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Mr. Novak, NBC TV Series 1963-65.

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Flashgear, Jul 11, 2017.

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  1. Message #1 of 123 Jul 11, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2017
    Flashgear

    Flashgear Screenwriter

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    Warner Archive has not yet released Mr. Novak on DVD...hopefully, it's coming in the next two years (I keep asking WAC on FB about it)...but a dedicated and knowledgeable fan of the show, Author Chuck Harter, is publishing a 376 page, profusely illustrated, large format hardcover book on the series...from fine publisher BearManor Media on October 15, ($35)...a softcover edition will follow at some point, as per provided publisher's information...

    Profusely illustrated and with over 40 cast, guest star, director and crew interviews...introduction written by Director Richard Donner, who directed 7 episodes...foreward by Martin Landau, who guest starred in 2 episodes...afterword by Walter Koenig of Star Trek, who guest starred in 3 episodes, including his very first career guest star credit...author interviews with Diane Baker, Ed Asner, June Lockhart, Pat Crowley, Louise Latham, Frankie Avalon, Barbara Barrie, Lane Bradbury, Beau Bridges, Brooke Bundy, Marian Collier, Johnny Crawford, Tony Dow, Sherry Jackson, Tommy Kirk, Tom Lowell, David Sheiner, Julie Sommars, Buck Taylor, Beverly Washburn and others...

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    Link to Author's Book Website...https://mrnovakbook.com/
    Amazon listing...https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51U0-jxT7iL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg


    Opening titles video for Mr. Novak...with Lyn Murray's Beautiful theme music...



    I've been a long time fan of the show...although I was only 7 going on 8 at the time, and likely struggled to fully appreciate the then cutting edge contemporary drama set in a Los Angeles High School...I have since viewed most of the episodes derived from the late '80s TNT airings, although my copies are problematic for my valued core collection...I regard it as essential for my DVD library...the setting was "Jefferson High" (actually John Marshall High School, 3939 Tracy St., in the Los Feliz neighborhood of LA)...a young, dedicated and idealistic Korean War Veteran embarking on his new career as a Teacher...Mr. Novak, of course, played by James Franciscus, who was previously seen as a regular on the first season of Naked City...the Great Oscar Winning Actor Dean Jagger played Principal Vane in 46 of 60 episodes... because of ill health he was later replaced in season two by Burgess Meredith...other regulars were Jeanne Bal as the assistant principal Jean Pagano...Bal is remembered by Star Trek fans as the 'Wife' of professor Crater in 'Mantrap'...the other regular was Marian Collier as the Home Economics teacher (sometime love interest for Novak), Marilyn Scott...this show was as much about the teachers and administration as it was about the students and their families...several players recurred as students on the show...Beau Bridges, Tony Dow, Tommy Kirk, Frankie Avalon, Julie Sommars, Kim Darby, Joey Hetherton, Brooke Bundy, Sherry Jackson, Johnny Crawford among them...

    The real 'Jefferson High'...John Marshall H.S.,...

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    Publicity photo of James Franciscus as Mr. Novak...

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    Dean Jagger and James Franciscus in the hallways of John Marshall H.S....many of the real student body were seen in backgrounds of the episodes...it's a lively topic of conversation for the class of '65 in their reunion alumni association...a lot of filming of course took place on purpose built sets at the MGM Culver City studio as well...same place that Dr. Kildare and Gene Roddenberry's The Lieutenant was filmed...

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    Jeanne Bal as Jean Pagano on Mr. Novak...

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    Marian Collier as Home Ec teacher Marilyn Scott...

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    TV Guide covers for Mr. Novak's two season run...

    Nov. 16, 1963...

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    Apr. 18, 1964...

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    Feb. 20, 1965...

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    It's too bad that the wonderful Julie Newmar never appeared on Mr. Novak...she was an actual Alumni of John Marshall H.S.,...with her IQ of 135, she graduated ahead of her classmates in 1948...she was only 15 at the time!
     
  2. Flashgear

    Flashgear Screenwriter

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    Walter Koenig provides the Afterword for Author Chuck Harter's new book MR. NOVAK - AN ACCLAIMED TELEVISION SERIES...his first career guest starring credit was for the episode 'The Boy Without a Country', first aired Dec. 10, 1963...he played a Russian defector who struggles to fit in at a modern American High School...his agent must have placed this ad in Variety on his behalf...

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    Still from the same episode, with James Franciscus...
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    Present day photo of Walter Koenig and the new book's Author Chuck Harter...

