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"The Fugitive: Season 1, Volume 2" -- A Personal Review


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#1 of 112 OFFLINE   David Von Pein

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Posted February 27 2008 - 04:55 PM



#2 of 112 OFFLINE   Tina_H_V

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Posted February 27 2008 - 05:20 PM

I unconditionally agree with you on The Fugitive DVD requirement for all DVD player owners, David. This is STILL one awesome TV series to this day over 40 years later!!!!!!

Now that I have both sets from the inaugural season of this fine series, I feel I can really tear into Year One in a way I have not been properly able to with only half of a season to work with.

I look forward to watching End Game again. That was one crazy season finale. I have not seen that particular episode in years.

Though I do indeed intend on getting going with Season One all the way now, I am already looking ahead to receiving Season Two Volume One in June four days before my birthday. Posted Image

May that one PLEASE come to pass ON TIME three-plus months from now!!!!!!!

And another finely detailed DVD set review breaking down the vagaries of this classic series befitting the memories of Mr. Janssen and Mr. Morse, amongst others, and all they gave us then--and continue to do so now with these wonderful DVD sets!!!! Posted Image

Thanks again, David. Please keep 'em coming!!!! Posted Image
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#3 of 112 OFFLINE   Sam Favate

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Posted February 27 2008 - 11:58 PM

Thanks for the great review, David. Got my S1,V2 set yesterday and am anxious to get to it. I think DVD is really the best way to view this show - without the edits of TV or commercial interuption. You can really sit down and absorb the program, and the performances. Glad to see S2, V1 is on its way soon!

#4 of 112 OFFLINE   JoshuaB.

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Posted February 28 2008 - 12:03 AM

David, an excellent review! I haven't had a chance to view any of the episodes from S1 V2, but I'm glad that the AV quality is still quite good. As long as CBS Paramount releases all four seasons (whether they're in eight volumes or not) with the same attention to quality, we fans of this extraordinary drama series will be happy. And with S2 V1 coming in June, it looks like S2 can be released in its entirety in 2008!

#5 of 112 OFFLINE   Marty M

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Posted February 28 2008 - 02:40 AM

Glad to see that the DVD release of this series is creating a whole new generation of fans for this show. I was a teen when this series was originally aired, and I remember watching most of this series. I am enjoying rewatching the series.
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#6 of 112 OFFLINE   Charles H

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Posted February 28 2008 - 04:02 AM

I am hard-pressed to find a weak episode in the bunch and what a field day these character actors had. Heckart is superb, but the series taps into the strengths of actors like Gilbert Roland, Madelyn Rhue, and Ed Nelson, who are brilliantly cast against type. Most impressive, however, for me was Nancy Malone in "Bloodline". I've known her only for her work on "Naked City" and she could easily have gone for the sort-of "ambitious bitch" thing that Joan Crawford usually does but she goes for a nuanced performance of pragmatic vulnerability. I love these black and white shows because they permit the viewer to make his own judgments and shadings on the characters and environments. "The Fugitive" is really a classic anthology show, and Dr. Kimble is one of the great subtexts of literature. It is little wonder that updates of these shows ("The Fugitive," "Route 66," "The Untouchables," "Burke's Law," "Perry Mason") never work: they TELL us what we are seeing.
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#7 of 112 OFFLINE   Gary OS

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Posted February 28 2008 - 05:09 AM

Great review, as always, David. Thanks so much for taking the time to give us such a thorough analysis of this latest set. As for the music disclaimer, I have found the source(s) of it. In at least two episodes I've watched thus far there is background, "party" style music that has been changed. For instance, in the GARDEN HOUSE episode there's a home party where a band is playing background music. That has been changed. It's not a big deal, but it was substituted. Same thing happened with some background music in the episode WHERE THE ACTION IS. Again, it's not a big deal and it doesn't affect anything at all. But this is what the disclaimer is pointing too. Gary "thanks again for the great review" O.
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#8 of 112 OFFLINE   David Von Pein

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Posted February 28 2008 - 06:37 AM

Oh, yes....I saw that you mentioned this in the other Fugitive thread. I'm glad you added your comments to this thread as well (for completist sake). Thank you.

