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.
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.