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Critic's Choice: 'Sid Caesar: The Works' reminds us who's the real king of comedy

Critic's Choice: 'Sid Caesar: The Works' reminds us who's the real king of comedy
Sid Caesar from the DVD set "Sid Caesar: The Works." (Shout! Factory)

The world of comedy as we know it today wouldn't exist without Sid Caesar, which is why the appearance of the five-DVD set “Sid Caesar: The Works” from Shout! Factory is such welcome news.

Working in the infant medium of television as early as 1949, Caesar and costars like Carl Reiner, Imogene Coca and Nanette Fabray did brilliant sketch comedy work, much of which has not been seen by modern audiences. A wonderful feature film, a best hits compilation called “Ten From Your Show of Shows” (which includes a scintillating parody of “From Here To Eternity”) appears here on DVD for the first time.

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Caesar is also justly celebrated for the comedians who started in his writers room, including Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Woody Allen and Larry Gelbart, and “The Works’ ” more than 11 hours of material includes reminiscences of those hysterical nights and days.

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