DVD Review: “The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour Country Special”

“The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour Country Special”
Glen Campbell
Shout! Factory
Not Rated
DVD Runtime: 92 min.

Our score: 4 out of 5 stars

For the first time on DVD join country superstar Glen Campbell for a spectacular celebration of music with “The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour Country Special”. The DVD is being released via Shout! Factory and features a pair of episodes from Glen’s variety show which aired on January 1st 1972.The release is packed full of laughter and music including performances by Johnny Cash, June Carter, Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, Jerry Reed, Mel Tillis and Minnie Pearl.

A release in this genre is something that’s generally not on my radar being that I am not a huge country fan. However having heard my fair share of classic country growing up something about this DVD caught my attention. What stands out about this release is the caliber of guests who appear. Everyone from Merle Haggard and Jerry Reed to Johnny Cash and Buck Owners are on here performing either solo, with Glen or as a group. This was something I really enjoyed as the show comes off very light and fun. Throw in some skits by Minnie Pearl, Mel Tillis and beardless Merle Haggard and you have a fun 90 minute video.

I can’t say enough good things about Shout! Factory as they truly do a great job bringing back vintage television specials and series. “The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour Country Special” is no exception as both the audio and video are crystal clear. There were one or two spots where the audio was a touch out of sync however it wasn’t enough to even cause a bump in the entertainment factor. If you grew up watching this show or are a fan of some of the artists I named who appear on this release definitely grab a copy as it’s a fun trip down memory lane.

Performance Listing:
1.) Country Boy- Glen Campbell
2.) Folsom Prison Blues- Johnny Cash & Glen Campbell
3.) Comedy Skit- Minnie Pearl, Johnny Cash & Glen Campbell
4.) Banjo Break- Glen Campbell, Buck Owens & Larry McNeely
5.) Comedy Skit- Mel Tillis & Glen Campbell
6.) Carolyn- Merle Haggard & Glen Campbell
7.) Comedy Skit- Glen Campbell & Mini Pearl
8.) I Saw the Light- The Mike Curb Congregation
9.) Comedy Skit- Glen Campbell & Mel Tillis
10.) Another Puff- Jerry Reed
11.) A Thing Called Love- Johnny Cash
12.) No Need To Worry- Johnny Cash & June Carter
13.) Comedy Skit- Mel Tillis & Glen Campbell
14.) Born To Lose- Glen Campbell, Jerry Reed & Larry McNeely
15.) Easy Living- Freddie Hart
16.) Comedy Skit- Glen Campbell, Mel Tillis & Minnie Pearl
17.) Comedy Skit- Glen Campbell, Minnie Pearl, Buck Owens & Jerry Reed
18.) I’ll Still Be Waiting For You- Buck Owens
19.) Merle Haggard’s Musical Impressions Medley: Mary, I’m Moving On, Love’s Gonna Live Here, Jackson- Merle Haggard, Glen Campbell, Buck Owens & Johnny Cash
20.) Medley- A Boy Named Sue, I’ve Got a Tiger By The Tail, When You’re Hot, You’re Hot, I Want To Go Home, Act Naturally, I Take A Lot Of Pride In What I Am, Long Legged Guitar Pickin’ Man, Oh Lonesome Me- Glen Campbell & Guests
21.) For The Good Times- Glen Campbell

James Keach talks about directing “Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me”

It would be fair to say that the Smith family has a great admiration for the Keach family.  As a child, I enjoyed the many roles that Stacy Keach, Sr. played in most of the classic television westerns.  Then, in 1980, Mr. Keach’s children, James and Stacy, co-wrote and co-starred in the movie The Long Riders.  What makes that film so popular in our house is that James Keach played Jesse James.  My son, Phillip, is related to Jesse James on his mother’s side of the family, though thankfully he has never robbed a bank.

