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Perry Mason - Season One/ Vol.1


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#1 of 38 Brent Avery

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Posted July 05 2006 - 01:55 PM

Watched the first three episodes and will say they look pretty good so far and the audio is clear - it's only during the playing of the theme music that you can notice a bit of distortion on the higher frequencies. It is unfortunate that Paramount could not release the entire season complete. They have released all their other titles complete so far I believe. Lets see - MacGyver runs as one hour show as an example - are they uncertain Perry Mason may not sell well? The other problem is it is approx. $6.00 more up here than say MacGyver, Have Gun Will Travel, Hogan's Hereos etc. What gives? Half the content AND more expensive? Anyway, great to hear the old theme music again - and I like Perry's black 2 dr. '57 Ford.

#2 of 38 Steve...O

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Posted July 05 2006 - 03:06 PM

Hi Brent,

Thanks for your comments. How'd you get yours so quick Posted Image Mine's not due until Friday.

My speculation is that CBS was concerned a set with all 39 episodes would be too expensive. It would be 10 DVDs. Rather than issue all of S1 at a very high price, they elected to split it to keep it affordable. All the other seasons are 30 episodes or less so they may not have to split those.

As for price comparisons with other shows, I dunno. Hogan and Have Gun were half hour, not an hour so one has to adjust the amount of content for that. MacGyver is a newer show with a strong cult following so greater sales probably equated to a lower price the studio had to charge.

Also, Mason is almost 50 years old. There may have been some expensive restoration that had to occur for some of these episodes although I must say that it has always looked very good since it was shot on 35mm.

I'm just happy to finally get uncut episodes. And you're quite right, the cars on this show are really neat.

Did the end credits have the sponsor logo in the corner? The Columbia House tapes did, but all broadcast versions did not.

Here's hoping all 271 episodes find their way into a fast track release.

Steve
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#3 of 38 Brent Avery

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Posted July 05 2006 - 03:43 PM

Steve - The place I buy from had them in stock - not displayed, I asked about it and they gave one to me, which was nice of them. Pricing still seems off to me but naturally I will buy the second vol. Oh, and as for the sponsor - one episode the sponsor's diplayed in a small window - the other two just had the stack of books on the table as the credits were shown. I'll have to check the others just to see.

#4 of 38 Jeff Willis

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Posted July 06 2006 - 03:39 AM

Brent, Steve mentioned that they're un-cut. Does the running time and your viweing confirm this? Just curious. This one's been on my list for a long time.

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#5 of 38 RickER

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Posted July 06 2006 - 04:19 AM

(Thinking Jeff Willis and i visit alot of the same threads)

I have the Columbia House DVDs of the show. But i am still gonna spring for the season sets. The Columbia House DVDs have "tinny" sound on entire episodes, same with the Wild Wild Wests that i bought from them. Not all episodes are that way on the Columbia House set, but enough. Also some of the prints they used seemed a bit washed out.
I think i read that 3 of the Columbia House episodes were edited (syndicated) prints. I know they got flack for it. Paramount shouldl fix that problem when they get to those episodes...i hope. CH didnt even come close to releasing the whole show. CH discs had 2, then later 3 episodes on a disc. I think they released 25 discs, but not sure. I only got the first 10 "volumes". One disc cost almost as much as this 1/2 season so i hope no one bitches about the price of the Paramount set. Posted Image
I am sure the Paramount set will be great, as they usually are.

#6 of 38 GlennH

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Posted July 06 2006 - 07:30 AM

Too bad they didn't go the extra mile to do true progressive transfers from an HD source. See the DVDBeaver screen caps - combing. Seeing this more and more as these studios go cheap on us.

#7 of 38 Steve...O

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Posted July 06 2006 - 12:33 PM

Beaver review link:http://www.dvdbeaver....dvd-review.htm

Perry Mason episodes should run about 52 minutes.

I was most concerned about episode 19 (Haunted Husband). The CH VHS of this was complete however the CH DVD was the syndicated. CBS was made aware of this issue and the Beaver review indicates that all episodes are complete. Big thumbs up.

The last one notwithstanding, the images at Beaver all look very good. This is a 49 year old TV show which makes this all the more amazing.

MINI RANT: I had written a major rant about the lack of English subtitles on these DVDs, but I remembered that closed captions are included. I prefer subtitles though since they're easier on the eyes and because captions don't play on progressive scan players. Is it that much cheaper to pay for captions than to pay for subtitles? Don't you have to do the same amount of typing for both?

Looking forward to getting mine tomorrow.

Steve
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#8 of 38 Steve...O

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Posted July 10 2006 - 05:00 PM

I finally got my set. Spot checking it does look like all episodes are complete (including the one that was cut on Columbia House's DVD).

