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    Maverick: The Complete Season Three DVD Review

    DVD Warner TV Reviews

    Oct 16 2013 09:09 PM | Richard Gallagher in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
    With the release of Maverick: The Complete Third Season Warner Brothers has shifted the distribution of the program to the Warner Archive. The good news is that Warner has announced that it intends to release all five season of the show, and early purchasers are able, for the time being, to get Season Three on pressed DVDs (presumably Season Three will be sold on an "on demand" basis in DVD-R format once the supply of pressed DVDs is exhausted). The bad news is that the price has gone up. The list price for each of the first two seasons of Maverick was $39.98; the Warner Archive price is $49.95, which is on a par with other recent Warner Archive television shows such as The FBI, Harry-O, and Nichols. And, as others have pointed out, a full season of Maverick still costs less than a full season of CBS/Paramount shows such as Rawhide and Perry Mason.

    Title Info:

    • Studio: Warner Brothers
    • Distributed By: Other
    • Video Resolution: 480I/MPEG-2
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
    • Audio: English 1.0 DD (Mono)
    • Subtitles: None
    • Rating: Not Rated
    • Run Time: 21 Hr. 40 Min. (approximately)
    • Package Includes: DVD
    • Case Type: Flipper DVD Keep Case
    • Disc Type: DVD-9 (dual layer)
    • Region: A
    • Release Date: 10/08/2013
    • MSRP: $49.95

    The Production Rating: 4.5/5

    Maverick, the classic television Western series which stars James Garner and Jack Kelly, ended its second season on a high note. During its second season Maverick had the sixth-highest ratings of all prime time television programs, trailing only Gunsmoke, Wagon Train, Have Gun Will Travel, The Rifleman, and The Danny Thomas Show. However, behind the scenes there was trouble on the horizon. Series creator/producer/writer Roy Huggins left the show after the second season, citing exhaustion. He also was frustrated by the fact that Warner Brothers did not give him the credit he deserved for the show's success. When Huggins left, so did many of the show's best writers. These changes undoubtedly contributed to the fact that over the course of Season Three Maverick lost roughly 17% of its Season Two audience, dropping to no. 19 in the ratings. Nevertheless, Season Three has many fine episodes and is notable as the last full season of Maverick in which James Garner plays Bret Maverick (he appears in just one Season Four episode).

    For the initiated, Bret Maverick (James Garner) and Bart Maverick (Jack Kelly) are poker-playing brothers who roam the West looking for gambling action. Although both of them are handy with a gun, they prefer to use their wits to get out of the scrapes in which they invariably get involved. Their code of conduct is largely shaped by the aphorisms which they learned from their father, "Pappy" Maverick. An example of Pappy's wisdom is "Work is fine for killing time, but it's a shaky way to make a living."

    During Season Three Maverick continued to attract well-known directors and guest stars. Among the directors who worked on the show are Arthur Lubin, George Waggner, Lew Landers, Andre DeToth, and Richard Bare. Guest stars in Season Three include such luminaries as Robert Redford, Troy Donahue, Buddy Ebsen, and Joel Grey,

    The following is a list of the 26 Season Three episodes of Maverick. The list will enable readers to separate the "Bret" episodes and the "Bart" episodes, and also identifies most of the prominent guest stars.

    1. Pappy
    Original Air Date: September 13, 1959
    James Garner (in a dual role as Bret and Pappy), Jack Kelly, Adam West, Henry Daniell, Troy Donahue,
    Virginia Gregg (Jack Kelly also makes a brief dual appearance as Uncle Bentley Maverick)

    2. Royal Four-Flush
    Original Air Date: September 20, 1959
    Jack Kelly, Roxane Berard, Roberta Shore

    3. The Sheriff of Duck 'n' Shoot
    Original Air Date: Septembers 27, 1959
    James Garner, Peggy McCay, Chubby Johnson

    4. You Can't Beat the Percentage
    Original Air Date: October 4, 1959
    Jack Kelly, Gerald Mohr, Karen Steele

    5. The Cats of Paradise
    Original Air Date: October 11, 1959
    Jack Kelly, Buddy Ebsen, Mona Freeman, Richard Deacon

    6. A Tale of Three Cities
    Original Air Date: October 18, 1959
    Jack Kelly, Patricia Crowley, Ben Gage

    7. Full House
    Original Air Date: October 25, 1959
    Jack Kelly, Joel Grey, Gregory Walcott, Gordon Jones (Nancy
    Kulp has a small role as a waitress)

    8. The Lass With the Poisonous Air
    Original Air Date: November 1, 1959
    Jack Kelly, Joanna Moore, Stacy Keach

    9. The Ghost Soldiers
    Original Air Date: November 8, 1959
    James Garner

    10. Easy Mark
    Original Air Date: November 15, 1959
    Jack Kelly, Edgar Buchanan, Nita Talbot, Pippa Scott

    11. A Fellow's Brother (aka The Code)
    Original Air Date: November 22, 1959
    James Garner, Diane McBain, Gary Vinson, Adam West

    12. Trooper Maverick
    Original Air Date: November 29, 1959
    Jack Kelly, Suzanne Lloyd, Myron Healey

    13. Maverick Springs
    Original Air Date: December 6, 1959
    James Garner, Kathleen Crowley, King Donovan, Doris Packer

