Monday, November 3, 2008

Tee Vee on Dee Vee Dee news

Just thought I’d highlight a few upcoming announcements of classic television shows coming to DVD, courtesy of the go-to website, TVShowsOnDVD.com:

Two days after the release of the first season of family sitcom classic The Donna Reed Show, Arts Alliance America announces that Donna’s sophomore season will be ready in time for Mother’s Day 2009 (Messrs. Lacey and Lambert guesstimate that will be around May 10th, though it should be stressed that this is not the official release date.) According to the press release, all thirty-seven episodes of Season 2 will be on this 4-disc set, as well as a photo gallery and some of the original scripts. Sadly, with the severe cash flow problem here at Rancho Yesteryear, I have not been able to purchase Season 1 of Donna Reed so I’m still not sure as to whether the episodes on that set have been tampered with, syndicated-cut-wise. Perhaps our go-to guy on classic TV-on-DVD, Bob “Master of His (Public) Domain” Huggins, could enlighten us on the subject.

Also in 2009, Timeless Media Group/EDI will finish up the Laredo series with the final thirteen episodes coming forth January 6th as Laredo: Season 2, Part 2. This will come as a relief to the irrepressible Scott C. at World O’Crap, whose description of Neville Brand’s Reese Bennett (“tough and tender, like a gunslinging Frank Perdue”) still makes me giggle to this day. The Timeless Media folks get a thumbs-up not only for putting the comedy-western on DVD, but making certain they finish out the series.

And speaking of finishing out series, the sixth and final season of TDOY fave The Rockford Files will be released January 20th with a three-disc set containing the final eleven episodes of the best detective drama ever on the glass furnace known as TV. (Do not try to argue me out of this in the comments section. I simply will not listen to detractors.) I was still watching the show then (well, when I could find it on the schedule) and was sad to see it leave the airwaves; the subsequent made-for-TV movies (beginning in 1994) were well-done but as Thomas Wolfe pointed out, “you can’t go home again.”

One set that slipped past me is an upcoming release from BCI containing some vintage What’s My Line? telecasts that will apparently be on the street March 10, 2009 (What’s My Line? The Best of, Volume 1). The details are a bit sketchy but I can’t deny that I’m intrigued by the prospect (particularly if there are a goodly amount of shows featuring Fred Allen). I’ll try and keep an eye on this one.

I’ve not read any of the commentary at Home Theater Forum regarding the recently-released Little Rascals/Our Gang set from Genius (an oxymoron if ever there was one) but what it all boils down to is that several of the shorts included in that box set were apparently culled from the old Blackhawk Films releases (and containing the Blackhawk titles) and many of the prints suffered from a severe lack of…oh, for the record, let’s say quality. I’m glad I didn’t invest in this set (though I may pick it up if the price drops some) and instead kept my Cabin Fever discs; some poor soul at In the Balcony unloaded his Little Rascals DVDs on eBay in anticipation of getting a superior release and ended up taking it in the shorts in the process. What I’m most steamed about was the fact that these plonkers never even asked film historian Leonard Maltin to participate; here’s the guy who wrote the definitive book on Our Gang (The Little Rascals: The Life and Times of Our Gang) and apparently isn’t even worth considering for commentary or input (though they did ask his co-author, Dick Bann, to give a stamp of approval). I have a hunch (yes, I know, it suits me) that Leonard knew these folks putting out the set were going to cut a corner or two and that’s why they kept him away from the project.

1 comment:

Bobh said...

Ivan,

I do not own season 1 of "the Donna Reed Show," but Paul Mavis' extensive review of this release at DVD Talk indicates that episodes are averaging 25:50, suggesting that most if not all of the episodes are uncut. My understanding is that there has not been any music replacement as well, unlike the recent CBS Paramount release of "My Three Sons." Several years ago, there was a General Mills/Sony promotion where two episodes of "The Donna Reed Show" on DVD were offered with the purchase of selected General Mills cereals; both of those episodes were syndicated versions.

Bobh