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markbeckuaf

Best of TV Detectives Set

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This set was available for a song on Amazon, and since I have a little credit there, I had to get it. It arrived this week, and it's great stuff! Since I'm not feeling well today I'm watching a bit of the DVD's, starting with the George Raft series, I'M THE LAW!! It's very gritty and noir-ish, just the way I like it! I also recognize some of the backing music from the first season of THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN! Cool!

 

This set is filled with series from the late 40's through the mid-60's, great stuff! I got it for under 15 bucks, and it has tons of stuff packed onto 12 double sided discs! Groovy!

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> {quote:title=markbeckuaf wrote:}{quote}

> This set was available for a song on Amazon, and since I have a little credit there, I had to get it. It arrived this week, and it's great stuff! Since I'm not feeling well today I'm watching a bit of the DVD's, starting with the George Raft series, I'M THE LAW!! It's very gritty and noir-ish, just the way I like it! I also recognize some of the backing music from the first season of THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN! Cool!

>

> This set is filled with series from the late 40's through the mid-60's, great stuff! I got it for under 15 bucks, and it has tons of stuff packed onto 12 double sided discs! Groovy!

 

I love the first season of The Adventures of Superman. Completely different in style and tone from the rest of the series. The first season had a film noir aspect to it, not just because it was in B&W, but because of the dialogue, the criminals they dealt with--everything. I still remember all the backing music from the first season, all that tension-building music that they used so effectively, and it started running through my head as I read your statement that it is also in the series I'm the Law.

 

Phyllis Coates was the best Lois Lane, although it is ironic that Noel Neill played her first in the movie serials before playing her again in the subsequent seasons of The Adventures of Superman. Coates' Lois Lane was tough-as-nails, taking any risk to get the story. Neill played the character as being almost dowdy--in her first TV episode, Jack Larson suggests following someone to find out what's going on, and Neill says something like, "But Jimmy! The Chief [or maybe it was Inspector Henderson] said we should stay here." What a switch! In the first season, it was Jimmy who was trying to get Lois not to follow the bad guys. Neill's Lois Lane seemed more interested in making sure her hat stayed on her head than in getting a story.

 

I was glad to see Coates make an appearance in Lois and Clark. Phyllis Coates was a much underrated actress, in my opinion.

 

Robbie

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Robbie, GREAT comments about the first season of THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN!! I totally groove to that! My favorite season by far, for all of the reasons you mentioned, including my favorite Lois Lane of all-time, Phyllis Coates! Noel...Bless her, but she just doesn't do it for me, though I enjoy her performance well enough and as you say, she was the original cinematic Lois, in the first 2 movie serials--I dig both of those too, btw! I also enjoy the second season, but you can see how it is evolving even during that season, however it does contain some excellent episodes. The remainder of the series is uneven at best, and nothing like the first 2 seasons, certainly nothing like the first one. That remains a gem, and I'm happy to have the set that is out of those first two seasons. Along with Phyllis, I felt that Jack Carson as Jimmy, John Hamilton as Perry, and certainly George Reeves as Superman/Clark, gave their finest performances that season.

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> {quote:title=markbeckuaf wrote:}{quote}

> Robbie, GREAT comments about the first season of THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN!! I totally groove to that! My favorite season by far, for all of the reasons you mentioned, including my favorite Lois Lane of all-time, Phyllis Coates! Noel...Bless her, but she just doesn't do it for me, though I enjoy her performance well enough and as you say, she was the original cinematic Lois, in the first 2 movie serials--I dig both of those too, btw! I also enjoy the second season, but you can see how it is evolving even during that season, however it does contain some excellent episodes. The remainder of the series is uneven at best, and nothing like the first 2 seasons, certainly nothing like the first one. That remains a gem, and I'm happy to have the set that is out of those first two seasons. Along with Phyllis, I felt that Jack Carson as Jimmy, John Hamilton as Perry, and certainly George Reeves as Superman/Clark, gave their finest performances that season.

