THE SMITH FAMILY (1971-1972) from VEI, May 1

Brent S

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VEI and CBS are releasing Henry Fonda's 1971 - 1972 dramedy sitcom THE SMITH FAMILY on May 1. I don't see it on Amazon or other e-tailers yet, but VEI has it available on its website.

SmithFamilly_ DVD.png
 
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Josh Steinberg

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Yes! I’ve been wanting to see this for ages!!
 

David Norman

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Anyone ever ordered from VEI directly before? @David Norman ?
I don't remember ordering from there.

A quick search appears that it's a Canadian Company but distribute both US and Canada
It appears they are almost exclusively TV DVD which I've done very little buying since 2010 or so

They seem to be in the mold of Mill Creek maybe a bit better reputation. From a couple prior HTF thread I get that they supply a decent amount of product to Walmart Instore shelves as well as a few other B&M stores.
 
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Josh Steinberg

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Just placed an order, I’m really looking forward to seeing this!
 

BobO'Link

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Anyone ever ordered from VEI directly before? @David Norman ?
I have a couple of times. It was a good experience although it took a bit longer to arrive having to cross the border. They maintain a store on Amazon and usually put their product there (fulfilled by Amazon) at some point often for just a bit less than ordering direct from them. They have semi-regular sales of 15-20% off with free shipping (though they still charge a "handling fee").

I'll be waiting for this to show up on their Amazon store and get it there simply because it'll likely be a few $$ less. Their product usually hits Amazon around 4-8 weeks after release date.
 

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Back in 2017 my sons ordered the Nero Wolfe series from VEI to the Chicago area as a Father's Day gift.

Ordered June 15, shipped June 17, delivered June 21. (they still have the emails).

Item was $29.95 with $6.47 shipping - so not 'cheap' (even today, price on Amazon is similar - so no significant drop after three years).

This was not a pre-order (item was released May 19).
 
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Neil Brock

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Cool to get this. Once I heard there were existing one-inches, I had a feeling this was imminent. Too bad there aren't tape elements on another Fedderson show, To Rome With Love.
 

Josh Steinberg

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Just got a shipping notice!

I loved the Warner Archive release of The Jimmy Stewart Show and I’m hopeful that I can watch that and this together for my daily dosage of classic movie stars slumming it in sitcom land :)
 

David Deeb

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This looks interesting. I searched a bit about it. Seems like it was unsure if it was a sitcom or an action show. The 2nd season opening credits look terribly dated, yet hilarious. Almost an SCTV parody.

But the series still looks like it would be enjoyable because of Fonda, Howard and a huge, huge list of major guest stars throughout. Worth a look for sure.
 

phenri

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I've been waiting for this show to be released for years. I remember watching it when I was a kid.

There was a scene when the Ron Howard character surprises a group of thugs trashing the high school and gets beat up. At least that is the way I remember it.
 
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KPmusmag

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Just got a shipping notice!

I loved the Warner Archive release of The Jimmy Stewart Show and I’m hopeful that I can watch that and this together for my daily dosage of classic movie stars slumming it in sitcom land :)
Don't forget Fred MacMurray in My Three Sons. I first knew of Fred MacMurray from My Three Sons and Flubber - and when I first saw The Apartment, I was just devastated that he was such a deplorable character. Aw, youth.
 

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I ordered The Smith Family complete series (and Bill Bixby's The Magician which I've wanted for awhile now) from VEI this morning.

The Smith Family will be a blind-buy for me, as I sure don't remember this show, first run when I was still in junior high going into high school the fall of 1971. But hey, it's Henry Fonda for crying out loud. And I researched some of the guest stars and appearing players...it's an impressive and accomplished list of familiar faces that come and go on this series...Joanne Dru (John Wayne's Red River, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon etc.) , Agnes Moorehead (Welles' Mercury Players and Endora of Bewitched, course), Bruce Gordon (Frank Nitti from The Untouchables), Gene Evans (Kirk Douglas' Ace in the Hole, Samuel Fuller's The Steel Helmet etc.) , Ahna Capri (Enter the Dragon, etc., gorgeous), Sheree North (Bronson's Breakout, Mathau's Charley Varrick etc.), Erin Moran (soon to co-star with Ron Howard on Happy Days), Neville Brand (Laredo), Rick Jason (Combat!), Herbert Anderson (Dennis the Menace), Tim Considine (My Three Sons), Geoffrey Deuel (John Wayne's Chisum), Lori Loughlin (Full House, possible future convict, but only 7 years old here), John Vivyan (Mr. Lucky), Susan Oliver (the gorgeous 'Vina' from the first Star Trek pilot, Peyton Place, The Fugitive and a wealth of great TV performances), Guy Madison (Wild Bill Hickock!), Steve Brodie (epic tough guy in loads of TV and movies), Benson Fong (Charlie Chan, go-to Asian actor), Irene Tsu (Paradise, Hawaiian Style, Man from UNCLE, etc.), Butch Patrick (The Munsters), Harry Lauter (The Longest Yard, etc.), Tim Matheson (The Virginian, The West Wing, still working today)...

