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"Leave It To Beaver: The Complete Series" -- A Personal Review

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by David Von Pein, Jun 29, 2010.

  1. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    Shout! Factory's Leave It To Beaver: The Complete Series is right up there with all five seasons of The Dick Van Dyke Show. The quality is superb, magnificent, terrific, eyepopping, outstanding, exemplary, stupendous, and just plain swell (and neat). :)


    Let's have a closer look:


    http://Leave-It-To-Beaver-On-DVD.blogspot.com
     
  2. Joe Lugoff

    Joe Lugoff Screenwriter

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    I'm wondering if the first two seasons have a grainy look on the indoor scenes, while the last four seasons don't, because the first two seasons were filmed at Republic Studios and the last four at Universal. Maybe they used better film at Universal, or something?
     
  3. Dave Scarpa

    Dave Scarpa Producer

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    Yeah I'll Pick up the Beav when I can get it for around the same price I just paid for Dick Van Dyke $72 bucks.
     
  4. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Nice job, David.

    Thorough as always...although you could have mentioned Burt Mustin's integral Gus the Fireman character somewhere!
     
  5. Gary OS

    Gary OS Producer

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    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Mike Frezon


    Loved the email exchanges between David and Stu Shostak. Really great info in those! And I had to laugh at your comment to Stu, David, when you said some people were about ready to start chain-smoking or climbing the walls. That's about how I felt yesterday. LOL



    Gary "it really was a great job, David - my hat's off to you" O.
     
  6. Jeff Willis

    Jeff Willis Producer

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    Copy that....outstanding review, as always, VP!
     
  7. LeoA

    LeoA Screenwriter

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    I haven't ordered, but I thought lots of people around here had preordered it for $84 as I recall? That's a pretty similar pricepoint.
     
  8. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    I'm glad nobody seems overly upset (as yet) about the missing teaser preview on "The Black Eye", and the rearranging of the first-season credits & teasers (except for "Music Lesson", which is the only episode I noticed (so far) that has the teaser/preview coming as it's supposed to--at the very beginning, before the main title).


    I'll quote from my mile-long review (in case some of the Beaver fans missed these details):


    ---------------


    "There is at least one small section of one episode that is missing. And I'd be willing to bet that it's missing by pure accident. It's the preview scene (or "teaser") that was originally aired at the very beginning of the episode "The Black Eye". That short preview, narrated by Hugh Beaumont, is nowhere to be found in this Shout! set. It is there, however, in the Universal 2005 DVD set.

    The reason I said it's missing by "accident" is because of the way the order of most of the show openings for Season One have been rearranged. The short preview scenes that were part of the first-year episodes were (I think) originally aired PRIOR to the opening titles. That's the way they are presented in the 2005 Universal DVD set anyway.

    But in this Shout! set, the preview clips are shown AFTER the opening credits. I'm guessing that this change was made for "chaptering" purposes on the DVDs (and it's a good idea too, IMO). With the teasers/previews being presented after the opening titles, it means that no part of the episode (including the opening teaser) will be missed when the viewer does what I always do with TV DVDs--press the chapter advance button immediately after the episode is loaded up, in order to bypass the repetitive main titles.

    There is at least one exception to this reversal of the credits and teasers on these Shout! discs, and that's in the episode "Music Lesson", which has the teaser coming before the credits. I guess somebody forgot to reverse the order for that one.

    So, my guess would be that when someone was fiddling around with the chronology of these show-opening segments, somehow the preview/teaser clip for the "Black Eye" episode was never re-inserted and was inadvertently cut out completely.

    Here's another oddity that I noticed about the first-season previews -- In the Shout! set, the preview segment for the episode "Brotherly Love" is completely different from the one that can be found on the 2005 DVD. The narration by Hugh Beaumont is identical in both DVD versions, but the video is totally different. Weird, huh? I had no idea that more than one teaser segment existed for any of the episodes in Season 1. (It kind of makes the 2005 Universal DVD set for the first season of LITB seem a tad more valuable now, since there's something unique about a portion of it.)"


    ---------------


    Stuart Shostak, who played a part in this DVD's release and extras, addresses the above-mentioned things HERE.
     
  9. Steve...O

    Steve...O Producer

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    Great, great job, Mr. VP (as always). Your writing is always very entertaining and informative.


    I loved reading this as well as your exchanges with Stu.


    Buried within those e-mails was something very alarming though...the speculation that the original negatives to LITB were lost in the Universal Studios fire. Would Universal really have been so dumb as to store them there? Don't these things normally go into underground mines or fireproof vaults? If these were indeed lost to the fire, what else disappeared that Uni is not fessing up to?
     
  10. pitchman

    pitchman Screenwriter

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    Not too much to add except thank you for a wonderful review, David! Although my set is due to arrive tomorrow, I will not be able to start watching it for another couple of weeks. I know I will be referencing your detailed episode guide throughout my entire viewing experience. Double thanks for posting your informative exchanges with Stu and Brian. It is a genuine pleasure to support a release like this knowing that the folks responsible for its creation are so strongly dedicated to overall quality and excellence. Well done, indeed!
     
  11. Rob_Ray

    Rob_Ray Premium
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    It's hard to be upset about a package that's such a dream come true. And I have the original Season One Box from Universal anyway, so for me, there's nothing to be upset about at all. I do much prefer having the teaser come before the credits, though, as that's clearly how they were designed and that's how I saw them back in the sixties on daytime reruns.


