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Is the b&w era of TV on DVD slowly coming to an end?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Gary OS, Jan 12, 2012.

  1. Professor Echo

    Professor Echo Screenwriter

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    Great minds think alike, Gary. I too recently picked up MR. NOVAK, as well as all 5 seasons of DR. KILDARE. It was a mix of patience, nice eBay deals and Deep Discount sales that made it happen. Ever since I watched the superb 87th PRECINCT on DVD last year, I've really been getting into early 60's TV. Even if there were some over the top "message" episodes, many of those dramas from that period knew how to offset the lecturing with fantastic story telling.
     
  2. bmasters9

    bmasters9 Producer

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    A fine art of television sadly dispensed with by Diff'rent Strokes, The Facts of Life, et al.!
     
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  3. Gary OS

    Gary OS Producer

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    Totally agree, Glen. Much of the early 60's stuff was very solid. A few series (aka The Defenders) did go hog-wild on "messages", but most series were nuanced and pretty balanced, making for enjoyable viewing.

    Gary "if it's a b&w series, I'd say there's a 90%+ chance I'm going to like it" O.
     
  4. BobO'Link

    BobO'Link Producer

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    That's when you still had lots and lots of old(er) movie people making TV. People from just about every department. Many were accomplished movie people on both A and B pictures. They knew how to tell a story and get it on the screen. That's not to say later TV is necessarily "bad" as it's not (well - until Norman Lear kind of ruined things) - it's just that the early stuff is just uniformly good. I'll blind buy just about any BW series and know I'll get some enjoyment out of it - even if it's a genre I don't normally like.
     
  5. Message #3545 of 3751 Sep 29, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2019
    Flashgear

    Flashgear Screenwriter

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    I'm glad to hear that Mr. Novak has found new fans on here, and more sales will help to propel the ultimate release of season two, which fortunately has it's own off the shelf TNT transfers ready to go in it's favor...I agree fully on the wonderful realm of B+W TV...and anybody who has dipped into the thread I started on HTF already knows what a big fan I am of the storytelling drama of Mr. Novak, one of the Hallmark quality TV dramas of it's era...I'm sure that Gary O and Glenn, among others, will be quite pleased in their rediscovery of this series...as it's back to school time, I'll start posting again about season two of Mr. Novak, with synopsis, a personal review and screen caps from my home made DVDs of the season two episodes available in my collection...and hopefully to beat the drum for WAC to release season two in the near future...

    As a fellow B+W TV devotee, I've also been thinking of starting a new thread about another high quality MGM show also owned by Warner...the delightful The Thin Man TV series (1957-59) with Phyllis Kirk and Peter Lawford doing justice to the exquisite movie duo of Myrna Loy and William Powell...I have most of that series on home made DVD derived from 16mm also...I'm not sure if The Thin Man TV series has any complicating music or literary rights (Dashiell Hammett estate) for Warner to clear for eventual Archive release or not.

    John Marshall High in Los Feliz is such a beautiful and ornate building isn't it? They still knew how to incorporate beauty into architecture in the 1920s...unfortunately, the brutal realities of the great depression would change everything for the worst in the design of public buildings to come...
    A novak wac 11.JPG
    A novak wac 68.JPG

    Novak's ghastly 1964 Pontiac Valiant Station Wagon cluttering up the view, but oh well...
    A novak wac 67.JPG
    A novak wac 1.JPG
    A novak wac 69.JPG

    And as also seen in QM's Dan August...
    A dan 10.JPG
    A dan 29.JPG

    And in the Office hall, 1963 for Mr. Novak and in 1970 for the Dan August episode Quadrangle of Death...
    A novak wac 23.JPG
    A novak wac 12.JPG
    A novak wac 13.JPG
    A dan 24.JPG

    And if only the teachers and principals dressed as sharp as these guys today..
    A novak wac 10.JPG
    Novak Tower 9.JPG


    So true, Howie...our treasured B+W TV was the artistic and commercial product of the old golden era Hollywood vanguard who had largely worked in the business since the 1920s and even earlier...and also the younger men and women who came into the industry in the post war years and 1950s...tough, humble and worthy people, often of a deeply held faith and fortitude...who as children and young adults, were forged by the brutalities and deprivation of the great depression and the tumult and suffering of total war on a globally epic scale never before witnessed by humanity in WW2...thus, they had unique life experiences and insight...and a deeply held gratitude for having been delivered into the postwar peace and prosperity of 1950s consumer America...their life experiences of a depression era childhood and the frightening total war that followed informed their art...needless to say, the life experiences of today's Hollywood crowd are radically different...

