Tuesday, November 18, 2008

C’mon, get happy

TVShowsOnDVD.com has the skinny on the release of the fourth and final season of the kitschy family sitcom The Partridge Family, which will hit stores of February 3, 2009. There was a time when I was anxious to collect this series, it having been a staple of my Friday night viewing schedule during my formative years—but since there was a three-year gap between the release of the second and third seasons, I began to reevaluate the sitcom and realize that it wasn’t really all it was cracked up to be. (That, and the revulsion that I have for Danny Bonaduce—a “celebrity” who takes in far more oxygen on this planet than he’s entitled—kind of scotched any further Partridge purchases. I ended up selling the first and second seasons on eBay.) Nevertheless, I am pleased to see that they’re planning on finishing out the series on DVD for the fans out there.

Sony is also making progress on the classic domcom Bewitched, which will see its seventh (and penultimate) season released on disc the same day. It certainly looks like the Stephenses will go the distance on this one—but I suppose that since the company finished I Dream of Jeannie they were obligated to reciprocate with the more popular of the two “sorcery” shows. Now if only Sony would turn its attention to some of the other shows they started out *cough* Hazel *cough* but seem to have abandoned.

Later in February (the 17th to be exact), CBS-Paramount will follow up its current The Beverly Hillbillies releases with The Beverly Hillbillies: The Official Third Season (I like how they’re calling these “official” now, because Lord knows they sure as hell aren’t complete—I’m surprised the Flatt & Scruggs music survived intact). I was not aware that the show didn’t switch to color until its fourth season (I would have thought that as hot a property as the Clampetts were CBS would have gone to any lengths to cash in on color) but of course, when I watched the show it was always black-and-white. (We didn’t get a color TV set until 1976.)

Finally, everybody’s favorite Depression-era family, the Waltons, will kick off their penultimate season release to DVD with The Waltons: The Complete Eighth Season on January 6th, 2009, according to this press release at TVShowsOnDVD.com. Once again, I had a nice little collection of DVDs built up from this childhood favorite but I departed with them after hearing the siren song of eBay. (I pretty much stopped watching it after Richard Thomas left the show anyway.)


Jim said...

I take it from your remarks that THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES shows are not complete. What's missing from them?

I've always wondered why TV was so short-sighted about filming in color. Almost nobody did it until regular color broadcasting began in 1965. (Lucille Ball began filming her series THE LUCY SHOW in color starting with its second season in 1963, even though CBS continued to air it in black and white until its fourth season.) Maybe they just couldn't imagine that black-and-white wouldn't remain sellable.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

Jim, if I left the impression that The Beverly Hillbillies shows aren't complete, I offer my humble apologies. My statement was a merely a lame joke directed at CBS-Paramount's recent music substitutions on such releases as The Fugitive and My Three Sons.

There are some DVD sets that bear the appellation "The Complete (number) Series"--The Real McCoys is a very good example. Many of the episodes from those sets are the edited-for-syndication prints, and since the syndicated shows left out part of the program, technically they're not complete.

As for filming in color, Bonanza debuted on NBC in 1959 with a full slate of color episodes. That's the earliest example I can come up with right now without thumbing through research materials.

mike doran said...

Here in Chicago we had the "First All-Color" TV station, channel 5, the NBC affiliate. This was in 1955,and NBC proudly announced that all their local programs would be produced in color from then on. For most Chicagoans, the only way to see the shows in color was to go to the Merchandise Mart downtown,where Ch5's studios were located, and where RCA maintained a showroom. NBC-RCA had a vested interest in pushing for color (selling TV sets) while the other networks just waited and hoped it would pass. It was 1965 when NBC announced that their entire fall schedule (with two exceptions) would be in full 'compatible color', and that was what forced CBS (then colorless) and ABC(with just a couple of animated shows) off their respective dimes. CBS abruptly annouced that half their new schedule would now be in color- including BEVERLY HILLBILLIES and GUNSMOKE, but not DICK VAN DYKE (no one knows why to this day), and ABC scrambled to catch up.The Hollywood film factories would have been more than happy to go to color a lot earlier, had there been more than one buyer. By the way, the first regular series to be filmed in color was NORBY, a 1954 sitcom with David Wayne. Its sponsor was Eastman-Kodak, as BONANZA's original sponsor was RCA. Coincidence? You decide. I really enjoy this blog. Keep on keeping on.

Jim said...

Thanks for the clarification, Ivan. Using edited-for-syndication prints is a pet peeve of mine, too.

I know I've seen 1950s episodes of both THE LONE RANGER and THE CISCO KID that were filmed in color.

Somewhere I read a remark by Carl Reiner in which he said that THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW never went to color because if it had done so, it would have been on his dime, and he didn't think the show needed it.

Bobh said...

Not sure if any one-time specials may have been broadcast in color, but "The Cisco Kid" was definitely the first series to have been filmed in color. "The Lone Ranger's" final season was also broadcast in color. There were actually a fair number of shows produced either partially or completely in color prior to "Bonanza" in 1959, including the following:

The Adventures of Superman (season 3-6)

The Adventures of Sir Lancelot (14 final episodes; the UK's first series with multiple episodes filmed in color).

Judge Roy Bean (Edgar Buchanan)

Northwest Passage (Buddy Ebsen)

I think, also, that one season of "Science Fiction Theater" may have been broadcast in color as well.

I'm probably forgetting a series or two (or three), but there were very definitely color series produced throughout the 1950s. Problem was that hardly anyone had a color set at the time, so the color photography was lost on most viewers. "Bonanza" was really the series that started the movement to all color series broadcasts by 1966.


mike doran said...

OOPS. I should have made clear that NORBY was the first filmed series in color to be carried on a network, this in 1954. In my defense, I knew about Ziv, Roach, Wrather, and a few others who filmed shows in color, but as I understood, they did this as a hedge against future sales of their product; they would provide color prints of the shows for stations like channel 5 who had the equipment to broadcast in color, but mainly struck b&w prints for everyone else. Hat tip to Bobh for catching that.

Jim said...

I friend of mine argues that Paramount's BEVERLY HILLBILLIES releases are NOT complete because they chose to start with season two and ignored season one, which admittedly is available in a couple of hundred different public domain configurations.

Tried to make him feel better by pointing out that if Paramount eventually gets seasons two through nine released, then maybe they'll release a "complete series" set that will include season one, forcing him to rebuy the entire series just to get it.

Funny thing, but he didn't feel any better.