Friday, November 9, 2007

Watch out for that tree


Hot on the heels of yesterday’s Fractured Flickers post (okay, I’m exaggerating a tad—it’s actually been in the pipeline for quite a while now) comes the news that Classic Media will release the Jay Ward Studios’ hilarious cartoon creation George of the Jungle to DVD on February 12th of next year. According to the TVShowsOnDVD.com blurb, George will start being shown on Cartoon Network in January, which explains the eventual tie-in release. Now all that’s needed is to finish up the Rocky and Bullwinkle series (only more season to go, poetry lovers) and maybe a Hoppity Hooper release—although there apparently was such a DVD floating around at one time (which, by the way, is a no-no—my understanding is that Foggy Bog’s famous green resident is still under copyright), according to a cartoon website whose name I have unfortunately forgotten. (There’s a listing for it at Amazon.com, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to spend that much money—particularly since I had a very bad experience with one of those Amazon Marketplace sellers of late. I not only won’t buy from that essobee ever again, I won’t patronize his regular business.)

TVShowsOnDVD.com has also announced a set date for the release of Newhart: The Complete First Season: February 26, 2008. (I’m already starting a pool to guess how many seasons will be released before Fox abandons the project.) And for those of us One Foot in the Grave fans (all three of us), two more series (three and four) will be released on Region 1 discs on March 11th. (“I don’t believe it!”)

Speaking of Britcoms, I’m waiting on a pair of holiday-themed releases from across the pond to arrive here at Rancho Yesteryear—Steptoe and Son: The Christmas Specials and Dad’s Army: The Christmas Specials—which should arrive sometime around the end of this month. The Steptoe set will contain the Christmas episodes “A Christmas Party” (12/24/73) and “A Christmas Holiday” (12/26/74), and the Army release three Yuletide outings: “Battle of the Giants!” (12/27/71), “My Brother and I” (12/26/75) and “The Love of Three Oranges” (12/26/76). With these purchases, I now have all available episodes from these two landmark British comedies, and I would just like to thank both the BBC and 2 Entertain Video for making these collections available separately because I had heard that the Christmas shows were originally only going to be part of the two “Complete Series” box sets for both shows—necessitating purchasing them again if you’re a completist. (I guess they learned their lesson from the Likely Lads debacle.) I also mention these two releases because I’ve been kicking around the idea of spotlighting these Yuletide episodes (along with many others) during the month of December, sort of a novel and unique way to ring in the holidays. More on this as it develops.

Bobh—known to Thrilling Days of Yesteryear readers as “Master of His (Public) Domain” has unearthed some information about the VCI Entertainment upcoming releases of Burke’s Law, Honey West and Dick Powell’s Zane Grey Theatre that I discussed back in May. He was concerned that they might have cancelled these DVDs because they’ve missed all the deadlines—this is, of course, standard operating procedure for VCI…but it is reassuring that Bob announced over at the Home Theater Forum that VCI’s website is still touting these series for eventual release.

I don’t get the opportunity to get over to HTF as much as I’d like but I have stopped by on a couple of occasions within the past week to see what the rumor mill has churned out. A sharp-eyed HTF participant found this announcement that bodes well for Cheyenne fans (like myself); I’d like to see Warner Home Video release more of their classic TV Western output (Maverick, Sugarfoot, Bronco) but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Keep in mind, of course, that this Cheyenne listing is merely conjecture; Amazon.com has a listing as well but as someone pointed out, it’s not uncommon for them to do that (they refer to it as a “placeholder”).

The strongest rumor over at HTF is that Paramount may be wrapping up their Rawhide DVD franchise after only two seasons, and I can’t begin to tell you how discouraging it is to hear that news (if true). Paramount (despite a few quibbles) does a pretty impressive job on their TV-on-DVD releases, and for them to give up on Rawhide (as they did Have Gun, Will Travel) is a major bummer indeed. I was also amused at a bit of controversy that erupted over at HTF regarding the recent Route 66: Season 1, Volume 1—a vocal minority has complained that the audio/video on the DVD release is not quite up to snuff. (I have the set, but have not yet opened it up—but keep in mind; I’ve bought many a questionable public domain release from Alpha Video and their competitors, so how bad could the Route 66 DVD be?)

In closing, I’ll give you a heads-up on two TV-on-DVD releases that haven’t been announced on TVShowsOnDVD.com yet: MPI Home Video will wrap up the five-year-run of the treacly family sitcom Family Affair on February 26th. (And yes, I have bought all the season sets so far—there; you shamed it out of me.) MPI is also releasing on that same day the second volume of The Color Honeymooners, the hour-long Honeymooners episodes telecast on The Jackie Gleason Show from 1966 to 1970.

3 comments:

Bobh said...

Ivan,

I like the "Route 66" quite a bit, but it is definitely not up to the standards of some of the great vintage TV-on-DVD releases from Paramount. And, in my opinion, that's the problem . . . we've been spoiled by Paramount's great looking releases (for the most part), that anything that isn't as razor sharp looking as, say, "The Untouchables" suffers by comparison. Still, for me, it's the storytelling, the acting, and the 1960s view of America that make this series a standout and those elements overcome a less than stellar presentation. I gave it a 4 (out of 5) star rating at Amazon and I'll stand by it.

Timeless' "Arrest and Trial" isn't even as good looking as "Route 66" (though visual contrast is better) but, once again, good writing and acting make this a must for vintage TV-on-DVD fans.

Bobh

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

Bob -- was the quality on the Best of Route 66 set (the one they put out to test the waters) better or worse than the Season 1, Volume 1 release? I can't remember if you bought that one, but maybe somebody at HTF would know...?

Bobh said...

Ivan, I did not pick up that earlier set, but a frequent poster at HTF, Gary OS did, and thought the quality was good. Also, the customer reviews at Amazon tend to suggest that, just possibly, better prints were used for the "Best of" set . . . . but that's speculation, as both sets were released under the auspices of Roxbury Entertainmnet.