    Just a few (of many) examples...the makeup artist at QM productions who took care of the great Buddy Ebsen of Barnaby Jones, was a humble WW2 hero named J. Royden (Roy) Stork...Buddy Ebsen and others at QM had no idea that this humble and quiet man was one of the "Doolittle Raiders", the brave airmen who launched their B-25 bombers off of the USS Hornet aircraft carrier in April 1942 to bomb Tokyo for the first time in America's first counterstrike on the Japanese home islands after Pearl Harbor...later to be immortalized by Hollywood in the great 1944 Spencer Tracy/Van Johnson movie Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo...Roy Stork was copilot of the tenth B-25 to launch, and thus among the crews that came under the heaviest flak and fighter attacks over Tokyo by the time they arrived at the target...his crew survived to bail out over friendly Nationalist China...the people at QM only became aware of Roy's past glory when he needed time off to attend another Doolittle Raid reunion at the Hotel del Coronado at San Diego in 1976...when Buddy Ebsen finally learned of his friend Roy's WW2 past, he was amazed and offered to MC a reunion to come if the Doolittle association so desired...which Buddy Ebsen indeed did at a subsequent reunion of the Raiders...typical of these WW2 veterans in my experience, in keeping these stories to themselves...ever humble and quietly gracious in having survived the Hell of WW2...I had the honor of meeting Roy Stork and other Raiders at Chino in 1987...Roy Stork continued to fly B-24 bombers in the China-Burma-India theater for another 16 months after his arrival by parachute on a rain and windswept night in April 1942, fearing that his comrades were all dead and that their mission had been a failure (it proved to be an enormously significant event that led to the epic Battle of Midway, the turning point of the Pacific War)...Roy passed away at age 85 in 2002...a gentleman who made his long peacetime career in Hollywood...
    [​IMG]

    Roy Stork signing autographs at another reunion, with the Great man himself, the incomparable General Jimmy Doolittle...one of the all time great aviation pioneers, ultimately commander of the mightiest airforce in history, the 8th airforce in Britain in the lead up to D-Day, and honored with the highest award for valor by president FDR, the Congressional Medal of Honor...a general who led from the front...
    [​IMG]

    Roy Stork, front right, with his fellow Doolittle raid crewmen on the deck of the USS Hornet on their way to bomb Tokyo, April 1942...
    [​IMG]

    And, another well known Hollywood guy, the writer and director Burt Kennedy, who was well known for his long association with John Wayne's Batjac productions and his great critical success working with Bud Boetticher and Randolph Scott on the celebrated "RanCom" westerns, was another humble guy who kept his own real life heroics quiet as one of the Rangers from the 1st Cavalry's rescue of suffering and starving POWs and civilians during the epic Cabanatuan and Los Banos raids during the liberation of the Philippines in early 1945...people who worked with him at Batjac, Columbia, Warners and Universal were amazed to discover his past involvement in these famous WW2 special forces raids...he kept these things to himself, not trading on it for hollow accolades or professional advancement...and standup Hollywood guys like James Arness, Lee Marvin, James Garner, Richard Boone, James Stewart, Charleton Heston, Paul Newman, Eddie Albert and many others had all seen combat and the havoc of war for themselves...that, and a childhood during the great depression made for people with life experiences that could inform the best of their art...and a humility and gratitude that drove them to create the entertainment art of inspiration and hope in postwar American television...
     
  6. Gary16

    Gary16 Screenwriter

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    There is an episode of “The Thin Man” TV series included as a bonus on the new Warner Blu-ray release of “The Thin Man” movie.
     
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  7. Flashgear

    Flashgear Screenwriter

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    I didn't know that Gary, as the new Blu of the original Thin Man movie is one I haven't picked up as yet...I already own the 6 Thin Man movies in a DVD boxset...could you tell me which episode of the 1957-59 Phyllis Kirk/Peter Lawford series is included on the new Blu-ray? There was also a single Thin Man episode included as an extra on the Blu-ray of Forbidden Planet, the one featuring Robbie the Robot, of course, season one's The Robot Client...makes me wonder what WAC's plans are for an eventual archive release, and indeed if there are still unresolved literary rights issues yet to be cleared with the Hammett estate or whoever holds the successor rights to his works...
     
