Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Hell hath no Fury

In my obituary/tribute to the late Peter Graves, I pointed out that this “legendary actor” started his television career with a kiddie-oriented western-adventure series that aired on NBC from 1955-60 entitled Fury (later known in syndication as Brave Stallion). Graves starred as Jim Newton, proprietor of the Broken Wheel Ranch, and young Bobby Diamond played Joey Clark Newton, Jim’s adopted son and owner of the titular American Saddlebred. Other cast members included William Fawcett, who played hired hand Pete Wilkey, and Roger Mobley, seen in the last three seasons of the show as Joey’s pal Homer “Packy” Lambert.

The plots on the show weren’t all that complicated; most of them seemed to revolve around a guest star who gets into trouble and ends up having to be rescued from their predicament by the great horse Fury. There were a total of 116 episodes produced, and the only official release of the series has been a number of public domain discs, notably this one from Alpha Video that features four episodes: “Joey Finds a Friend” (10/15/55), “Joey’s Dame Trouble” (11/19/55), “Joey’s Father” (12/03/55) and “Search for Joey” (02/18/56). That’s pretty much it as far as “official” releases go; I’ve seen a few people offer semi-complete collections of episodes at places such as Ioffer—Finders Keepers Classics did have episodes for sale at one time but I don’t think they’re in the inventory anymore.

So yesterday, I’m poking around the Network DVD website to see what new Region 2 Britcom collections they’ve added…and I run smack dab into the four-disc box set pictured on the right. No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you—the company is offering Fury: The Complete First Series (“Series” is the British word for “season”) for sale beginning April 19th, and there’s a certain irony in the fact that it’s fallen upon our good friends on the other side of the pond to do this series up right…as opposed to the bozos over here who would probably split-season the collection if they could. Actually, it’s really not that astounding—Fury was originally produced by the newly created (at the time) TPA (Television Programs of America) in tandem with ITC—and Network has obtained the exclusive rights to release ITC’s television product, which is why they offer nice collections of The Champions, Danger Man, Man in a Suitcase and all those other programs transplanted over here that are remembered so fondly by fellow nostalgia nuts like myself.

This Fury collection boasts that it contains thirty episodes; the IMDb reports that the first season was comprised of twenty-six installments so it’s possible the Brits grouped them together differently…but the important point is that the prints will probably be superior to anything you purchase here on Region 1 so if you’re a fan of the series (and have a region-free player) you’ll soon be in clover. (I know that £34.99 price tag is a bit steep— has it for £32.89, but your best bet might be to wait and see if it goes on sale…Network has a tendency to offer special deals from time to time.)

In another example of benefiting from the ITC largesse, Network is offering a film for sale (£7.99; available April 19th) that is currently not available on disc here in the USA: the 1978 affectionate movie spoof Movie Movie, directed by Pam R. fave Stanley “Gene…Gene who?” Donen. This is a wonderful little film written by the late Larry Gelbart and Sheldon Keller; a gentle parody of the old Hollywood double-feature bills (the two films are “Dynamite Hands” and “Baxter’s Beauties of 1933”) that stars George C. Scott, Eli Wallach, Trish Van Devere, Red Buttons, Barbara Harris and Harry Hamlin. Nice to see this one being made available (if on Region 2) and offered at a fairly inexpensive price!

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Linda said...

The first four seasons of FURY are currently in release in Germany. I understand the title music has been changed, but the shows are in English. I've been considering ordering them from (Maybe when my performance award comes in?)

bluefly said...

Hello, dahling!

Previously I left a long, hilariously funny, witty and engaging note for you. But then Google asked for a blood test and the last name my mother wished she'd had ("Sinatra") and I couldn't sign in. Turns out mother was an Errol Flynn fan, too.

Your blog so entertaining, and so informed. What's don't you know, dahling? YOU could have told me the name my mother wished she had had.

Your latest post reminded me of my days in an ad agency. Before Peter Graves scored with "Biography," his agent used to send out these wonderful letters asking people to consider him for every single thing that was going on in the ad world. People took to posting the agent's emphatic letters all over the agency. Everyone should have such an agent - he really worked for that guy.

Please know that I'm thinking of you constantly, Ivan, and listening to all of the wonderful OTR each and every day.

Lots of love from,


Tom said...

I've always wanted to see Movie Movie.

Scott said...

The Champions! Wow, that's a show I loved as a kid and have somehow completely forgotten about in the many intervening years. Too bad I don't have a region-free player.

And I thought Movie, Movie was brilliant when it first came out (Barry Bostwick is amazing, and George C. Scott is...well, whatever the next setting is after Amazing. 11, I suppose). It's long bugged me that it wasn't available on DVD, and it is. And I STILL can't watch it.

Speaking just for myself, Ivan, this may be your most tantalizing and frustrating post ever.

Damn coquette.

Linda said...

Checked the other day: the entire FURY show is available at (English soundtrack) for 95.99 Euros, which is about $133.00. Hmmm.