Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Are you ready for the summer?

Yes, I’ll get this right out of the way—I’m positively shameless in kicking off this post with an adorable photo of my nephew and his first try at eating watermelon.  Complaint forms are available on the table to your left…and I’ve counted every one of those pens, so don’t even think about trying to take one as a souvenir.

I’ve kind of slacked off with regards to keeping faithful TDOY readers abreast of any classic television shows coming to DVD…and the explanation for this is simple; I’ve been too tapped out to purchase any of the new releases, so I think that’s why I’ve been hesitant to discuss them.  But because I took the time to fill out an entertainment questionnaire a month or two ago (they wanted to know how many new movies I watch in a year, so I’m betting I wrecked the heck out of that curve) I was rewarded with a $10 gift certificate at…and so with that, I was able to pre-order Dennis the Menace: Season 2 for the princely sum of $13.79.  (Great Scott!) The second season of the classic family sitcom is being released by Shout! Factory on July 26th, and will contain all thirty-eight episodes of the series’ sophomore year.

But the even better news is that the Factory has also announced that Dennis’ third season will also be made available on disc on October 25th, according to this announcement at  Very encouraging news to hear—I don’t know if the show’s exposure on Antenna TV is responsible for the interest in the DVD sets, or whether Shout! has been able to trim the production costs in such a manner that they’re not sweating it if the sets don’t sell in Friends-like numbers but I’m glad they’re continuing with the releases and since the fourth season is also Menace’s swan song I’m optimistic that it will go the distance, DVD-wise.

Another Shout! Factory acquisition that will also being going the distance is the 1975-82 sitcom classic Barney Miller—acquisition in that they’ve obtained the rights to releasing the show on DVD after Sony Home Video gave up with the first three seasons.  The Factory is going whole hog with Barney Miller: The Complete Series—a 25-disc collection that’s scheduled to be out sometime during the holiday season…and one of the bodacious extras on this big honkin’ set is that the first season of the Miller spin-off Fish will be included (a run of thirteen episodes).

So here’s the $64 question—will the Factory make available separate season sets for the benefit of those of us who’ve already purchased 1-3?  The press release at TSoD doesn’t say for certain, but speculates that they might seeing as how they’ve already have the DVDs ready to roll come the Yuletide season.  If they do—fantastic—but if they don’t, I might grumble a bit before investing in the collection because I have to be honest…I’ve always been a big fan of Barney Miller, one of the funniest sitcoms in the history of the cathode ray tube.  (I think I had a comment exchange with a TDOY follower one time when I revealed that I sold my first season set on eBay when it looked as if no future sets would be forthcoming [there was about a four-year gap between Seasons Uno and Dos] and he asked me why I gave up so easily.  There’s your answer.)

Classic crime dramas are apparently in vogue for the TV-on-DVD season: TSoD has a blurb up here in which a fan asked on Shout! Factory’s Facebook page when to expect Season Six of Adam-12 and from the response it would appear that Jack Webb’s uniformed cops will get their sixth season due early next year in 2012.  But for real honest-to-my-grandma, forehead-slapping news, the announcement that the crime drama anthology Police Story will see its inaugural season debut on DVD on September 6 is the equivalent of an order of O-rings from Carey Hilliard’s*.  Created by former-cop-turned-author Joseph Wambaugh (The Choirboys, The Onion Field), Police Story was never a ratings bonanza during its five-year-hitch on NBC from 1973-78 but its ahead-of-its-time depiction of life in the L.A.P.D. laid the groundwork for later crime drama hits like Hill Street Blues, NYPD Blue and Homicide: Life on the Street.  The series also copped a pair of Emmy Awards, most notably in 1976 when it took home the trophy for Outstanding Drama Series.

Police Story is also where Angie Dickinson’s Pepper Anderson first started pounding a beat—the first-season episode “The Gamble” was the pilot for her successful Police Woman series, which was also seen on NBC from 1974-78.  Additionally, an hour starring Lloyd Bridges as a veteran beat cop (“The Return of Joe Forrester”) later became a short-lived series entitled Joe Forrester, and former teen idol David Cassidy parlayed a one-shot appearance on Story (“A Chance to Live”) into an even shorter-lived series, David Cassidy: Man Undercover.  (For some odd reason, the show never thought to spin-off a separate series with two of the better known cops featured: Tony Lo Bianco’s Tony Calabrese and “Dandy” Don Meredith’s Bert Jameson.)  The first season set of Police Story will contain all twenty-one episodes from its debut year, and extras will include the 1973 series pilot “Slow Boy.”  By the way, Police Story’s resurfacing on RTV just might be the tonic to get the remaining seasons of this series done up in DVD fashion.

