I have always been a fan of well done satirical shows. In the last few years, it has been Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” and Stephen Colbert’s “The Colbert Report” that kept me questioning and laughing at the same time. As time goes by its easy to forget that shows such as the above came about because of the irreverence of others who dared to be push everything comfortable.
The show that brought skits, drama, musical performances and throw political commentary into that mix is “The Great American Dream Machine.” On the air for two seasons (1971-1972), this show paved the way for what was to come for television viewers.
The series was nothing like audiences had ever seen before with making fun of politicians and politics, advertisements and the culture of the times with vignettes and sketches. Bringing such names as Chevy Chase, Albert Brooks, Charles Grodin, Penny Marshall, Henry Winkler, Andy Rooney, Marshall Efron and writer Studs Terkel.
The show opened up with a march of “The Great American Dream Machine” and didn’t stop marching until the very end!
From one episode to the next it is easy to see why “The Great American Dream Machine” captivated audiences. There was not a subject or topic that couldn’t be brought out with subtle hints and sharp repartee allowing the viewer to see the world in a different way – which was the point of the show.
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TUBS OF POPCORN: I give “The Great American Dream Machine” four tubs of popcorn out of five. Oh my, watching this series once again is such a history lesson of the early 70’s. After an over forty year absence, S’More Entertainment has uncovered a beautiful and brilliant gem of priceless television history.
The stunning creativity of everyone involved in bringing the show to television for two seasons is, in itself, the opening of a door. Not only giving Americans something different but giving the thumbs up to laughing and thinking at the same time!
Alvin Perlmutter, Executive Producer of the show said, “The Dream Machine was born at a time in public television when producers were encouraged to explore new ways to use the medium – to be spontaneous – to stun, to shock, to amuse, to annoy, to anger – to give viewers a different way of seeing. It was a time when producers were constrained by neither sponsor concerns nor government pressures. We were exploring alternatives to commercial television.”
The 4-disc DVD brings over 12 hours of programming which also include liner notes by respected TV reviewer David Bianculli. Another cool aspect of this collection is that there is so much packed in each episode that it’s an overload feast for the brain and belly laughs for dessert!