And such a subtle observation on Gary's behalf is indicative of a true-blue, diehard mega-fan of "The Fugitive", who knows each episode like the back of his hand and who can even take note of and remember even the smallest of details -- even background music for every single episode.

It's somewhat amazing that anyone would even be aware enough of the original background, incidental music contained within episodes of a 1964 TV show that has had only limited home-video releases over the years (and fairly-limited air time on over-the-air television as well), in order to make note of the small changes made by CBS/Paramount for these DVD releases.

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#9 of 112 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted February 28 2008 - 07:13 AM

I haven't picked up this set yet but I always enjoy reading David's reviews. Good ears, Gary. No one likes music replacement but it's good to know that it's just background music for a party.

#10 of 112 OFFLINE   Gary OS

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Posted February 28 2008 - 07:35 AM

Well, while I did immediately notice that the band (particularly the drummer) was out of sync with the music being played in THE GARDEN PARTY, the truth is another person that got the set the day before I did alerted me to it because they too noticed something wasn't quite right. Actually they noticed it because they were using a bose headset and said that when the music began playing they could tell the audio "changed" a bit. So I guess that's one way a person could tell real easily. I don't use headsets but I can see where that would alert a person that something's up. I wish I could claim that I knew the episodes so well that I'd pick up on even background music being changed like what's happening on this set, but the truth is I'm not nearly that good. I do like to think of myself as a mega-fan when it comes to this show, but I can't in good conscience take as much credit as David so graciously gave me. Gary "as long as none of the Rugolo score is changed I'm fine with little subs like the one's we have here" O.
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#11 of 112 OFFLINE   michael_ks

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Posted February 28 2008 - 07:58 AM

Oh really? How about detecting a fragment of a cue from "Gilligan's Island" in an episode of "Rawhide"? (One that I still can't find myself, darn it). You're good, Gary...you'll just have to live with it. I'll look forward to picking out bits and pieces from "The Twilight Zone" scores in vol. 2 of "The Fugitive". My ears are fairly well tuned to the wonderful strains of Herrmann, Goldsmith and Steiner and their fabulous TZ scores. Oh, and yes, thanks David for the great "labor of love" shown on your review of this set. I thoroughly enjoyed it all the way through.

#12 of 112 OFFLINE   Gary OS

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Posted February 28 2008 - 08:16 AM

Darn it, Michael. I keep forgetting to search for that one. I know it was in the latest RAWHIDE release, but I just can't remember which episode it was. But it was absolutely in there. Just a few notes, but still. Gary "I can't imagine any of my favorite shows without their accompanying incidental music" O.
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#13 of 112 OFFLINE   Harry-N

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Posted February 28 2008 - 12:05 PM

I'm feeling a bit left out in this thread since I haven't yet received my copy, but that's only fair since I was among the early receivers of set #1. But it's good to know what to look out for. Thanks to David for his usually thorough and reverent review, and to Gary for tracking down the music mystery. It'll be a joy to watch these great episodes whenever they get here. Harry
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A fugitive moves on, through anguished tunnels of time, down dim streets, into dark corners. And each new day offers fear and frustration, tastes of honey and hemlock. But if there is a hazard, there is also hope. - Closing narration to THE FUGITIVE, "Death Is The Door Prize".

