Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Thought I’d pop in for a quick one…

…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 [1938] and Cousin Wilbur [1939] 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, Frontier Town, etc.) you can also take home another set—featuring a wealth of I Love a Mystery shows—for a penny…1/100th of a dollar. You simply cannot go wrong with a deal like that, so be certain to pick up some Premier Collections today!

8 comments:

Linda said...

Dear, are you sure you weren't going to FarmVille to something else? I don't think I spend more than a half hour a day total on it. :-) Seriously, people keep asking me to join all these games; James is playing about six of them. I decided I'm going to play FarmVille and that's it. Not interested in Mafia Wars or the other stuff, and I tried YoVille and it was a bit dull, frankly. Who wants to do a job, furnish your home, go to the store, and do other everyday things in a game? I do that in real life; I don't need to grocery shop online, too!

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

I may be maligning Farmville a tad (it's FarmTown that's the real time occupier) but I swear that by the time I finished harvesting, plowing and planting...not to mention sending people gifts (by the way--with all those sheep I've sent you...are you working on a remake of The Sundowners?) and visiting other people's farms it would literally eat two hours out of my day. I agree with you re: YoVille, and I think the only game I'm playing regularly is Mafia Wars, only because it's been my lifelong dream to live vicariously as a hood.

Bill Crider said...

I know the problem. I tried laying off all apps for a few days, but I went back. Luckily I've never gotten into Farmville, but Farm Town is bad enough. And I have a sorry little farm. I need to avoid Facebook entirely to get some work done around here.

Pam said...

Happy Birthday! My present to you is to NOT go into my total indifference to FaceBook.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

My present to you is to NOT go into my total indifference to FaceBook.

This may very well be the nicest birthday gift I've ever received. ;-)

hobbyfan said...

I don't bother with Facebook, Ivan. I've no use for Twitter, either.

The reason for Jeff Foxworthy's sitcom getting a DVD release? Yes, he does have a fanbase, which might explain away his hosting "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?". That may yet be a guilty pleasure.

RTN didn't change their schedule in July like they did last year, as they made small cosmetic changes earlier, like dumping Unreliable Sources around January and Off-Beat Cinema was booted a few months ago. I'd love it if they could switch out Incredible Hulk & Knight Rider in favor of, oh, I don't know, Switch and Baretta?

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

Hob: I think the only thing that's kept me away from Twitter is the fact that they limit you to 140 characters to express yourself, and anyone who knows me is aware that I'm much too long-winded to adhere to that limit. Facebook has become much more enjoyable ever since I jettisoned that farm stuff (and if you find yourself seduced by its siren song, be sure to look me up) but I realize that saying Facebook is better than Twitter is like saying it's the smartest bear in the zoo.

Agree with you 100% on your desire to see Switch and Baretta again; my mom was a huge fan of both series and I don't think I've seen either of them in ages. Heck, I'd be happy if our Atlanta affiliate just ran Quincy, M.E.; I finally acquiesced (with the help of a birthday coupon from Tar-zhay) to buying Season 3 to support my fix.

As for The Incredible Hulk--the individuals who are managing that Facebook page asked fans if they were interested in seeing the original 2-hour pilot as a RTV "special." Be afraid...be very afraid.

Anonymous said...

At least they aren't asking their facebook fans if they are interested in seeing an "RTV original pilot." As in, the waste of air-time "Unreliable Sources," hosted by that fat loudmouth, Gary Lee Robbins, Back when RTV was still calling themselves RTN.