The Norman Gunston Show-Volume 1 (1993)

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Released 20-Mar-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Unedited Billy Crystal Interview
Notes-Guarantee Of Excellence
Featurette-Segment From Volume 2
Featurette-Segment From Volume 3
Trailer-Malcolm; The Secret Policeman's Ball
Trailer-What's Up, Tiger Lily?; The Natural History Of The Chicken
DVD Credits
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1993
Running Time 46:52 (Case: 75)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Simon Francis

Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Garry McDonald
Case Click
RPI $29.95 Music None Given

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    This is the first in a series of three titles encompassing the best of the 1990s Norman Gunston show.

    I must say that when I first heard that they were producing a 3 DVD series of Norman Gunston's classic television moments I was thinking of his fantastic, insightful and very unique interviews of the 70s, including personal favourite interviews of Paul McCartney, Frank Zappa and Bob Hawke on the steps of Parliament House on the day of the dismissal. I was deeply disappointed when I learnt I was mistaken. However, it wasn't long before I was won over. Norman Gunston was champagne comedy in the 90s just as he was in the 70s. The Bay Marie has been replaced by a McDonald's outlet, but the format is still the same. The studio guests arrive and are offered anything they like from the menu, and then are enthralled by the frabjous things Norman Gunston asks. The four biggest name interviews take place in a hotel room in LA, and so must forego the wonderful goodness of McDonalds' menu.

    After having been won over, it was far too short a time before I was disappointed once again. Forty-six minutes later, the feature ended. I was flabbergasted. I checked the back cover again, and that definitely said "Approx: 75 minutes". I double checked the list of segments; it definitely seemed that I had watched them all. The only explanation I can come up with is that they added in the time of the extras to the time of the feature presentation to make it seem a more lengthy purchase.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    The video transfer is a workmanlike effort without any dramatic flaws to speak of. It is reasonably clean and except for an odd single frame MPEG glitch at 17:54 it doesn't appear to have been particularly responsible for any flaws in this title. It is nothing incredible, but more than I expected from a DVD of unkempt television stock.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

    In and of itself, the sharpness during this feature is never an overwhelming success. It is certainly better than I anticipated from a made-for-television title, but I did expect the pits. The shadow detail is quite poor, but this is only significant during the Rave scene at 26:51. All other scenes are well lit, either in a studio or in Norman's hotel. There is some moderate low level noise during the entire feature, and this does let the title down. There seems to be varying levels of edge enhancement throughout this title. Grain is bad during the Billy Crystal interview, but generally acceptable at other times.

    The colours during each scene filmed in the studio were very bright and pleasant. The same could not be said of the US hotel-based interviews. The colours were quite washed out and the contrast was not of the same standard. Cross colouration is a significant and constant presence in every scene of this title. Most amusing for me was seeing it present in Norman Gunston's hair (one of many examples is at 40:00).

    There are no film artefacts to speak of, but there does seem to be several MPEG blotches at various spots, such as the aforementioned 17:34. There is also a cyclic loss of detail during a portion of the Jackie Collins interview from 17:52 through to 19:17 though it does occur at other places. This is moderately disturbing, but only mildly affects the viewer's ability to watch it.

    The disc is single sided and single layered. Therefore, there is no layer change.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio is similarly an adequate effort, without ever really being stunning.

    There is only one soundtrack, English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono.

    Dialogue is quite clear and distinct. There are no significant dropouts or problems with verbal clarity. There is ongoing problematic microphone noise for much of the Simply Irresistible scene, but apart from that flaw it was a fine effort. The audio sync was perfect at all times.

    Except for the three musical numbers, there was no music to speak of during this title.

    This being a mono soundtrack, there is zero use of the rear speakers or the subwoofer. In fact, there is zero use even of the front left and right speakers if you listen to this feature with ProLogic decoding enabled, which will redirect all sound to the centre speaker.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Main Menu Audio & Animation

    The menu background is a still of Norman Gunston, cropped from the same image that adorns the cover. The only audio component is about 15 seconds of applause, which strangely enough represents the only use of the front or rear speakers during the entire programme.


    This first extra is an absolute gem! This is the unedited raw footage of the Billy Crystal interview. Raw is the word of the day here - the vision is a little jittery at times, and the audio becomes quite distorted at times. What is more, there is a counter running throughout this extra. This doesn't minimise its value, however. More of this sort of stuff, please!


    A guarantee of excellence that is really just Norman explaining in three paragraphs why we should buy this series.


    A snippet from the second disc in the series, this is the interview with Julian Clary. More great stuff from Gunston, but I fear if the second disc is as short as this one, we have had much of it spoiled already.


    A snippet from the third disc in the series. This time, Norman Gunston is in attendance at a public press conference given by Guns'n'Roses. Absolutely classic Gunston, but like the first featurette, I fear if the third disc is as short as this one, we have seen the best of it already.


    The original cinematic trailer for Malcolm. It is presented in widescreen letterboxed format. Lots of charm, lots of film artefacts.


    I believe this is the original television ad for the record of the first Secret Policeman's Ball. As with the previous trailer, it has lots of film artefacts.


    A trailer for Woody Allen's What's Up, Tiger Lily?. It is a full frame presentation and in keeping with the previous trailers has lots of film artefacts.


    A weird 15 second grab of a chicken wandering around the screen to the sound of the Eurythmics, presumably to get me interested in viewing The Natural History Of The Chicken. This trailer is presented widescreen letterboxed and is blessedly free from film artefacts.

DVD Credits

    Not really an extra, more something that shows up after the feature. I love that this title has credits, but I don't feel they go far enough, really only listing the producers individually. It would be great to know who it was at Madman that did the encoding.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This is a multi-region release for the Australian market. At this stage we are unaware of there being any other releases of this DVD.


    This is outstanding entertainment from Norman Gunston's 1993 television specials let down only by being rather short. If you are a big Gunston fan, or have deepish pockets then it is well worth a look.

    The video quality is better than I expected for this made-for-television title.

    The audio is generally fine except for one portion which suffers from rather bad microphone noise.

    The extras are little more than a bunch of trailers for other titles with one very notable and valuable exception.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Nemir Nemirius (if you're in a really weird mood you might want to read my bio.)
Tuesday, April 09, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDMarantz DV-4100, using RGB output
DisplayMetz Artos (82cm, 16x9 CRT Display). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR-3802
SpeakersFront: Krix Lyrix; Centre: Krix Centrix; Rear: Krix KDX; Subwoofer: Aaron Sub120

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