Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Do not attempt to adjust your blog

Because I very much wanted to watch the conclusion of the Ken Burns documentary The Dust Bowl last night on public television, I made the decision to postpone this week’s Mayberry Mondays feature…and for that, I apologize.  My plans to start working on it Sunday came to a grinding halt when my favorite nephew came over for a little while to amuse the ‘rents and myself…and then when I went back to it Monday morning a few distractions (multiple errands trips, mostly) pretty much signaled that it just wasn’t going to get done.

I’ve also been a little slack on the TV-on-DVD announcements of late, so I thought I’d take care of that with this post.  The good folks at Timeless Factory Video (the blog’s pet name for the merger between Timeless Media and Shout! Factory) have announced that they’ll be continuing their Wagon Train and The Virginian releases in 2013, with the sixth season of Train due out in March (the release date has yet to be finalized) and season number seven of Virginian scheduled for February 5th.  If you get INSP on your cable system, you’re probably aware that the family-religious channel added The Virginian to their program lineup in the fall…and in honor of this acquisition, they held a contest in which they gave away DVD copies of seasons 1-6 plus the ninth season, The Men from Shiloh, to one lucky winner.

Suffice it to say, I was not that winner—but here’s the interesting part.  They actually e-mailed me to inform me I was not the winner.  And it wasn’t a “nyaah nyaah, you loser” missive, it was simply a nicely-expressed regret that I didn’t win.  I don’t think I’ve ever had that courtesy extended to me before.  The e-mail also informed me that they were holding another giveaway, in which the prize of all nine seasons of The Waltons would be awarded to a lucky person.  I didn’t win that one, either—and once again, they graciously informed me as such.  The latest contest offers a chance to win all those Matlock DVDs that have been released (since INSP has started showing the Andy Griffith legal drama in the mornings), and because I entered that one I expect to get another “sorry you lost, old sock” e-mail soon.

In other TV oater news, CBS DVD-Paramount will release the second volume of its seventh season of Gunsmoke on the same day Timeless/Shout! is having the Shiloh ranch hands saddle up (February 5).  It’s a five-disc collection containing the remaining seventeen episodes from the western series’ first hour-long season, but the TVShowsOnDVD.com announcement doesn’t mention any pricing (my guess is it will be the same as Volume 1, which will be released December 11).  A week later (February 12), the company brings out Season 5 of Bonanza in two volumes…or you can purchase both at the same time in a shrinkwrapped bundle.  Volume 1 contains the first eighteen episodes from season cinco; volume 2 the remaining sixteen.

Also hitting the trail is the long-awaited second season of The Life and Times of Wyatt Earp, which Inception Media will finally make available for fans of the 1955-61 Hugh O’Brien series on March 12th.  The five-disc set, which has a $24.98 SRP price, will contain all thirty-nine episodes of the program’s sophomore year.  A meaner person might point out that Earp devotees have been waiting since 2009 for this to get released…so I’m glad I didn’t disappoint you.

In their recently released Blu-ray box set Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection, Universal Home Video included a flyer that according to TSOD hints very strongly about a sixth season release of Alfred Hitchcock Presents “coming soon.”  Very encouraging news.  And for those of you who ponied up the scratch for CBS-Paramount’s The Fugitive: The Complete Series (The Most Wanted Edition), TSOD has information about how to replace the defective discs that have apparently plagued a few consumers.  (I’m not saying a word.)

Our “I can’t believe they’re releasing that to DVD” prize this week goes to Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, who have announced that they will be releasing to MOD (manufactured on demand) the 1972-73 sitcom Bridget Loves Bernie on December 4th, in a five-disc set (priced at $39.99 SRP) and containing all twenty-four episodes.  For those of you too young to remember the show, Bridget Loves Bernie’s premise had an Irish Catholic teacher (Meredith Baxter) married to a Jewish cab driver (David Birney), with the plots stemming from the culture clash between Bridge’s wealthy parents (David Doyle, Audra Lindley) and Bernie’s not-quite-so-wealthy folks (Harold J. Stone, Bibi Osterwald).  Ned Glass was also a series regular (as Bernie’s Uncle Moe), as was Robert Sampson, who played the priest brother of Bridget.