    14. The Goose Drownder
    Original Air Date: December 13, 1959
    Jack Kelly, Roger Moore, Fay Spain

    15. A Cure For Johnny Rain
    Original Air Date: December 20, 1959
    James Garner, William Reynolds, John Vivyan

    16. The Marquesa
    Original Air Date: January 3, 1960
    Jack Kelly, Adele Mara, Jay Novello

    17. The Cruise of the Cynthia B
    Original Air Date: January 10, 1960
    James Garner, Mona Freeman

    18. Maverick and Juliet
    Original Air Date: January 17, 1960
    James Garner, Jack Kelly, Carole Wells

    19. The White Widow
    Original Air Date: January 24, 1960
    Jack Kelly, Julie Adams, Richard Webb

    20. Guatemala City
    Original Air Date: January 31, 1960
    James Garner, Patric Knowles

    21. The People's Friend
    Original Air Date: February 7, 1960
    Jack Kelly, Merry Anders, R.G. Armstrong, John Litel.

    22. A Flock of Terror
    Original Air Date: February 14, 1960
    James Garner, Myrna Fahey

    23. The Iron Hand
    Original Air Date: February 21, 1960
    Jack Kelly, Susan Morrow, Robert Redford

    24. The Resurrection of Joe November
    Original Air Date: February 28, 1960
    James Garner, Nita Talbot, Joanna Barnes

    25. The Misfortune Teller
    Original Air Date: March 6, 1960
    James Garner, Kathleen Crowley, Ben Gage, Alan Mowbray

    26. Greenbacks, Unlimited
    Original Air Date: March 13, 1960
    James Garner, John Dehner

    Each episode has a running time of approximately 50 minutes.

    Although James Garner technically left Maverick at the end of Season Three, as noted he does appear in one Season Four episode, "The Maverick Line," which was filmed just prior to the commencement of Garner's contract dispute with Warner Brothers. The Writer's Guild of America went on strike in January, 1960 and once "The Maverick Line" was completed Warner Brothers claimed to have no more scripts to produce. The studio decided to save some money by invoking a "hampered production" clause in its contracts with the show's stars, and James Garner and Jack Kelly were suspended without pay. Garner, who by this time had established himself in feature films, responded by informing Warner Brothers that he considered that his contract had been terminated due to the suspension. The studio sued Garner for breach of contract and he counter-sued. While the dispute was mired in litigation, Season Four went into production without the show's star performer, and of course he never came back.

    Fans of Maverick will find much to enjoy in Season Three and this set comes highly recommended. I have been advised that purchasers can be assured of receiving pressed DVDs as long as it appears on Warner Archive's list of replicated discs.

    An Amazon link is included at the end of this review, but at the moment Amazon is charging $59.95 for the set and there is no assurance that purchasing through Amazon will get you pressed discs.

    Video Rating: 3.5/5 3D Rating: NA

    The video of these 1.33:1 black and white episodes is on a par with Seasons One and Two, which is to say that they look very good indeed. I have not been able to watch the entirety of all 26 episodes, but I have sampled each and they demonstrate good sharpness, excellent contrast and fine shadow detail. I see no evidence of excessive compression or digital anomalies. There are some occasional minor speckles, but nothing which is distracting. Season Three is spread across six dual-layer DVDs. Discs One through Four each contain four episodes; Discs Five and Six contain five episodes each. The flipper case is space-friendly; it is half the width of the cases for Seasons One and Two, and there is no slipcase. The episode titles are listed on the discs rather than on a printed insert.

    Audio Rating: 1/5

    The Dolby Digital mono audio is satisfactory, and certainly as good as could be hoped for from a 55-year old television series. The dialogue is clear and understandable, and the audio is free of distortion. There are no subtitles, which is going to be a sticking point for some.

    Special Features: 0/5

    There are no extras with this set.

    Overall Rating: 4/5

    Fans of Maverick will be delighted that Warner has decided to continue the series, and for the time being Season Three is available as pressed discs. Season Three is the last full season in which James Garner appears, so this is a must-by, particularly for those who enjoy the character of Bret Maverick.

    Equipment used for this review:

    Panasonic DMP-BD50 Blu-ray player
    Panasonic Viera TC-P46G15 Plasma display, calibrated to THX specification by Gregg Loewen
    Yamaha HTR-5890 THX Surround Receiver
    BIC Acoustech speakers
    Interconnects: Monster Cable

    Reviewed by: Richard Gallagher
    Support HTF when you buy this title:


    It will be nice to finally have the complete series available on DVD.  I hope the studio does not wait too long to release seasons 4 and 5.

    Richard Gallagher
    Oct 17 2013 01:58 PM

    It's only been about six months since Season Two was released, so I'm optimistic that we'll have the full series by this time next year.

    You say, "Season Three is spread across six double-sided DVDs."  Do you mean six dual layer DVDs?

    Richard Gallagher
    Oct 17 2013 06:10 PM

    You say, "Season Three is spread across six double-sided DVDs."  Do you mean six dual layer DVDs?


    Yes, brain lock. Thanks for noticing and I will fix it.

    Kelly's appearance in "Pappy" is not a brief one.   He's a full-fledged co-star (he does however have a brief dual role at the end of the episode).

    Richard Gallagher
    Oct 18 2013 05:27 PM

    Kelly's appearance in "Pappy" is not a brief one.   He's a full-fledged co-star (he does however have a brief dual role at the end of the episode).



    Yes, you're correct. I meant to indicate that he appears briefly as Uncle Bentley at the end of the episode. Thanks and I will fix it.