Time Life has done it once again bringing an 8-disc set to those of us who remember this amazing comedian with “Mr. Warmth! Don Rickles: The Ultimate TV Collection.”

Don Rickles was born of immigrant parents living in New York. After high school he enlisted in the United States Navy serving in World War II. Once honorably discharged, he came home to study at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts where he performed here and there on television.

It wasn’t until he began doing stand up comedy in the clubs of New York and Los Angeles that Rickles would become known as the insult comedian. The audience enjoyed heckling the performer which provoked him into responding. One of his famous insult lines was calling hecklers ‘hockey pucks’.

It would be his friendship with Frank Sinatra that would bring Rickles to Las Vegas. Through the years he would earn such nicknames as ‘Mr. Warmth’ or ‘The Merchant of Venom’. Finally, in 1958, Rickles would begin a film career with such films as RUN SILENT, RUN DEEP, KELLY’S HEROES, and even the Beach Blanket film franchise.

That led to television talk shows and even appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Rickles would make his rounds on The Dean Martin Show and The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast which was perfect for his brand of humor. He would also make an album called ‘Hello, Dummy!, and have his own variety hour with The Don Rickles Show.

All of this is a drop in the bucket in the large career of Don Rickles. Time Life has made it easy to enjoy his humor once again. The DVD’s include all four of Rickles uncut television specials, the television series CPO Sharkey, and never-before-seen outtakes and unedited scenes.

Rickles is joined by amazing actors such as Frank Sinatra, Don Adams, Jack Klugman, John Wayne, Johnny Carson, James Caan, Michael Caine, Jose Ferrer, Arthur Godfrey, Elliott Gould, Michelle Lee, Anne Mera, Bob Newhart, Jack Palance, Otto Preminger, Juliet Prowse, Helen Reddy, Carroll O’Connor and Robert Goulet just to name drop a few!

Other highlights include: For Whom the Bell Tolls spoof, Tarzan, Midnight Cowboy, The Ten Commandments, Inherit the Wind and more! There is over 1,240 minutes of hilarity that reminded me of what fun variety shows use to be.

Time Life has brought this never before released anywhere classic collection of the series to fans. For more of what Time Life has to offer fans of classic television visit www.timelife.com.

TUBS OF POPCORN: I give “Mr. Warmth! Don Rickles: The Ultimate TV Collection” four tubs of popcorn out of five. The best thing about Time Life is that they know just how to take someone down memory lane! My family really enjoyed variety shows and Don Rickles kept us laughing like no other. There is something about ‘insult’ humor that allows us to laugh with him and not at others.

Rickles not only uses his stature and facial expressions to win us over with his comedy, he quite often said things that most of us were only thinking. He took the comedic hits as well as he dished them out. Rickles timing with a joke and a delivery can not be matched today.

The only way my kids knew him was as the voice of Mr. Potato Head in the ever endearing TOY STORY films. When we saw the animated film and the Potato Head character said, “what are you looking at hockey puck!” only the adults of my parents and my own generation understood the joke and it made us laugh like crazy.

Now, Time Life has given me a way to introduce the man behind the voice and show them what gave us laughter and joy through a television that was only about 20 inches wide. It was a big talent that came through the little screen with the rabbit ears on top. It is fantastic that Mr. Warmth has been brought to this collection for the next generation to enjoy.

In the end — let the Prince of Putdowns give your funny bone a rub!

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About the Author

Jeri Jacquin

Jeri Jacquin covers film, television, DVD/Bluray releases, celebrity interviews, festivals and all things entertainment.