Bridget Loves Bernie caused a great deal of controversy during its original broadcast run, mostly from viewers who objected to the inter-religious marriage, and CBS yanked the show after one season…despite the fact that it ranked #5 in the Nielsens (well, it was sandwiched between All in the Family and Mary Tyler Moore—you kinda have to expect that).  It was really much ado about nothing (and hardly original—there had been a radio sitcom, Abie’s Irish Rose, with practically the same premise) and I remember that my parents were quite fond of it in their regular network watching days.  Hell, the show was created by Bernard Slade, who brought such hot-button shows as The Flying Nun and The Partridge Family to the boob tube: how bad could it have been?  Okay, don't answer that...nevertheless, you’ll soon get a chance to find out for yourself.

In other MOD news, the Warner Archive has recently released a pair of sets that may be of interest to my fellow couch potatoes.  October 23 saw the introduction of Alice: The Complete Second Season, a 3-disc set (priced at $29.95) containing all twenty-four episodes of the Linda Lavin sitcom (based on the 1974 film Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore) that ran on CBS from 1976 to 1985…though it seemed a lot longer.  I probably don’t have much room to poke fun at that, since I did watch the show (but then again, I did a lot of things in my youth of which I’m not particularly proud) but when I purchased Warner Home Video’s “Television Favorites” disc of Alice in 2006 (a single disc collection containing six episodes) and watched it, I sort of wondered out loud: “Man, I really had a lot of free time on my hands back then, huh?”  Well, I don’t say this to disparage fans of the series from buying it—I think it was Jaime Weinman who once observed that every TV show deserved to have its day in the digital versatile disc sun.

Also just released from the Archive (last week on November 13, as a matter of fact) was Hawkins: The Complete TV Movie Collection, a 4–disc set containing all eight episodes of the 1973-74 legal drama starring James Stewart.  Hawkins’ short run is explained by the fact that it was one of two features (the other was a TV version of Shaft, which has already been released by Warner Archive) that alternated on CBS’ The New Tuesday Night Movies.  Despite favorable critical buzz (the show was kind of a precursor to Matlock) and a Golden Globe Award (for Best Actor in a Television Drama Series) for Jimmy, Hawkins never really caught on with viewers in the same fashion as The NBC Mystery Movie franchise.  (The fact that it alternated with Shaft, with both series kind of serving two sets of audiences, may have had something to do with that.)

The Archive also released on that same day (November 13) the second season of the 1977-81 family comedy-drama Eight is Enough…and because split-season sets are the gifts that keep on giving, he said in his usual smartass fashion, Eight’s sophomore year is available in Volume 1 (with 14 episodes) and 2 (the remaining 12).  Both volume are priced at $29.95 SRP each, but you can save a little scratch if you buy both of them Bonanza-style (that will only run you $49.95 SRP).

Lou Lumenick has posted an interview with Warner Home Video’s George Feltenstein at his column at the New York Post; the company is getting ready to introduce a MOD Blu-ray line of products.  He also mentions that the company has updated prints of The Greatest Cable Channel Known to Mankind™ library acquisitions like Skyscraper Souls and The Falcon in Hollywood, so they will hopefully be making their way to MOD DVD soon.  But here’s the part that perked up my ears:

“We get a lot of requests for the Dr. Kildare TV series with Richard Chamberlain, but we could never clear the music because we couldn't find the cue sheets,'' Feltenstein says. “Now we have, and it will probably be out next year -- along with all of the Dr. Kildare movies, of course.”

A TDOY reader in Dallas, TX e-mailed me back in March 2009 to see if I had a source for the Dr. Kildare shows but I wasn’t able to be of much help.  So maybe this will be the answer after her nearly three-year wait.

The last of the Warner Archive announcements is a future one…and it also falls into our cold cereal and footy pajamas department.  The company will release to MOD the Saturday morning oddity Korg: 70,000 B.C.  The ABC series, which depicted the life of a Neanderthal family in the titular time frame, was a live-action entry produced by TV animation monarchs Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera and lasted for 16 episodes in 1974.  The show was originally telecast on Saturday morning…but yours truly saw it on Sundays, and found it pretty boring despite being narrated by Burgess “Penguin” Meredith—I think the only reason I had it on was because I was waiting for Rocky & Bullwinkle.  But, if you’re interested, The Complete Series will be released on December 11th.

