementioned cast, Betty White, executive producer Rick Hawkins, costumers Ret Turner and Bob Mackie and others, a very special one-on-one interview with Vicki “interviewing” Mama through the magic of split-screen; an exclusive new Carol Burnett and Vicki Lawrence interview, the 1982 CBS-TV movie “Eunice”, which takes the Harper Family on a 23-year journey; an introductory note penned by Lawrence, key “Family” sketches from THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW and much more.

“I couldn’t be more excited that ‘Mama’s Family’ is being released to DVD by StarVista/Time Life,” said Vicki Lawrence. “They did such a wonderful job in bringing ‘The Carol Burnett Show’ to a new generation with their recent collector’s editions, and now, consumers will finally be able to bring Mama and her relations into their very own homes!”

“Well, it’s about damn time,” said Mama. “I thought I was gonna have to wait’ll the Great Beyond to see this day”.

Following StarVista Entertainment/Time Life’s triumphant release of THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW (which, to date, has sold over 4 million DVDs), MAMA’S FAMILY is certain to thrill fans who’ve been eagerly awaiting its complete, unadulterated DVD release for years. And, if you’ve never visited Raytown, you’ll be glad you did in this spinoff sitcom that launched 1000 quips.

Online Exclusive Collection includes:

130 episodes across 24 DVDs in a collector’s set featuring eye-catching artwork and an introductory note from Vicki Lawrence
Collectible Mama’s Family Album featuring character bios, a Mama’s Family Tree, and interviews and anecdotes from cast members
Ten hours of specially-created bonus material including interviews, featurettes and more, including: a cast reunion roundtable with Vicki Lawrence (Mama), Ken Berry (Vint), Dorothy Lyman (Naomi), Beverly Archer (Iola), and Allan Kayser (Bubba); All-new cast interviews, including the aforementioned cast members as well as Betty White; A special interview featuring Vicki “interviewing” Mama through the magic of split-screen technology; An exclusive, new interview featuring TV comedy legends Vicki Lawrence and Carol Burnett; Crew interviews with executive producer Rick Hawkins, costumers Ret Turner and Bob Mackie and show writers Jim Evering and Manny Basanese; The 1982 CBS-TV original movie “Eunice” – the precursor to the MAMA’S FAMILY series — which takes the Harpers on a 23-year journey; Key “Family” sketches from THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW

You can purchase it online from StarVista.

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About the Author

Born and raised in Dallas, Mark has been a movie critic since 1994, with reviews featured in print, radio and National TV. In 2001 he started the Entertainment section of the Herorealm website, where he contributed film reviews and celebrity interviews until 2004. After three years of service there, he started Bigfanboy.com, which has become one of the Dallas film community's leading information websites. Bigfanboy hosts several movie screenings in the Texas area, and works closely with film and TV studios and promotional partners to host exciting events and contests. The site also features a variety of rare celebrity and filmmaker interviews, and Bigfanboy.com regularly covers the film festival circuit as well. In addition to Hollywood reporting, Mark has worked for many years as an advertising and sci-fi/comic book artist. Clients have included Lucasfilm Ltd., Topps Trading Cards, The Dallas Mavericks and The Dallas Stars. From 2002 until 2015 he managed the Dallas Comic Con, Sci-Fi Expo and Fan Days events in the DFW area. He currently catalogs rare comic books and movie memorabilia for Heritage Auctions, and runs the Dallas Comic Show conventions, but remains an avid moviegoer and cinema buff.