QUICK DVD STATS:
- Number of DVDs -- 4.
- Number of Episodes -- 15.
- Video -- 1.33:1 (Full Frame; OAR). Black-and-white.
- Audio -- Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English only).
- DVD Distributor --
With the March 31, 2009, DVD release of "THE FUGITIVE: SEASON 2, VOLUME 2", exactly one-half of the 120 episodes of "The Fugitive" have been made available on stunning-looking Digital Discs from CBS/Paramount.
Episode numbers 46 through 60 of this distinguished and, in my opinion, peerless 1960s dramatic television series show up in crisp, clear black-and-white on this 4-Disc DVD set.
As far as the music goes for this collection of episodes, it sounds to me as if there's a lot more of Mark Heyes' new music (i.e., the background music that sucks) in this S2V2 set than there is the S2V1 "fixed" set, which was made available to customers by Paramount in February 2009 to replace the horrid original DVD release of S2V1, which had all of the original 1964 music ripped out of it.
Peter Rugolo's original "Fugitive" music is in place throughout each episode in this S2V2 set, but there are still many, many places in these episodes where the new replacement music pops up, which is almost always much worse than the original Rugolo/CBS music. But, thankfully, the new stuff doesn't totally dominate each and every episode.
Still, it's a terrible shame, in my opinion, that this exceptional TV show known as "The Fugitive" (which I consider to be the best dramatic series ever to air on U.S. television) can't be released on DVD in its complete, unaltered, as-it-originally-aired form.
But I will say this as well -- A slightly-musically-altered "Fugitive" on DVD is still better than no "Fugitive" at all on DVD.
Perhaps we should try to get Police Lieutenant Philip Gerard to pass a law that requires all "Fugitive" episodes to always be released on Digital Versatile Disc in 100% unmutilated fashion....with the penalty for breaking this strict law being -- Having to listen to the totally-ruined soundtrack on Paramount's June 2008 initial DVD release of "The Fugitive: Season 2, Volume 1" (the unfixed "All Heyes" version).
With a law like that one on the books, there's no way that CBS/Paramount would ever tamper with this one-of-a-kind TV series ever again. SEASON TWO, VOLUME TWO:
Falsely accused and sentenced to death for a murder he didn't commit, Dr. Richard Kimble (David Janssen) is kept on his toes and, as always, on the run throughout these fifteen programs that close out a very successful sophomore year for "The Fugitive".
The popular series ended up as the #5 program on television for the 1964-1965 season, garnering an overall Nielsen rating for that season of 27.9, which meant that almost one out of every three homes that owned a TV that year watched the plight of Richard Kimble every Tuesday night on ABC.
"Corner Of Hell" and "Brass Ring" are my two favorite episodes from the second half of Season #2. But several of the other episodes in this DVD set are programs that I don't recall having seen in the past at all. I must have missed taping some of these when the A&E cable network ran reruns of "The Fugitive" in 1995.
So this boxed set is providing this writer with some brand-new television programs to watch. And that's kind of a nice experience too, being able to see some of these episodes for the first time, in uncut form (albeit with a few musical alterations), on these pristine-looking DVDs from CBS/Paramount.
Some of the guest stars that pop up during the last half of Season 2 include the following names (many of them making return "Fugitive" appearances):
Celeste Holm, Angie Dickinson, Jack Klugman, Murray Hamilton, Telly Savalas, Robert Duvall, Ed Begley, Andrew Duggan, Steve Forrest, Ed Asner, Bruce Dern, Shirley Knight, Pat Hingle, and James Doohan.
Each of the shows in this DVD collection appears to be full-length and uncut, just as they originally aired in early 1965 on the ABC Television Network. The average length is approximately 51.5 minutes per show.
The four episodes on Disc 1 have the following precise running times:
"Brass Ring" -- 51:37
"The End Is But The Beginning" -- 51:39
"Nicest Fella You'd Ever Want To Meet" -- 51:28
"Fun And Games And Party Favors" -- 51:38
DVD SCREEN CAPTURES:
Here's a sampling of images taken from this Season 2, Volume 2 DVD set, courtesy of DVD Beaver.com (click on each picture for a super-sized version, which amply illustrate the excellent DVD picture quality that exists within these 15 episodes):
MORE DVD INFO:
Single-sided, Dual-layered discs.
Closed-Captioning is included.
No bonus material.
7 chapter breaks per episode.
A "Play All" option is available.
Episode information is printed on the inside panels of the clear, see-through DVD case. Two hinged "pages" hold all four of the discs inside the standard-size case. The discs do not overlap each other. It's a nice, space-saving case design.
Packaging (Photo) Note -- The picture of David Janssen on the front of the DVD case is a silly one, IMO. An alternate "wanted" poster of Richard Kimble has been created for the DVD cover, which isn't a realistic "wanted" poster at all.
Why CBS/Paramount didn't simply use a picture of the famous "wanted" poster of Kimble that is seen in many episodes throughout the series is a mystery to me. The "real" poster would have been a much better choice for the DVD cover art, instead of a newly-created fake one.
This second volume of Season 2 contains the following episodes (I've thrown in a few comments along the way for some of the shows, plus a look at each of Dr. Kimble's fake names that he used during these fifteen on-the-run adventures, and the dates when the episodes were first shown on ABC-TV):
46. "Brass Ring" (First Aired: January 5, 1965) .... Alias: "Ben Horton". .... Angie Dickinson and Robert Duvall start off the second half of this season with great style, as each puts in a solid acting performance in "Brass Ring". Kimble, as Ben Horton, acquires a job to care for the wheelchair-bound Duvall.
The 33-year-old Dickinson (who is supposed to be 26 years old [almost 27] for the purposes of this "Fugitive" script) portrays "Norma Sessions", a woman who certainly isn't all that she seems to be on the surface.
