Gene Kelly’s first TV special leads shows that are new to DVD

Published: Saturday, Dec. 21 2013 5:40 p.m. MST

A vintage black-and-white special about dancing, an enthralling hour of classic television, makes its DVD debut this week.

“Omnibus: Gene Kelly — Dancing: A Man’s Game” (eOne, 1958, b/w, $29.98). Gene Kelly was an amazing dancer/choreographer with many classic movies under his belt when he created his first TV special, an episode of the “Omnibus” anthology program, which was presented live in real time.

Well known as a muscular dancer, Kelly used this TV show to compare the discipline to athletic training, with a number of 1950s sports stars helping him prove his point — baseball’s Mickey Mantle, boxing’s Sugar Ray Robinson, football’s Johnny Unitas, Olympic skater Dick Button and basketball’s Bob Cousy, along with golfers, fencers, gymnasts, etc.

The show is meant to be educational, and for a while it features brief examples as Kelly explains the art of dance. But once it gets going, Kelly demonstrates his impressive talent and allows his guests to show off as well, dancing with Button and Robinson and allowing ballet star Edward Villella to deliver a knockout routine.

This is a kinescope, meaning the picture was filmed off a TV screen to preserve this live program. So it’s not as sharp as later filmed shows, much less the high-definition television we enjoy today. But it won’t take long for you to forget all about that as you’re swept up in this wonderful exploration of a particular talent.

“Shameless: The Complete Third Season” (Warner/Blu-ray, 2013, five discs, $49.99; Blu-ray, DVD, digital versions; 12 episodes, deleted scenes, featurettes). Season 3 picks up the dysfunctional Gallagher clan as Fiona (Emmy Rossum) goes from job to job, and the other twisted sisters and brothers have their own problems to deal with. Meanwhile, their single dad, Frank (William H. Macy), becomes a drug mule so he can cross the border from Mexico back into the States. This Showtime cable series is aggressively politically incorrect and sometimes quite sleazy. (Also on DVD, $39.98)

“Greek Gods, Heroes and Monsters” (History, 2001-09, three discs, $19.98, eight episodes). Characters from ancient Greek mythology, including Zeus, Hercules, Hades, Medusa and more, are explored in these documentary episodes.

“Bronies: The Extremely Adult Fans of My Little Pony” (MVD, 2013, $16.95). Documentary about the title fan base — which is a real thing. No kidding. The internet age has brought together adults who love “My Little Pony” for the TV series' themes of honesty, kindness, generosity, loyalty, etc.

Chris Hicks is the author of "Has Hollywood Lost Its Mind? A Parent’s Guide to Movie Ratings." His website is hicksflicks.com.

Email: hicks@deseretnews.com

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