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    This is one of my favorite first season episodes...Mr. Novak started with a solid string of great episodes...the pilot, 'First Year, First Day' (Starring Ed Asner, Gloria Talbott, and Lee Kinsolving, Sept. 24, 1963) was written by Joseph Stefano and directed by the great Boris Sagal...Stefano was very busy with the concurrent launch of The Outer Limits that very fall...Boris Sagal was also co-creator of Mr. Novak, along with E. Jack Neuman and William Froug...Walter Koenig also guest starred in two season 2 episodes...'With a Hammer in His Hand, Lord, Lord' (Sept. 29, 1964) and 'The Firebrand' (April 13, 1965)...the latter another one of my favorite episodes...
     
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  3. Message #3 of 123 Jul 11, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2017
    Flashgear

    Flashgear Screenwriter

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    Robert Culp guest starred in the Mr. Novak season two episode, 'The Tender Twigs' (March 16, 1965) as a teacher accused of Crypto Communist indoctrination in the stageing of a student's Model United Nations exercise...publicity photo of 'students' Robert Crawford jr., Tony Dow (Leave it to Beaver) and Johnny Crawford (The Rifleman)...Cold War themes were recurring on Mr. Novak, leading to some of the finest episodes in the whole run...Robert Culp is great as always...

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    James Franciscus and guest star Diane Baker in the early episode 'A Feeling For Friday' (Nov.19, 1963)...a beautiful episode with touching performances that established a lot of Mr. Novak's backstory...

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    The second episode to air was also a very affecting story with memorable performances...'To Lodge and Dislodge' (Oct. 1, 1963) starred a very young Kim Darby as a troubled blind student who falls hard for the kind voice of Mr. Novak...here is Kim Darby at about the same age with Johnny Crawford in 'The Restless ones'...

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    All the episodes have been pulled from Youtube, but the opening 8:30 of the great episode 'A Single Isolated Incident' (Oct. 22, 1963) is still up...the episode featured Gloria Calomee as a black student who is assaulted in a racial attack...Charles Lampkin plays her father, Tige Andrews the investigating police officer, Joe Mantell a newshound, and Keg Johnson (also seen in Star Trek's 'Mantrap' episode)...at least this gives you an idea of the high quality of this drama, and the societal themes it touched upon for it's storylines...'Jefferson High School' was of course, fully integrated...at a time when segregation was widespread...and not just in the South...remember the 'busing riots' in Boston?

     
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  4. Richard V

    Richard V Cinematographer

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    Wish Mr. Kovak and Channing would be released on DVD, would be first day purchase for me.
     
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  5. Joe Lugoff

    Joe Lugoff Cinematographer

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    The episode named "A Feeling for Friday" was on Nov. 19, 1963 -- and look what happened the very next Friday.

    That was also the week the show was on the cover of TV Guide for the first time.
     
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  6. The Obsolete Man

    The Obsolete Man Cinematographer

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    Did the next week's episode wind up postponed, was the show already preempted because of the upcoming holiday, or were TV schedules back to normal by that Tuesday?

    Anyway, I never knew Walter Koenig had Russian experience a few years before Star Trek. For that alone I'd give the series a shot if it came to DVD.
     
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  7. Flashgear

    Flashgear Screenwriter

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    JFK's State Funeral was held on Monday, November 25...even though we were all in shock from this terrible event, I believe that in most TV markets, regular Network Programming resumed on the evening of Tuesday, November 26...thus, the Mr. Novak episode 'Pay the Two Dollars' aired as scheduled...it guest starred Martin Landau as a school board lawyer trying to settle a lawsuit against Mr. Novak...false allegations of assault from a student played by Beau Bridges...MacDonald Carey also guest starred...Tom Lowell (newly cast on Combat! at the time) was also in this fine episode...

    Martin Landau also guest starred in the prescient second season episode 'Enter a Strange Animal' (Jan. 19, 1965)...where he played an IBM salesman type pushing hard to introduce computers into the school!

    Present day photo of Martin Landau with the new book's author Chuck Harter...Martin Landau provides the Foreword to this excellent book, now up for pre-order on Amazon...

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Producer

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    Very good show. Great that TNT showed it (uncut), although they didn't run every episode. Thankfully, Library of Congress has a full run and I was able to see the remaining episodes which TNT didn't air, down there. Have to believe that the 2-part Faculty Follies episodes, which are loaded with songs, is what is holding up a Warner Archive release. Too bad, as it would be nice to upgrade this very good series.
     