#14 of 112 OFFLINE   Stephen Bowie

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Posted February 28 2008 - 12:55 PM

Did anyone post the actual production order of the first season episodes in that loooong initial thread? Even if the answer is yes, it may bear repeating, as it's quite different from the broadcast order: #1 Fear in a Desert City #2 Decision in the Ring #3 The Girl From Little Egypt #4 Smoke Screen #5 The Witch #6 The Other Side of the Mountain #7 Never Wave Goodbye I #8 Never Wave Goodbye II #9 See Hollywood and Die #10 Where the Action Is #11 Ticket to Alaska #12 Fatso #13 Nightmare at Northoak #14 Terror at Highpoint #15 Glass Tightrope #16 Come Watch Me Die #17 Home Is the Hunted #18 Glass Tightrope #19 Search in a Windy City #20 Bloodline #21 Rat in a Corner #22 Angels Travel on Lonely Roads I #23 Angels Travel on Lonely Roads II #24 Flight From the Final Demon #25 Taps For a Dead War #26 Somebody to Remember #27 Never Stop Running #28 The Homecoming #29 Storm Center #30 The End Game That's the sequence in which the episodes were broadcast when I first saw them, in the initial A&E syndication run in 1990. It seems jarring to me every time I notice that the DVDs have them in the "wrong" order ... although, of course, you can argue that the sequence in which audiences first saw them in 1963 is as legitimate as the order in which they were produced. In most cases, since there's no continuity, it doesn't make much difference; but thematically, I'd place "Never Wave Goodbye" as late as possible (because it emphasizes Kimble's flight burnout), and move up "The Girl From Little Egypt" (because the murder flashback raises the stakes). It's also fun to try and guess the producers'/network's reasons for reshuffling the episodes: I'm sure "Never Wave Goodbye" moved up because it's good, and "Little Egypt" got buried in the Christmas season because it's an unmitigated turkey, or at least was perceived as such by the powers that be. But I'm curious about "Where the Action Is" (the one early episode that feels out of place to me in Volume 2) ... production problems/reshoots, maybe. Anyway, "optimal viewing order" is a game FUGITIVE fans can play along with PRISONER maniacs. All this comes to mind because ... and I hesitate to write this write now for fear of micturating in anyone's breakfast cereal, but here goes ... I've always felt there was an atypical drop in quality in the last run of scripts in the first season. Aside from the two-parter, I don't think there's a really strong segment between "Search in a Windy City" and "The End Game." But then, it's been nearly 20 years since I've seen some of them, and perhaps I'd feel differently after a second look. Oh, and has anyone noticed yet that one of the episode titles in this batch is misspelled on the opening title card? Stephen Bowie www(dot)classictvhistory(dot)com

#15 of 112 OFFLINE   David Von Pein

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Posted February 28 2008 - 01:41 PM


I was halfway expecting the two-parter ("Angels Travel On Lonely Roads") to be misspelled on the title card. In fact, I checked for just that very thing. This due to the fact that A&E misspelled the word "Lonely" as "Lonley" when that cable station reran those episodes in 1995.

As most here probably know, A&E decided it didn't want the words "Tonight's Episode" to be heard on the syndicated versions it was showing during the afternoon (but sometimes late at night too--on the weekends)....so A&E cut out the voice-over and the original title-card portion of the video and replaced it with a silent and transparent new title card, which appeared just as Act I began.

But "Lonely" is spelled correctly on these DVDs. So, I don't know the answer to Stephen's inquiry.

I did take note, however, of another oddity re. the "Angels" 2-parter -- the voice-over announcer doesn't use the words "Part 1" or "Part 2" when announcing either "Angels" segment. He merely states the title and that's it....which I thought was kind of strange, since other 2-parters in the series feature a "Part" number being vocalized by the announcer.

Oh, well. Such is the life of a fanatic Fuge-watcher.

But I'm still wondering why 7 of these 15 episodes don't fully pass the "Freeze-Frame Test"? A reviewer at another forum mentioned that these prints were transferred to DVD in a different manner than were the Volume-One programs. But, as I strongly mentioned earlier, these episodes in V.2 look every bit as good and clear as the V.1 entries (everything considered).

But there's definitely a slight difference in the transfers for seven of the shows, based on the "Freeze/Pause" test that anyone can easily conduct and check for themselves.

