Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wednesday’s checklist

This week at the Radio Spirits blog, we’re coming up on Week 3 of Whistlerfest (yes, I made this word up) with the fourth film in Columbia’s Whistler franchise, Voice of the Whistler (1945)…scheduled to be shown on The Greatest Cable Channel Known to Mankind™ on Saturday, September 15 at 10:45am.  This one is a little different from some of the previous entries in that it kind of eschews the nail-biting suspense that was the series’ trademark in favor of a B-programmer that I think is more in tone of the original radio program than some of the other movies.  The love triangle in this one—represented by star Richard Dix, Lynn Merrick and James Cardwell—features individuals who seem fairly pleasant on the surface until they succumb to tragic human frailties like jealousy and avarice.  Rhys Williams, a familiar character face who appeared in such films as How Green Was My Valley and The Bells of St. Mary’s—but is best remembered here at Rancho Yesteryear as the head of the Montgomery family in the classic Maverick outing “Maverick and Juliet” (01/17/60)—is also on hand as a jovial Cockney cab driver who befriends Dix’s protagonist.

Also mentioned in the cast credits is second banana Tom Kennedy, who worked quite a bit at the Columbia studio, usually in support in the comedy two-reelers cranked out by Cohn’s kingdom at the time (he and Monte Collins did a few shorts in the 1930s, and then Tom was paired later with the likes of El Brendel and Shemp Howard).  Kennedy plays an ex-wrestler who’s gone into the flower business and has a nice comic scene where a woman (played by character great Minerva Urecal) asks the price of his posies.  That’s them in the above screen capture, and the person there on the left who’s out of the shot is another TDOY fave in Byron Foulger.  I was disappointed that Cy Kendall managed to miss being cast in this Whistler but another Jungle Queen alumnus can be spotted in a small role…

…that’s Clinton Rosemond as the porter—Rosemond played the part of “Godac”, the ruler who knew the secret of the all-powerful swor…well, I’m not going to dredge up that nonsense again.  Rosemond has one of those easily identifiable voices so when I heard him in Voice of the Whistler during his first scene I burst out laughing.

It’s great to see a couple of my good blogger friends back in the saddle—first off, Laura at Miscellaneous Musings took a brief sabbatical to have some surgery done (which she assures me was not serious, just a procedure that needed attention) so it’s good to have her hale and hearty again.  And my friendly nemesis ClassicBecky has made a triumphant return to the blogosphere after taking some time off to contemplate the mysteries of life and what it all means.  (She tells me the answer is “Errol Flynn.”  Um…okay.)  Becky also told me excitedly that she is now able to receive both Me-TV and Antenna TV, and I can assure her she will enjoy both gigantically.

Old-time radio fans might be interested to know that if you're fortunate to get Me-TV in your area or on your cable system, the channel is going to show the "pilot" for one of the boob tube's most durable family sitcoms: the 1951 feature film Here Come the Nelsons, with Ozzie, Harriet, David and the irrepressible Ricky.  Those of you who have been stumped by the nagging trivia question "What did Ozzie do for a living?" will learn in this film that Oz was an ad man.  (On radio, he was, of course, a bandleader.)  Nelsons is scheduled for September 16th at 3pm EDT, and after that the 1961 film version of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea will be shown at 4:45pm.

And that allows me to segue (smoooooooth, as Red Skelton would say) into a few TV-on-DVD announcements, courtesy of  A couple of blurbs that need only a quick paragraph include more info on the Shout! Factory Hazel: The Complete Fourth Season release due out December 11th.  A few concerned consumers, seeing the collection listed only at the company’s website, were a little uneasy that this collection might be one of the odious “Shout! Select” releases the Factory sometimes resorts to when sales of previous sets don’t meet their intended targets (see Father Knows Best, Mister Ed, Room 222, etc.).  The set does have a listing over at, so that should assuage the fears of anyone planning to collect the show (myself included).

There is some good news coming out of the Factory, however—they agreed to pick up the leasing rights to put Quincy, M.E. on disc after Universal Home Video got bored after two collections.  Quincy, M.E.: Season 4 will be released to stores on December 18th in a 6-disc set (priced at $39.97 SRP) that will contain all twenty-three episodes…just in time for Christmas.  (Putting it on my wish list now!)