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  9. Message #9 of 123 Jul 11, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2017
    Flashgear

    Flashgear Screenwriter

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    Oh, yes, the infamous 'Faculty Follies' two parter...Broadway show tunes and wretched original novelty songs as performed by the cast, James Franciscus included...seems a calculated attempt to cash in by MGM's recording division...here's an in house DJ 45 rpm record and sheet music for these atrocities...

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    And finally this...proof that every TV show had a board game tie in...

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Tom.W

    Tom.W Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks, for this tip, Flashgear, about Mr. Harter's book. I will definitely be picking it up, to read as a companion to what will hopefully be a dvd release in the not too distant future. Shame that Faculty Follies is holding it up. I would certainly sacrifice that for it to be released.

    When it aired on TNT, it would sometimes start a few minutes before or after the scheduled time (I think it was 5:00am Eastern). My recordings missed a few minutes at the beginning of these episodes. Back in those days, I was conserving videotape.

    The TV Collector did a nice article on Mr. Novak in the late eighties. Franciscus was not available (he passed away in 1991). They did interview the creator of the series, E. Jack Neumann, who had a lot of interesting details. The rumor was that one of the supporting stars got it taken off TNT by threatening a lawsuit over royalties. A lot has changed since then.
     
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  11. Joe Lugoff

    Joe Lugoff Cinematographer

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    All scheduled programming was cancelled from the afternoon of Friday, Nov. 22 through Monday, Nov. 25. Everything returned to normal on Tuesday, Nov. 26.
     
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  12. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Producer

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    Having seen the 2-parter at LOC, I can safely say that it would be a good thing if the series was released without those two episodes, which are by far the worst of the series.
     
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  13. Flashgear

    Flashgear Screenwriter

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    You're welcome Tom...I'm glad you are interested in Chuck Harter's book, MR. NOVAK - AN ACCLAIMED TELEVISION SERIES ...I have it pre-ordered on Amazon myself...very enthused by what I see on FB and on his own book website... https://mrnovakbook.com/ I just wanted to get the word out about this book, and also hope WAC releases Mr. Novak on DVD in the near future...I have no connection with the author (other than FB messaging) or BearManor media, the publisher...Like yourself, my VHS sourced TNT captures are problematic ...mine are effected by bad edits by the collector I traded with...he attempted to edit out the commercials without an editing VCR jog and shuttle...so I'm missing footage on about half of my episodes...bugs the hell out of me...
    Thanks Neil Brock for the info regarding the Library of Congress collection...I've asked WAC on FB several times about any progress on a Mr. Novak release...they no longer respond with any details, as they used to, when about 6 years ago, they mentioned "4 episodes needing clearance"...Mark Topaz, who produced the on camera interview extras on season one of The Defenders for Shout, asked about Mr. Novak again on WAC's FB page this past winter...along with a query about Cain's Hundred...he asked WAC if they would ever consider releasing these two shows, if by necessity, with the few rights entangled episodes removed from the release...they responded that they continue to work on securing the necessary clearances but that "...we would never say never" about a potential partial release...I love WAC's suddenly ramped up output of classic feature films on gorgeous Blu-rays that are on pace for about 50 films this year...but I also worry what that might imply as to Warner's competing priorities in respect to their B+W TV series coming more slowly...who knows?
     
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  14. Message #14 of 123 Jul 13, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2017
    Flashgear

    Flashgear Screenwriter

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    I think it's certainly a very rare occurrence when someone publishes a quality book about a nearly forgotten B+W TV show that hasn't aired anywhere in about 30 years and that has also never been released on Home Video...those factors are forefront in my mind when discussing the soon to be published book...Richard Donner (director of such box office hits as Superman (1978), LadyHawke, The Goonies and Lethal Weapon) also directed 7 episodes of Mr. Novak...and he provides the introduction for the new book by Chuck Harter, and of course provides his recollections about the show...along with 40+ other cast and crew...the Donner episodes are:

    'X is the Unknown Factor' (Oct. 15, 1963)...an outstanding student (David Macklin) and potential laureate who is up for a much coveted university science scholarship is found out as a cheater...and several powers that be want to cover it up for him, regardless...Brooke Bundy also appears in this episode...

    'A Thousand Voices' (Dec. 17, 1963)...a violent student (Frankie Avalon), possibly suffering the juvenile onset of schizophrenia, presents a dilemma for Novak and principal Vane...Robert F. Simon is also in this episode...