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  8. bmasters9

    bmasters9 Producer

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    Yes, Mr. Novak does deserve release of that second-and-final 1964-65 go to close it out, and I'm sure that, just as was done with the first one (1963-64), there will be rave reviews all around when it does come and is purchased and seen by many of the members here.
     
  9. Gary16

    Gary16 Screenwriter

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    Happy to oblige. It’s “Scene of the Crime” which is the first episode of season 2 featuring a major unbilled cameo at the end. I also happen to have a film print of this episode. Picture quality on the bluray is a little disappointing especially considering how gorgeous the movie itself looks but at least they pulled out the mag track for the audio.
     
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  10. Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Screenwriter

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    Excellent post, Randall! Thanks for sharing those great stories about Roy Stork and Burt Kennedy. And I heartily agree with everything you wrote above, about the talented craftsmen (and women!) from Hollywood's Golden Age that made television programs from the '50s through the '70s with such quality, skill and professionalism.
     
  11. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Producer

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    Of course the best early 60s dramas are the ones dealing with serious social issues, like The Defenders, The Nurses, For The People, Slattery's People and East Side West Side.
     
  12. Gary OS

    Gary OS Producer

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    Thanks, Randall. Love all the pics! Feel free to use this tread any time you want to post more pics of any b&w TV shows you want to!!!

    Gary “long live b&w TV shows - if only thru pictures and our memories” O.
     
  13. Gary OS

    Gary OS Producer

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    The 2nd Season of Public Defender showed up today in my mail. So excited to finally have it. A great show with fantastic guest stars throughout!

    Gary “this will be a fun ride” O.
     
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  14. Message #3554 of 3751 Oct 1, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2019
    Flashgear

    Flashgear Screenwriter

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    Thank you Gary for the encouragement. It seems we are in a period of some bounty in prospective B+W TV releases in the near future, so glad about Public Defender, Ben Casey (thanks for that news Gary O!), more My Three Sons...and although color, still vintage shows like the accelerated release schedule for the latter seasons of Gunsmoke and Bonanza...and with the news that a completed series of One Step Beyond is in the works (thanks to Neil Brock for that news), I've been watching some of the episodes of that fine supernatural suspense series...I took these screen caps from (Alcoa Presents) One Step Beyond S1, The Vision (Mar. 24, 1959), an episode among many that I am fond of...

    John Newland, who also directed many of the series episodes, had a strong, warm and convincing presence on camera during these intros, much like Rod Serling for the soon to be launched Twilight Zone and Boris Karloff for 1960's Thriller...Newland also occasionally introduced sly humor into some of his intros, the gold standard for such intros belonged, of course, to the witty and sarcastic Alfred Hitchcock for his long running suspense series...
    OSB 1.JPG
    OSB 2.JPG

    In this episode, we are told that a mysterious event occurred one night on the Western Front...at 2230 hrs., November 14, 1915...witnessed by multiple people from many locations...but with the fog of war, and the brutal grind of unceasing trench warfare and gas attacks, it takes some time for the import of this supernatural event to be even acknowledged, let alone understood...a French night patrol of four men furtively makes it's way under the barbed wire and navigates around the craters of no man's land under the cover of darkness...their leader is played by a pre-Bonanza Pernell Roberts, leading his section portrayed by H. M. Wynant, Peter Miles and Jerry Oddo...

    OSB 5.JPG

    Wynant, among these war weary men, has some memorable lines to deliver in service of this story...about the poor prospects they have to survive this night to see dawn...(about the Germans) "If they kill enough of us, perhaps they get an added ration of schnapps...if we kill enough of them, perhaps they'll let us take a bath"....
    OSB 8.JPG

    Suddenly, they are illuminated by a flare...expecting now for the Germans to see them and pour down fire upon them...but there is no shooting, just silence with this parachute flare just hanging in the night sky...and the flare does not descend on a parachute, but just remains suspended for what seems to be an eternity...it is already brighter than any paraflare that they have ever seen, and incredibly grows brighter in intensity still...
    OSB 7.JPG

    The men are transfixed, gazing heavenward and feeling the need to simply drop their weapons and withdraw back to their lines...they do so, standing upright and not a shot is fired as they leave, just silence...each man has seen a "vision" unique to themselves...some of a completely serene nature, inducing only peace and serenity into these formerly troubled souls...one man has had a more disturbing vision, but redemptive nonetheless...
    OSB 9.JPG
    OSB 10.JPG

