THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW: SEASON FOUR No. of Episodes: 32. No. of Discs: 5 (Single-Sided; All "Region Free"). Aspect Ratio: Full Frame OAR (1.33:1). Audio: English only 2.0 Dolby Digital Mono. Color/B&W: Black-and-White. Subtitles: None. Closed Captioned?: No. MSRP: $69.99. Release Date: April 27, 2004. ------------------------------------------------ The Season Four boxed set of "The Dick Van Dyke Show" from Image Entertainment lives up to the excellence of its siblings -- smart and stylish in every respect. There are 32 splendiferous episodes on tap in this fourth-season DVD set (all "uncut", as originally aired in 1964-1965). Some of the many funny-bone-tickling episodes that await you in Season #4 include: "The Ghost Of A. Chantz", "4-And-A-Half", "Pink Pills And Purple Parents", "The Impractical Joke", "The Case Of The Pillow", and the hilarious "Never Bathe On Saturday", which features a distressed Laura Petrie getting her toe stuck in the bathtub (and also features one of my all-time favorite Rob-isms: "Don't toy with me, you saucy wench!"). Another Season-Four high spot (in a season full of high spots) in this boxed set is the episode "Pink Pills And Purple Parents", which has Laura Petrie acting very strangely when meeting Rob's parents for the first time (via one of the many flashbacks that were utilized during the series). MTM, once more, is a riot in this episode. By the way, that episode I just mentioned above ("Pink Pills And Purple Parents") is mis-titled on the DVD (on both the packaging and the on-screen menus). For some reason, the makers of these discs seem to think the episode is called "Pink Pills FOR Purple PATIENTS". But that is not the correct title for this very funny Van Dyke episode. The five-disc Season #4 DVD boxed set comes handsomely-boxed in comparable eye-appealing packaging to that of the previous boxed entries in the series from Image. The outer box looks like an old '60s television set, with a 3-D "motion" type insert card placed inside the "TV" on the box. Season 4's slipcase picture shows Laura Petrie (Mary Tyler Moore) struggling with the inflatable fishing boat that's contained in a package she "accidentally" opens in "The Curious Thing About Women" (which is an episode from Season 1). This particular "lenticular" insert isn't a "seamless" motion scene, however. It's two pieces of film put together -- you can see the background and furnishings are in different locations. The same thing can be seen in the Season-Two 3-D box cover as well (the "Walnuts In Closet" cover), with two different pieces of film actually seen. Individual slim-type ("ThinPak") cases house each of the set's five discs (with each disc displaying attractive disc art). Ample episode information is provided on the cover of each separate case (ep. numbers, air dates, film dates, synopsis, and chapter selections). Very nice cover art photos grace each of the five individual cases. The discs are "Region Free" (Region "Zero"). VIDEO ..... Like the Van Dyke season sets before it, Season 4 boasts of A-1, Grade-A type digital transfers. These black-and-white programs never looked so fine. You'll still run into an occasional bit of dirt and/or grainy image, but overall these shows look terrific on DVD! Very good detail is the result of the re-mastering and clean-up, with objects (and people) exhibiting a sharpness that you'll never see on any VHS release of the show. These shows are a joy to watch on DVD, again and again. AUDIO ..... Sound comes through clean and clear via each disc's quite acceptable 2.0 Dolby Digital Mono soundtrack. All supplemental materials are also presented in 2.0 DD Mono (although I think a couple of the newer (color) supplements might be in 2.0 Stereo). MENUS ..... An easy-to-navigate menu system is employed here. The Main Menu allows access to any of that disc's six (or seven) different episodes, with separate sub-menus offered