    'The Private Life of Douglas Morgan Jr.' (Dec. 28, 1963)...Peter Helm plays a student with a difficult home life and secrets to keep...Frank Maxwell and Harold Gould co-star...

    'The Death of a Teacher' (Feb. 4, 1964)...a underappreciated and dedicated teacher (Frank Albertson) suddenly dies on the job...apparently from overwork and the administration's negligence...staff and students are left to ponder his legacy, along with their own regrets...Harry Townes and Tony Dow co-star...an outstanding episode...

    'One Way to Say Goodbye' (Mar. 17, 1964)...an indulged and self entitled student with political connections considers himself exempt from discipline or consequence...Novak and Vane tune him in to reality...

    'Moonlighting' (Sept. 22, 1964)...second season premiere episode...having paid for his ailing father's medical bills, Mr. Novak discovers he needs to find a second income, fast...Frank Ferguson plays Novak's father...Joe DeSantis and Bert Freed co-star...

    'Beyond a Reasonable Doubt' (Dec. 22, 1964)...a young girl (Susan Tyrell) who has just transferred to Jefferson High is discovered to have been previously tried and acquitted for the still unsolved murders of her parents...

    Here's a present day photo of Director Richard Donner and Author Chuck Harter from the soon to be published book...October 15, from BearManor Media...up for pre-order on Amazon (376 pgs. many photos, $35 in large format hardcover, https://mrnovakbook.com/ softcover to come at some point).

    [​IMG]
     
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  15. John DeAngelis

    John DeAngelis Stunt Coordinator

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    One of the first-season Naked City episodes had James Franciscus going undercover as a high school teacher and I wonder if this episode was the inspiration for either the Mr. Novak series or having Franciscus play the lead role.
     
  16. Richard V

    Richard V Cinematographer

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    Always wondered why this wasn't released already. I should have known.
     
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  17. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Producer

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    We didn't get cable in NY until 1990 so when TNT was running the show, I had to have friends record it for me. Due to the inconsistent start times, they would always set their VCRs to record well ahead of the scheduled time and then to run much later. A few episodes showed up without being on the schedule.
     
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  18. Flashgear

    Flashgear Screenwriter

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    Walter Koenig has provided a video endorsement for author Chuck Harter's forthcoming new book............. Mr. Novak - An Acclaimed Television Series (376 pgs., Profusely illustrated, large format hardcover...also available in softcover and Kindle E-Reader editions, from BearManor Media on October 15), now up for pre-order on Amazon...
    https://www.amazon.com/Mr-Novak-Acclaimed-Television-hardback/dp/1629331643/ref=pd_ybh_a_5?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=78WDKX5WAAWP918X7M5C

    Authors website with many details on the new book...

    https://mrnovakbook.com/


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    Walter Koenig's Video Endorsement for the new book...Walter appeared in 3 episodes of Mr. Novak, including his first ever 'Guest Starring' credit...he played a Russian cold war defector who struggles to fit in to an American High School classroom in one of the episodes...he later credited that role and his well received critic's reviews for his later casting as 'Chekov' on Star Trek...Walter was interviewed extensively for the new book and provides an afterword as well...



    The Legendary Actor Martin Landau Guest Starred in 2 Great Mr. Novak episodes, and provides a Foreword to the new book...he was also extensively interviewed by author Chuck Harter, meeting with him not long before Martin Landau's recent passing...here is a video appreciation and tribute from Chuck Harter, in Gratitude to his friend for his kind assistance to the author in writing this profoundly researched and brilliantly presented history of Mr. Novak....

     
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  19. Message #19 of 123 Aug 23, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2017
    Flashgear

    Flashgear Screenwriter

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    For readers and collectors of classic television histories and 'companion' books, the name Martin Grams is a familiar one...he has authored many extensive, authoritative and well received books on golden era tv shows like Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Have Gun Will Travel, Twilight Zone, Science Fiction Theatre, I Led 3 Lives, Car 54 Where Are You?, and others...Martin Grams is also an expert on classic Radio and founder of the Mid Atlantic Nostalgia Convention...Martin Grams has just posted his blogspot review, on August 15, of Chuck Harter's new book, Mr. Novak - An Acclaimed Television Series...

    http://martingrams.blogspot.ca/

    Here is the Facebook page for the new book...

    https://www.facebook.com/mrnovakbook/

    Here is BearManor Media's website listing and pre-order links...

