The Untouchables:S1 in 2007

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Bob Gu, Nov 24, 2006.

  1. Bob Gu

    Bob Gu Supporting Actor

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    Now that THE UNTOUCHABLES is on the way for 2007:
    I wonder which version we will get of "The Scarface Mob": The DESILU PLAYHOUSE two parter or the feature version?

    Same question if they get to the seasons that had the two-parters that became "The Gun of Zangara" and "Alcatraz Express" features. I don't think the two-parters were part of the syndication runs.
     
  2. todd s

    todd s Lead Actor

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    [​IMG] for this release. Been waiting. Hopefully, we will get the early 90's remake of the series. Which also was very good.
     
  3. Bert Greene

    Bert Greene Second Unit

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    Sounds like good news. I hope the initial 2-part pilot will be presented in its original "Desilu Playhouse" version, as opposed to the stitched "Scarface Mob" movie. Did Desi Arnaz do the intros? I think the only episode I've ever seen of DP is that "Time Element" episode, and I don't recall if what I viewed even had the original opening, much less an intro. Anyway, I've always liked the old "Untouchables" series. I still have about a dozen episodes on tape, which I recorded off-air in the mid-80s, the last time I saw it rerun on a local channel. Some commentaries would be nice. Such a shame we lost Stack a while back. I think Paul Picerni is still around, although I don't recall if he was a regular on the series right at the beginning. And how about Bruce Gordon? Is he still living? I know he was around not too long ago.
     
  4. Bob Gu

    Bob Gu Supporting Actor

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    I taped some Untouchables in the eighties too, and some of them were so dark you couldn't see anything in some scenes.(The Rawhide's they ran at this time,also were very dark. When I got the Columbia House versions, it turned out some of the scenes I thought were nightime scenes were daytime scenes!)

    Paul Picerni became Ness's right-hand man in season two. His first aired show, as Lee Hobson, was the second season opener "The Rusty Heller Story",which guest-starred Elizabeth Montgomery and David White (Larry Tate). Picerni replaced, Anthony George, who left to do CHECKMATE. George replaced Jerry Paris during S1. Season one's "Mexican Stakeout" guested Vince Edwards as another Federal agent. I wonder if Edwards was being considered to replace Paris. My favorite Hobson episode is "The Silent Partner", from Season 3.

    A nice extra for this DVD release would be the episode of THE LUCY SHOW, (or was it HERE'S LUCY?) where Lucy is recruited by agents Robert Stack and Steve London, to help get the goods on badguy Bruce Gordon.

    Within the past two years or so,I've seen pictures of Bruce Gordon in Classic Images, in a pin-stripped Frank Nitti suit, attending movie fan conventions.
     
  5. Michael Alden

    Michael Alden Supporting Actor

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    Bruce Gordon is definitely still alive. However we are talking Paramount here so let's not get carried away hoping for extras. Give me all four seasons and I'll be happy. With the Desilu Playhouse pilot I hope.

    I'm glad I held off transferring this over. I knew they'd get to it someday.
     
  6. Dan_V

    Dan_V Agent

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    This is great news. Probably my most wanted TV series. I haven't seen this show since it was on cable late 70's/early 80's. Does anyone know how many seasons the show ran?
     
  7. Jeff#

    Jeff# Screenwriter

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    It was on for 4 years from 1959 to 1963, Dan.

    A greatly improved, jazzier version of The Untouchables theme was composed in 1962 for the final season. Dobie Gillis did the same thing that same year.
     
  8. Michael Alden

    Michael Alden Supporting Actor

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    Unfortunately the fourth season was terrible. The show really had jumped the shark. Political pressure forced them to stop using Italian names for the gangsters as well as toning down the violence. There were also several back door pilots run this season as well. The first 3 seasons of this show are great but season 4 saw a serious decline in quality.
     
  9. Jeff#

    Jeff# Screenwriter

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    I don't completely disagree, Mike, but in spite of the pressure from Italian-American groups, there were still some very well-done episodes in that final season with non-Italian gangsters -- including interesting stories guest-starring talented actors including Telly Savalas and Robert Redford. But there were exceptions to the rule. Frank Nitti (Bruce Gordon) was still seen infrequently as well.

    As for the theme music, in addition to The Untouchables and Dobie Gillis, another show that improved on its theme in the 1962 to 63 season was The Rifleman. That seemed to be a trend that year, and coincidentally it turned out to be the final seasons of all 3 series.
     
