There is something truly serendipitous about the Internet—events happen that often have me humming the Twilight Zone theme while seated in front of my computer. The latest example of this is that no sooner do I write a post about how much I’m enjoying watching the classic Gunsmoke reruns on Encore Westerns when a note pops up in my e-mailbox, a herald from TVShowsOnDVD.com announcing that the fourth season of that seminal western series is coming to disc October 5th. The truly odd thing about this news is that I was thinking out loud while writing the Gunsmoke post as to whether the DVD releases would continue since the last one was issued forth in May of 2009.
Actually, what the e-mail said was that Gunsmoke: Season 4, Volume 2 was being released—and for a brief second I shouted loud enough for my next-door neighbor to hear: “Where the !@#$% was Volume 1?” As it turns out, it was a teensy typo…and after my blood pressure returned to normal, I learned that this new set, while sketchy on some of the details, will contain the second season episode “How to Cure a Friend” (11/10/56)—and the reason for this is because when the collection Gunsmoke: Season 2, Volume 1 was originally released in January 2008 the numbnuts at CBS DVD-Paramount put “How to Kill a Friend”—a fourth season episode originally telecast November 22, 1958—in place of “Cure” by mistake. So it’s nice to see them finally get around to correcting this error.
Once again, for the few people out in the blogosphere who have not heard me bitch about this at the drop of a hat…I’m still disappointed that these Gunsmoke releases are split-season deals—the powers that be continue to lie their asses off by saying they do this because there are so many episodes that they have to cleave them in two. This dog simply will not hunt, however; the first season of the show was released in a single collection—and besides, these earlier seasons where when Gunsmoke was still a half-hour show. But CBS-Paramount has me by the short and curlies; I love the program so much I’m willing to fork over the cash even though they’re ripping me off. (Of course, this doesn’t always work—I still haven’t gotten caught up with the Perry Mason releases. Well…not yet, anyway.) There were thirty-nine episodes produced in the fourth season, so I’m guesstimating that Volume 1 will contain either the first nineteen or twenty…which means we’ll have to wait until Volume 2 to get a copy of one of my favorite Gunsmoke titles, “The F.U.” (
In other TV-on-DVD news, Shout! Factory will roll out Father Knows Best: Season 5 on DVD August 17th…the downside to this announcement, unfortunately, is that FKB will be released as part of the Factory’s prohibitively expensive Select program, which really bites six ways to Sunday. I purchased the fourth season in May of this year because I got a really good deal at Walmart.com ($22.46) and because I’ve really been impressed with the FKB releases, particularly the little extras they include with the sets like episodes of Robert Young’s 1961-62 little-seen dramatic comedy series, Window on Main Street. So I’m assuming these sets aren’t selling in as large of numbers as Shout! would like…I don’t know if I’ll make the investment in Season 5 with the higher price tag, but the completist in me might have a different say in the matter.
Robert Young’s other popular television series, Marcus Welby, MD, must be doing okay sales wise, because Shout! Factory will roll out Season 2 on October 12 with a 6-DVD set that’s got a SRP of $49.97…which will surely be discounted at other places online. I’ve seen enough Welby reruns on RTV to know that it’s not a series I’m gaga to collect, but I figured I’d pass on the info to those individuals interested. (Now, if Medical Center gets the DVD nod…perhaps we’ll talk.)
A new inductee into the Shout! Factory fold is the landmark situation comedy All in the Family, which saw its first six seasons released on Sony before that comedy decided to throw in the towel…and do incredibly idiotic things like release that goddamn Norman Lear collection that contained the first seasons of TV shows that had already been released. The street date for All in the Family: The Complete Seventh Season is October 5th (with a SRP of $29.93), and it will contain twenty-three episodes on three discs (two of the episodes were double-length when originally telecast, so they make up twenty-five installments in syndication). Here’s hoping Factory finishes this series out.
With the release of Ironside: Season 3 in January through their Select program, Shout! Factory applied paddles to the long-dormant releases of the popular 1967-75 crime drama…and according to this TSOD blurb; Season 4 will be available sometime in the fall. (The details are still a bit sketchy.) Another popular 1970s series, the Mary Tyler Moore sitcom spin-off Rhoda, is also a victim of the “online sales” only program—the fourth season of which is discussed at TSOD here.
Finally, two additional items of interest at TSOD—a report on a collection due out September 28th entitled The Andy Griffith Show – 50th Anniversary: The Best of Mayberry that is apparently going to be released to capitalize on the classic sitcom’s golden anniversary (which takes place in October). No details on what this set will contain…though I’m reasonably sure it probably won’t be Mayberry R.F.D. material. And fans of television’s smartest collie, Lassie, might have reason to be jubilant about a release scheduled for October 12—again, the details are shrouded in mystery but because Classic Media (the company that owns the rights to Lassie) issued forth that handsome Lone Ranger box set in November 2008 with the first two seasons of the show there’s a slim chance that something similar might be planned for our favorite TV dog. (I’m sure Linda hopes so, anyway.)
*With sincerest apologies to Toby O’Brien.