Better yet, the shows look wonderful and it's hard to believe these were filmed 49+ years ago. From what I've seen you can't any difference between the quality of scenes that were cut for syndication and the rest of the episodes. Someone took very good care of the 35mm masters.

Slimline cover art is appealing and certainly takes up much less room that the clunky VHS I have of this season Posted Image

My only gripe is the lack of subtitles. Yes, the shows are captioned, but subtitles are preferred for reasons I posted previously.

I sincerely hope that Vol 2 comes out before the end of the year and that the apparent strong sales of this set (every e-tailer I've checked has had high rankings for this show ever since it was first listed) will entice CBS to fast track the remaining seasons they way they have with Andy Griffith, Lucy, etc.

Special thanks to Gord Lacey/Dave Lambert by the way. When rumors of this show first were posted on their website I e-mailed them about the concern I had about a couple of episodes that were edited on the Columbia House DVDs. They contacted the studios and I would like to think that their efforts contributed to these DVDs being error free.

Steve
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#9 of 38 Jeff Willis

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Posted July 11 2006 - 01:10 AM

Steve, thanks for the news on PM V1. Mine's on the way in the mail. I had some concern that the set would contain cut eps. Sounds like they're uncut.
That's good to hear from the retailers about sales on this one. I want this entire series.

As for your compliment on Gord & Dave, "Ditto". Anyone who buys TV/DVD sets owes those two a big "Thanks" and maybe, just maybe, some of us here at HTF TV/DVD Forum could meet somewhere and spring for a catered meal for those two (how about "Leonard's" BBQ in Memphis?) Posted Image Don't know Gord's "neck of the woods" up there in Ca....except that giant Mall ought to have something of interest in there Posted Image

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#10 of 38 RickER

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Posted July 11 2006 - 08:14 AM

I have already burned my way through the first 4 episodes. They look great. Much better than the Columbia House versions i have. I too will buy the whole run of the show if they come out. Thats a whole bunch of Mason!

#11 of 38 Jeff_HR

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Posted July 11 2006 - 09:24 AM

Quote:
They look great. I too will buy the whole run of the show if they come out. Thats a whole bunch of Mason!

Just finished the 1st & 2nd episodes. After having not seen any original episodes for a very long time it was really enjoyable. For a 50 year old TV series it looks damned good! Posted Image Posted Image I too will buy every edition that is released & I hope that is the entire run of the show. Posted Image
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#12 of 38 Steve...O

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Posted July 13 2006 - 02:14 PM

Posted ImagePosted Image indeed!

I have seen scenes on these DVDs that I don't recall seeing in close to 30 years of watching PM. Gertie almost always gets cut on TV airings and some great interplay between Perry and Della has been restored also.

There are occasional bloopers that show up. In "Angry Mourner" the title character is described by Paul as 25 years old (in 1957) and 5'7". Later you see a close-up of her drivers license which shows her to be 24 and 5'3". The funny thing is that Paul got his info from tracking her license plate (which presumably was tied to DMV records).

It's also fun seeing movie stars on their way down or TV stars on their way up in these shows. Already I've spotted Hillary Brooke and Don Beddoe in somewhat prominent roles and Barbara Eden and Frances Bavier in supporting roles. Mrs. Wilson (Dennis the Menace) also makes an appearance.

Minor nitpick: it would have been nice had CBS included the original airdates with the synopses on these episodes.

Other complaint: at the rate I'm going, I'll be done with this set next week. Not enough episodes Posted Image

Steve

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#13 of 38 JeffCNY

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Posted July 13 2006 - 03:07 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve...O
Beaver review link:http://www.dvdbeaver....dvd-review.htm

Perry Mason episodes should run about 52 minutes.

I was most concerned about episode 19 (Haunted Husband). The CH VHS of this was complete however the CH DVD was the syndicated. CBS was made aware of this issue and the Beaver review indicates that all episodes are complete. Big thumbs up.

The last one notwithstanding, the images at Beaver all look very good. This is a 49 year old TV show which makes this all the more amazing.

MINI RANT: I had written a major rant about the lack of English subtitles on these DVDs, but I remembered that closed captions are included. I prefer subtitles though since they're easier on the eyes and because captions don't play on progressive scan players. Is it that much cheaper to pay for captions than to pay for subtitles? Don't you have to do the same amount of typing for both?

Looking forward to getting mine tomorrow.

Steve
Your comment about subtitles reminded me that there was something I wanted to mention for a long time:

Who writes or transcribes closed-captions? Or, are they done via a computerized "ear?"

I often switch on CC when viewing late at night, and I'm invariably surprised by the many, many, many errors I've noticed. Usually, it stems from an onscreen character saying one thing and it being "interpreted" as entirely something else.

Examples? Hard to come up with off the top of my head, but a few do:

In GREEN ACRES, Lisa tells a chicken (in the CC) to "die, darling!" when she says something less ghoulish in reality.

