Thursday, April 25, 2013

TV is the thing this year

Hi-dy hi there, friends and neighbors!  This is your old pal, Honest Ivan—and I’m going to do whatever I can to put you behind the wheel of this little beauty right here…um…yeah.  Sorry about that, cartooners—just a new character I’m trying out for my one-man show that will be touring in a city near you as soon as I convince some sucker angel to put a little mazoola into it.

I thought it might not be a bad idea to check in on the blog since it’s been about a week since I posted last (and it’s a good thing, too, because one of you has been drinking my Sun Drop)—I had originally planned to have something up Sunday for the Terrorthon! that was to be hosted by my pal Page at My Love of Old Hollywood and equally good chum Rich at Wide Screen World.  It was about twelve noon on Sunday (April 21) when I had the oddest feeling I had forgotten something and then I got that stomach knot you get when you realize that thing you forgot had a due date but you can’t remember when it was.  So after moseying on over to Page’s, I learned that my entry for her blogathon was due that very day…but upon further reading, was told that the ‘thon had been postponed for a myriad of reasons—chiefly the craziness that went down in Massachusetts and Texas last week (promoting a “terrorthon” seemed a little…unseemly).  They will reschedule at a later date, and in the meantime I’ll probably change the movie I’m going to write about to Dimples (1936).  (Okay, I’m just teasing about that…kinda.)

But I am most certainly not teasing about the upcoming blogathon to be sponsored by Comet Over Hollywood—it’s scheduled for May 24 thru May 26th, and the subject will be…wait for it…child stars!  (You know the mantra of the blog by now: irony can be pretty ironic sometimes.)  I thought maybe I could push aside my lifelong enmity for kiddie thespians and be able to participate in this…but I just can’t bring myself to do it.  (I did discuss this with J.P. on the Twitter machine, and she understands why I have to opt out.)  J.P. doesn’t have a banner up yet (she’s currently having a blast at TCMPalooza, as is roughly 80% of the classic movie blogosphere) but when she finishes them in the lab, I’ll stick one up here as a reminder.  (I thought about making one myself, but was unable to find any online photos of Shirley Temple with a spike through her head.  Internets, you have failed me again.)

Although Thrilling Days of Yesteryear tendered its resignation with a certain gargantuan movie blog association shortly after its one-for-the-record-books clusterfudge last year, when they awarded the Inigo Montoya Classic Movie Blog Prize to a blog that was anything but, the organization did nominate several friends of TDOY for this year’s Classic Movie trophy…and I’d like to single them out for praise: The Ol’ Perfesser (no, not Kay Kyser) at Where Danger Lives, Aurora at Once Upon a Screen and Kristen from Journeys in Classic Film. (The other two nominees, Criterion Reflections and 100 Years of Movies, are also represented on the blogroll.)  Despite my detailed e-mail to this movie blog aggregation (though it’s really more like aggravation) informing their officers, founders and any other dumbasses defending the decision to award that Best Classic Movie Blog attaboy (to a blog that, once again, couldn’t quite measure up to the parameters of such) that they could go pound sand, I’m still getting notices inviting me to participate in their democratic process.  It’s worse than trying to get off the mailing list for Entertainment Weakly Weekly.  (As for voting…I’ll get right to that as soon as I finished alphabetizing my DVD’s.  But I do wish the nominees all the best, and if you still participate in that strokefest vote for one of these fine bloggers.)

Well, with that rant out of the way…what’s doin’ in the world of TV-on-DVD?  Only this little bauble, which I hope to be able to offer a good home come July 2:

The Shout! Factory press release for this set is available for your perusal at the go-to website for all vintage TV shows on disc,…and though the SRP on this collection is a king’s ransom at $139.99, I’ve found it (the lowest price so far) at for $80.79.  I’ve ordered two TV-on-DVD collection from ImportCDs so far; the second season of The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp and the fourth and final season of Route 66.  Even though it’s a slight inconvenience in that I have to have these mailed to my P.O. box (some nonsense with my bank card), they have not disappointed me.

