Thursday, May 23, 2013

Cleaning out the inbox

I’ve got a few reminders, acknowledgements, plugs and TV-on-DVD announcements to make in this post…so let’s start with the first category, in which I gently jog your memory to tonight’s deadline at 11:59pm EDT for entering Thrilling Days of Yesteryear’s latest giveaway: a 10-CD set of the recently released Radio Spirits collection Dragnet: Crime to Punishment.  All you need to do to enter for a chance to win this spiffy set (valued at $39.98 SRP) is send me an e-mail at igsjrotr(at)gmail(dot)com with “Crime to Punishment” in the subject header…and tomorrow morning, I’ll draw a name at random and mail the prize to the lucky winner.  It’s that darn easy!

Last Saturday, you may recall that our semi-weekly excursion into the world that is Don Winslow of the Navy (1942) on Serial Saturdays was briefly derailed when I carelessly allowed my DVD copy to fall into a black hole somewhere in my bedroom.  I have not made much progress this week tidying up those environs…but now it appears I won’t have to.  Prince Barin, the proprietor of the late, lamented Hermitage Hill Media, read of my plight on these very pages and offered to send me a gratis replacement copy.  He is good people, ladies and gentlemen…no getting around it.  I received an e-mail earlier today that the replacement is on its way via USPS, so I want to thank His Majesty for his gracious gest…you!  In the back!  Put that tomato down or there will be trouble, my friend…

I also want to extend warm wishes to jennifromrollamo (try saying that with false teeth) at portraitsbyjenni, who was nice enough to bestow upon me a Super Sweet Bloggers Award.  I’m a little pressed for time, so I’m not going to be able to hunt down “a baker’s dozen” of blogs to pass this along to (particularly since one of my fellow recipients is My Love of Old Hollywood*, which should give you an indication that this thing is rigged) but there are some questions attached, so I thought we could have some fun:

Cookies or cake?  Both.  Oh, wait…this is an either/or question.  I’ll go with cake—my favorite is yellow cake with chocolate icing.

Chocolate or vanilla?  Chocolate.  Icing.

Favorite sweet treat?  Reese’s Pieces.

When do you crave sweet things the most?  When don’t I crave sweet things the most?—that’s what you should be asking me.

Sweet nickname?  My high school nickname was “Twinkie,” on account of my habit of frequently carrying the famed sponge cake with crème filling in my lunches.

I also received an e-mail from Grapevine Video today, announcing some of their new May releases…and though I have tried my darndest not to add any more DVD-age to the already starved-for-space Rancho Yesteryear I weakened and purchased a copy of The Ghost of St. Michael’s, a 1941 British comedy starring Will Hay.  I’ve already amassed all of the VCI Hay releases (thanks again to them for the freebies; they are simply wonderful to watch) and I just had to add this one to my collection.  But Grapevine is also offering up a reference book that I’m already salivating over: Past Humor, Present Laughter – Musings on the Comedy Film Industry 1910-1945: Volume One: Hal Roach.

The book is humorously referred to as “the world’s longest footnote”…and is written by a very good friend of TDOY, film historian Richard M. Roberts—who was extremely generous in a recent e-mail praising my contribution to the Mary Astor Blogathon (he, too, is also a Checkmate fan).  Anything you want to know about the “Lot of Fun,” as the Hal Roach Studios was known, will be in this book—co-authored by two other renowned experts on the subject of film comedy, Rob Farr and Joe Moore.  (Correction:  Messrs. Farr and Moore are co-researchers on the book...not co-authors.)  I’ve mentioned Richard a few times on the blog in the past; mostly in conjunction with his first-rate commentaries on the essential DVD collections Harry Langdon: Lost and Found and Becoming Charley Chase…and the not-quite-as-essential-but-still-worth-a-look-see Weiss-O-Rama set from VCI, which I talked about at the old Salon Blog digs until it was vaporized like Alderaan.  Richard is also one of the moderators—the capo de capo, so to speak—at the Silent Comedy Mafia bulletin boards, of which I am proud to be a member…and which you, too, are cordially invited to participate.  The focus is on silent and sound comedy…but topics like silent and sound non-comedies, classic TV, old-time radio and other bits of nostalgic interest are tossed about as well. posted an announcement on their website yesterday that made me giddy as a schoolgirl— has a pre-order listing up for a 29-disc collection entitled Naked City: The Complete Series.  The information on this is a bit sketchy; it’s being released by RLJ Entertainment (formerly Image Entertainment) and will contain all 138 episodes of the seminal 1960's crime drama—the thirty-nine half-hour shows from the inaugural 1958-59 season, and the remaining hour-long segments from 1960-63.  (There’s no release date set either—but you can pre-order it at Amazon here.)

Normally, news like this would make me a bit cranky—particularly since I invested in the sets previously issued from Image, and I’m normally loathe to “re-buy” anything.  But Naked City is such an outstanding TV series that I’m willing to bite a financial bullet on this one (plus I think if I shop around a bit I can find a better price)—the only question is when.  Still haven’t locked in the Dobie Gillis set yet, and the Warner Archive doesn’t help matters when they start singing their siren song (I bought three titles from their current Memorial Day promotion; including one I’ve been wanting for a long time, the 1932 pre-Code The Strange Love of Molly Louvain—*sigh*—how I do so love Ann Dvorak…).

TSOD also has a few blurbs that update the release dates and box art of Perry Mason: Season 9, Volume 2 (August 13), Gunsmoke: The Ninth Season (both volumes on August 6) and The Virginian: Season 8.  There’s also an announcement about the re-release of the fifth season of Combat! (In Color), due out August 13—I haven’t been able to suss out any additional information as to whether they’ve improved the quality on these show prints…it sounds as if RLJ has just wrapped them in prettier packaging.  There also seems to be an update on the date of release for the Warner Archive MOD set of Sugarfoot: The Complete First Season—according to a listing at Amazon it’s not due out until July 16th.

Finally, this week’s “I-can’t-believe-this-is-coming-to-DVD” award recipient is unquestionably the news that the 1961-63 syndicated adventure series Ripcord will be soon be available for your DVD edification on August 6 courtesy of Season 1 and Season 2 sets from TGG Direct—the same people who made sure seasons of Highway Patrol, Sea Hunt and Bat Masterson were available for a player near you.  The series starred Larry “Dash Riprock” Pennell and Ken “Festus Haggen” Curtis as a pair of skydivers often called upon to execute daring, death-defying rescues…though couch potatoes know that it was really their stuntmen that did the heavy lifting.  I don’t think I’ve ever watched an episode of the series so I can’t really tell you if it’s worth an investment or not (both sets are priced at $17.47 each at Amazon as of this writing, if you want to give them a flutter); I did mention the show in humorous passing during one of our Mayberry Mondays visits (“Howard’s Hobby”) in which Pennell teaches Howard “Grab-all-the-gusto” Sprague to skydive.

*I am, of course, being facetious about this.  My Love of Old Hollywood is a wonderful blog, and Page is one of my favorite classic movie people...even if she does go overboard with the Shirley Temple content at times.

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