Friday, October 9, 2009

“And as sure as my name is Boris Karloff, this is going to be a thriller…”

Yes, the big TV-on-DVD news this week is that the horror/crime drama anthology Thriller, originally telecast over NBC-TV from 1960-62 and hosted by the incomparable British actor hizownself, is scheduled to make an appearance on disc form sometime within the next year. has the skinny here—the news apparently turned up via a note on Facebook, proving that there are some benefits to the social networking site—and I’m pleased as punch to hear it because even though the series could be a bit uneven at times (it never seemed to be able to make up its mind whether it wanted to concentrate on horror stories or crime/mystery tales) it was a childhood favorite. I even remember when the repeats were shown in the early days of the Sci-Fi Channel (I still refuse to spell it the new way).

Truth be told, I already own the entire run of the series in “rootpeg” form but as I have often stated here on the blog, I certainly would not be predisposed to buying an official set if the copies are better. The shows have been floating around the Internets for a good many years now but the commercially-sold collection—which will be released as a complete set, all sixty-seven episodes from the series’ two-season stint—will contain commentaries from some of the actors and actresses who worked on the program. The scuttlebutt is out that the gentleman who worked on the extras/commentaries for the complete Combat! collection handled the chores on this one—so if I can rub two nickels together by the time this one gets released, I’ll certainly be in line to purchase it.

While I’m on the subject of TV-on-DVD, you might be interested in reading this humor-laced post over at Cultureshark, in which my good friend Rick Brooks laments the fact that several of the episodes included on the Mister Ed: Season 1 box set just released by Shout! Factory are the edited, syndicated versions…and that the Factory folk neglected to inform anyone of this until the collection had been released. (I should also point out that I learned about this snafu not from Rick himself, but RGJ over at Television Obscurities.) I’ve been a vocal supporter of Factory’s releases for the most part because they have a tendency to release television shows that ordinarily wouldn’t see the light of day but I have to agree with Rick that there’s something shady in this little maneuver and that I wish the company had been a bit more forthright in divulging this instead of arranging for everyone to be out of the office when the customers stormed the gates with their torches and pitchforks.

This isn’t the first time Shout! has engaged in this sort of practice; I previously noted that their inaugural Room 222 featured episodes that looked as though they’ve been through the ringer and someone told me (I haven’t checked on this so I may be horribly wrong) that the content on one of the McHale’s Navy season sets looked a little worse for wear. Speaking only for myself, I’m willing to let this kind of thing slide (I know the companies who own these programs aren’t as diligent as they should be when it comes to preservation) if the company releasing the shows is up front about it; a very good example of this was Rhino’s release of the second season of My Favorite Martian that admitted (it was printed on the back cover) that several of the episodes’ original negatives could not be located and that they had to fall back on the syndicated copies. I like to think that fans will accept this sort of thing if they’re given a heads-up about it in advance.

So let’s segue way into the announcement that Shout! has the second season of Rhoda on the schedule for release January 26th ( has it available for pre-order), which is certainly good news to hear for the show’s fans…and seems only fitting after the recent release of Season 5 of The Mary Tyler Moore Show this week. The first season release of Rhoda, unfortunately, received a bit of a black eye with its less-than-stellar presentation and while I’d be a bit reluctant to back this pony maybe the second season episodes will have been cleaned up some. Maybe.

(Update: has a blurb up addressing the issue as to whether or not Shout! Factory will make the Season 2 set a lot better.)

TVShows also has a heads-up on the progress of The Mothers-in-Law DVD set that was announced back in February of this year; at the time it was noted that the collection would see a release sometime in 2009 but sources now say it’s not likely that the misadventures of Eve Arden and Kaye Ballard will be amusing fans of the show until April-May-June of 2010. MPI wanted some additional time to remaster the first season episodes and cobble together some nice bonus material (according to an anonymous MPI spokesman, “it will be loaded”). So thanks to Messrs. Lacey and Lambert for this update—I was becoming a bit concerned that the project had fallen by the wayside.

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C. Jerry Kutner said...

THRILLER - at it's best, the scariest gothic horror ever seen on network TV.

hobbyfan said...

So Thriller's finally going on DVD. Swank! I just got my latest Radio Spirits catalogue in the mail the other day, and Karloff's other anthology, "The Veil", is also on DVD. Which will fit nicely under my brother's Christmas tree.