The other must-have Timeless Factory collection is The Jack Benny Show: The Lost Episodes…which I’ve talked about here on the blog a couple of times, but if you want the skinny on just what is on the setTSOD has that covered. 

Now…faithful TDOY readers know that when it comes to purchasing TV-on-DVD sets, I often display the bartering ferocity of a rug merchant.  If I can get the price down on any collection, I will venture down any dark avenue to do so.  (It’s not for nothing that Jack Benny is one of my comedy idols—the man who made cheapskatedness a virtue.)  But I’m going to make an exception for this one: the Benny set will be available only on the Shout! Factory website beginning June 18th…and will then have its official release on July 23rd.  You can probably get a good deal on the set at Amazon, or even my new favorite online shopping place…but if you’re willing to pre-order it on June 18 and pay the Factory price (heh) by using this link and clicking the “buy” button—a portion of the proceeds will go to The International Jack Benny Fan Club.  And that, my friends, is a cause most worthy of the extra shekels.  To quote an e-mail from IJBFC President Laura Leff: “So smash that piggy bank, tell Ed to let you into the vault, and order with abandon!  The more you buy, the better the chances of future volumes!”  (You had me at future volumes, L.L.)

In other disc news, here’s a little further information on that Lone Ranger: Collector’s Edition collection to be released on June 4th.  It will contain all 221 episodes of the iconic TV western series (plus some eye-popping extras), and because it will be presented in coffee book form it should be a cinch to smuggle this into Rancho Yesteryear.  (I’ll also have to smuggle in a coffee table…but those are just minor details.)  $125.99 is the asking price over at ImportCDs…oh, I’m going to have to go into major hand-kissing schmooze mode to pull this one off.

Shout! Factory also has the sixth season of the veteran forensics drama Quincy, M.E. scheduled for release on July 9th—all eighteen episodes from the 1980-81 season (due to the strike) will be made available in a 5-DVD collection that will retail for $39.97 SRP.  (I need to get cracking on these—I’m a few seasons behind.)  One final stop before we leave the Factory—their Timeless Media Group (TMG) subsidiary has announced the release of the eighth and final season of The Virginian for July 16th; a 9-disc set that will contain all twenty-four episodes from the last season the show was officially called The Virginian (with a SRP of $59.97).  (The following season, the show changed its name to The Men from Shiloh—and those episodes were already released to DVD in October 2011.)

Which brings me to a brief detour in this post—only because the segueways are working so well.  TDOY’s good friend Melissa Prince at the INSP Network was kind enough to send me an e-mail last week promoting the family cable channel’s upcoming The Virginian Cast Favorites Marathon which will get underway this Saturday (April 27) at 1pm and feature seven episode favorites from members of TV’s first ninety-minute western series.  The lineup is as follows:

01:00pm The Mountain of the Sun (James Drury)
02:30pm Beloved Outlaw (Sarah Lane)*
04:00pm The Evil That Men Do (Roberta Shore; also repeated @ 11:30pm)
05:30pm Felicity’s Spring (James Drury)
07:00pm Yesterday’s Timepiece (Don Quine)
08:30pm Duel at Shiloh (Gary Clarke)
10:00pm Nobody Said Hello (Diane Roter)

Here’s a link for a sneak peak at the presentation, and if you see something on that page about a giveaway for seasons 1-7 of The Virginian on DVD (plus season 9, The Men from Shiloh)…do not under any circumstances enter it.  I have already entered, and if I knew that your participation would lower my chances of scoring this sweet collection it’s liable to make me cranky.

Well, back to the TV-on-DVD announcements…and it’s fitting that the next one is a western: CBS DVD-Paramount will bring the sixth season of western perennial Bonanza to disc July 9th.  This shouldn’t come as any surprise, of course, but the company will be releasing Season 6 in split-season sets (Volume 1 with eighteen episodes on 5 discs, Volume 2 the remaining sixteen episodes on 4 DVDs), with both sets priced at $45.98 SRP.  Now…here’s the dun-dun-DUN! moment: if you buy both sets in a shrink-wrapped bundle it will only run you a SRP of only $58.98.  How did they allow this to happen, you may be asking?  I have no response to this—my theory is that they experienced a temporary state of amnesia and completely forgot they were money-grubbing weasels.