    Having abandoned their weapons and forward position, they are arrested by French military police and charged with cowardice and desertion...they will be put on trial for their lives, and forthwith...a court martial is quickly arranged to enable conviction and execution within the next 24 hours...a French major played by a pre-Untouchables Bruce Gordon is ordered to provide them with defense counsel...he is incredulous at the soldier's stories about the mystic flare and their inexplicable reaction to it...the defense lawyer is especially confounded by the apparent cowardice of their sergeant leader, the highly decorated and long serving character played by Pernell Roberts...
    OSB 11.JPG

    The court martial convenes promptly, the prosecutor is played by Richard Devon (who was concurrently a recurring character that season on the great Yancy Derringer)...
    OSB 13.JPG

    Bruce Gordon's defense counsel tries in vane to get the sergeant to help him mount a reasonable defense, and not repeat the apparent nonsense that he and his men were just suddenly rendered helpless in the face of some supernatural force that compelled them to renounce killing and abandon their guns in the field of battle...
    OSB 15.JPG

    A sentence of death is pronounced on these men...to be shot the following dawn...
    OSB 16.JPG
    OSB 17.JPG

    The major can do no more for these men...who accept their fate with serene calm...but the sergeant, who has no family to mourn him, "I've been in the army for 18 years, I don't have anyone to write home to.", asks the major to bring him something as his last wish in this world...a quality bottle of Cognac to imbibe with his men before dawn, and their appointment with the firing squad...the major, in some desperation, finds a small boy who assures him that his family has a bottle of good Cognac to sell...the major hurries off with the boy on his motorcycle to the boy's family farm, closer to the front...the MGM backlot European village is used to good effect...
    OSB 22.JPG
    OSB 23.JPG

    At the farmhouse, while waiting for the boy to bring up the bottle of Cognac from the cellar,...the major is suddenly startled by a disheveled and unarmed German soldier who surrenders to him, rambling on incoherently about his men abandoning their posts and dropping their guns in the field..."nothing else mattered anymore"...the major is dumbfounded to hear this story again, demanding from the German something that makes sense...
    OSB 19.JPG
    He shakes the German, demanding "what did you see? Tell me! What did you see?"...
    OSB 21.JPG
    This is an extremely well written and effective story with great atmosphere...convincingly performed by the entire cast...earnest, eloquent and memorable in the best traditions of this series...just one of many first rate episodes in One Step Beyond...
    OSB 3.JPG
     
  15. Gary16

    Gary16 Screenwriter

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    I just finished watching the whole season two set. Wish there was a season three.
     
  16. Gary16

    Gary16 Screenwriter

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    Great review and clips. I know you know it’s John Newland not Paul.
     
  17. Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the review, Randall! This sounds like a fascinating and sobering episode...though I do hope that Pernell Roberts and company don't indulge overmuch in broad French accents. ;) Your review has definitely piqued my interest in the series.
     
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  18. GMBurns

    GMBurns Second Unit

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    Gary, enjoy! I've been having a lot of fun watching Public Defender. I knew nothing about it, but bought it based on the commendations of posters here on HTF. It has predictable plots in glorious black and white, and Reed Hadley has been a treat as the voice of reason and justice. It's the perfect thing for suspending disbelief at the end of a long day.
     
  19. Gary OS

    Gary OS Producer

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    Thanks, Glenn. I know I'll enjoy the 2nd season as much as I have the 1st. It's a great show with a fantastic lead in Hadley, excellent guest stars and decent scripts.

    Gary "so thankful that ClassicFlix released it" O.
     
  20. ChrisALM

    ChrisALM Supporting Actor

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    I too have been enjoying Public Defender. I purchased S1 and S2 during a recent Classic Flix sale.

    I believe the S2 Episode, The Deep Ditch, has all the original Philip Morris commercials available as an option to view along with the episode. Interestingly, especially in S1, there are two different theme scores used for the closing credits. The one theme has the credits roll against a gray background. The other closing theme sounds familiar, but I can't place it; but it sounds like it belongs on a western. This theme has the credits roll in front of packages of Philip Morris cigarettes.

    I have also noticed Philip Morris posters and advertisements in various business establishments in a number of episodes. The prints are good enough that you can see some product labels when stores are used as a scene in an episode. I am glad Classic Flix released this series and hope they dig around for some more shows from the 50's for future releases.
     

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