 

Yeah, I certainly don't want to disparage Noel Neill--she is a fine actress (and still with us, as is Coates!). She played Lois a little tougher in the movie serials (which I originally watched on TCM and then bought the DVDs--you're right, they're great). And you have to wonder how much of the "softer" Lois was due to direction and writing, rather than just to Neill's personal style. As I understand it, the sponsors were concerned that the noir criminals were too frightening for young children who watched the show, so the producers began moving the show to a softer tone.

 

However, everything I have ever seen Coates in, including several episodes of Gunsmoke, had her showing that same toughness and determination, so certainly the strength of the original Lois Lane in the TV show was at least in part due to what Coates brought from within herself to the role, regardless of the directing and writing style.

 

As I understand it, season 2 was sort of a hybrid of noir and the new softer tone as they began the transition.

 

You're right, all the actors were great. I also liked Robert Shayne as Inspector Henderson.

 

John Hamilton was great as Perry White, even going so far as to bark orders to Inspector Henderson every once in a while! One of the original tough bosses, he makes Mary Tyler Moore's Lou Grant look like a teddy bear in comparison.

 

I remember one episode in which Coates' Lois Lane was being held hostage in an apartment building. One of the bad guys told her to keep quiet. She said, "I will not!", stomped on his foot and screamed at the top of her voice. That's the grit and determination of Phyllis Coates' Lois Lane for you.

 

One of my favorite lines from the show, though, was the Haiti episode. The guide didn't want to take Clark Kent and party into the jungle to look for Perry White's sister (played by Mabel Albertson, another great character actress), and Clark Kent said something like, "Surely you don't believe in voodoo." The guide responded, "I believe in sharp knives and poison."

 

I bought the first Adventures of Superman DVD set (S1S2) when it was first released. I was really excited because the videotapes of the show I bought from Columbia House in the mid or late '90s were beginning to wear out. I think I bought the next DVD set when it came out and eventually plan to buy all of them, for completeness, but I have not been as highly motivated to get the later seasons as I was for S12.

 

I ordered the TV Detectives DVD set from Amazon yesterday based on your recommendation. I'm looking forward to watching it!

 

Robbie

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Robbie, more great thoughts about THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN!! I really enjoy reading your comments on this great show!

 

I'm considering getting seasons 3-6, but like you, I'm not terribly motivated to do so. I love all the actors and characters, but they are SO different in those seasons!

 

I hope you enjoy the Detectives set! I'm still working my way through it, but everything I've seen so far is really fun to watch!

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Robbie, I hope you enjoy the set when received! I hope you also know that the quality of these is fair and uneven among the various series/episodes. These are all public domain, and I hope that is ok with you. If not, I think you can return unopened for full refund. I should have mentioned that and just suddenly thought of it! The quality won't be on par with those Superman sets, for example.

 

Another series where I heard some of the same musical cues as The Adventures of Superman first season was RACKET SQUAD!! It's an interesting concept for a series, they examine a different bunco type deal and how they get the goods on them. Reed Hadley, with the great voice!, is the lead cop/narrator. I am pretty sure this is the series where I also occasionally heard some of the same backing music as the first season of TAOS!

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I preferred Phylis too. But, in deference to Noel, I would point out that the scripts they were given were responsible for the great difference in the way they played the character.

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> {quote:title=ValentineXavier wrote:}{quote}

> I preferred Phylis too. But, in deference to Noel, I would point out that the scripts they were given were responsible for the great difference in the way they played the character.

 

Definitely the scripts had changed after the first season...but...I do think they brought a different feel for the character, and a much different persona. Tricky because the scripts they were handed and probably the direction were decidedly different for each actress, and as Robbie pointed out, Noel did seem a bit better overall (in my eyes anyway) in the movie serials that preceded the TV series. I enjoy Noel as Lois, but on a different level.

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> {quote:title=ValentineXavier wrote:}{quote}

> I preferred Phylis too. But, in deference to Noel, I would point out that the scripts they were given were responsible for the great difference in the way they played the character.

 

ValentineXavier,

 

As I pointed out in my previous post:

 

>And you have to wonder how much of the "softer" Lois was due to direction and writing, rather than just to Neill's personal style. As I understand it, the sponsors were concerned that the noir criminals were too frightening for young children who watched the show, so the producers began moving the show to a softer tone.

