Tuesday, February 23, 2010

“…the two most successful outlaws in the history of the West…”

Back in February 2007, Universal Studios brought the freshman season of the cult TV comedy-western series Alias Smith and Jones to DVD, which consisted of the first fourteen episodes and the original feature-length telepilot ("The Day They Hanged Kid Curry"). And after this release…nothing. (Which shouldn’t come as any huge surprise to fans; Universal claimed the mantle of King of “One and Done” a good many years back, as the aborted follow-ups to the 1967-70 version of Dragnet will readily attest.)

But according to TVShowsOnDVD.com, Timeless Media has announced that it’s picking up the slack with an upcoming June 8th release of the second and third seasons to DVD. The SRP is $69.98 and I imagine the collection will be hawked at Sam’s and Costco’s before finally venturing out to the online stores (where the price may come down a bit). Alias Smith and Jones was a fairly successful show at the time of its original network run (it had elements of Maverick and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid)—particularly among young viewers—but the suicide of lead actor Pete Duel in December 1971 pretty much sounded the death knell for the series, which came to a halt in January 1973. It had a nice little run of repeats on the Encore Westerns Channel between 2007-2009, and can currently be seen on some RTV affiliates (including Atlanta’s WSB-DT, which runs it at 1:00pm on Saturday and Sunday afternoons).

Also at TSOD: an announcement that the Archive of American Television will let loose The Barbara Stanwyck Show: Volume 2 on May 18th, a 2-DVD set that will contain the remaining installments from the actress’ 1960-61 anthology series (Volume 1 contained fifteen shows, so I’m guessing its follow-up will feature the residual twenty-one). Amazon.com has this set listed for $20.99 (an even better value than the first volume, it would appear) and if you glance over at the right you’ll see a dandy cover with Babs as she seems to have raided Loretta Young’s wardrobe. (It looks better on la Stanwyck, though.)

Back in December 2008, I reported (thanks to TSOD) a blurb about a website devoted to the hilarious slapstick sitcom I’m Dickens, He’s Fenster (1962-63) that was created in part to drum up support for an eventual DVD release of the thirty-two episodes in the series created by Leonard Stern and starring a pre-Addams Family John Astin and Marty Ingels as a pair of inept carpenters. TSOD has some more information about this project but to cut to the chase, apparently a “tribute” DVD is in the pipeline for release later this year (sadly, this seems to suggest that it won’t be all the episodes, just selected ones). I have a small collection of Dickens/Fenster episodes tucked away in the “Rootpeg” section of the dusty Thrilling Days of Yesteryear archives but I am here to tell you that it is one of TV sitcoms’ buried treasures and even a tribute set is better than none. When more information rolls in, I will keep you posted.

The upcoming release of Leave It to Beaver: Season 3—coupled with Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Series—has been assigned a street date of June 15th but there’s still no word on whether or not Shout! Factory will release the fourth, fifth and sixth seasons separately so that those individuals don’t have to pony up the additional scratch to “re-buy” the first two seasons (which have already been released by Universal). To me, if you’re not going to have separate releases then it just makes sense to release one honkin' big set…but the world of TV-on-DVD often does not conform to logic and reason. I suppose it’s all moot as of this writing, because I don’t have the money to purchase that sort of thing even though I would love to introduce it to my collection. (The cover art isn’t too shabby, either.)

Other TV-on-DVD releases coming up fact for June include Mister Ed: The Complete Third Season (June 1st) and the 1982 cult adventure Tales of the Gold Monkey (June 8th). Shout! Factory’s Ed collections must be selling like wildcakes because the second season was released just three weeks back, so this is certainly encouraging to hear. I’m just hoping they haven’t abandoned The Patty Duke Show; I don’t think they will because there’s just one season left.)

And finally, if you’re in need of a Britcom fix, BBC/Warner Home Video has Last of the Summer Wine: Vintage 1982-83 on tap for an April 27th release, which will spotlight thirteen episodes from the sixth and seventh series…with the exception of the Christmas cracker “All Mod Conned,” already available on the previously released Last of the Summer Wine: Christmas Specials 1978-82. I like the package art for this collection, too—and though I am a huge fan I’ll probably take a pass on purchasing it because I already have the contents on a Region 2 release. (But that certainly shouldn’t exclude you!)

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Millie said...

AHHH! This is SUCH good news! :-D I ADORE "Alias Smith and Jones"!

Stacia said...

I gotta be my Ben Murphiest!

Doc Quatermass said...

Surprising to see AS&J come out with companies cutting back on DVD releases due to inflation and recession. I think RTV only has about 20 to 30 episodes of any series they air and often run the same episode of their weekend series two or three weekends in a row. Shame the channel managed by such UltraMaroons. Be nice to see them air complete series and in order that the episodes aired.

Nice to see 3rd season of Beaver finally come out. There was some doubt the rest of the series would see the light of DVD release. I've seen "Best Of" volumes of Mister Ed but missed that they had season releases.