Tom Snyder made a valiant effort to keep up with the times during the nine-year run of his talk show Tomorrow, and when punk rock began to appear on the nation's cultural radar in the late '70s, Snyder invited a few noted figures of the new movement onto the show, though there was usually a puzzling (or amusing) degree of disconnect between host and guest, since it was invariably obvious that Snyder just didn't understand the stuff. Eight episodes of the Tomorrow show are included on this two-DVD set from Shout Factory, each of which features at least one noted act from the punk
ew wave scene. The first and most unintentionally comical is an October 11, 1977, show in which noted concert promoter Bill Graham, Los Angeles Times rock critic Robert Hilburn, and producer Kim Fowley discuss the (then) brand-new phenomenon of punk; within minutes, it's painfully obvious that Fowley is the only one who knows the slightest thing about punk, and he'd much rather talk about himself than anything else, so the result is like watching a handful of vegans attempting to explain how to throw a pig roast. Later on, Paul Weller of the Jam and Joan Jett (then still in the Runaways) drop by, and while they're obviously much better clued in, Weller's level of cool prevents him from bonding well with his fellow guests, and Jett has to explain that while she likes punk rock, that isn't quite what she does, leading to further confusion. Television has seen few such moments since Steve Allen thought it would be funny to force Elvis Presley to sing to a dog in 1956. The other seven shows feature interviews with Patti Smith (loopy but charming) and John Lydon (somewhere between hostile and deliberately blank), and both performances and chat segments from Elvis Costello, Iggy Pop, the Ramones, the Jam, and the Plasmatics (the latter featuring Wendy O. Williams blowing up a car to the delight of her fans). Technically, all the shows are presented in their original full-frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and the audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Stereo, retaining the original monophonic sound mix of the initial broadcasts. The programs are in English, with no multiple language options or subtitles included. In addition to the interviews and performances featuring musicians, the bulk of the rest of the original shows have been included as well (though Rona Barrett's segments from the Tomorrow Coast to Coast edition of the show have been excised), meaning some incongruous but interesting interviews also appear on the set, most notably a chat with veteran filmmaker Frank Capra. The quality of the original source materials is generally good; while some occasional flaws are apparent, these discs look quite well considering the age of the tapes, and this set is a fascinating time capsule for folks looking to recall a day when punk rock wasn't readily available at the local shopping mall.
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If you were a fan of Tom Snyder in the 70's are early 80's you'll love this DVD even if you are into punk/new wave or not. Would love to see a "BEST OF" collection released. Glad to see the "John Paul Tom, and Ringo collection being released in April. Might also check out the Tom Synder Grateful Dead collection