Friday, February 13, 2009

“Why don’t we just stay in and see what’s on the tube?”

TVShowsOnDVD.com has posted a slew of TV-on-DVD announcements in the past few days, with some wonderful news for fans of classic television. First off the bat, it appears that since the second season of Adam-12 in September of last year, plans are already on the drawing board for the third season release; this little bombshell having been dropped on a Sitcoms Online message board (well, I suppose some people consider Adam-12 a sitcom—purely unintentional, of course) by Shout! Factory DVD producer Brian Ward, who observed that the company “already [has] begun work” on the third season and to look for it sometime this year. (By the way, the individual who passed this tidbit along to Messrs. Lacey and Lambert was Bob “Master of His [Public] Domain” Huggins, a personage known to many a TDOY reader. Nice catch, Bob!)

TVShowsOnDVD.com has also put up the official press release for the upcoming Saturday Morning Cartoons 1960s Volume 1 and Saturday Morning Cartoons 1970s Volume 1 sets (I hadn’t had the opportunity to see the box art for 1970s Volume 1), which, according to the titled blogger of The Real Sam Johnson Show, “will really be cool if they include the original commercials.” Sadly, no commercial content is listed in the write-up—but I’m planning to e-mail him later about a source I ran across that has some of the old Linus the Lionhearted cartoons from the 1960s. I talked with his Samness Sunday afternoon and we are both pleased as punch to have been vindicated when we insisted to our friends that the “Sugar Bear” plugging “Super Sugar Crisp” (later renamed “Super Golden Crisp” in a pathetic attempt to sneak it under parental radar) was in an actual cartoon series…and were later proved correct. I talked about this before back in 2006, and mentioned that I thought the show had been syndicated for a short time in the 1970s even though the FCC pulled it off CBS’ Saturday morning schedule in 1969 (Ron Kurer of Toon Tracker has confirmed that it was syndicated briefly).

Also in the official press release field, the official word on Room 222 (though no mention as to whether or not I’ll get it from Amazon.com at that cheapo $10.99 price) and a gander at the box art for the fifth and final season of That Girl. (Room 222 hits the streets on March 24th; That Girl will be released May 5th.) The Adam-12, Room 222 and That Girl sets are all being released by Shout! Factory, an organization rapidly becoming the hardest working company in the TV-on-DVD bidness. How busy? The following demonstrates the proof is in the pudding:

The third season of Father Knows Best is on the release schedule for June 9th, and even though the content/extras are still in limbo (the news for this release was spotted at the previously mentioned Amazon.com, which has a $27.99 price tag on it for pre-orders) it’s good to see that we’ll be afforded another season with Jim, Margaret, Princess, Bud and Kitten (you could get diabetes just writing those names out). I purchased the second season set last year and I have to say without hesitation that it was a vast improvement over the freshman effort. I’m hoping the Factory will put together some equally nifty extras for Season 3—the bonus episode of Window on Main Street, Robert Young’s “lost” series was a particular treat to see.

I’m not all that excited personally about a release of Designing Women, the CBS sitcom (1986-93) that proved nearly impossible to kill as a vampire or other denizens of the undead—but I figured I’d give it a mention since I’m sure there are those of you who don’t loathe this show as much as I do. Women has seen some TV-on-DVD action before, in the form of a “Best of” disc that was released back in 2003, but Shout! Factory has decided to give it the old college try with season-by-season sets…the first to be released May 26th. Again, it’s apparently a bit premature to announce what extras will be present on the set (though all twenty-one episodes from Season One is a gimme); the TVShowsOnDVD announcement says the company is attempting to put together a reunion of the show’s stars…to which I can only say, good luck with that one.

But the big DVD news to trumpet is that Shout! Factory appears to be taking on the mammoth task of bringing television’s first successful primetime soap opera, Peyton Place, to disc—and I say “mammoth” because even though this classic show ran on ABC-TV for five seasons, it generated a total of 514 half-hour episodes during its stint on the air (the first season alone had 114 installments).

Place, of course, was based on the naughty novel by Grace Metalious, whose tongue-wagging book also inspired a mega-popular film in 1957…and a sequel, Return to Peyton Place, in 1961. Recognizing a cash cow desperate to be milked when they saw one, creators Paul Monash (the show’s executive producer) and radio soap queen Irna Philips brought Metalious’ work to television in the fall of 1964 and it immediately became a smash hit. The show not only revived the career of Dorothy Malone, but introduced a number of newer, younger faces to the tube like Mia Farrow, Ryan O’Neal, Ed Nelson and Barbara Parkins. The first two seasons of TV’s Place were shot in black-and-white, and then the series switched to color for the remainder of its run.

The box art for Peyton Place reads “Part One” and it would appear that Shout! plans to start from the very beginning even though, as I pointed out, the early shows are in black-and-white. There’s no indication as to how many episodes are on the set—the only specs are that the collection contains five discs, running a total of 720 minutes (which pans out to twenty-eight episodes at approximately twenty-five minutes apiece). I’m guesstimating that you’d need 18-19 box sets for the whole series…and if we factor in the speed of how recurrent are the releases, I’ll probably be watching this with my niece’s kids by the time they’re all out. All seriousness aside, this is really great news for Peyton Place fans, and much kudos to the Shout! Factory folks to take on this project.

4 comments:

Sam said...

Now that we know the details, in the words of Liz Lemon, "I want to go to there".

Laura said...

Great news about ADAM-12. My kids love this (and they love EMERGENCY! even more). I've been pleasantly surprised by how well the entertainment value holds up so many decades later.

Best wishes,
Laura

jtogyer said...

There is a place I long to go, and I confess,
It's Peyton Place.
They've got a brand new meaning for togetherness
In Peyton Place.

I don't know if it's in New York or Pennsylvania,
All I know is it's not too far from nymphomania.
Peyton Place,
I've gotta go there.
No one tells you "no" there.

Everything's up to date and very swanky
Down in Peyton Place.
The principal industry is hanky-panky
Down in Peyton Place.

Far be it from me to criticize the youth, but really,
You can fit all the virgins in an Austin-Healey,
In Peyton Place, U-S-A,
My kind of town!
Peyton Place, U-S-A!

Edward Copeland said...

I wish Shout Factory, which did such a great job cutting through the musical red tape, to come up with great DVD sets of Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared could wrestle Larry Sanders away from Sony so that all six seasons can be presented in their entirety as they deserve.