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Classic TV reviews

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Since we don't have a category for this, and since there are more and more sets coming out showcasing classic TV series and programs from the late 1940s onward, I thought it might be time for a thread reviewing releases on DVD and Blu-ray.

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*The Prisoner (Blu-ray)*

 

I just got this today and have only been watching the first few eipsodes so far, but I can say this...the restoration is amazing and the shows look gorgeous!

 

I will do a review update on the entire set when I finish it.

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*Walt Disney's Zorro Season One and Two (Disney Treasures)* (DVD)

 

Wow, the titles keep piling up on my coffee table. Got these in last night and have had a chance to look at several of the episodes of the first season...great restoration of these black and white classic TV shows. Superior to the exclusive Disney club releases (which were colorized).

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Whew, finally finished watching *The Prisoner* complete series on Blu-ray from A&E (using prints from UK's Network release).

 

How many ways can I say, "WOW!"? At least seventeen, one for each episode. We all know the show to be a classic (of course, I am talking about the original Patrick McGoohan series., not the remake), but to see it again now makes you know it is timeless. It is still great...and the picture quality of this restored release...WOW! (sorry, there I go again). Every image is so crystal clear that you feel that it was shot in high definition. And the sound quality is just as excellent.

 

There are extras applenty with the set. Over a thousand still photos across the discs of individual episodes. An excellent documentary on the making of the series (with some participants not pulling their punches on McGoohan...who, sadly for us, does not take poart in any interviews. Trailers for episodes. Alternate versions of the music theme as composed by others. And more.

 

This is one of the best releases of 2009. A must have!

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Hi. It seemed to be a good time to ressurect the individual threads that were set up when I helped get this Forum created. We are getting so many threads being started for so many things that could all be in one place that it makes it hard to find anything.

 

Keeping within a theme thread makes the Classic Film DVD Reviews Forum a much neater place and better organized.. Thanks.

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Upcoming on November 19, 2013:

 

Here's Edie: The Edie Adams Television Collection

The early 60s TV show, Here's Edie (1962 - 1964), premieres on DVD and includes 21 complete episodes. Bonus features include appearances on her husband Ernie's TV show.

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Shout! Factory continues to impress..

 

First, they've done great favors for 1950s TV. Like the recent release of The Jack Benny Program: The Lost Episodes - more about this one at a later date, they followed through with the last couple seasons of Father Knows Best - making them available through their own site when sales for previous seasons proved disappointing, and let's not forget the two Ernie Kovacs sets!...

 

Second, they're often releasing not entire (or partial) seasons but _complete_ _series_.

 

As the case with one I previously thought I wanted - Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. I nostalgically remembered seeing it in syndication as a kid and usually if aired on Nick-at-Nite it was the first 20 episodes or so with Tuesday Weld as Thalia Meninger - those eps are decent but as I saw more of the show on local TV stations the last few years I quickly tired of it and realized it wasn't the show I thought it was.

 

Conversely, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman was a late _1970s_ show I sure didn't like or watch at the time thinking it a soap not realizing it was a spoof. I more appreciate it's pointed, deadpan humor now - not what I'd expect from a Norman Lear production.

A little pricey but supposed to be a 38 disc set with somewhere around 300 episodes:

 

Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman - The Complete Series ($249.95 SRP) is due out December 3rd!

 

Edited by: snrafbarns on Sep 21, 2013 2:06 PM

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>...one I previously thought I wanted - Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. I nostalgically remembered seeing it in syndication as a kid and usually if aired on Nick-at-Nite it was the first 20 episodes or so with Tuesday Weld as Thalia Meninger - those eps are decent but as I saw more of the show on local TV stations the last few years I quickly tired of it and realized it wasn't the show I thought it was.

 

It's too bad you didn't enjoy it more. I had almost the opposite reaction when we got the DOBIE GILLIS box set: I remembered it from those Nick-at-Nite reruns as a pretty funny show, but now that we're watching every episode, I'm finding it to be one of the funniest, most creative comedy shows I've ever seen.

 

While there are a few episodes that don't rise to that level, most are full of very edgy humor, with Dobie's dad saying things like "I've got to kill that boy," and a high school teacher (played by the outstanding William Schallert) often remarking sarcastically on the less than stellar academic performances of the kids. Could you imagine that kind of dialogue from any other show in this white-bread era? I love LEAVE IT TO BEAVER, FATHER KNOWS BEST, and DONNA REED, but none of them come close to challenging the mainstream values like DOBIE does.

 

And then there's beatnik Maynard G. Krebs (Bob Denver), who cares only about jazz and whose parents cry when they remember that he's their son -- sure, he's a comic character, but he's also another aspect of the show that's planted firmly outside the mainstream.

 

DOBIE is a completely unique show, in my opinion, and one that still deserves a following all these decades later.

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Definitely a classic late 50s show - that's why I mentioned it here in that context. I think it deserves to be released on DVD and I commend Shout! Factory for it, just to re-iterate from my previous post. I even had it on my DVD wantlist for years - only recently removing it.

I suppose that's mainly why I explained how I'm no longer interested in owning on DVD - as a way of "removing" it from my list for those who might remember that.

 

I can't agree about the consistency you allude to though - later episodes were not of the same caliber or freshness and eventually had Dobie settling for the decidedly un-dreamy, un-creamy Zelda. You also mention challenging mainstream values? Mildly maybe but by episode's end the show usually confirms so-called mainstream values, often sentimentally.

