Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday’s checklist

Thanks to all you good people out in YesteryearLand who were concerned about the weeds that were starting to grow wild around the old blog.  I know the last time I posted (early Sunday a.m.) it sounded like I was at Death’s door but that was not at all the case (it was more like me ringing Death’s doorbell and running like hell).  From time to time, I wrestle with nasty bouts of insomnia and this weekend found me a contender for the heavyweight belt…then for the rest of the week I concentrated on a project I’m working on for Radio Spirits (and a piece for their blog, which will post tomorrow around 8am).  And while I was not doing that, I was trying out my trick-or-treat costume—I’m going as a slug this year.  (Naturally, I had to get into character.  I hope this creative excuse passes muster with ClassicBecky, by the way.)

Saturday night, I just happened to stumble across a “tweet,” as the young folks call it, from Brandie of True Classics—she found the Rocky & Bullwinkle & Friends: The Complete Series DVD box set online for eighteen bucks, and further inquiries yielded the information that it was available from a seller at  Now, I had already purchased all the previous sets (that’s what we used to do back in the day), but I wanted another one because I had planned to give it to my niece Rachel as a Christmas present, since she often watches my sets when she’s a-visitin’. I thought the Amazon price was one of those “too-good-to-be-true” type things…and I wasn’t too disappointed when I got an e-mail Wednesday telling me they had cancelled the order because the item “was out of stock.”  Using my Amazon-to-English dictionary, this translates to “This bozo probably didn’t have the merchandise in the first place.”  This is, naturally, not my first time dealing with the wankertude that is “Earth’s Biggest Selection”…though I think it might be karmic payback for the time I was able to buy the first season of Room 222 for $10.99.

I’ve found another “too-good-to-be-true” deal at the online behemoth: another seller has the Underdog: The Complete Series collection for twenty bucks.  I have placed an order, but remain cautiously optimistic.  If this one gets cancelled, I’ll know the fix is in.

Oh, I did want to pass this along to anyone who’s interested in silent film comedy: I got an e-mail today from the good people at Grapevine Video, who is offering a weekend deal on The Headless Horseman, a 1922 silent feature starring Will Rogers in an adaptation of Washington Irving’s famous horror story.  Purchase this DVD before Monday (October 22) and you’ll get it for half-off ($7.49)—this is the complete version of the movie, and also includes a hilarious (and timely, what with Halloween and all) Harold Lloyd short, Haunted Spooks (1920).  I’ve only seen a handful of Rogers’ silent shorts, like Jus’ Passin’ Through (1923; available on VCI’s Becoming Charley Chase set) and Big Moments from Little Pictures (1924), so this is going to be a real treat for me.  (I almost—almost—succumbed to getting an additional DVD, the 1924 feature You’d Be Surprised starring Raymond Griffith…but talked myself out of it—perhaps another day.)

Got some good news this week that two of my best blogging buddies, Toby at Inner Toob and Stacia at She Blogged by Night, are now receiving Me-TV in their households; the other morning, since I was wide awake and couldn’t sleep, I sent Stacia a heads-up on Twitter that one of her favorite thespians, James Best, was the guest on a rerun of Combat!  And so she provided me proof…

…that she now receives the channel, though like a few other individuals I know its hours of operation are limited (I think it runs on one of her local stations when they have nothing else to program).

Speaking of my BBFF…I don’t know if you’ve gone a-visitin’ to SBBN of late but when she and her hub returned from their fabulous honeymoon excursion in Vegas over the Labor Day weekend, she learned that the wankers employing her (Evil Paraquats, Ltd.) had unceremoniously given her the sack.  Actually, it went sort of like this:

PARAQUATS: Knock knock…
STACIA: Who’s there?
PARAQUATS: Not you anymore.

So if you have a spare shekel or two, why not consider dropping it into her tip jar so we can continue to enjoy the kind of quality programming you expect from public television the keen insights she brings to both classic and non-classic cinema, as well as Neil Diamond…the man and his music.

Well, has had a few classic TV-on-DVD announcements up this past week, and the biggest and best news is that the previously announced “best of” Sea Hunt and Bat Masterson collections are going to expand a bit: TGG is going to release the first two seasons of Masterson and all four seasons of Sea Hunt (let the Royal Huntation Society meeting come to order!) sometime in late November (the pre-order listings at Amazon say November 6th, but TSOD contacted the company and they say this information is incorrect).  There’s no word on when the third season of Masterson will be released, but the pre-order pricing on each of these sets ($16.95 SRP, $11.87 at the e-tailer) make it one hell of a deal to pass up.

With Perry Mason: The Seventh Season due to be released next Tuesday (October 23) and the first volume of the Eighth Season following on November 27th, CBS DVD-Paramount is “keepin’ ‘em comin’” with the news that the second volume of Season 8 will be released to stores on January 15th.  A four-disc set that according to the running time (772 minutes) will contain fifteen episodes, there’s no price listed at the TSOD blurb but since the first volume of Season 8 is priced at at $35.99, I’m sure the second volume will provide equal sticker shock.  And companies who put out classic TV shows on disc wonder why their sales are so sluggish—I suppose offering fifteen episodes for around forty bucks never enters into the equation.

