Sunday, November 15, 2009

Coming soon to a TV (and radio) near you!

I have returned from a shopping excursion to Publix’s (I know Mumsy and I usually do this on Fridays, but The Singular Case of The Decrepit Water Heater sort of postponed that trip) and since the groceries have been put away, I thought I’d catch up with a few noteworthy TV-on-DVD announcements right after we hear from my sponsor, First Generation Radio Archives (now with the special ingredient…Nostalgia Ventures!):

FGRA is currently offering their classic restoration of the 1937 Yuletide-themed The Cinnamon Bear on their website, and if you’re completely stymied as to what get the littl’uns on your Christmas list, I can’t think of a better gift than this timeless serial. With a cast of old-time radio voices that includes Elliott Lewis, Hanley Stafford, Verna Felton, Frank Nelson, Howard McNear, Joseph Kearns, Gale Gordon, Elvia Allman and many others, this twenty-six chapter fairytale that dramatizes the adventures of Judy, Jimmy and Paddy O’Cinnamon and their attempt to rescue their Christmas tree’s Silver Star from the notorious Crazy Quilt Dragon. I bought a copy of this splendid production for my niece several Christmases ago and was pleased to learn that she enjoyed listening to every minute of it—I honestly didn’t think she’d go for it, what with kids’ attention spans seemingly getting shorter and shorter with each passing year. Honest to my grandma, this would make a truly memorable gift—and it’s now available in a repackaged edition with exclusive original artwork by John Mayer.

Radio Archives is also dishing up another one of their Premier Collections (technically, I don’t know if they’re still calling them “Premier Collections” but it’s hard for me to get out of the habit) in The Adventures of Philip Marlowe, Volume 2—twenty vintage broadcasts on ten CDs starring Gerald Mohr as Raymond Chandler’s famous shamus (“Get this and get it straight!”). There are loads of goodies available at the site—including FGRA’s recent Fibber McGee & Molly: The Lost Episodes, Volume 8 release—and I sure do like the snazzy new packaging on these sets. But the great thing about the Archives is you can browse to your heart’s content and pick up some sweet deals for those hard-to-buy-for individuals on your Christmas list. Why not pay them a visit—after you finish reading this post, of course. has the official press release for The Donna Reed Show: Season 3 up, and I just happened to be glancing through it when I noticed that among the guest stars that season was Jay North…as Dennis the Menace! I was completely unaware of this cross-over, but in the September 29, 1960 telecast (“Donna Decorates”), the tiny terror of comic-book fame interferes with Donna’s attempts to redecorate Casa del Stone—forcing her to call Dennis’ next-door “good ol’” Mr. Wilson (Joseph Kearns) for advice on how to get him out of her hair. (I can hear Kearns moaning now: “Great Scott!”) I guess for the time being this is going to be as close as we’re going to get to having Dennis on DVD—the entry for this episode over at mentions that both the Stones and the Mitchells lived in the same burg (Hilldale) but I’m guessing the fact that both shows were produced by Screen Gems probably contributed more to the novelty (though I’m curious as to how CBS felt about their star attraction appearing on a rival network).
There’s been no official notification yet, but Mike J. Quigley’s fan website reports that Season Eight of Hawaii Five-O will be released on March 16th of next year. (Quigley’s batting average on these release dates are pretty reliable, so I’m going to assume he knows his onions.)

In other domestic situation comedy news, Season 2 of The Patty Duke Show has an official go-ahead date—February 9th, 2010 (I still haven’t picked up Season 1 yet and probably won’t unless this pole dancing gig I’m working on yields results), and Father Knows Best’s fourth season is reportedly in the works for release sometime early next year. Both of these shows are being issued on DVD by Shout! Factory, as is Mister Ed—whose second season release will hit the streets on February 2nd. (My esteemed blogging colleague Rick “The purpose of the past“ Brooks reported on the Ed controversy a good while back, but I thought I would again bring up the unpleasant matter to demonstrate how loyal we are despite Factory’s objectionable tendencies to screw their fan base. I mean, seriously—we’re that desperate for Room 222 reruns that we settled for substandard episodes on Factory’s initial release.)

Also from Shout! Factory: season four of Adam-12 will be released February 23rd…and it just occurred to me that I don’t think I ever watched this show in primetime (I was certainly old enough); my familiarity with it has always been through reruns (which, the last time I checked, were part of WSB-DTV’s weekday lineup at 5pm; WSB-DTV being our Atlanta RTV affiliate). It would be nice, though, if Shout! Factory could see its way clear to picking up where the Universal release of Dragnet (1967-70; they stopped after one season) left off as sort of a companion to Adam-12. In other news, the Factory’s Rhoda: Season 2 release has been pushed back from its original announced date of January 26th to March 30th—speculation is that the company has filed a continuance in order to see about acquiring the full second season shows and not the cut-up syndicated prints they released on the first season set.
Finally, I just couldn’t pass this one up—it’s a series avid fans have been clamoring for and it looks as if it’s finally going to receive its DVD due: Tales of the Gold Monkey, the 1982-83 cult adventure series, is reported coming to Region 1 DVD in the spring of 2010—which will contain the original two-hour pilot and twenty hour-long episodes and a fistful of special features. I remember seeing this series when it ran briefly on ABC and got a kick out of its Raiders of the Lost Ark-type premise (though it should be pointed out that this series was on the drawing board long before Raiders’ release). I don’t know if this is one I’d rush out and grab right away but I am pleased that Monkey fans will finally see their wildest dreams fulfilled.
Bookmark and Share


Stacia said...

"Tales of the Gold Monkey"! I never thought I'd see the day. If "Bring 'Em Back Alive" ever ends up on DVD, I'm going to fall right over in shock.

Adam Gott said...

The Old Time Radio Researcher's Group hosts many complete OTR series, including the CINNAMON BEAR. And the downloads are all FREE!