Before I do a rundown on some announcements of several classic TV shows coming to DVD soon…oh, so very soon…you have to read this blurb at TVShowsOnDVD.com about the first season release of Car 54, Where Are You?, which hit the streets this past Tuesday in a collection (containing the first 30 shows) by an outfit called Shanachie Entertainment. Fans of the series who’ve already opened up the set for a look-see (admittedly, mine is still in the shrink wrap) have noticed that something is slightly askew with regards to the presentation of the episodes on the four-disc set. They’re not arranged in broadcast order…nor are they grouped in order of production. They’ve been ranked according to popularity, chosen as such by fans and “historians” of the sitcom which ran from 1961-63 on NBC-TV.
My esteemed pop culture blogging compadre Rick Brooks has an amusing take on this revelation (“This isn't choosing sides in junior high dodgeball, it's producing a DVD set of a television program.”) and though I’m glad TSOD gave everybody a heads-up on this I have to admit it’s been so long since I’ve watched the show I couldn’t tell you what order the shows were supposed to be in if you placed a gun to my temple. It’s a boneheaded decision, to be sure, but when you put this in—as A. Whitney Brown used to say (he could still be saying it for all I know, I haven’t heard much from him lately)—“the big picture” it’s a relatively minor infraction. I mean, it’s not like these guys completely removed the music from a season’s worth of episodes and replaced it with…oh…I didn’t see the people from CBS DVD-Paramount sitting in the front row…heh heh.
Another recent TV-on-DVD collection that has found its way to the House of Yesteryear is Dennis the Menace: Season 1 and I guess the sales of that set have been so encouraging that Shout! Factory has made plans to release the second season of the classic sitcom based on Hank Ketcham’s comic strip creation to disc July 26th. The set will retail for $29.93 but Amazon’s already got it available for pre-order at $20.99 (so I’m hoping my online store of choice, DVD Pacific, can beat that like they did with Dennis’ inaugural season). I haven’t had the opportunity (yes, like this is a surprise) to open the first season set up but I have viewed some of the shows via a rootpeg collection I bought some time back and I was pretty surprised at how well the show holds up…and this coming from a person who views 95% of child actors as a blot on show business. The first season Factory set had a nifty bonus in that it included the crossover appearance Dennis stars Jay North and Joe Kearns (good ol’ Mr. Wilson) made on The Donna Reed Show in 1960—a show that is also available on The Donna Reed Show: The Third Season DVD collection.
Several classic television oaters will be making their way to DVD thanks to the go-to company for vintage TV collectors, Timeless Media Group. I mentioned back on the blog in March that Timeless had secured the rights to TV’s The Gene Autry Show and the first season of that series (all 26 episodes) will make its DVD debut June 7th. (I really like the cover on this set though I’ll probably wait a while before acquiring it for the dusty TDOY archives.) Timeless is also going to reissue on that same day a previously released collection by Infinity/Falcon that came out in 2007 but is now OOP in Hopalong Cassidy: The Complete Television Series, which contains all fifty-two episodes of one of the first TV series to become a media sensation beginning in 1949. (I used to have a copy of this set but, alas, it disappeared during the Mom-mandated eBay purge of several winters ago.)
The third Timeless TV western release arrived in stores this past Tuesday; twenty episodes of the 1957-59 syndicated oater 26 Men, a series that was essentially the
equivalent of Tales of the Texas Rangers. The show was, however, based in fact; the Arizona legislature in 1901 authorized an armed force to keep law and order in the territory (Arizona didn’t become a state until 1912) consisting of the titular number of peacekeepers—one captain, one lieutenant, four sergeants and 20 privates. (The reason for that designated number of men stemmed from the economic reality that Arizona couldn’t afford any more than twenty-six.) The program starred veteran B-western/serial baddie Tris Coffin as Captain Tom Rynning and was produced by another one-time silver screen hero, Russell “Lucky” Hayden. I’ve got a handful of these episodes on some public domain TV collection here at Rancho Yesteryear and it’s an entertaining if not particularly remarkable series that does give Coffin the opportunity to be the good guy for a change. Arizona
Finally, TVShowsOnDVD.com has obtained a rundown on when the remaining seasons of NBC Sunday Night Mystery Movie fave McMillan and Wife are due to be released on DVD; there are two sets of dates because the series has been making each season debut on VEI in
about a month or two before the Canada U.S. street date. For example, seasons two and three of McMillan are available for purchase right now in The Great White North but won’t hit stores here until June 7th. That’s the box art for Season 3 off to your left; you can get a gander at the art for years 4 and 5 here.