The Warner Archive released the fourth season of the classic TV oater Cheyenne this past Tuesday, and you might want to sit down for this—it’s not a split season set.  This is probably because at that point in its broadcast history, the series’ star, Clint Walker, went on strike and was temporarily replaced by Ty Hardin as Bronco Layne…who later got his own series in Bronco, and the two shows alternated in that time slot for the rest of the season.  So there were only thirteen episodes of Cheyenne telecast that fourth season…but honest to my grandma, I would not have been surprised in the least if they had put seven episodes in one volume and the remaining on another.  It’s a MOD (manufactured on demand) collection, so the set will run you $39.95 because these people simply have no shame.

Finally, Inception Video has announced a pair of “best of” collections for release on December 18th: a single disc set of telecasts from The Jerry Lewis Show, and another single disc of episodes from The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp.  Infinity Entertainment had the rights to Lewis’ 1967-69 NBC variety hour, and released thirteen shows on disc back in 2009…the only problem was, they didn’t want to pony up for the music rights so they edited the darn things with a chainsaw and also monkeyed around with the original credits of the series by substituting their own.  (And then they registered dismay when the set didn’t sell at all well.  Quelle amazement!)  So I guess Inception has the rights now, and while I can certainly understand the “best of” release of the show I can’t for the life of me figure out why they’ve been so slow in putting the second season of Earp out (they re-released the inaugural season in 2011).  (My theory is that they are suffering from the DVD version of agoraphobia…they literally are in fear of issuing Season 2 on disc.)


ClassicBecky said...

Yes indeed, I do accept your creative excuse -- excellent excuse, actually. Love your costume idea. The way I have been feeling lately, I am considering going as a puddle of jello ... I can't help it, Ivers, but every time I think of Sea Hunt all I can remember is blub, blub, blub! I did like it though.

I would kill, literally with my bare hands, to have the complete Rocky and Bullwinkle series. That was so prime, intelligent, hilarious -- remember the ruby yacht of Omar Khayam? Wish that had not been a bum steer!

ClassicBecky said...

Oh, and a P.S. -- poor Stacia -- employers are so considerate these days. At least it wasn't Christmas Eve, not that it helps much. I have several premium names for those guys, but won't make your blog one of those kind that warn people about content.

Brandie said...

I am still irritated about the Great Bullwinkle Debacle of '12 (as it shall henceforth be known), because I really, REALLY wanted that set, but I did a little digging and found out what's going on: the Amazon seller who was offering the deal had a computer glitch that weekend, and a ton of their stuff was marked down to ridiculously low prices (as we saw), and they were absolutely bombarded with purchases--thus the "out of stock" excuse, and a metric ton of negative feedback from hundreds of disappointed customers.

Now here's the part that's interesting: after I placed my Bullwinkle order, I went perusing the seller's listings again and found several Looney Tunes collections and a couple of Tom and Jerry sets that I've been lusting after for years, all marked down to less than 5 bucks a piece. I said, "SOLD!" and placed my order. Shipping was RIDICULOUS--like four dollars per set, even though they ship everything in the same box--but my six selections tallied up to 35 bucks, so I was not complaining! When I got the email cancelling Bullwinkle, I thought, "Surely I'm about to get another notice cancelling these, too." But, as crazy as it sounds, THAT ORDER APPARENTLY WENT THROUGH AND WAS SHIPPED OUT TO ME well after I got the cancellation notice about Mr. Moose! Someone explain the logic there. Now I'm holding my breath to see if those sets actually arrive (though the tracking info says the package is currently on the move!). If they do, I'm heading out to buy a lottery ticket, because it will no doubt be my lucky day!

Also, thanks for the heads-up about The Headless Horseman. I've actually never seen anything of his. But Haunted Spooks is my favorite Harold Lloyd short (the title cards alone send me into fits of giggles) and I am thereby SOLD once more. :D

Stacia said...

Becky, I am stealing the phrase "premium names" and using it with impunity.

Thanks for the shout-out, Ivan! Last night I realized I tweeted a lot of pictures of my television, so it was particularly funny to see that pic in your post today. I should start tweeting more pictures of bees instead.

ClassicBecky said...

Stacia, I am glad to share the phrase with you. You also might commit to memory the fabulous premium name rant given by Chevy Chase in "Christmas Vacation" when his boss gave him the jelly of the month club ...

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

"Using my Amazon-to-English dictionary..."

Did I ever tell you how much you crack me up?

Jeff Flugel said...

Witty as always, Ivan! And thanks for the heads-up re: SEA HUNT. Those BAT MASTERSON sets will be mine, oh yes they will...

Commiserations to Stacia. I sympathize, having once been giving the pink slip by the owner of a company I briefly worked for, along with the rest of said company's workers, mere days before Xmas. Nasty news to come home to after your honeymoon, but I'm sure you'll bounce back posthaste.

Stacia said...

Jeff, my apologies for the late reply -- thank you for your well wishes. It is somewhat nice to not be working for a place that the Dept of Labor has to keep tabs on, to be honest.