James Keach is probably best known on-screen as the motorcycle cop who pulls Chevy Chase over after the family dog is unwittingly tied to the back of the car in “National Lampoon’s Vacation.”  He has also appeared in such films as “The Razor’s Edge,” “Wildcats” and “The Experts,” a film that deserved a much better marketing effort (shame on you Paramount).  He also played the role of the Warden in the Johnny Cash bio-pic “Walk the Line,” which he also helped produce.  Cash was the godfather of Mr. Keach’s son, John.

Turning his attention behind the camera, Mr. Keach is the director of the recent documentary “Glen Campbell:  I’ll Be Me,” which recently earned an Academy Award nomination for Original Song.  Mr. Keach and I spoke about the film and its impact before the nominations were announced.

Mike Smith:  How did you get involved in the project?
James Keach:  Julian Raymond, who had produced Glen’s last two projects, “Meet Glen Campbell” and “Ghost on the Canvas,” was producing my 18 year old son Johnny’s band.  He would come over to our editing room, which is also a rehearsal area, and would ask if I wanted to work on a project on Glen because he knew I had worked on “Walk the Line” several years ago.  We were very reluctant at first but we gave in to him.  He wanted us to make a documentary rather than a narrative film.  When we found out that Glen had Alzheimer’s it made me and Trevor (co-producer Trevor Albert) even more reluctant.  We thought, “oh my gosh, how can we make a movie that’s uplifting about THIS?”  And then we met Glen.  Once we met Glen and his family we realized that this man really wanted to make a difference in the world.

MS:  Is it difficult as a filmmaker, especially considering Glen Campbell’s situation, to not let your emotions dictate your approach to the material?
JK:  The big thing was…everything we had ever seen about Alzheimer’s, both in the documentary format and the narrative format, was very, very dark.  So the emotional resistance occurred prior to making the film.  Once we got to know Glen and we got to see his willingness to reveal the truth about what he was going through, it was like we were on the journey with him.  We were suffering it with him.  Emotionally we felt more for the family then we did for Glen because, when you’re going through it, you don’t realize what it’s doing to your family all the time.  Glen was very cognizant of what was happening and you see in the film that there is some remorse.  He knew things were getting weird and messed up but he really didn’t understand it, especially towards the end.  The real emotional impact came from watching his kids and his wife…the people that had known him for thirty or forty years…watch him going through the downward spiral.  And as an objective filmmaker you kind of had to stand back and observe everything and not become…you really just had to stand back.  And to reflect Glen’s personality, which has a lot of humor in it, and love, we could have easily gone on one track in the film and just shown one side of it.  But that wouldn’t have been Glen.  We also thought it was going to be a short journey.  We thought we’d be with him for five and a half weeks and we ended up spending two and a half years.  We kind of went down the rabbit hole with him.  Slowly but surely.  And even now, looking back at the film, it’s so courageous what he did and it’s a legacy for me as a filmmaker that I feel so proud that I was able to be a part of it.  To be at the helm, with my partner, Trevor, and to share this story.

MS:  Have you kept in touch with Glen?  How is he doing?
JK:  Yeah.  I saw Glen six weeks ago and the family sends pictures of him.  And I talk to Kim (Campbell’s wife).  He’s in good physical health.  He’s in good spiritual health.  He’s happy where he is.  He still has Alzheimer’s…it’s not going away.  But he’s not suffering.  He’s being well taken care of.  And I think that’s the most you can ask.  He has a lot of love around him.  He’s still full of love and full of laughter and full of faith.  Every once in a while he’ll lift his hands up and say “thank you, Lord.”  It’s kind of amazing.  I heard the other day…Kim said he played a little bit.

MS:  You’ve spent most of the past two decades behind the camera instead of in front of it.  Is that something you want to concentrate on?  Are you still open to acting jobs?
JK:  Have you got a job?  (laughs)
MS:  While I was curious if maybe they’ve talked to you about doing a cameo in the “Vacation” reboot.  Maybe you could be the cop that pulls Rusty over.
JK:  (laughing) That would be really funny.  Man, I had such a good time doing that.  That’s where my partner Trevor and I met.  He was Harold Ramis’ producer.