"Brass Ring" contains an interesting combination of sad, happy, bittersweet, and poignant moments, and Act IV provides ample twists and turns to keep you guessing (along with a final scene with Duvall that is really quite chilling....and disturbing, IMO).
Unfortunately, however, this episode is pretty much totally ruined (IMO) by the "new" substitute music that permeates many different portions of it, particularly during the crucial scene in Act III which has Duvall suddenly sitting up in bed on his own. The replacement music in that important scene just cannot compare to the original 1965 underscore. And the climax of Act III is destroyed by the heavy use of "new" composer Mark Heyes' loud horns.
Plus, all of the "merry-go-round" music from the original "Brass Ring" soundtrack has been replaced with new music too, which is also inferior when compared to the original '65 score. What a shame.
But at least the picture quality shines anyway. All of these shows, in fact, look great on these DVDs. It's just too bad that in several places throughout the episodes the music had to be changed.
I think "Brass Ring" bothered me the most when it comes to these occasional music alterations. The slight background musical changes in the other episodes within this 4-Disc set don't seem to annoy me nearly as much as "Brass Ring" did/does.
A little more talk about "Brass Ring's" music HERE.
47. "The End Is But The Beginning" (January 12, 1965) .... Alias: "Steve Younger".
48. "Nicest Fella You'd Ever Want To Meet" (January 19, 1965) .... Alias: "Richard Clark". .... Click here.
49. "Fun And Games And Party Favors" (January 26, 1965) .... Alias: "Douglas Beckett".
50. "Scapegoat" (February 2, 1965) .... Aliases: "Eddie Frey" and "Bill Hayes". .... Sorry to say, this one is a complete misfire. More info.
51. "Corner Of Hell" (February 9, 1965) .... Alias: "Paul Hunter". .... This outstanding episode, originally entitled "This Place Belongs To Another People", prominently features Barry Morse as Lt. Philip Gerard. And it's another great performance turned in by Morse here.
In an ironic twist, it is Gerard, while searching for Dr. Kimble, who finds himself "on trial" in the backwoods of Louisiana.
Here's some interesting "Corner Of Hell" trivia, which comes from Ed Robertson's 1993 book "The Fugitive Recaptured":
52. "Moon Child" (February 16, 1965) .... Alias: "Bill Martin".
"[The episode "Corner Of Hell"] initially focused on the sadistic nature of Tully's police-hating community. In the first draft of the script, for example, Gerard is completely humiliated: not only do Tully's people relieve the lieutenant of his gun, they strip him of his shoes and socks, so that when he is returned from the woods after his escape attempt, his feet are badly cut and bruised.
"The story originally took place at night, which made Gerard's ordeal more harrowing--in the darkness, he is attacked by thousands of cargo spiders, and later runs into a swarm of bees. And before Gerard is "sentenced," he endures a shower of beer, cigar burns on his leg, and numerous kickings and beatings.
"Apparently, the authors realized that the torment was excessive, because [co-writer of the teleplay Francis Irby] Gwaltney made a handwritten note at the end of the first draft to "emphasize the trial more," particularly in the fourth act." -- Page 98 of "THE FUGITIVE RECAPTURED: THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY COMPANION TO A TELEVISION CLASSIC" (c.1993)
53. "The Survivors" (March 2, 1965) .... No alias used. .... In this unique episode, Dr. Kimble returns to the Indiana town of Fairgreen, where he first met his wife-to-be, Helen Waverley, ten years earlier. He re-enters the lives of the Waverley family, and as a result re-opens the still-fresh wounds left behind by Helen's tragic murder. An excellent episode.
54. "Everybody Gets Hit In The Mouth Sometime" (March 9, 1965) .... Alias: "Bill Douglas".
55. "May God Have Mercy" (March 16, 1965) .... Alias: "Harry Reynolds".
56. "Masquerade" (March 23, 1965) .... Alias: "Leonard Hull".
57. "Runner In The Dark" (March 30, 1965) .... Aliases: "Tom Burns" and "Phil Mead". .... For the second time in Season 2, Ed Begley Sr. makes an impressive guest-starring "Fugitive" appearance.
58. "A.P.B." (April 6, 1965) .... Alias: "Ed Morris".
59. "The Old Man Picked A Lemon" (April 13, 1965) .... Alias: "Jim Wallace". .... Celeste Holm heads the list of guest stars for this "Fugitive" entry. Celeste would later also co-star in a Season-Four episode as well.
60. "Last Second Of A Big Dream" (April 20, 1965) .... Alias: "Nick Peters".
Sixty episodes of "The Fugitive" on DVD, with sixty to go.
It's nice to at least now be at the halfway point toward the completion of this stellar TV series being released in its hoped-for very deserved entirety on DVD.
And Paramount's relatively quick and timely release schedule for these half-season sets hasn't been very agonizing at all for fans of this impeccable series who, like myself, no doubt have a desire to collect all 120 episodes on DVD as quickly as they can.
So my advice is this (despite a few complaints about the replacement music) -- Race with Dr. Richard Kimble to the 50-yard line of "The Fugitive" on DVD by grabbing a copy of "Season Two, Volume Two" right now.
David Von Pein
SOME RELATED LINKS:
"THE FUGITIVE: SEASON 1, VOLUME 1" -- A PERSONAL REVIEW
"THE FUGITIVE: SEASON 1, VOLUME 2" -- A PERSONAL REVIEW
"THE FUGITIVE: SEASON 2, VOLUME 1" -- A PERSONAL REVIEW
MY "FUGITIVE" PHOTO ALBUM
Amazon.com: David Von Pein's review of The Fugitive: Season Two, Vol. 2