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Steve Martin, Mel Brooks and more: Kenneth Turan's DVD picks

October 24, 2012|By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic

With the presidential election just around the corner, who doesn’t feel a need to sneak a smile into their daily routine? A trio of new DVD releases helps make that impulse a reality.

The most venerable item -- it’s even being released by the TCM Vault Collection -- is “UPA: The Jolly Frolics Collection,” featuring 38 cartoons created for theatrical release between 1948 and 1959 by a company called United Productions of America.

If that name doesn’t sound familiar, the UPA cartoons themselves will ring a bell, ranging as they do from artistic versions of literary classics (James Thurber’s “The Unicorn in the Garden” and Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart”) to the always amusing adventures of the nearsighted Mr. Magoo.

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More recent is “Steve Martin: The Television Stuff,” a boxed set that focuses, as the title makes clear, on the previously unavailable but totally funny TV material from Martin’s pre-theatrical feature career.

Covering the widest time span is “The Incredible Mel Brooks: An Irresistible Collection of Unhinged Comedy,” released, as is the Steve Martin box, by Shout Factory. Included are short films, television appearances, tributes and a sampling of one of Brooks’ most memorable riffs, the 2000 Year Old Man. It’s enough to make you laugh.

Are you an aficionado of iconic Hollywood? Like our Classic Hollywood Facebook page to get more Times coverage.

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