MS:  What do you have coming up next?
JK:  We have a lot of different films that are in various stages of development.  What we’re really trying to do is to make sure this film finishes correctly.  To make sure it gets in the right place in the digital realm because I think that is where most people are going to see it.  We’re chugging along and getting a lot of requests for screenings.  The most important thing is to school as many people as possible to see the film.  I think it will help change the conversation about Alzheimer’s.  It will certainly help leave a great legacy for Glen.  I think Glen’s intentions were to try and make a difference in the world…to create an awareness of how dire the situation is.  We did a screening for about 4,000 people in Nashville.  I went up on the stage…the Band Perry was there and we had a concert and a screening.  And during the concert, while they were setting up for their next song, I asked how many people in the audience had been affected by Alzheimer’s.  About 3,800 people stood up.  I think that there is a connection there with everybody.  People have to become more aware of this and do something about it before it really takes its toll on our country and each one of our families.

Film Review “Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me”

Starring: Glen Campbell
Directed by: James Keach
Rated: PG
Running time: 1 hr 56 mins
PCH Films

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

“Who’s that?” Each time an image flickers on the screen the man watching the film asks the same question. With each questions comes the same answer… “that’s you.” Eventually, 75-year old Glen Campbell nods quietly and seems to understand. “OK,” he says. “I’ll be me.”

One of the greatest entertainers of the last century, Glen Campbell shocked fans in 2011 when he announced that he was battling Alzheimer’s disease. Not one to shy from a fight, Campbell not only decided to record one last album, “Ghost on the Canvas” but chose to embark on a three-week “goodbye” tour…one which lasted 151 shows! “I’ll Be Me” takes you along on that tour and shares with you the ups and downs of this most personal of illnesses.

When I was a kid, Glen Campbell was IT! An accomplished musician (he played on many records in the early 1960s, including hits by Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin and the Monkees. In late 1964 he filled in for Brian Wilson when the Beach Boys went on tour and his masterful guitar playing can be heard on the bands’ greatest album, “Pet Sounds.” In 1967 he hit the top when he released the single “Gentle on My Mind,” following that up with songs like “Wichita Lineman,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” and starring alongside John Wayne in “True Grit.” The 1970s brought him his own television series, “The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour” and hits like “Southern Nights” and the song he is forever linked to, “Rhinestone Cowboy.” This is how I remembered Glen Campbell. Seeing him here, in excellent shape physically but slowed mentally is jarring. I’ll admit that I felt tears well up in my eyes watching him take in those old family home movies and not recognize himself.

The film is not all sadness. Shots of Campbell going through his normal day, talking like Donald Duck and singing familiar songs (ironically, one of the songs he remembers well is “I Remember You”). Sometimes he’s confused and sometimes he seems to understand what is happening to him. “I can still jump,” he says at one point, “I just can’t stay up as long.” With his loving wife Kim by his side, and three of his children in his band, Campbell’s tour is mostly successful. There are a few bumps in the road, like when the teleprompter (which shows Campbell the lyrics) stops working or when, like a young child who doesn’t understand, he complains about things that normally wouldn’t bother you or I, but there is also a sense of hope in the film. Musically, Campbell is still at the top of his game. He goes off on difficult guitar solos during the shows, and the skill needed to achieve this is there.

The film also contains testimonies from many of the people who have been part of or inspired by Campbell’s career. From songwriter Jimmy Webb to Vince Gill, from Sheryl Crow to Bill Clinton, from Blake Shelton to Paul McCartney, the list is overwhelming. There are also comments from fellow musicians like Kathy Mattea and Chad Smith (from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers) who have dealt with Alzheimer’s in their families. Director Keach places his cameras so that you feel like you are part of the film. You’re not eavesdropping on family conversations, you’re part of them. He’s been behind the camera for many years (when he’s not in front of it) and has proven that he has an amazing eye for telling story. And where Glen Campbell that story is not over. As he tells his family as the tour winds down, “I’m not done yet!”