HTF Review: Gunsmoke 50th Anniversary Volume 1 and Volume 2

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by PatWahlquist, Dec 31, 2005.

  1. Jeff#

    Jeff# Screenwriter

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    That's not true, Steve-O...WTXF -- Channel 29 in Philadelhpia had the rights to air remastered and COMPLETE versions of Hawaii Five-O, which they reran in the mid 1990s. That also included all of the 2 parters (including 2 hour season premieres re-edited into 2 shows) and a 3 parter "V for Vashon" trilogy. They were all syndicated that way. However, some stations just chose to butcher them to allow for more commercial time (such as then-nationwide superstation WWOR, Channel 9 in Secaucus, NJ).

    The ones I saw and recorded off-air (on 71 VHS tapes!) were definitely uncut and were about 49 or 50 minutes, aired with limited commercial interruption in a modern era.
     
  2. Jeff*H

    Jeff*H Supporting Actor

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    Actually, you're both right.

    Five-0 through most of the 80s (airing on WOR and other stations) was broadcast with grainy, faded film prints, and only 200 of the 284 episodes were in the syndicated package. Around 1987, the shows were re-done with video transfers instead of the grainy film prints, still with their complete run-times, and the quality looked noticeably better. Additionally, the remaining 84 or so episodes were released, including all of the 2-parters. These aired on stations including WOR well into the 90s.
    In 1997, Paramount and Family Channel worked together to created re-mastered prints. They cut the episodes down to 45 minutes or less, so while they looked gorgeous, they were much shorter and had additional commercial breaks added. They also only remastered 175 of the 284 shows, hence 109 episodes are not included in the package. After the Family Channel ran them, they were put into syndication for cable and local stations to run, same format that is currently running on the few local stations today. The original 284 package from 1987 is no longer available to stations anymore, but some stations ran this set as they finished their existing licensing deals from pre-1997 while other stations ran the 175 remastered set.
    I was fortunate to have recorded the 284 set, but would still love to buy a DVD release of the series in any form (season sets, best of's, etc.) It's sad,though, that most of the regulars have passed away before any supplemental material could be produced.
     
  3. Dan McW

    Dan McW Second Unit

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    I'm jealous of you guys who had local stations running uncut Five-0's!

    On a visit to my brother's, I recorded a couple of uncut Five-0s off of WAXN in Charlotte, N.C., which used to run the smaller package of episodes not normally seen in syndication. One of the episodes I taped was Chin Ho's finale, "A Death in the Family," which ran 50-plus minutes and was complete with all the waves at the end of acts 1-3 and a bottom-of-the-hour bumper featuring the outrigger dudes from the end credits. I hadn't seen that bumper since I was a kid when the show originally aired, although I think I have seen the older bumper (featuring the show title scrolling out of the clouds over the ocean) in syndication since then.

    Regarding Shatner, my friends and I don't watch him because he's a Star Trek veteran but because we want to see the hamminess (that's one way to describe it) of his non-Trek acting or to see what toupee or fake mustache he'll turn up with. To know what I mean, see "Impulse" (1974), "Pray for the Wildcats" or "The Devil's Rain," among countless examples.

    One-hour Gunsmokes I would have liked to have seen on the set: "Seven Hours to Dawn" (w/John Drew Barrymore), "The River" (2-parter w/Slim Pickens), "Island in the Desert" (2-parter with Strother Martin), "The Mission" (w/Warren Oates), "Marry Me" (w/Oates and Don Dubbins) and Quint-Cident (w/Ben Johnson). "Seven Hours" was the first episode to air that credited the principal supporting-cast members at the beginning (after the prologue), after they had been relegated to the end titles for the first 10 seasons.
     
  4. Dave Scarpa

    Dave Scarpa Producer

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    Boy was Warren Oates a.k.a. Sgt. Hulka a good Western Guest Star or what. He's in Everything. Still Have'nt got my Gunsmoke Yet, it's in Deep Discount DVD Limbo.
     
  5. Dan McW

    Dan McW Second Unit

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    Oates and the great Strother Martin are in one hourlong b/w Gunsmoke together, "The Do-Badder." Seems like they have to sleep under a wagon together at one point! I don't have my Encore Westerns tape of it handy, but I could have sworn that Oates and Robert Blake were in a good episode near the end of the b/w eps. IMDb and epguides.com aren't helping me out on this one, though, unless it's in my imagination.

    Oates gave a classic performance in an episode of The Big Valley, "The Murdered Party," that ran on Encore Westerns on New Year's Day. It's due to be repeated this Friday evening/Saturday morning. Oates' range just in making facial expressions, with that unique mug and grin, made the episode worth watching.
     
  6. Charles Ellis

    Charles Ellis Screenwriter

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    Warren Oates was a vastly underrated actor- I was lucky enough to see him on the big screen in Dillinger when I was a kid, and he left this world far too soon. Marry Me was indeed one of the better B/W hours- a great episode for Amanda Blake. It was remade in the last season under a different title (The Wiving, with Harry Morgan as the father), but of course it lacked the charm of the original- after all, there was no Kitty Russell in the remake!
     
  7. Jeff#

    Jeff# Screenwriter

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    The best Strother Martin episode from the black & white years was "No Hands". That guy gets his hands crushed and later in the story is left to die....but the old man and his sons who committed those crimes actually get away with it because Dillon has no evidence or witnesses whatsoever!! Matt has no choice but to let the outlaws go on their way. Type about a character who has more bad luck than that fellow. [​IMG]

    Part of what made GUNSMOKE so special, is that there weren't always happy or convenient endings. So aside from obvious censorship and being in black & white for its first 11 years, the reality of the show shined through -- high and above a number of other series that were contemporary to GUNSMOKE throughout several eras.
     
  8. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    Wby the slam on black & white? I always thought the stark black & white photography of the first half of the show's run always benifitted the atmosphere, much like "Twilight Zone" and "Alfred Hitchcock Presents"
     
  9. Dave Scarpa

    Dave Scarpa Producer

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    Or any other western for that matter I would'nt Have "Have Gun Will Travel " in color for anything.
     
  10. Jeff#

    Jeff# Screenwriter

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    I wasn't putting GUNSMOKE or any show down for being in black & white! I watch & enjoy my fair share of black & white shows -- not as much lately, but I've seen a lot of them and have a lot in my DVD collection. The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and Naked City are three of my favorites.

    What I was pointing out was that the world we live in was always in color and censorship doesn't exist in everyday life (except when we censor ourselves). GUNSMOKE was limited in those 2 regards for more than half of its time on television, which is understandable. An "R" rated feature film western would be far more realistic by comparison....but not as well written, directed, or acted as GUNSMOKE was.

    Why am I even explaining this? [​IMG]
     
  11. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    I'm sorry, I don't mean to harp on this. I just don't understand the concept that color photography is more "realistic" that black and white. That's like saying color movies aren't realistic because they are not in 3-D, after all "real life" is in 3-D (unless you have only one eye).
     
  12. Jeff#

    Jeff# Screenwriter

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    I wasn't referring to b & w Vs. color photography at all....
    Read my post again and try to figure it out. It's very simple. [​IMG]
     
  13. Dave Scarpa

    Dave Scarpa Producer

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    Ok After watching a Few of these I have to Ask, What the Hell Happened to Kitty ????? Her transformation over the episodes on these disks (Granted it's 18 Years) is quite shocking. Well actually the First ten years was pretty shocking. I have a New appreciation For Marshall Dillion staying a Bachelor.
     

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