Friday, December 3, 2010

Under Western skies

I had originally planned to include this all in one post but since I wanted to give TDOY readers a shout-out on a great deal being offered over at VCI Entertainment I’m going to split it in two.

VCI is running what they’re calling a “12 Days of Christmas” special—each day between now and December 15 they’ll offer one of their titles at a discounted price and today’s bargain is Dick Powell’s Zane Grey Theatre: The Complete First Season, available for a limited time for $17.99.  That’s a extremely nice price on this set, and would of course make a nice little Yuletide gift for that classic television western fan in your or someone else’s household.  (You could get me one, if you were so inclined, but I’ve purchased it already).  VCI has done a nice job with releasing these classic shows from the Four Star library—I just wish they’d step up the releases on the schedule a bit…they still haven’t gotten around to getting the second season of Burke’s Law to DVD yet.

My good friend and esteemed blogging colleague at 50 Westerns from the 50s got an opportunity to chat with Cheryl Rogers-Barnett, daughter of the "King of the Cowboys" hizownself, Roy Rogers.  She appeared with her papa in the Yuletide-themed oater Trail of Robin Hood (1950) and also had some things to say about Roy’s work in Son of Paleface (1952)—a film that’s held in especially high regard here at Rancho Yesteryear.

The website has finally gotten around to filling in the blanks as to which episodes of Wagon Train will be featured in the marathon scheduled on Encore Westerns on January 1, 2011—as you may have heard, the channel is adding the venerable TV oater, which ran on NBC and ABC for eight seasons from 1957-65 (and was the #1 show among Nielsen viewers in the 1961-62 season), to its lineup next year and they’re planning to mark the debut with twenty-three episodes (one is being shown twice).  The lineup is as follows:

12:00m-01:00a The Willy Moran Story (#1)
01:00a-02:00a The Jean LeBec Story (#2)
02:00a-03:00a The John Cameron Story (#3)
03:00a-04:00a The Ruth Owens Story (#4)
04:00a-05:00a The Les Rand Story (#5)
05:00a-06:00a The Nels Stack Story (#6)
06:00a-07:00a The Emily Rossiter Story (#7)
07:00a-08:00a The John Darro Story (#8)
08:00a-09:00a The Charles Avery Story (#9)
09:00a-10:00a The Mary Halstead Story (#10)
10:00a-11:00a The Jesse Cowan Story (#17)
11:00a-12:00n The Riley Gratton Story (#12)
12:00n-01:00p The Clara Beauchamp Story (#13)
01:00p-02:00p The Julia Gage Story (#14)
02:00p-03:00p The Cliff Grundy Story (#15)
03:00p-04:00p The Luke O’Malley Story (#16)
04:00p-05:00p The Jesse Cowan Story (#17)
05:00p-06:00p The Gabe Carswell Story (#18)
06:00p-07:00p The Honorable Don Charlie Story (#19)
07:00p-08:00p The Dora Gray Story (#20)
08:00p-09:00p The Annie MacGregor Story (#21)
09:00p-10:00p The Bill Tawnee Story (#22)
10:00p-11:00p The Bernal Sierra Story (#24)
11:00p-12:00m The Marie Dupree Story (#25)

As I mentioned previously, EW is showing “The Jesse Cowan Story” twice—of course, if they were going by the broadcast order “The Zeke Thomas Story” (#11) would logically air at 10:00am…but what’s odd about that is that this installment will eventually get a showing in Train’s regular 5:47-6:38pm weekday time slot on January 17.  So there could be an error in the New Year’s lineup.  Curiously, episode #23, “The Mark Hanford Story,” has gone missing from the rotation—I’ve noticed this occurrence on the channel in the past with disappearing episodes of Gunsmoke, Lawman and Cheyenne…the episode is, however, available on Timeless Media Group’s first season box set so maybe that’s why they leave it out; they’re trying to make certain you buy a copy.  (Update: "Hanford" is in the syndication rotation; it's scheduled to be shown on Encore Westerns Wednesday, February 2nd at 05:47pm.)

While I’m on the subject of both box sets and westerns on the Encore Westerns channel—the Warner Archive has announced that they’re going to make the second season of Cheyenne available on an MOD collection…a decision that’s sure to be in the running for this year’s “Worst Possible Timing in the World” honors.  Warner Home Video released the series’ first season to DVD back in June 2006 and then sort of sat on its hands a while before getting around to season numero dos—but here’s the thing; Cheyenne, because it was originally on every other week during its second season (it alternated with another series, Conflict), only generated nineteen episodes during its sophomore year.  And the good people at Warner Archive want to charge you $59.95 for a set of those episodes.  I’m sorry, folks—but Jesse wore a mask and they called him a bandit.  My position regarding TV-on-DVD has always been that while I’m certainly willing to part with some wherewithal to purchase these kinds of releases in the interest of keeping them coming off the assembly line that’s just too high a price tag for a set of shows that I’ve already grabbed off of EW.  Heck, you can grab the first season of Cheyenne (fifteen episodes) at right now for $13.99

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Laura said...

Did realize Season 2 of CHEYENNE was so short...interesting.

My 12-year-old son thinks BURKE'S LAW is the greatest thing since sliced bread...he asks me every other week if Season 2 is out yet. :) I wish they'd hurry up already!

Best wishes,

mndean said...

The Warner Archive model is really movie-centered, and the only films I buy from them are interesting ones I may not see for years on TCM. With all the releases, they haven't done some really obvious choices (what's keeping them from releasing Employee's Entrance, for example, another Forbidden Hollywood set that won't show up until 2012?). It makes me wonder what their collective head is firmly up.

The WA TV offerings you have helpfully provided a title for in the post below this one. Crime Does Not Pay, but pricing ripoffs certainly do. It's the commercial software model brought to consumer products.

fiftieswesterns said...

Thanks for those kind words. Coming from a blogger of repute, and fellow "Son Of Paleface" freak, they mean a lot.

I'm a bit ashamed to admit that Mrs. Rogers-Barnett brought up "Son Of Paleface" before I got around to asking about it!

And this being the season for "Trail Of Robin Hood," I hope it's on the schedule at Rancho Yesteryear!