TSOD also has some more info on Cagney & Lacey: The Complete Series box set in that it will be released on November 13th and will retail for $139.99 SRP—right now, it’s available for pre-order at the site but apparently it will sell for the same price regardless of whether you plunk down American or Canadian dollars.  If you want to pre-order the The Complete Series: Limited Edition set (which will feature the pilot with Loretta Swit, and the handful of episodes featuring Meg Foster as Chris Cagney before she got replaced by Sharon Gless) you’ll have to go to the C&L website—the retail price on that one is $169.99 SRP.

The Warner Archive made the third season of classic TV fave The F.B.I. available to fans yesterday with parts 1 (4 discs, 16 episodes) and 2 (3 discs, 11 episodes) released at a SRP price tag of $29.95.  Each.  Any takers?  Anybody?  Bueller?

In other split-season news—pretty soon the day will come when I’ll be able to eliminate that term from the blog because everything will be released in split-seasons, he said, waking up in a cold sweat—CBS DVD-Paramount Home Video announced that Chris Riesbeck fave Perry Mason will see the first volume of its penultimate season released this November 27th, a mere four weeks after the second volume of the show’s seventh season hits the stores.  Perry Mason: Season 8, Volume 1 will be a four-disc set containing 15 episodes that according to has a $55.98 SRP.  (I’m surprised the listing at Amazon didn’t read “first born child.”)

CBS Paramount will also wrap up its Mannix releases this December 4th when the final (eighth) season makes it way to DVD in a 6-disc set containing the classic crime drama’s final 24 episodes.  Yes, I’m just as amazed as you are that this show managed to go the distance.

TSOD has an announcement that the discontinued The Flintstones: The Complete Series set (first released back in 2008) will be re-released on November 13th, so if you missed it the first time you’ll get a second opportunity to purchase the animated chronicles of the modern Stone Age family (a 24-disc set, priced at $111.82).  And for times when I wished I had a Blu-Ray…

…there’s this collection, which will also be released on November 13They’ve thrown in a few new bonus extras as an incentive (which will feature 15 discs priced at a SRP of $349.98) but if you’ve already got the previous season sets the only justification I can come up with in parting with more scratch would be to save space.  (At least that’s what I keep telling myself.)


ClassicBecky said...

LOVE The Whistler - I've always been a big fan of Richard Dix (with the bedroom eyes). The radio show is a favorite too -- I listen to it a lot in the dark of night.....

Thanks for revealing to the entire blogosphere (well, at least the tiny part that reads your stuff) that out of my zen meditation I found that Errol Flynn is the meaning of life. I guess I don't mind that everyone knows I am a person of such great depth and perception (or is that depth perception? -- Hmmmm)

Chris Riesbeck said...

Hmmm... on the plus side, I got a mention in one of my favorite blogs. On the minus side, he must've meant someone else. No grumps against Perry Mason but I don't think I've ever listed it as a fave. No doubt I badly phrased something.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

My friend Classic Becky spoke:

well, at least the tiny part that reads your stuff

Yeah, I've really missed you. I should take better aim next time. :-)

And Mr. Riesbeck:

On the minus side, he must've meant someone else. No grumps against Perry Mason but I don't think I've ever listed it as a fave.

Oy. Is my face red. A thousand apologies, good sir...perhaps I have you confused with your twin (yeah...that's the ticket!)

Laura said...

Hi Ivan,

Thanks so much for the kind mention! It's great to be back at full blogging speed. :)

Best wishes,

Chris Vosburg said...

Chris Riesbeck writes: he must've meant someone else. No grumps against Perry Mason but I don't think I've ever listed it as a fave

Sorry, wrong numbskull. It appears that he meant to refer to me, Perry Mason fanboy to beat all Perry Mason fanboys.

A complaint has been filed with the DA's office and Hamilton Burger tells me he's pretty sure he's got an airtight case, but then again, he's always saying that.

Know a good lawyer, Ivan?