I'm not really griping though (really, I'm not). Posted Image It just seems like I am. Posted Image Because, overall, I couldn't be more pleased with the PQ of these eps. on DVD.

~sigh~

Now, being the fussbudget/fusspot I was born to be, I've got to go check the episode titles for that misspelled word (thanks to Stephen B.). Posted Image Posted Image

#16 of 112 OFFLINE   Doug Wallen

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Posted February 28 2008 - 02:42 PM

Just went thru the first disc and I am totally blown away by the picture quality and the quality of the writing. Makes you wonder how current writers are able to tell any type of coherent story in 40 minutes. I find these older teleplays to be much stronger in terms of story detail and plotting as well as showcasing character motivations. I would love to hold off and make these episodes last until Season 2 Volume 1, but they are like the original Lay's potato chips - "can't eat(watch) just one." Doug
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#17 of 112 OFFLINE   Gary OS

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Posted February 28 2008 - 02:49 PM

I have to agree with David concerning the contention that there's a dead spot between "SEARCH" and "END GAME". I'd rate BLOODLINE, THE HOMECOMING, RAT IN A CORNER, SOMEBODY TO REMEMBER & FLIGHT FROM THE FINAL DEMON as all very solid stories. I'm not as big a fan of "TAPS" as others may be, but I didn't think it was poor by any stretch. Heck, I can't see how anyone would think any of these first season episodes are poor. Not a one of them are poor or unwatchable as far as I'm concerned. Are some better than others? Sure. But they are all solid, IMHO. Gary "the 'worst' FUGITIVE episode is so much better than the 'best' episode from 99% of all the other shows out there - it's just no comparison" O.
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#18 of 112 OFFLINE   Stephen Bowie

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Posted February 28 2008 - 03:31 PM

No, I was referring to "Angels Travel on 'Lonley' Roads" and thinking of the fake A&E title card (which I didn't even realize had been altered at the time), so I stand corrected. As I mentioned, I haven't revisited many of these on the DVDs yet ... so, among other things, I've never seen most of the series un-time-compressed. Also, I've lived in Los Angeles since my first pass through THE FUGITIVE; I'd never really thought of it as an "LA show," but when I watched "Never Wave Goodbye" again this month all the great location footage blew me away. Knowing the city will add a whole new layer to the show. The "Reno resort" in "Where the Action Is" is really the Sportsmen's Lodge in Studio City, right? I used to live half a block from there. And, if it wasn't clear, I meant to suggest that run of episodes was, not lousy, but mildly disappointing relative to the first half of the season. Overall THE FUGITIVE was as consistent in its quality as any TV show I can think of -- so much so that it's one of the few great series where I'm really at a loss to single out a favorite episode or two.

#19 of 112 OFFLINE   David Von Pein

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Posted February 28 2008 - 04:16 PM

Well, I'll be French-dipped and lanced by Eileen Heckart! You mean to tell me I've spent the last hour searching for a title-card mistake that never even existed??!!!

I'm calling "lard belly" (Carroll O'Connor) and have him take you in because of this, Stephen.

Posted Image

[BTW, I was just kidding about spending an hour searching for the mistake that never was. I only spent 59 minutes doing that.]

#20 of 112 OFFLINE   David Von Pein

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Posted February 29 2008 - 05:39 PM

REVIEW ADDENDUM......

I've added another brief description for an episode in this DVD boxed set....for "Come Watch Me Die" (which I liked very much):

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

17. "Come Watch Me Die" (January 21, 1964) .... Alias: "Ben Rogers". .... This episode features some good character actors that pop up in other "Fugitives" as well; and keep an eye open for Diane Ladd as a waitress. I don't recall ever having seen this episode prior to this DVD release.

It's an unusual episode in some respects, one of which is that Richard Kimble finds himself in the unlikely position of becoming a sheriff's deputy. And there's also the fact that part of the plotline had me totally fooled until near the very end of the show. (I like the fact that an episode could pull the wool over my eyes....and Richard Kimble's too.) Posted Image




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