    My box was waiting for me when I got home late last night and while I couldn't help spending a few moments going through it, I hope to devote tonight to exploring all the extras and sampling a few episodes before I start savoring the episodes themselves a little each week for many, many months (and years!) to come.


    By the way, David, I should add that your thorough review and the various links within are as enjoyable as the box itself. Wonderful job!
     
  12. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    Thank you, Rob. (And everyone else who's visited this thread too.)


    I might add: My review/blog will have many additions in the future (in the Ep. Guide area), because I'm going to be adding more show descriptions and quotes as I revisit each episode in this wonderful DVD collection. And, like Rob Ray, I'll be doing it over a period of many weeks and months.


    I'll be trying to include the funniest line (or lines) of dialogue in each Beaver show (if I don't already have a quote included for that show in my review, that is). That should be a fun ongoing project, don't you think?
     
  13. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    BTW, Tom Shales of the Washington Post wrote a nice piece about the LITB Complete Series set on June 29th. Here's a link:


    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/28/AR2010062804478.html
     
  14. Rob_Ray

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    Indeed! So far your favorites lines have been mine for the season one episodes I've been revisiting the past few days in anticipation of receiving this new box. I especially love the "Who is Cornelia Rayburn and when did she ever see you off your feet?" scene in "Beaver Gets 'Spelled."
     
  15. MattPeriolat

    MattPeriolat Supporting Actor

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    I thought I heard something about this a week ago on Shokus Radio where, I believe Brad Ward commented during the restoration of the show, it looked like there was some damage to the elements as the result of the fire. If this was the more recent fire or the one some years back, I don't know, but I found it interesting.


    Great review, BTW, David. Passion for a classic show really comes through. Gotta ask though, just for fun: which would you pick as a desert island show: Beaver or Father Knows Best?
     
  16. Joe Lugoff

    Joe Lugoff Screenwriter

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    If I may chime in.


    I love "Leave It to Beaver" dearly, but I believe "Father Knows Best" was the better show in every way.


    One of the great things about LITB is that it dealt with the small, everyday "problems" that could happen to anyone -- and I believe it might be unique among all sitcoms in never having a storyline that could make you think, "Oh, that could never happen."


    But "Father Knows Best" often dealt with bigger issues, or seemed to be "bigger", in the way the show was acted, written and directed. So I think "Beaver" seems a little trivial compared to it.


    In her Archive of American Television interview, Elinor Donahue said that Robert Young's production partner, Eugene Rodney, kept very tight control over the quality of the series, literally going over every word of the script. "Father Knows Best" was one show that never "jumped the shark" -- if anything, it seemed to get better each season.


    Also, "Father" was more successful in every way (at least, originally). "Beaver" never cracked the Top 30, and "Father" was #6 in the ratings when Robert Young decided not to do the show any more. "Father" was nominated for and won several Emmys, and "Beaver" had no nominations after its first year. Also, "Father" was on the cover of TV Guide many times, and "Beaver" only once.


    Of course, in the long run, it's possible that "Beaver" is the more successful and better-remembered, due to being a bigger success in syndication.


    I'd truly hate to make the decision, but if I had to take only one show to a desert island, I'd take "Father" over "Beaver."
     
  17. smithb

    smithb Screenwriter

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    So Gary, the desert island scenario, which would it be FKB or LITB?
     
  18. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    >>> "Which would you pick as a desert island show: Beaver or Father Knows Best?"
     
  19. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    UPDATE FROM STU SHOSTAK (RE: THE FIRST-SEASON "TEASER" INTROS):


    Subject: Teasers - Once and For All
    Date: 7/2/2010 5:15:45 AM Eastern Daylight Time
    From: Stu Shostak
    To: David Von Pein

    -----------------------------

    Hi Dave...

    I notice there is still a "teaser controversy" on the Shout! board. Let's not bombard Brian with this - he has a full plate as it is.

    For the record, I have about 10 network episodes on 16mm from the first season, and the teasers do indeed come BEFORE the opening titles.

    After "...and Jerry Mathers as the Beaver", the video fades out as it does on the syndicated versions, but the music continues into an additional "cartoon" of an animated Beaver character skipping across a fence as an announcer says, "Brought to you by...Remington Rand" and the fence sports the RR logo and pans to a drawing of a typewriter as the announcer finishes the blurb and fades out.

    A piece of this opening appears in the 75-minute documentary on the bonus disc. Act one then begins and the first commercial (usually about 2 full minutes) appears at the act break. Then there's a commercial at the end of Act Two (a minute).

    After the "tag" and before the end credits, there's a "Leave it to Beaver was brought to you by Remington Rand" bumper; then the end credits, usually rolled over a shot of an RR typewriter, followed by the CBS eye...and there you have it!

    Stu


    ===============================================


    Subject: Re: Teasers - Once and For All
    Date: 7/2/2010 5:22:08 AM Eastern Daylight Time
    From: David Von Pein
    To: Stu Shostak

    -----------------------------

    Hello Stuart,

    Thanks for the "teaser" update. I was nearly certain the teasers/previews were originally aired before the main titles. And now you have provided the proof that they did air that way in 1957 and 1958 on CBS-TV. Much obliged for the confirmation.

    Regards,
    David V.P.
     
  20. Gary OS

    Gary OS Producer

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    Ugh... I just spent about 45 minutes typing up this long, long response to your question. I mentioned all the virtues from both shows, going into fine detail and... it didn't go through and got ate by the internet monster! Arghhh....


    If I feel up to it, I'll try again late. I'm really bummed right now. But it is a great question.


    Gary "honestly, at the end of my original post I said I'd have to flip a coin because they are both great" O.
     

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