    Hardcoverhttp://www.bearmanormedia.com/mr-novak-an-acclaimed-television-series-hardcover-edition-by-chuck-harter?search=mr.%20novak

    Softcoverhttp://www.bearmanormedia.com/mr-novak-an-acclaimed-television-series-softcover-edition-by-chuck-harter?search=mr.%20novak

    Kindle Ereader edition from Amazon is currently only $7.85, hardcover print pre-order currently $38.02
    https://www.amazon.com/Mr-Novak-Acclaimed-Television-hardback/dp/1629331643/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

    Just a reminder...I have no vested interest in the publication of this new book...the author is a friend of mine, and has provided me with an advance review copy for which I am grateful...I will be posting my review and impressions of the new book soon...it truly is a profoundly researched and brilliantly presented history of Mr. Novak...author Chuck Harter dedicated two and a half years to this effort...he had exclusive access to Producer and co-creator E. Jack Neuman's personal archives...provided to him by his widow, Marian Collier (who as a young actress was cast as home economics teacher Miss Scott)...the author also conducted 40+ interviews with Guest Stars and Crew...Director Richard Donner, Guest Stars Martin Landau, Walter Koenig, Ed Asner, Frankie Avalon, Diane Baker, Barbara Barrie, Lane Bradbury, Beau Bridges, Brooke Bundy, Johnny Crawford, Pat Crowley, Tony Dow, Sherry Jackson, Tommy Kirk, Louise Latham, June Lockhart, Tom Lowell, Brenda Scott, David Sheiner, Julie Sommars, Buck Taylor, Beverly Washburn and many others...MGM Culver City Property Master Bob Schultz contributes his valuable on set memories and recollections of the making of the show and Stars James Franciscus, Dean Jagger and Burgess Meredith...there are over 300 photos and illustrations in the book...there are also the warm and wonderful memories of John Marshall High School Alumni...where some filming took place, with the then young student body as extras...wonderful stuff...

    I hope Warner Archive is getting closer to a Mr. Novak DVD release...if you are a fan of Route 66, Naked City, The Defenders (or the still unreleased Bus Stop, Saints and Sinners, East Side, West Side, Dick Powell Theater, Channing, etc)...or if you are a fan of and have bought the WAC DVD releases of MGM shows Dr. Kildare, Sam Benedict and The Lieutenant...you would absolutely love Mr. Novak as well...it does rank with the absolute best of early 1960s television drama...
     
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  20. Message #20 of 123 Aug 23, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2017
    Flashgear

    Flashgear Screenwriter

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    Among the many things I have learned from this new book about Mr. Novak is that TNT showed 55 out of 60 episodes from October 30, 1988 to October 22, 1990...airtimes were irregular (movie runtimes, baseball extra innings...caused hell with setting VCR timers), but usually 2 or 4 AM...the 5 episodes never shown (and with no explanation) are:

    S1, Ep2...'To Lodge and Dislodge'... Kim Darby (True Grit), Tony Dow (Leave it to Beaver), Oct. 1, 1963. A timid and troubled blind girl (Kim Darby, who was only 16 at the time, and this being her first career credit) falls in love with the very kind voice of a concerned Mr. Novak.

    S1, Ep25...'The Tower'... Heather Angel, Gilbert Green, March 10, 1964. A veteran teacher is forced into retirement by a conflicted Principal Vane...screen legend Heather Angel (Bulldog Drummond, Lifeboat, Kitty Foyle) guest stars as the elderly teacher, perhaps with early onset dementia.

    S1 Ep30...'Senior Prom'... Marta Kristen (Lost in Space), Kay Stewart, April 14, 1964. Principal Vane and Mr. Novak find trouble within the student committee overseeing the Senior Prom.

    S2 Ep4...'Little Girl Lost'... Buck Taylor (Gunsmoke), Arthur Franz, Oct. 20, 1964. Mr. Novak struggles to help a delinquent girl (Davey Davison) to stay in school...despite her criminal tendencies and troubled childhood.

    S2 Ep5...'One Monday Afternoon'... Claude Akins (Movin' on), Brooke Bundy, Simon Scott, Oct. 27, 1964. Jefferson High's star quarterback shockingly dies on field during a football practice. Principal Vane, Novak and the police investigate the sudden death...and question the hard driving and celebrated coach (Akins), while the boy's outraged father (Scott) threatens a lawsuit. The lovely Brooke Bundy is the grief stricken girlfriend.
     
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