…and no, it doesn’t mean what you think it means, you gutter-minded folk…so stop it. Truth be told, I have a hefty essay to work on this afternoon (which, if all systems are go, will appear on Edward Copeland’s blog tomorrow) because the ‘rents are throwing me a pre-birthday dinner this evening (the 7th anniversary of my 39th birthday is tomorrow, if you’re curious) and while the details of said soiree were still being hashed out at press time I distinctly heard the words “steaks on the grill”…and that’s all I pretty much need to know.
For of you with the good sense not to become seduced by Facebook, I made a major statement over there concerning my obsession with their farm-oriented applications (FarmTown, Farmville, etc.)—namely, that I simply cannot allow them to continue to act as a major time-suck and that I was therefore burning them down for the insurance. (Fortunately, this nice family of Okies—Joad, I believe their name was—intervened at the last minute and offered to act as caretakers.) It got so bad that I would sign onto Facebook and two hours later would still be harvesting and planting…using up valuable time that I could be wasting over here at TDOY. So I’m out of the agriculture business, and I’ll brook no more discussion on the topic.
While I’m on the subject of Facebook, I think it’s only fair to warn you that the RTV (Retro Television Network) page is asking its fans: “Would you like to see some newer shows like from the early 90s?” I think we can mark this moment as the death knell for the network, and even though they had somewhat of a cavalier attitude towards their programming ("So what if we showed that same Wagon Train episode last week? Who’s watching?") RTV was the only outlet for seldom-seen shows like The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Mike Hammer, Bachelor Father, The Bold Ones and Run for Your Life. As a member of “Dad’s Army” might remark: “We’re doomed.”
TVShowsOnDVD.com has a passel of announcements concerning a line of Sony releases that will be hitting the streets this September 29th; a series of budget-minded sets that will concentrate on “Fan Favorites” from some of their most popular sitcoms currently on DVD. Among these releases: All in the Family, Barney Miller, Bewitched, Diff’rent Strokes, Good Times, I Dream of Jeannie, The Jeffersons, The Jeff Foxworthy Show (this has a fan base?), The King of Queens, Married…with Children, NewsRadio and Sanford and Son. (Note: the links will take you to the box art for those releases—but you can access the original announcements from those pages as well.) What made me so mad about this was that I got a heads-up in my e-mail re: the Barney Miller release, and at first I thought it was an announcement about the fourth season. Grrr…
But the big news at TVShowsOnDVD.com is that the Warner Archive will be releasing a five-DVD box set with all fifty-two of the MGM Our Gang shorts—yes, the ones that featured those falling-down hysterical performances from the likes of Froggy, Mickey, etc. I must admit that I’m a bit torn about this release—some of the early entries aren’t bad (shorts like The Little Ranger  and Cousin Wilbur  capture a bit of the flavor of the Hal Roach efforts) but a large percentage of these one-reelers are abysmally awful, mainly because M-G-M didn’t really do comedy all that well and that the subject matter often descended into a kind of Andy Hardy-type preachiness. Still, the completist in me wants the set, currently available over at the Warner Archive for $34.95 (and since it’s an exclusive, no chance of comparison shopping for a lower tariff); it’s just kind of hard for me to keep a straight face when the set is being advertised as striking “the mother lode of laughter from Hollywood’s Golden Age.” (Have these people seen Little Miss Pinkerton?)
Finally, since it’s the first of the month, that naturally means a new First Generation Radio Archives Premier Collection—FGRA is rolling out a set of twenty vintage episodes of The Adventures of Maisie, the 1949-52 situation comedy produced by M-G-M’s radio syndication arm and based on the popular series of films cranked out by the studio from 1939 to 1947. Ann Sothern reprises her role as the tough-but-tender titular character (the radio series revolved around Maisie being a “jill-of-all-trades,” floating from one job to another week after week) and these shows feature some first-rate performances from both Ms. S and a gallery of radio favorites: Sheldon Leonard, Hans Conried, Lurene Tuttle, Frank Nelson and Bea Benaderet…among many others. It’s a set no home should be without (seriously—who doesn’t like Maisie?) and if you put this collection in your shopping cart along with any other Premier Collection (Calling All Cars: Volume 3,