Friday, March 11, 2011

Must See TV (on DVD)

With the recent largesse I received for some Radio Spirits liner notes I was able to go on a shopping spree and pick up some TV-on-DVD collections that I have been coveting for quite some time now…and a sale currently going on at DVD Empire was my first stop: I was able to complete my collection of The Fugitive (with The Fourth and Final Season, Volume 2) and add the fifth season of Have Gun – Will Travel (Volumes 1 and 2…have I mentioned how much I despise split-season releases lately?) for $23.99 apiece.  The Gunsmoke volumes were priced at $24.99 (so I bought Season 4, Volume 2 somewhere else for about thirty cents cheaper)—the One Step Beyond: The Official First Season was also priced at that amount but I decided to take a pass on that.  And even though Seasons 9 and 10 of Hawaii Five-O and Perry Mason: Season 5, Volume 2 were sale priced…at $29.99 that’s still a little more than what I’d like to pay, so I left those alone.  Other classic TV series that you’ll find marked down over at DVD Empire (in case you’re working on completing a collection) include The Andy Griffith Show, The Beverly Hillbillies, Bonanza, Gomer Pyle, USMC, Hogan's Heroes, The Honeymooners, I Love Lucy, The Lucy Show, Mission: Impossible, My Three Sons, The Odd Couple and Petticoat Junction.

I also put in some pre-orders at my favorite online DVD store, DVD Pacific, because they generally have the best pre-order prices and because they’re based out of Florida they ship relatively fast here to the Peach State.  I had originally planned to purchase the first season of Dennis the Menace at but the Pacific has it for $18.15 as compared to Amazon’s $20.99.  DVD Pacific also has the best price I’ve found for the VCI release of the 1945 cliffhanger Brenda Starr, Reporter ($11.20) but that item has been backordered.

Well, enough anecdotes about all the money I spent—why not tempt the TDOY faithful with upcoming TV-on-DVD releases?  The biggest news, courtesy of, is that all that pissing and moaning and whining I’ve done for the past four years about Sony’s refusal to move any further season sets of the classic situation comedy Hazel has gained a sympathetic ear at Shout! Factory, who apparently will bring the second season of the Emmy Award-winning show (the Emmys going to, of course, star Shirley Booth) to DVD sometime this year…the production details and street date have yet to be announced but Shout producer Brian Ward has assured fans that “you will be able to hold S2 of Hazel in your hands sometime in 2011.”  I haven’t been exactly keeping score but this marks the second occasion here at TDOY where the Factory has come to the rescue in stalled TV-on-DVD situations—the only other one that immediately comes to mind was their application of the paddles to the 1960s version of Dragnet (the fourth and final season of which will come to DVD on April 12…and thankfully, no Shout! Select assistance was required).  For my next project, I will try to get Shout on board to finish up The Flying Nun.

While I’m on the subject of Shout! Factory, the company has also announced that the ninth (and final) season of All in the Family will be released this May 17th, effectively finishing up the long-running landmark TV sitcom.  As to whether there’ll be further releases of Family’s spin-off show, Archie Bunker’s Place, that is still up in the air—Sony released the first season in 2006 but put the kibosh on the rest of Place’s run and though it’s been speculated that the Factory might pick up the baton (as they did with Family, since Sony only made it to the first six seasons before calling it a day) the company has no plans to do so at press time.

Shout will, however, be releasing the fifth season of the TV crime drama Ironside on the same day as the All in the Family release (May 17)…but as I’ve mentioned here before, the Ironside season sets have been relegated to the company’s odious Select program.  Ditto with the sixth (and final) season of Father Knows Best, though the street date on that release is April 19th…and since I already made the commitment to seasons 1-5 I guess I should try and grab it for completist’s sake.

I had sort of promised myself that I’d look into investing in Timeless Media Group’s season-by-season sets of the classic TV oaters The Virginian and Wagon Train…but since both of these programs are afternoon staples on Encore Westerns (and because I have a DVD recorder and am not afraid to use it) I’ve put off any potential purchases.  Be that as it may, the third season of Wagon Train and the fourth season of The Virginian are scheduled to be released on the same date, May 17.

