Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

My Photo
Location: Texas, United States

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Tuna Helper

A DVD Review, Sort Of...

Not much of a Xmas pile of loot this year.  Other than the Mauser pistol, the only thing Santa brought me was a stack of books and a couple of odds & ends.  All the stuff from the family is still with the family.  I'll see them on New Years and we'll trade gifts then.

Ya gotta love Santa.  Somehow in all those orders of stuff from Amazon and other online retailers, there always seemed to be one little extra thing per order that wound its way to my doorstep.

Hey, call it rigging the game if you must, I call it making sure you get what you ask for!!

Anyway, I finally acquired a long-sought after DVD of the 1984 version of Greater Tuna made for HBO & produced by Norman Lear.

"Greater Tuna??" you inquire?  Quite possibly the greatest theatrical spectacle based in the Lone Star State to ever grace a stage.  I'm a huge fan of the play and its sequels, 'A Tuna Xmas', 'Red, White & Tuna' and 'Tuna Does Vegas'.

It's a two-man play based in Tuna, Texas, the 3rd smallest town in TX ,where the Lions Club is too liberal and Patsy Cline never dies.  The two principles, Jaston Williams and Joe Sears, have been playing the multitude of characters in the tiny town for almost 35 years.

It's a skewering satire of small-town Texas life, with the first play more sharply pointed than the others. There's love underneath the ribbing, though, and anyone who's spent any time in any small town will recognize most of the characters.

Part of the appeal of the stageplay is the rapid costume changes and clever staging that allow the two actors to play 2 dozen characters seamlessly.

In this HBO special, split-screen effects allow characters played by the same person to appear together, and there's been some pretty major changes and deletions to the script to adapt it for cable TV.

I've also got a copy made when the play aired on TV up in D/FW, but that was a "filmed on stage" production, and was no different than seeing it from the 10th row.

Considering the HBO DVD runs about 45 minutes, and cost me almost a dollar a minute, I can't say that I'm 100% pleased with the result.  It was an interesting take on the original, and introduced characters that don't show up on stage until the 2nd play, but given the age of the original and the fuzzy copy-of-a-copy quality, I don't know that I'd recommend seeking out your own unless you're a hard-core Tuna fan like I am.