Also, in ACRES, someone mentions the desire to dine at "Toots Shors" (a famous NYC nitespot at the time) and the CC translates it as "Too Sure" or something like that.

Then there's an episode of THE HONEYMOONERS where Ed tells Ralph that a lodge member is coming out all the way from Canarsie (a neighborhood in Brooklyn) to see him bowl, but it's CC'd as "Canarzee."

Granted, I agree... these are all pretty light-weight and silly errors, to be sure, but what about audiences 20, 30 or even 50 years hence who explore these DVDs with the same reverence we examine silent films?? Pop cultural references like "Canarsie" and "Toots Shor's" will surely be lost to history by then (if not before), and the CC's on existing material will only misguide rather than inform.

Of course, it matters not one whit in the grand scheme of things, but (once again,) this was just something I wanted to rant a bit about. Posted Image

To get back to my initial question --- does anyone know exactly how closed-captioning is performed? By people? By machines? Outsourced to workers in Bombay, India??

Jeff

#14 of 38 Steve...O

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Posted July 14 2006 - 12:05 AM

Closed Captioning is done by people, often in the comfort of their own homes. It can be a somewhat lucrative field as demand is high and skilled workers willing to spend all day transcribing are not plentiful. (For that same reason I've read that court reporters are well paid also.)

I've always assumed errors came from workers who have a split second to interpret what they heard and don't have time to go back and double check.

One wonders what the budget per episode was for this first season. Everything is first class from the cars driven to the clothes worn. Even the apartments/houses are nicely furnished. Lots of location shooting and the interior sets (including the courtroom) couldn't have been cheap to build.

It struck me as I saw the television sets used in several episodes (13 inch or less on legs getting an antennae signal) that watching these DVDs today is a much better experience than viewers 49 years ago had. I see a beautiful picture on a 60 inch screen with absolutely no snowy picture or a fading signal.

I love it.
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#15 of 38 John Stell

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Posted July 14 2006 - 03:24 AM

I just finished the set last night and can confirm each episode runs 51.5 to 52.5 minutes. What a GREAT show! Now, when can we expect Season 1, Volume 2...
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#16 of 38 Jeff Willis

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Posted July 14 2006 - 03:58 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Stell
I just finished the set last night and can confirm each episode runs 51.5 to 52.5 minutes.

John, does that usually mean for a show in this era, it's complete & uncut? Just curious. I received my set this week. Haven't started it yet. I'm almost always a "non-marathon" TV/DVD viewer. I skip around with a lot of "in progress" viewing, but this one's going to be tough to keep from doing what Steve O did Posted Image

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve O
at the rate I'm going, I'll be done with this set next week. Not enough episodes


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#17 of 38 Jeff_HR

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Posted July 14 2006 - 04:02 AM

Let's get MORE episodes released ASAP! I had forgotten how entertaining this show was. By the way, who composed the old theme music, & was was the theme music called? Posted Image
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#18 of 38 Charles Ellis

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Posted July 14 2006 - 06:34 AM

It was composed by Fred Steiner (no relation to Max), who is still alive. He also did music for Hogan's Heroes and The Wild, Wild West.


http://en.wikipedia....ki/Fred_Steiner
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#19 of 38 Dave Scarpa

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Posted July 14 2006 - 06:48 AM

I think the transfers are outstanding. The Voices are a bit shrill, but for a series of this date not bad. I agree that Paramount had now adopted this spliting of seasons. The Big Valley had 30 shows and it was under $30. Now 30 eps of Mason will cost me $70. I was never really a fan when I was growing up but sice then I've become a fan of Film Noir and these shows definately remind me of Noi, especially these early shows.
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#20 of 38 Steve...O

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Posted July 14 2006 - 09:13 AM

I'm not convinced all seasons will be split. S1 was 39 episodes which was the longest by far. All remaining seasons are between 26 and 30 episodes each.

A source familiar with the situation told me that CBS/Paramount was a bit nervous about sales. Perhaps they thought 2 5 disc collections would sell better than 1 10 disc collection, even if the aggregate price was higher??

They needn't have been worried. PM has been fairly high on Amazon's sales ranking from the day it was announced and has continued to do well. A check of other e-tailers shows it ranking high elsewhere also.

My hope is that S2 and beyond will be single collections with the price adjusted down from what the combined S1 price will be.

Another hope is that CBS/Paramount agrees to include appropriate extras in the future. It is my understanding that Barbara Hale and Director Art Marks were more than willing to do interviews recollecting their PM days. These folks aren't going to live forever. In fact, I believe only Barbara, Richard Anderson, S. John Launer (recurring Judge) and possibly Lee Miller (Sgt Brice and Burr's stand-in) are alive from the original cast. Karl Held, who appeared in a few episodes as Mason's apprentice, is also still around.
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