As a sidebar, the second season Wagon Train repeats are now in the Encore Westerns rotation and I was not aware (because most of the episodes I’ve seen are from the later years) that there was actually a Wagon Train theme song.  Honest to my grandma, I’m not making this up:

Roll along...Wagon Train

Rollin' over prairie where there ain't no grass
Rollin' over mountain where there ain't no pass
Sittin' on a board
Eyein' the weather
Prayin' to the Lord
We stay together
Side by side on the Wagon Train

Wagon Train...Roll along

Pickin' up a passenger in every town
Wonderin' if he's ever gonna shoot you down
Lookin for a pal
Ain't it a pity
Lookin' for a gal
Needn't be pretty
If she'll ride on the Wagon Train

Wagons ho
Gotta keep 'em on the run
Time to go
And follow the sun

Roll along...Wagon Train

Never had a cabin near a gen'ral store
Only had a wagon and a .44
Sittin' on a board
Eyein' the weather
Prayin' to the Lord
We stay together
Side by side on the Wagon Train

I particularly like the bit in the song where a woman need not be a looker in order to qualify for safe passage with Major Adams and Company.  That’s real progressive thinking. also has a heads-up that Timeless has inked a deal with Gene Autry Entertainment to start releasing the singing cowboy’s TV series The Gene Autry Show (all ninety-one episodes) in season sets.  The series, which originally ran in primetime on the CBS television network from 1950-56 (and on Saturday mornings for a good while afterward), was also a staple of Encore Westerns programming but the cable channel is mostly showing Autry’s theatrical feature films as of this post.

For those of you who aren’t starting to get sick at the sight of Betty White you’ll be interested in hearing that Timeless will be releasing a 2-DVD "Best of" set of shows from her 1957-58 sitcom, Date With the Angels.  The collection will contain twelve episodes of the series that starred White as housewife Vicki Angel and Bill Williams as her insurance salesman hubby Gus; also featured on the show were such character greats as Natalie “Candy Matson” Masters, Maudie “Rosie” Prickett, Gage “Mr. Botkin” Clark, Burt “Gus the Fireman” Mustin, Richard “Mel Cooley” Deacon and Jimmy “Howard Meechim“ Boyd.

RHI Entertainment/Vivendi Entertainment had originally announced plans to release single-disc releases of the previously-issued (in 2008) Little Rascals: The Complete Collection (1929-1938) box set that contains all of the sound Our Gang shorts produced at Hal Roach (before Roach sold his Rascals to M-G-M).  The first two, Volumes 1 and 2, have seen their release date pushed back to June 14th but apparently the company is going to release a total of seven single-disc releases on that same date (Volume 3, Volume 4, etc.).  They’re priced at at $7.93 and while TSOD makes the case that it’s cheaper to buy the entire set (the single-disc releases are primarily for the casual collector) I keep hearing that these new single-disc releases feature prints with the corrected credits (not the ones with the Blackhawk titles).  So I will research this a bit further and let you know.

Finally, after years of being off the radar (its first season was released by Universal in 2005) the NBC Sunday Night Mystery Movie series McMillan & Wife was jump-started on DVD last August 2010 with a VEI release (produced in the land of Our Neighbor to the North) that was, of course, obtainable here in the States if you didn’t mind paying a slightly inflated tariff for it.  VEI is planning to release the third season of the Rock Hudson-Susan Saint James mystery-comedy series in the good ol’ USA on June 7 (its Canadian debut was March 8), and the word on the street is that the second season will also be made available here on that very same date.  Continuing in the Mystery Movie vein, the 1973-74 series The Snoop Sisters—which will be released in Canada by VEI next March 15th—will see a south-of-the-border version released at the same time as Seasons 2 & 3 of McMillan.

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Chris Riesbeck said...

Re Date with the Angels: it's actually a 2-DVD set with 5 hours of shows. Having been impressed with several episodes I've watched of White's Life with Elizabeth, I'll probably get this.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

Re Date with the Angels: it's actually a 2-DVD set with 5 hours of shows.

...and that's what happens when I don't take my spectacles off my forehead. Noted and corrected.

ClassicBecky said...

Have gun, will travel reads the card of a man...
A knight without armour in a savage land..

I can still sing that song. I loved Paladin. I didn't know until I was in my late teens that a paladin was one of a group of Charlemagne's heroic knights. When I was a kid, I thought that was his name. Very fun post about some shows I would love to see again. By the way, I've been watching One Step Beyond on Hulu. I loved that show. They have a ton of episodes. However, as for Dennis the Menace -- I'll take a pass on that one!

Peggy said...

Ivan, thanks for the info about the DVD release of Betty White's sitcom, Date With The Angels. I, for one, have never tired of Betty White. For the life of me, I do not remember this sitcom. I see by the Wikipedia TV schedule of 1957/58, Date With The Angels was on ABC opposite The Thin Man. If this is correct, I know my parents had me watching NBC (M Squad & The Thin Man), thus missing Betty's show.....a situation I will remedy by purchasing said DVD!!!

Linda said...

OMG! OMG! THE SNOOP SISTERS on DVD? Glory be! (Now if they would do FARADAY AND COMPANY I would be semi-content.

Linda said...

Okay, I've pre-ordered SNOOP SISTERS...interesting because Amazon US says release is tomorrow despite news that US DVD release is June 7. We'llllllll see...