  10. John Carr

    John Carr Stunt Coordinator

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    I remember watching the Untouchables as a teenager. My grandfather, who was in the mob in the 20s and 30s, used to tell me the backstories on many of the episodes... It used to drive my father nuts.

    Damn, I wish to this day I'd had a tape recorder and taped some of his reminisences...
     
  11. michael_ks

    michael_ks Screenwriter

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    I'm very excited about this series appearing on DVD and do hope that all seasons get released. I can't comment on the decline in quality of S4 as I barely remember watching these show with my parents sometime in the 70s. I'll be essentially blind buying this but know that it's a no risk thing, because it's a high production value Desilu production, it features a great roster of guest stars (one of my all time favorites, Frank Sutton makes no less than 4 appearances in the show, 2 each in S3 and S4) and it features a superb actor in the lead (Robert Stack) along with very capable Paul Picerni and Abel Fernandez. Also, I love period shows as well and the narrations by Walter Winchell are a great asset to the series. Many great TV writers wrote for the show, including Robert C. Dennis, Gilbert Ralston and David P. Harmon

    Incidentally, Desi Arnaz, who assisted in creating and bankrolling "The Untouchables" nearly came to blows once with Frank Sinatra over the whole "Italian-American" mobster stereotyping thing.

    I also can't make an educated comment on the theme's "improvement", but if its like most series, the earlier incarnations are the best. As for "The Rifleman", absolutely no way is the latter version of the theme, which actually was rearranged in the 1960-1961 season (S3) and lasting through the remaining two seasons, the superior of the two. The latter is a "jaunty" and more care free version of what was initally a beautifully plaintive melody that speaks to the special bond between father and son and McCain's stalwart persona. That aura was all but lost in the reworked theme.
     
  12. Jeff#

    Jeff# Screenwriter

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    That's not correct, because I'm referring to the end theme which wasn't reorchestrated until 1962 for the 5th / final season. The music heard during the show exemplified the bond between Lucas and his son Mark. The theme music stands alone, and I like the faster-moving theme from the final season of all of these shows because they create an aura of excitement that makes you enjoy them even more. Get Smart's second version was also an improvement. I do prefer the original version of the Mannix theme though, although the newer version's final few notes works better. Hawaii Five-O improved on its theme several times over the years, but they ruined it in the final season (when weak writing killed the show).
     
  13. Jeff Willis

    Jeff Willis Producer

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    Mike_KS, Thanks for the post on this one. Sometimes, you HTF'ers make me think that a computer is posting with all of the info [​IMG] It sure helps out the "fence-riders" on a lot of series' threads here on this forum. This series will also be a virtual blind-buy for me since I only have some fuzzy memories of Dad watching this one, but, for the same reasons as you mentioned here, it's a sure-thing for my collection.

    BTW, I also agree on the Rifleman theme. I thought the original theme was the best of the series. IMO, most of the earlier TV series' themes seemed to me to be best in their 1st couple of seasons. One exception (for me) is "Leave it to Beaver". I liked the last season's theme best for that one.
     
  14. michael_ks

    michael_ks Screenwriter

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    Jeff,

    On tv.com, if you look at the show synopses, you'll get an idea of just how engaging a show "The Untouchables" appears to be. As I've stated, my memory is fuzzy, but I have a feeling it's a real winner. It's QM and Nelson Riddle composed some great music for it (I use to have the LP soundtrack). And, wow, talk about an A-list of character (and non-character) actors in S1, many of whom you'll know right off the bat (Anne Francis, Richard Anderson):

