Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Let the teasing begin!

Over at TVShowsOnDVD.com, they’ve put up a photo of the final box art for the Here’s Lucy: Season 1 collection to be released by MPI on August 25th. Since it doesn’t deviate too much from the early design, it has received the TDOY seal of approval—though I’m pretty certain the people at MPI couldn’t care less whether I like the box art or not.

The brightest TV-on-DVD news (so far) this week comes from the company dedicated to keeping the torch of nostalgia burning bright and free, Timeless Media Group—who announce in this short-and-sweet blurb that July 14th will be the kick-off date for Tales of Wells Fargo, a “best of” release that will contain forty-six episodes from the popular NBC western originally telecast from 1957-62. The series starred Dale Robertson as Land Agent Jim Hardie, who “faced weekly tests of will and character, as he protected the stage coaches from outlaws, bandits and Indian raiders, seeing them safely through their journey.” (I just hope he didn’t wait to study for each test until the night before.)

Timeless’ latest release, Classic TV Western Collection, apparently has an episode or two of Tales of Wells Fargo included—I’m really just speculating here because even though I ordered a copy of the set (Video Universe had it for pre-order for under twenty bucks) I’ve yet to receive it; Universe an e-mail last week informing me it’s on backorder. (I think this may be one of those deals where Timeless is a little slow getting out of the gate—they don’t even have the collection listed at their website.) The SRP for the Best of set is $69.98—but if I can find it cheaper (perhaps DVD Pacific) I may take a flutter. Fargo was a phenomenally successful TV oater back in the late 50s/early 60s (after a successful summer run, it wound up ranking in the Nielsen ratings at #3 for the full 1957-58 season) and a huge favorite of my Mom’s, so I’m sure she would love the opportunity to see some of these old episodes again. The interesting development here is that my father loathed the program, and would often mock the show’s star (Dad referred to him as “Dale Roberts”) by suggesting—in less politically correct times—that he was “a little on the retarded side.”

The skinny on this set is that it will contain episodes from all five seasons, which would indicate to me that season five will be included—that was the year the series moved from its comfortable Monday night berth to Saturdays, and expanding to a full hour in the process. Along with the scheduling and format changes, Agent Hardie found time to acquire a ranch (though he was still punching a time clock at Wells Fargo) that included TDOY fave William Demarest as ranch foreman Jeb Gaine and OTR veteran Virginia Christine (of Folgers’ commercials fame) as the widow Ovie—who owned the spread down the road from Hardie and who had a pair of comely young daughters, Mary Gee (Mary Jane Saunders) and Tina (Lacy Patrick) in her care. (“The Widder Ovie” had a few romantic designs on foreman Gaine, despite his indifference to her advances.)

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