 

Edited by: farnsbarns on Sep 26, 2013 11:10 PM

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I do have to admit you're right about the way most episodes end -- they generally provide a pretty conventional happy ending. And when Dobie and Maynard are in the army, it's pretty standard "service comedy" material. But other parts of show are pretty offbeat, unlike other shows of the era.

 

As we've only watched the show through the end of the second season, I can't opine on the last two seasons yet. But now that you mention it, I recall that there are even episodes toward the end that Dobie doesn't even appear in. I won't be surprised if our enjoyment does diminish somewhat toward the end, but I still find the show unique in many ways.

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You mentioned you're watching through the set so I thought it likely you hadn't seen the later episodes but those do factor into my opinion of the show. I agree with you Many Loves of Dobie Gillis was more hip than other shows you listed from that era.

Two standout episodes to watch for (imo) with return visits from Tuesday Weld as Thalia are:

"Birth of a Salesman" from Season 3 and

"What's a Little Murder Between Friends?" the Season 4 opener

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Funny timing - I just rec'd a Shout Factory email earlier this evening. Not exactly breaking news but they're releasing Many Loves of Dobie Gillis as individual seasons starting with Season 1.

I shouldn't have said I quickly tired of the show - it happened over time and after seeing it often. That post is kind of a mess and needed further re-editing elsewhere too...

 

Speaking of 1950s TV I just noticed on their site (shoutfactory) they've listed The Gene Autry Show: The Complete TV Series for December 10th. There they go again!

 

Also Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman - The Complete Series will contain a total of _325_ episodes. So far Barnes and Noble's been beating Amazon's price on the pre-order (free shipping from both companies).

 

Edited by: farnsbarns on Sep 27, 2013 1:47 AM

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My Mother The Car: The Series comes to DVD November 12, 2013 from TGG Direct. The 1965 TV comedy stars Jerry Van Dyke and Ann Sothern (as the voice of the car). The show has gained some notoriety over the years for being a bit of a clunker.

 

Edited by: farnsbarns on Nov 2, 2013 11:09 PM

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Shout! Factory continues to be the big name for 1950s TV on DVD...

 

The recently released 3 disc set, The Jack Benny Show: The Lost Episodes, gave us "new", uncut episodes of the show, unseen in decades - not the public domain episodes so commonly seen and re-seen.

 

They've now scheduled a 2 disc set, The Red Skelton Show: The Lost Episodes, for 02/11/2014. No details yet but I expect it will similarly set itself apart from other past (Red Skelton) collections. (Also hoping for lots of Lucille Knoch).

 

The list of major 1950s shows they've brought us so far is impressive:

 

Leave It To Beaver Seasons 3 - 6 and The Complete Series - a show that holds up extremely well in my opinion

 

Father Knows Best (entire series)

 

The Ernie Kovacs Collection, Vols. 1 & 2 - we can thank his wife, Edie Adams,

for her efforts to rescue the TV comedy pioneer's surviving footage

 

The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (entire series)

 

The Gene Autry Show: The Complete TV Series - due out December 10th

 

The Jack Benny Show: The Lost Episodes

 

The list continues with:

The Johnny Carson Show, The Jack Paar Collection, Dennis The Menace, The Goldbergs: The Ultimate Goldbergs (complete series), The Adventures Of Ozzie & Harriet,

Restless Gun: The Complete Series, The Adventures of Champion, Harbor Command: The Complete Series, Peter Gunn, Mackenzie's Raiders: The TV Series, Wagon Train

 

Hey Shout!, any chance of a My Little Margie set someday?

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Shout Factory has the Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman set currently available ahead of the 12/3 release date and for a decent price for those who just can't wait - around $179. Personally I'm still waiting for a better deal. Hoping to get the set for $125 or less over the holidays.

 

I've found the set as cheap as $145 from Rakuten (formerly Buy.com). The $3 standard postage seemed rather paltry at $80 less than Amazon and B&N's postage-paid prices but during checkout I found they charge (Illinois) sales tax - so that was a deal killer for me. Haven't ordered from Buy recently but don't recall paying sales tax in the past.

 

Edited by: farnsbarns on Nov 14, 2013 12:29 AM

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Recently released on November 5th from MPI Home Video is the 1974 holiday special, Perry Como's Christmas Show.

 

"Unseen anywhere since its one and only CBS-TV broadcast on December 17, 1974, Perry Como's Christmas Show, presents the host with special musical guests The Carpenters along with Olympics skating star Peggy Fleming and comedy great Rich Little."

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Just a reminder that Here's Edie: The Edie Adams Television Collection came out yesterday (Ediad Productions). There are currently three Amazon reviews for the product - all very informative about the show and the DVD set if anyone's interested.

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David Lambert at tvshowsondvd.com reports Amazon has listed Here's Lucy - The Complete Series for March 2014 pre-order. I've already purchased all six seasons (usually for around $20 each) so not something I need.

 

Between 2009 and 2012, MPI Home Video released all six seasons on DVD, but now Amazon.com has added a pre-order listing for Here's Lucy - The Complete Series on DVD. There has been no official studio announcement for this title, so please take it with a grain of salt at this time. Pricing shown at Amazon is $159.98 SRP, and of course you can lock in your copy at a discount if you order it now. Stay tuned for updates, as further developments occur!

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