Meanwhile, in the Aloha State, Steve McGarrett and his team continue to battle the psychopathic crazies that roam loose on the islands as part of TV’s classic cop show Hawaii Five-O…and the penultimate season (No. 11) of that series is scheduled to be released courtesy of CBS DVD-Paramount on September 20th.  Apparently from TSoD’s press release, more than a few fans were a little ticked off that the audio-visual quality of the preceding tenth season wasn’t up to snuff—I’m glad I’m still behind on collecting these—so they’re stressing that the twenty-two episodes have been digitally remastered (which is small consolation to the people who got stuck with season ten, but when has that ever stopped CBS-Paramount?).

The company also known as CBS Home Entertainment has already earned my Wankers of the Century award because shortly after posting my piece on The Phil Silvers Show last Thursday I learned via Mick Clews of The British Phil Silvers Appreciation Society (he passed me a note on Facebook) that he had asked the company when they planned to release the second season of Sgt. Bilko and they told him they had no plans to issue the remaining seasons on disc.  (The only thing keeping from calling CBS-Paramount a confederacy of dunces is that it would be an insult to real dunces.)  So, Page…you can put down the credit card…it doesn’t look like any additional sales of the Silvers sets is going to help any.

Even the news that the company will be bringing the fifth season of The Lucy Show to DVD isn’t enough to make me take back their Wankers honors—TSoD has a blurb up that a company rep answered a Facebook inquiry as to whether a date for Season 5 had been established and the reply was “December 6.”  TSoD also has a look at the box art for MPI’s Season 5 release of Here’s Lucy but the release date and price have yet to be established.

There were a couple of surprise TV-on-DVD announcements made this week—the first of which hit the streets yesterday.  A show that looked as if it would never surface on digital versatile disc, the 1969-76 doctor drama Medical Center, has seen its inaugural season released to DVD courtesy of the Warner Archive in a six-disc set containing the first twenty-six episodes.  Now, my position on the exorbitant tariff the Archive folks charge for their TV collections has been pretty well established here on the blog—and while I can’t heartily recommend you race out and grab this (particularly since it’s MOD) I have to admit that the asking price of $49.95 is fairly reasonable when you put it in the big picture; Warner wants $39.95 for a split-season set of The F.B.I., which contains only sixteen installments, for example.  (And don’t even get me started on the Cheyenne: Season 2 set again.)  I only wish I had seen this sooner and reported it in a timelier manner because apparently they were offering a 25% discount if you pre-ordered it, which would have knocked it down to about thirty-eight and change.

The biggest surprise of them all is coming from A&E Home Video—the syndicated 1950s crime drama Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer will make its DVD debut on September 20.  All seventy-eight episodes of the half-hour series starring Darrin “Kolchak” McGavin as the Mick’s famous literary sleuth will be featured in a 12-disc set that The Rap Sheet’s J. Kingston Pierce observed on Facebook was a little pricey ($89.95 SRP— has discounted it to $60.99) and since I’m inclined to agree I may hold off on this one.  The Mike Hammer series was until recently a staple of RTV’s programming—I know WSB-DT in Atlanta used to show back-to-back episodes on Saturday nights—so it’s nice to see it being offered to fans…but I’m really gonna have to wait until the price comes down.

A lesson in waiting for bargains was brought home to me recently when I fished an e-mail out of my spam filter last night that came from Umbrella Entertainment; a promotional flier announcing that some of their box sets were being sold at clearance prices ($20 AUS)—and the one that immediately caught my eye was that friggin’ My Favorite Martian: Season 3 that I went into hock to Monty the Gonif for back in 2008 because I just had to complete my collection.  (If I ever meet Peter Greenwood in person, I’m going to run him over with a car.)  Those of you who wisely chose to wait can take advantage of the fact that Seasons 1 and 2 are also on sale—they were originally released on Rhino’s DVD label but are now discontinued.

The wankeritude continues with the news that Netflix will be gouging their customers who opt for both online streaming and DVDs by charging them $15.99 a month, an eye-gouging spike from the original tariff of $7.99.  Like my Facebook chum Cliff Aliperti of Immortal Ephemera, I don’t really have a dog in this fight because I kicked Netflix to the curb a good many years back (just couldn’t justify the expense, what with the money I was dropping to buy and keep discs here at the house) but it will affect two of my very good friends and fellow classic movie mavens, Laura at Laura’s Miscellaneous Musings and BBFF Stacia at She Blogged by Night.  As for Netflix—I will give you the same message I left on CBS Home Entertainment’s Facebook wall: Boo.  Booooooo.