for each program. Each sub-menu shows that program's Chapter Selection, plus an "Extras" area, which will take you to any applicable "Bonus" features for the episode in question. A "Play All" feature is also included. BONUS FEATURES ............................. >> Two episodes have audio commentary tracks by Dick Van Dyke and Carl Reiner ("Baby Fat" and "Never Bathe On Saturday"). "Baby Fat" has two separate commentaries, in fact -- one by Dick and Carl; and another track done by writer Garry Marshall. >> The complete, uncut CBS-TV documentary "The Dick Van Dyke Show Remembered" (from 1994). Many clips from this same program are used throughout the different boxed sets that Image has released. But here you can see the whole documentary all at once. Darn good program too. Running time -- 46:35. >> A clip from TV-Land's animated program, "The Alan Brady Show" (length: 1:15). >> Cast Photos and "Proofs", taken by actor Roddy McDowall (length: 0:48). This bonus kind of disappointed me. I was expecting more from this bonus. But it's still nice to have nonetheless. .... The short gallery here features mostly "filmstrip" pictures (with a few blown up) of on-the-set action from the Van Dyke soundstages. Some of it is pretty tiny and hard to make out. >> Clip from the "DVD Exclusive Awards" (2003), where Image's boxed set of "The Dick Van Dyke Show Season One" took home the award for "Best Overall DVD for a TV Program". This clips lasts 3:13, and features Dick Van Dyke and Paul Brownstein accepting the award. .... I really liked this bonus. Dick ad-libs some funny comments upon accepting this award that he didn't even knew existed before the awards show. LOL! >> Dick sings the Theme Song at The Hollywood Bowl (in August 2001). Mary Tyler Moore also appears in this video clip, which last 2:26. .... This is another pretty nifty little (modern day) extra bonus. Marion Ross (from "Happy Days" fame) is also seen during this video clip. >> Clip from "Diagnosis Murder", in which Dr. Sloan (Dick Van Dyke) encounters "Rob Petrie". This inventive 35-second clip features "Rob" as a disc jockey in the episode "One Hundred Terrible Hours" as "Dr. Sloan" passes by him in the hallway. Clever way of putting both Sloan and Petrie in the scene at the same time. Cool bonus here. >> Photo Galleries for 29 of the 32 episodes. >> One Emmy Awards clip (length: 2:58). .... Kind of disappointing the other Emmy clips couldn't be shown on this set. I know TDVDS won at least 2 other Emmys this season. But, evidently only this one clip was available. >> Two "Tune In To Part 2 Next Week" Network Promos (integrated into the episodes themselves). These "Next Ep." promos occur just before the ending credits for "4-And-A-Half" and "Stacey Petrie Part I". >> 4-Page Booklet about the 4th season of the show. This mini-booklet also contains photos, trivia, and a bio on Morey Amsterdam. EASTER EGGS ..... There are six total "Eggs" to be found amongst these 5 discs (one per disc, except Disc #5, which has two). Like the third-season DVD-on-DVD set, all of these Easter Eggs contain short "Nick At Nite" ads featuring "spokesman" Dick Van Dyke. You can find them in the "Chapter" sub-menus, by "Left-Clicking" on a chapter title (usually the "Opening Titles" chapter, but not always). If there's an "Egg" there, the cursor will move to the upper-right corner of the screen, highlighting the picture (drawing) of series star Dick Van Dyke. Pressing "Play" or "Enter" at this point will access the ads. I'd have preferred the "Eggs" in Season 3 and Season 4 be like what we got in S.2 -- those being original CBS commercials and other advertisements. I know more commercials exist than were presented in Seasons 1 & 2, because I've got some others on several "TV Commercials Of The 50s & 60s" VHS tapes. Unfortunately, all of them aren't included on the DVDs (thus far anyway). Maybe Season 5 will offer up a few. EPISODE GUIDE FOR SEASON FOUR ............... Here's a complete Episode Guide for the 32 programs that can be found inside this sleek-looking, five-disc set of "The Dick Van Dyke Show: Season Four". This episode list reflects the order in which the programs are presented within this DVD collection (with one minor exception -- four of the seven eps. on Disc #2 are laid out slightly out of order on the disc). The episodes are arranged in sequence by "Production Date" (the date of filming the show), which does not always necessarily match the "Air Date" chronology. The original CBS-TV "Air Dates" are listed in parenthesis: --------------------------------------------------- THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW -- SEASON #4 (1964-1965): 96. My Mother Can Beat Up My Father (First Aired: 9/23/1964) 97. The Ghost Of A. Chantz (9/30/1964) 98. The Lady And The Baby Sitter (10/7/1964) 99. A Vigilante Ripped My Sports Coat (10/14/1964) 100. The Man From 'Emperor' (10/21/1964) 101. Romance, Roses And Rye Bread (10/28/1964) 102. 4-And-A-Half (11/4/1964) ** 103. The Alan Brady Show Goes To Jail (11/11/1964) ** 104. Three Letters From One Wife (11/18/1964) 105. It Wouldn't Hurt Them To Give Us A Raise (12/2/1964) 106. Pink Pills And Purple Parents (11/25/1964) 107. The Death Of The Party (12/9/1964) 108. Stretch Petrie vs. Kid Schenk (12/30/1964) 109. The Impractical Joke (1/13/1965) 110. Brother, Can You Spare $2500? (1/6/1965) 111. Stacey Petrie - Part 1 (1/20/1965) ** 112. Stacey Petrie - Part 2 (1/27/1965) ** 113. The Redcoats Are Coming (2/10/1965) 114. Boy #1, Boy #2 (2/3/1965) 115. The Case Of The Pillow (2/17/1965) 116. Young Man With A Shoehorn (2/24/1965) 117. Girls Will Be Boys (3/3/1965) 118. Bupkis (3/10/1965) 119. Your Home Sweet Home Is My Home (3/17/1965) 120. Anthony Stone (3/24/1965) 121. Never Bathe On Saturday (3/31/1965) 122. One Hundred Terrible Hours (5/5/1965) 123. Show Of Hands (4/14/1965) 124. Baby Fat (4/21/1965) 125. Br-rooom, Br-rooom (5/12/1965) 126. There's No Sale Like Wholesale (5/26/1965) 127. A Farewell To Writing (9/22/1965) ** = Two-Part Episode ---------------------------------------------------- Some Dick Van Dyke Show "Name" Trivia and Fun Factoids .................... >> Alan Brady's middle name is "Lester". >> Ritchie Petrie's middle name is a rather unusual moniker -- "Rosebud". >> Rob Petrie's middle name is "Simpson". >> Buddy Sorrell's real first name is "Maurice". >> Buddy's wife's maiden name is "Conway". And her real first name is "Fiona". >> Millie Helper's maiden name is ... *drum roll* ... Yep, you guessed it! --- "Krumbermacher"! (What else could it possibly be? ) >> Laura Petrie's maiden name changed from "Meeker" to "Meehan" during the course of the series. This was due to the fact that Mary Tyler Moore had recently divorced her then-husband, Richard Meeker, and was uncomfortable about retaining the name "Meeker" for her character's maiden name after the break-up. >> Occasionally, the show's brain-trust would just leave in a "blooper" or a small gaffe by the cast. You'll be able to see one such noteworthy (and quite funny) example of this in the "Bupkis" episode (which is in this set), when Rob is supposed to leaf through a telephone book BEFORE dialing the number for radio station "WIFE" ("The station most people are *married* to!"). Instead, Rob goes directly to the phone, dials the number, THEN glances at the phone book. This is followed by a sly grin from Dick Van Dyke. He knew at that point he messed up the order of the scene...but he did it will such fluidity that it almost seemed to be correct. Thus, they just left this goof-up in the final version of the show. In closing........... Image Entertainment has a perfect 1.000 Batting Average with these Dick Van Dyke Show boxed sets. Each set has been darn near perfect ... with nice, abundant bonus features included, terrific picture quality, full-length unedited episodes, and classy packaging. Hard to ask for more.