>

>However, everything I have ever seen Coates in, including several episodes of Gunsmoke, had her showing that same toughness and determination, so certainly the strength of the original Lois Lane in the TV show was at least in part due to what Coates brought from within herself to the role, regardless of the directing and writing style.

 

It's not solely the writing and direction--part of it is what the actress brings from within herself to the role.

 

Robbie

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> {quote:title=voranis wrote:}{quote}

> > {quote:title=ValentineXavier wrote:}{quote}

> > I preferred Phylis too. But, in deference to Noel, I would point out that the scripts they were given were responsible for the great difference in the way they played the character.

>

> ValentineXavier,

>

> As I pointed out in my previous post:

>

> >And you have to wonder how much of the "softer" Lois was due to direction and writing, rather than just to Neill's personal style.

 

So put me down as most of the difference due to writing. Sure, acting styles and characterizations are different, but the actor has to follow the script. Lois can't go charging off, if the script calls for her to be reticent, and do as she was told. Given the same lines, I think Phylis would have had a bit harder edge, and Noel seemed more 'plucky.'

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> {quote:title=ValentineXavier wrote:}{quote}

>

> So put me down as most of the difference due to writing. Sure, acting styles and characterizations are different, but the actor has to follow the script. Lois can't go charging off, if the script calls for her to be reticent, and do as she was told. Given the same lines, I think Phylis would have had a bit harder edge, and Noel seemed more 'plucky.'

 

And put me down as some of the difference being due to writing and direction. Not all actors can pull off playing a tough guy with equal credibility, due not only to differences in acting ability but factors such as demeanor as well. Even if her acting ability were as great as that of Bette Davis (and that's a big hypothetical, though I should point out I do like both Doris Day and Noel Neill), I doubt Doris Day could ever have pulled off playing some of the villains Bette Davis played. Even if acting ability is equal, countenance and speech patterns and other factors can affect how convincingly an actor can play a hero or a villain.

 

Phyllis Coates has frequently demonstrated the ability to play the "harder edge" throughout her career. Even when Neill was playing a tougher version of Lois in the movie serials than she played on the TV series, it still wasn't as tough as the way Coates played her in the TV series.

 

I do like your contrast of "harder edge" vs. "plucky." One definition of "plucky" is "brave" and Neill's Lois had to be brave to do anything at all, since she usually looked scared out of her wits. (From the book A Game of Thrones: "Can a man be brave, if he is afraid?" "That is the only time he can be brave.") Coates' Lois seemed so confident she was almost oblivious to fear, or reckless in her zeal to get the story.

 

Robbie

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> {quote:title=voranis wrote:}{quote}

> I do like your contrast of "harder edge" vs. "plucky." One definition of "plucky" is "brave" and Neill's Lois had to be brave to do anything at all, since she usually looked scared out of her wits. (From the book A Game of Thrones: "Can a man be brave, if he is afraid?" "That is the only time he can be brave.") Coates' Lois seemed so confident she was almost oblivious to fear, or reckless in her zeal to get the story.

>

 

This is exactly what I was getting at. Given the same script, Coates would come across as tough, almost fearless. Neill would come across doing her darnedest to be brave, and making it. Different characterizations, but I don't see one as being inherently better than the other, just different. Back in the real world, when writing for Neill, they made her rather timid at times. Nothing she could do about that.

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> {quote:title=ValentineXavier wrote:}{quote}

> > {quote:title=voranis wrote:}{quote}

> > I do like your contrast of "harder edge" vs. "plucky." One definition of "plucky" is "brave" and Neill's Lois had to be brave to do anything at all, since she usually looked scared out of her wits. (From the book A Game of Thrones: "Can a man be brave, if he is afraid?" "That is the only time he can be brave.") Coates' Lois seemed so confident she was almost oblivious to fear, or reckless in her zeal to get the story.

> >

>

> This is exactly what I was getting at. Given the same script, Coates would come across as tough, almost fearless. Neill would come across doing her darnedest to be brave, and making it. Different characterizations, but I don't see one as being inherently better than the other, just different. Back in the real world, when writing for Neill, they made her rather timid at times. Nothing she could do about that.