This generosity seems to have spread to the Warner Archive, which has announced that the long-awaited debut season of TV medico fave Dr. Kildare will be released on May 7…and even though it is a split-season set (and MOD), they’re charging a solitary price for it ($49.95 SRP for all thirty-three episodes from the first season).  About three years back, I got an e-mail from someone who stumbled across the blog (my fault, really—I have a bad habit of leaving it out in the driveway at night) and she asked about the availability of the Kildare series; I had to tell her at the time that I knew of no plans from anyone to release the show to disc and sadly suggested she might have to make arrangements with her friendly neighborhood bootlegger.

She had inquired in particular about an episode from the show that “crossed over” to another medical series on the air at the time, The Eleventh Hour (1962-64)—a short-lived program about psychiatrists that starred Jack Ging (as Dr. Paul Graham) and Wendell “Hic!” Corey (as Dr. Theodore Bassett).  (Our pal Wendell was replaced in the show’s second season by former man against crime Ralph Bellamy, who played Dr. L. Richard Starke.).  Both Kildare and Eleventh Hour episodes were titled “Four Feet in the Morning,” with the story starting on one and ending on another.

I sent her a recent e-mail alerting her to the Warner Archive release—for which she was most grateful, since the set she bought was of pretty crappy quality—and once again she brought up the episode; I replied that I didn’t know of any plans from Warner to release Eleventh Hour to disc but if or when the Archive got to Kildare’s third season I’d give someone over there a shout-out.  It sounds as if the Archive is ahead of us; there’s a bonus episode of Eleventh Hour to be included in the set—not the episode which my friend asked about, but “the ORIGINAL, never-aired pilot for the Wendell Corey psychiatric drama.” (Quotes theirs.)  Also in the description: “Initial quantities of this release will be traditionally replicated (pressed) in anticipation of high consumer demand.”—which sounds like if you get in on the ground floor of this, you won’t get a MOD set.

That’s all the news to report from the TV-on-DVD front but I do have one last addendum: I had high hopes this past Saturday that AMC’s acclamation of Rawhide might mean I could avoid shelling out some dough for the DVD sets (I’m stopped at Season Three, and was gambling that they might do them up right in the manner of Encore Westerns) but after witnessing their marathon presentation of the show I knew it was not meant to be.  They “squash” the closing credits to promote that other garbage on the channel, not to mention running promos at the bottom of the screen during each episode for more AMC garbage.  So I’m forced to save every nickel and dime I can scrape together and put them toward the purchase of the missing sets.  (It’s tough out there being a TV-on-DVD collector.)

*This is also, I believe, the favorite episode of Linda at Yet Another Journal…though to my knowledge she has not been asked to participate in the marathon.


Anonymous said...


Are you going to write about She Who Must Not Be Named for the child star blogathon?
You could also submit it to the Terrorthon and get a Two-fer!


LB Johnson said...

Radio is great, but it's out of date.

Ivan G Shreve Jr said...

Are you going to write about She Who Must Not Be Named for the child star blogathon?
You could also submit it to the Terrorthon and get a Two-fer!

Not without hazard pay, my friend. Not without hazard pay.

Ivan G Shreve Jr said...

Radio is great, but it's out of date.

Yipes! Don't let my employer hear you say that...

Stacia said...

I watched a screener last night of a new release where the star was a wee little girl, and thought of you the whole time. "Even Ivan would like this girl," I'd say, then I'd giggle to myself.

Ivan G Shreve Jr said...

I watched a screener last night of a new release where the star was a wee little girl, and thought of you the whole time. "Even Ivan would like this girl," I'd say, then I'd giggle to myself.