In other Saturday morning DVD news, there’s now a finalized date for The Jackson 5ive: The Complete Animated Series: it’s scheduled to be released on January 15th, and will be available as a 2-disc set priced at $32.99 SRP.  (It is also being made in a Blu-ray version, too.)  Apparently bad animation does not come cheap.  I’m a little more excited about this news: Mill Creek Entertainment’s Fury: The Lost Episodes collection, which is scheduled out on January 8thFury (also known as Brave Stallion) was a children’s series that aired on NBC from 1955-60 and was the vehicle that Peter Graves was best known for before he got his weekly tape recorder assignments on Mission: Impossible.  Most of the collections of the show on this side of the pond contain the five installments that are in the public domain; Network DVD over in the UK has a larger collection and my friend Linda has mentioned to me that the entire series is available from a German company.  But my many years of underemployment have not provided me with the necessary deutschmarks to pay for a collection that size, so I’m going to stick with Mill Creek’s release that contains a total of twenty-three episodes (eighteen new to DVD here in the USA).  With a SRP of $9.98 for a three disc set, I think that will serve my Fury needs for the time being.  (I’m not sure putting the show’s familiar opening: “The story of a horse…and the boy who loves him!” on the cover is such a good idea, though.)

A few other brief announcements before the music plays us out:

The other “playa” in the MOD game, Sony Pictures Choice Collection, will bring the 1985 reunion telemovie I Dream of Jeannie: 15 Years Later to DVD on January 1st…though the price on this is MIA.  The fact that they couldn’t get Larry Hagman in on this one will kind of give you an idea of what to expect; I watched it when it first aired (I’m a masochist, what can I say) and found it a disappointing experience even though it was great to see Hayden Rorke one last time.  Caveat emptor.

Timeless Shout Video has also announced the upcoming release of a box set entitled The Loretta Young Show: The Best of the Complete Series, 100th Birthday Editionwhich will hit the streets on February 12th.  It’s a 17-disc set (here a pre-order listing at Amazon.com), but the TSOD announcement doesn’t mention how many episodes it will contain; the long running anthology series (1953-61) has already seen two previous season releases (season one in 2006, season two in 2007) and a “best of” seasons three and four in 2010…so I’m a little concerned this might just be a repackaging, I just don’t have all the available info.

Legendary Entertainment Alliance and distributor eOne Entertainment will be releasing a single-disc of telecasts, First Performances: Volume 1, from TV’s The Garry Moore Show on January 15th of the New YearTSOD says the DVD contains 240 minutes of material, which would seem to suggest that there will be four shows in all—featuring the TV debut of Barbra Streisand, moments from Broadway legends Ethel Merman and Dorothy Loudon…and according to the press release, “the launch of one of Carol Burnett's most memorable characters: the "frumpy" washerwoman!”  Sounds like a nice way to collect some of these shows without having to go the Carol Burnett Collection route; the DVD is priced at $14.98 SRP.

Okay, I hope to have some additional stuff up this week…but this will kind of give you an idea of how I’m occupying my time—I bought the Classic Media box set Underdog: The Complete Series from an Amazon Marketplace dealer a week or so back, and kind of fell down laughing when I saw this:

Looks like a bit of editorializing, from the position of the eyes.  Well...a Goldwater supporter is a Goldwater supporter, so as they used to say on Underdog: “Looks like this is the end!”


Kurt Burgess said...

BRIDGET AND BERNIE starred David Birney, not the comedian, David Steinberg. His female costar a bit later became his wife, Meredith Baxter-Birney.

Brent McKee said...

Ooooh what you said!!! Everyone knows that Bernie on "Bridget Loves Bernie" was not played by David STEINBERG, but rather by David BIRNEY. They married in 1974 (although they'd been dating - and probably sleeping together - while the show was on the air) and divorced in 1989.

I remember loving "Hawkins" which appeared the year after Jimmy Stewart's comedy series came and went. The show also featured the great character actor Strother Martin as Billy Jim Hawkins's cousin and chief investigator R.J. on more episodes than IMDB says.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

BRIDGET AND BERNIE starred David Birney, not the comedian, David Steinberg.

Whoops...major fox paw on my part. Duly noted and corrected, and I promise not to operate the blog while impaired in the future.

ClassicBecky said...

Dr. Kildare! I was madly in love with him when that show was on...I had never seen a doctor like that, and actually never have. I sort of went into mourning when I found that Dr. Kildare would have been more interested in my brother than in me ... *lots of sniffing and crying*. I would LOVE to have those episodes!