This screen cap (click to embiggen) demonstrates the enormous influence that Stacia wields in the blogosphere, as her defiance against the evil entity known as Netflix makes the Google notification on "classic films" I have sent to my e-mail.

I apologize for the short notice on this announcement but I didn’t get an e-mail about it until Monday and my plans to write it up for the blog were postponed with the news of the demise of Gilligan’s Island-Brady Bunch creator Sherwood Schwartz.  Vintage Film, a company that I’ve mentioned frequently here on the blog in the past—they were even cool enough to send me some movie freebies in exchange for my writing some reviews for previously purchased DVDs—has announced that they’re closing their doors on July 17…but in the meantime they’ll be offering a big honkin’ closeout sale that will give you a chance to stock up on some classic movie rarities at 50% off.  Their classic film offerings are here, and with a minimum order of $40 all you have to do is enter “CLOSING” in the coupon/discount code area and you’ll get a discount that would make Big Lots green with envy.  But you need to hurry, cartooners, because they’re going to padlock everything come July 17.

You know I could go whole hog with a sale like that, particularly since there were four titles I could have grabbed off the bat.  But I exercised remarkable restraint because the only other purchase that I’ve made besides the Dennis the Menace: Season 2 set…is a TV set for my bedroom here at Rancho Yesteryear.  Yes, thanks to the generous contributions obtained from the (mumble) that Stacia concocted (and much, much gratitude to those who kicked in—you are a good group) and some outside funding I should be receiving a nice new 22” RCA TV and DVD player combo within the next few days.  (I purchased the one with the DVD player attached because it was the same price whether or not it was with or without.)  Liberated from the madness that is Bait Car and Operation Repo, I hope to get back into a regular schedule of posting stuff here at this ‘umble scrap of the blogosphere, and once again my appreciation for those who made it possible knows no bounds.

*Carey Hilliard’s in Savannah makes the best damn onion rings you’ll ever eat…I gar-on-tee.

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Stacia said...

Truly, I have no idea how SBBN got so high in the rankings on the Netflix thing, because plenty of other bloggers got there before me. There were a lot of hits, but nothing like what I got for my Tura Satana post on Technoknob. When she died, two large online news outlets linked to my post and I got 40,000 hits. Poor little Technoknob.

Speaking of Darren McGavin, my husband walked into the room last night and announced Johnny Depp was looking to get the rights to Night Stalker so he can play Kolchak in the movie. Excuse me while I wail and gnash my teeth for a couple of hours, then fall into a catatonic daze.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

Speaking of Darren McGavin, my husband walked into the room last night and announced Johnny Depp was looking to get the rights to Night Stalker so he can play Kolchak in the movie.

I'd like to take this opportunity to publicly apologize to Denzel Washington, whose blasphemous remakes of good, classic movies can't even begin to stack up to this travesty...please, Cinema Gods, do not let this happen.

Stacia said...

Disney is involved, so I think it's going to happen. Hey, thanks Disney. Remind me to hate you more the next time I think about you.

ClassicBecky said...

I had such a mad crush on Chad Everett on Medical Center (so sue me, I was very young). But the main reason I would like to have some of this is one particular episode I remember. It was really groundbreaking. It starred Robert Reed, and it was about a man who was married and had a son, but had always felt like he should be a woman, and had a sex change operation. That was incredibly unusual for that time. It was done very well as I recall. I'd love to see it again, and see if it is as good as I remember.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

It was done very well as I recall. I'd love to see it again, and see if it is as good as I remember.

Somebody mentioned that episode here on the blog before (I should remember who it was but sadly I don't) and I've been ransacking my memory banks but all I can come up with is Reed's semi-regular gig on Mannix (at the same time he was doing The Brady Bunch). I'm sure I saw the episode because Medical Center was a show I rarely missed--I preferred it to the more successful Marcus Welby, MD, which I didn't care for because I've always thought Robert Young a bit unctuous (James "Dr. Kiley" Brolin was pretty cool, though...he rode a "sickle" to work.)

Everett was pretty handsome when the light struck him a certain way but I was a bigger fan of co-star James Daly, who I always felt never really got his due as an actor--one of those thesps who was the working definition of "solid." Daly's turn in that classic Twilight Zone outing "A Stop at Willoughby" is one of my all-time favorite TV performances...period.

Pam said...

I love your nephew's expression. "Seriously? SERIOUSLY? I'm supposed to eat it like this?"