With the regular cast, Janet Blair also had a lengthy movie career (My Sister Eileen, Fuller Brush Man, I Love Trouble), Ronnie Howard of course, in between long running TV series, and Darleen Carr was a very pretty lady and good actress, soon to be on Streets of San Francisco and Bret Maverick, among many others...

My only possible concern is that this "Dramedy" was produced smack-dab in the middle of the dreaded (to me) "Relevance" era of the early '70s, when network TV began to feel entitled to hit the audience over the head with moralizing sermons re: the social issues of the day...the issue to me not being the intent itself, often honorable, but the stilted stridency of the presentation...I'm hoping for entertainment here, rather than dour indoctrination...I'm really hoping for something akin to another great '70s dramedy, Family (1976-80, James Broderick, Sada Thompson, Kristy McNichol)...might be too tall an order...

The Smith Family debuted as a mid season replacement show in early 1971, in the timeslot previously held by The Johnny Cash Show...but when it started it's second full season as a lead-in to Shirley MacLaine's British produced Shirley's World in the fall, it was up against Chad Everett's Medical Center on CBS and NBC's Wednesday night rotating Mystery Movie of Columbo/McLoud/McMillan & Wife...
 

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Don't forget Fred MacMurray in My Three Sons. I first knew of Fred MacMurray from My Three Sons and Flubber - and when I first saw The Apartment, I was just devastated that he was such a deplorable character. Aw, youth.
I was the same way, when I saw Double Indemnity with MacMurray (I believe it was MacMurray) and Barbara Stynwick.
--jthree
 

bmasters9

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My only possible concern is that this "Dramedy" was produced smack-dab in the middle of the dreaded (to me) "Relevance" era of the early '70s, when network TV began to feel entitled to hit the audience over the head with moralizing sermons re: the social issues of the day...the issue to me not being the intent itself, often honorable, but the stilted stridency of the presentation...I'm hoping for entertainment here, rather than dour indoctrination...
That's personally why (as I've said many a time) Diff'rent Strokes and The Facts of Life have always been ineligible for my DVD collection-- that (IIRC) they didn't present issues in an entertaining, funny manner, but rather in such a manner as to force you to believe in/agree with the issues presented (like Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" campaign about drug abuse, which [also IIRC] was the subject of many a Very Special Episode).
 
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Lecagr

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So The Smith Family series has gotten a DVD release, that's interesting. I might pick this up although it hasn't been on my want list. From what I remember of this series is it's sort of along the lines with The Jimmy Stewart Show which also aired during this early 1970's time frame.

One series from the early 1970's that's on my want list for a DVD release is Arnie with Herschel Bernardi. Does anyone know what the chances are of this being released?
 
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dstrong

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I'm having a hard time accepting 65 year old Henry Fonda as the father of a 10 year old. But I might watch it someday.
 

MatthewA

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Norman Lear and Tony Randall fathered sons with much younger women while in their 70s.
 

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Rarely go back to DVD, but love vintage television. This one intrigued me, so ordered blind.

Kudos to VEI – a great product. Processed & shipped in 24 hours. Love the shipping box that holds the product securely. (Amazon should use these instead of those anemic envelopes). Five DVDs are stacked, not on a spindle, but in padded sleeves in a standard DVD case. A square inside holds the sleeves securely. Audio isn’t great - probably never was. But video encoding looks good and about right for shows of this era. Single menu w/ play all or individual episodes. 6 chapter breaks per episode.

Only watched a few episodes so far. Not a great show, but fans of Henry Fonda, Ron Howard & tons of 1960’s & 70’s guest stars will get a kick out of it. It’s a mix-up of Brady Bunch and Dragnet. Fonda is the married father of three kids. His domestic life is the comedy part, but none of it’s been very funny yet – some is just weird. In one episode, Butch Patrick (of the Munster’s) randomly walks in the home without any introduction of his character or why he’s there. He just sets up Howard to make a “joke” about his family but it has nothing to do whatsoever with anything else in the episode. And that’s it for the character. Who is he? Where did he go? Why did he just walk in the house?

The Dragnet / Barnaby Jones part ping-pongs between the comedy. Fonda will be on a case exchanging gunfire, and then return home to wrap-up with a happy, jokey epilogue. It’s a bit schizophrenic. Some scenes feel lifted right out of Police Squad/Naked Gun - for example, Fonda getting mumbled tips on a suspect from the magazine vendor while she looks left to right but never at Fonda – so no one will suspect anything! It’s unintentionally hilarious.

Acting by Fonda is fine, but not a lot of energy sometimes. His distinct pronunciation shines through here and there. Ron Howard is the true pro with energy & enthusiasm in every scene he’s in. He really learned a lot growing up on TV. The rest of the main cast is interchangeable.

It’s fantastic that VEI put this out – it would be a shame to lose these “lost” series. I’ll be happy to support them again.
 

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