Saturday, August 15, 2009

Better living through TV-on-DVD

Here are a few noteworthy announcements—courtesy of—concerning some classic TV shows that will be coming this way soon…just consider this a public service as well as a smoke-and-mirrors attempt to camouflage the fact that I’m once again putting off a write-up of Chapter 2 of Jungle Queen (1945).

I missed mentioning this one during the last TV-on-DVD update, but Time-Life is planning to release The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour: The Best of Season Two this October 20th, following the successful release of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour: The Best of Season Three back in September 2007. I know, it sounds like a funny way to run a railroad—but I guess it’s a testament to Tom and Dick’s unconventional 1960s comedy-variety series to release these discs in an unconventional manner. I did a review of the Season 3 set back in January and while I enjoyed the set very much I wish the programs had not been as heavily edited as they are (they were culled from the show’s brief revival on the E! television network in 1993)—but to use a William Faulkner quote, “Given the choice between the experience of pain and nothing, I would choose pain.” has this set already up for pre-order, if you’re interested.

Speaking of comedy-variety series from the 1960s, this announcement that Image Entertainment is bringing The Jerry Lewis Show to DVD this October 13th is a particularly intriguing development. These telecasts (TVShows says it’s a 780-minute package, which figures out to thirteen hour-long episodes) are culled from the comedian’s little-known 1967-69 series on NBC-TV; according to David Lambert, many of these shows have been previously released on various public domain sets—the quality of which has earned a certain amount of enmity from Lewis fans. Amazon has this up for pre-order as well, and I have to admit that since I’ve never seen the show I’m curious to check it out despite the review at the IMDB that trashes the program. (The review was written by the infamous F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre, a gent from Minfford, North Wales who has earned IMDB notoriety for having seen pretty much every movie ever made—including a number of films now considered “lost.” So I’m going to take Mr. MacIntyre’s assessment cumo graino salto.)

When Timeless Media Group released their Best of Tales of Wells Fargo collection in mid-July, many individuals speculated as to why none of the episodes from the western series’ final season (which were filmed in color and ran an additional half-hour) were included. Though the guesswork rages on, Timeless is giving fans a real treat this October 20th with the release of Tales of Wells Fargo: The Best of the Final Season in Color (that is a mouthful). This six-disc collection will contain twenty-two select episodes (a.k.a. “the ones we found in the best shape”) in a set that runs approximately 1100 minutes and will retail for $69.98. (Yeah, the price tag’s a bit steep—but I’ve heard from folks that it’s possible to pick these Timeless sets up cheaper from your friendly neighborhood Sam’s Club…and DVD Pacific often has them marked down considerably as well.)

Last, but not least—Universal will supplement its successful series of Rockford Files box sets with a November 3rd release entitled The Rockford Files: Movie Collection, Volume 1. There were eight “revival” TV-movies starring James Garner, and while the details as to what will be on the first volume are still sketchy it’s guesstimated that the first four features—The Rockford Files: I Still Love L.A. (1994), The Rockford Files: A Blessing in Disguise (1995), The Rockford Files: If the Frame Fits... (1996) and The Rockford Files: Godfather Knows Best (1996)—will appear, and the second volume will spotlight the last four telefilms. I had purchased all of the Rockford Files’ previous six seasons for my father because it was one of his all-time favorite TV shows, but since he never took the time to learn how to work the DVD player they kind of sat around collecting dust—so I took them off his hands…and then ended up selling them on eBay when I needed to raise some necessary cash (the show is run on our RTN affiliate weeknights at 10:00pm, so I can always get a fix when needed). I don’t know if I’ll make the investment in the Movie Collection or not—while I’ve seen them all and enjoyed them I always had problems with the first entry because I just couldn’t accept the fact that Jimbo would marry another woman (Joanna Cassidy) instead of his longtime gal pal Beth Davenport (Gretchen Corbett).

1 comment:

Stacia said...

I think MacIntyre writes improbable IMDb reviews as performance art. Some of the films he's reviewed are most definitely lost, and of the reviews of films that aren't lost he's often wrong on many details.