 

One is not necessarily "inherently better," objectively speaking, but one interpretation may be more appealing to a given viewer than another, which is what this discussion was about. After all, viewers are allowed to have preferences--there is no Vulcan-esque law regarding movies that says viewers must set aside their preferences, else we would like all movies equally. I doubt that you like all movies and actors equally, any more so than anybody else. I prefer the tougher Lois Lane as portrayed by Phyllis Coates, I do believe this is due in part to differences in ability between the actresses, and in general I like Coates' performances better than Neill's.

 

Robbie

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Markbeckauf: You _would_ have to mention Racket Squad! I'm a frustrated music scorer and the show's theme is now thumping through my brain. I loved the show and even remember the bellhop calling "Phillip Morris" in the commercials as well as Reed Hadley's admonition at the end about people "clapping you on the back with one hand while they pick your pocket with the other. It could happen to you." It's still true.

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The classic TV network MeTV became available in our area at the beginning of April, and they air two detectives series I am realling enjoying: Perry Mason and The Untouchables. The Untouchables has a great noir-ish feel to it that I really like. I have never seen either of these series until now, although I have seen some of the Perry Mason TV movies.

 

I am recording them to DVD to add to my growing DVD collection of detective shows and movies. I already have The Saint, The Falcon, Torchy Blane, and The Crime Doctor movies series recorded to DVD from when TCM aired them a few years ago--at least, all the ones TCM has shown.

 

Crime and mysteries are two of my favorite genres.

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THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN!

 

The most adorable, if not the best, show ever on TV. The first two seasons were clearly the best, and as someone mentioned, had a slightly darker edge to them. Superman practically kills a couple of bad guys! He doesn't bash their brains in. But he puts them on a mountain and leaves them there. DUDE!

 

It's easy to recognize fine acting in serious drama. But this cast, especially the understated George Reeves, goes to town with the light material. There has never been a show I've enjoyed more.

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> {quote:title=redriver wrote:}{quote}

> The most adorable, if not the best, show ever on TV. The first two seasons were clearly the best, and as someone mentioned, had a slightly darker edge to them. Superman practically kills a couple of bad guys! He doesn't bash their brains in. But he puts them on a mountain and leaves them there. DUDE!

>

> It's easy to recognize fine acting in serious drama. But this cast, especially the understated George Reeves, goes to town with the light material. There has never been a show I've enjoyed more.

 

Not just a couple of bad guys...if I remember correctly, a bad guy and a bad woman! One of them tries to go down, and ends up pulling both of them down to their deaths! It was practically murder, since Superman knew that's what would probably happen. I think he did promise to bring them food, but they probably would have frozen to death anyway if they hadn't tried to get down. I don't think even the heavy clothing they had would have protected them from the cold at the top of a mountain like that.

 

I like the way George Reeves played Clark Kent as being smart and not really goofy the way Kent is often portrayed.

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I like the way George Reeves played Clark Kent as being smart and not really goofy the way Kent is often portrayed.

 

It was really a tremendous acting job. It's suggested that Reeves was embarrassed about the show. But he left a legacy an actor can be proud of.

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Redriver, totally agree with you about Reeves, and I must say that this remains one of my favorite shows of all time. But only the first 2 seasons really. It's tough to watch the later seasons, though they are ok at times. The first season particularly is my favorite. Violent and hard-hitting and very intense! And the sexiest Lois Lane, IMHO.

 

Voranis, glad you are getting to groove to PM and The Untouchables! I envy you those! I've been slowly getting some PM sets through Amazon, and I see they have some of The Untouchables too, so may start working on those. These sets are pretty expensive though, so I have to go slow.

 

How did you enjoy the Best of the Detectives PD set?

 

I also love mystery and crime movies a LOT! :) My faves.

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Another thing about the portrayal of Clark Kent. That's an example of the good writing the show employed. This Kent was no foppish, milque-toast. He was brave and community minded. The show was as much about Clark's commitment to justice as Superman's. True, when you're bullet proof, you can afford to stand up to the bad guys. But Clark might have taken the easy way out in order to protect his identity. He didn't.

 

It says a lot that some some of us, such as myself, enjoyed this show as four year-olds, and still love it today.

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