    Keenan Wynn
    John Hoyt (The original Dr. from ST's "The Cage")
    Phillip Pine (Col. Green of Star Trek's "Savage Curtain")
    Lloyd Nolan (Linguist in OL's "Soldier")
    Jack Warden (Mgr. in TZ's "Mighty Casey")
    Phyllis Coates (Lois Lane from S1 of "Adventures of Superman")
    Cameron Mitchell ("High Chapparal")
    Clu Gulager
    Martin Landau
    Vince Edwards ("Ben Casey")
    Ken Lynch (Played a police officer so many times, I've lost count)
    Barbara Luna (Lt. Moreau - ST's "Mirror, Mirror")
    Alan Hale Jr. (The Skipper - "Gilligan's Island")
    Stanley Adams (Cyrano Jones - "The Trouble With Tribbles")
    David White (Larry - "Bewitched")
    Marion Ross ("Mrs. C" from "Happy Days")
    Whit Bissell (General Kirk - "The Time Tunnel")
    Cliff Robertson
    Ford Rainey
    Anthony Caruso (Bela Oxmyx - "A Piece of the Action"--rather appropriate)
    Gail Kobe (OL's "Keeper of the Purple Twilight")
    Robert F. Simon (General in OL's "The Zanti Misfits")
    Jack Elam (With those eyes, right up his alley)
    Henry Silva (OL - "The Mice")
    Harry Dean Stanton
    Jim Backus (Mr. Howell - GI)
    Harry Guardino (OL - "The Human Factor")
    Paul Comi (Lt. Stiles - "Balance of Terror")
    Claude Akins (firm favorite, remember him best in "Monsters due on Maple St")
    Richard Deacon ("Mel" - "Dick Van Dyke")
    Lee Van Cleef ("Angel Eyes")
    Dick York ("Samantha!")
    Sterling Holloway (That "Winnie the Pooh" guy - [voice])
    Leslie Nielson ("Swamp Fox")
    Anne Francis ("Honey West")
    Henry Jones (The befuddling "Mr. Pem" from 2 eps. of VTTBOTS)
    Raymond Bailey (Banker - "Beverly Hillbillies")
    Peter Falk ("Columbo" himself)
    Richard Anderson ("Oscar Goldman" - 6M$M)

    By the way, I also like the last theme composed for LITB--nice jazzy arrangement. A rarity for me, liking the later versions of a title theme.

    Jeff# - I realize that you're referring to the end theme of "Rifleman"--the version you speak of is the same one used in S3 and S4, I'm certain of it. But I'll check it out. I maintain that it's too "clippity-cloppy" for its own good, just the same.


    Just a hunch, but I'd say you're almost certainly in the minority here.
     
  15. Jeff#

    Jeff# Screenwriter

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    Yep, another old show that changed its theme for the 1962-1963 season that turned out to also be its last. [​IMG]
     
  16. Jeff Willis

    Jeff Willis Producer

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    Thanks, Mike(KS) for the post on the guests in this series! This is a sure-buy for me, given the TV era and setting/theme of this show. Once again, the HTF'ers here have helped me with a lot of "blind-buy" (or virtual-BB's) series for my collection.
     
  17. michael_ks

    michael_ks Screenwriter

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    You're welcome, Jeff. You and others have given me plenty of 'food for thought' as well where the MI series is concerned, a series I know less about than "Untouchables".
     
  18. Steve_Smith

    Steve_Smith Stunt Coordinator

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    This news is really great!!! I was on the verge of buying a dvd burner to transfer the shows I got on VHS from Columbia House, but now that is moot [​IMG] *of course it would be nice to get all of the seasons out sooner then later*
     
  19. michael_ks

    michael_ks Screenwriter

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    Season 1, vol. 1 is scheduled for release April 3! I wish they hadn't gone the route of breaking up the seasons, but at least the show is finally coming out. Hopefully the individual sets won't be released 3-4 months apart--it'll take over 2 years to release the series, which in my mind bodes ill for seeing it completed.

    With "Streets of San Francisco" also announced for an upcoming release, it looks like the Quinn Martin shows are finally getting their just due.
     
  20. Bob Gu

    Bob Gu Supporting Actor

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    The box art is up for S1 Vol 1: http://tvshowsondvd.com/newsitem.cfm?NewsID=6777

    Nice cover, but as usual, the young whippersnappers in the art department got it wrong. Paul Picerni is shown on the cover and he joined the cast in S2.
    They should have used Steve London, who was on the show all four years.

    Season One includes a terrific two-parter called: "The Unhired Assassin". This was a very interesting and actionful, grafting of an actual historic event on a fictional Untouchables story. I won't spoil the plot, just mention it's pedigree. Directed by Howard W. Koch. Written by William Spier. Partial Cast List: Bruce Gordon, Frank DeKova, Claude Akins, Lee Van Cleef,Robert Middleton, Joe Mantell, Robert Gist as the assassin Fred "Caddy" Croner,Paul Frees as the radio announcer and the voice of Franklin D. Roosevelt and, of course, narrated by Walter Winchell.
     

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