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

Neil Brock

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The key factor being that Worldvision transferred all of their shows to one-inch way back way, so there was a set of tape masters to use. A lot of CBS shows have tape elements, thanks to TV Land buying a ton of obscure shows in its early days.
 

John Karras

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Has anyone received a shipping notice from VEI on this show? I ordered it direct from VEI on May 1 (the supposed release date), and live about 90 minutes from their Toronto operation, yet all is silent.
 
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Josh Steinberg

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I ordered it on April 30, shipping notice May 1, arrived May 11 - haven’t had the chance to watch it yet.
 
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Flashgear

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Has anyone received a shipping notice from VEI on this show? I ordered it direct from VEI on May 1 (the supposed release date), and live about 90 minutes from their Toronto operation, yet all is silent.
Lawrence, I'm in Western Canada, (Alberta), and I ordered The Smith Family and another set on May 4, receiving twin Emails from VEI for an 'auto-receipt' and 'order confirmed' on May 5...and I too am still waiting for a shipped notice...but I checked my previous direct-to-VEI order in 2017 (The Immortal and Longstreet), and found that they took 8 days to ship my order that time...and 10 days by slow-mail for the package to arrive!

I'm being patient too, as they are certainly 'different'...I usually source VEI back-catalog through Amazon, and only order direct from VEI when they have a new release that I don't want to wait for...
I ordered it on April 30, shipping notice May 1, arrived May 11 - haven’t had the chance to watch it yet.
Josh, glad to hear you received your set of The Smith Family! When you have the time and are so inclined, I hope you grant us your technical and creative appreciations, observations and critique about this series, which as I await seeing it, will be one of my very few blind-buys of a vintage TV series.

I myself hope to post some screen caps from my set when I finally receive it...
 

David Deeb

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Has anyone received a shipping notice from VEI on this show? I ordered it direct from VEI on May 1 (the supposed release date), and live about 90 minutes from their Toronto operation, yet all is silent.
In my "review" two posts above yours, I mentioned I received mine in a week. Specifically, ordered May 3 (a Sunday); shipping notice May 4 (Monday); delivered May 11 (the following Monday). Tracking showed it sat at the border for 4 days, or it would probably have arrived even sooner.
 

John Karras

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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.
I agree that it was great to get this series released, even if it wasn't a "gem". Don Fedderson does "relevance" is my summation. As is typical of one-inch transfers from the 1980's the picture is rather soft, episodes are slightly time-sped to bring them in under 25 minutes, and I notice they really tightened up the blacks (annoying!). There is also a lot of scratchy audio on the quiet passages in a number of scenes.

Despite everything, I'm happy to add this to the collection.
 

Flashgear

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I received my new VEI DVD release of The Smith Family last week, and have watched a few episodes from both seasons one and two...as previously reported, these feature a somewhat soft image quality, but not critically so, with vibrant color. These are sourced from older Worldvision tape transfers. Apparently complete and not time-sped at approx. 24:15 - 24:50 or so. Six chapter stops in most episodes, although not necessarily placed at original commercial breaks. The complete series of 39 half-hour episodes presented on 5 discs...

As this series was a blind-buy for me, after viewing these few episodes I would say that the drama part of the "dramedy" predominates. The show was definitely aspiring to be topical for the 1971-72 TV era it represents. Although you sometimes need to expect a stumbling interpretation of youth culture presented through the hilariously inept lens of middle-aged writers and producers. I personally dread many of the more strident hallmarks of the so-called "Relevance" era of TV history, where even as a teenager, I sometimes felt like a "message" was being pounded into my head to re-educate me. The danger of Henry Fonda's police detective career provides much of the dramatic tension with his devoted wife played by Janet Blair...along with the drama of juvenile angst and the misadventures of his teenage children played by Ron Howard and Darleen Carr...

Season one Episode seven, Strangers (March 3, 1971) The luscious Jo Ann Harris plays a desperately unhappy rich girl, overindulged in the extreme by her neglectful and emotionally remote parents, who is determined to run away and never to be found..."Dad" Henry Fonda is prompted by his daughter's pleading to help return her to her parents...but will she stay there? my screen caps from the new VEI set...
Smith Family 1.JPG

Smith Family 2.JPG

Smith Family 3.JPG

Smith Family 4.JPG

Smith Family 6.JPG

Smith Family 8.JPG

Smith Family 10.JPG

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For season two, the "Primrose Lane" ditty sung by Mike Minor was replaced by a new instrumental theme from composer Frank DeVol, accompanied by an action-packed sequence highlighting the dangerous cop career of "dad" Henry Fonda...
Smith Family 26.JPG

Smith Family 27.JPG

Smith Family 28.JPG
 

Josh Steinberg

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I’ve watched the first three episodes so far and it’s pretty much what I expected, so I’m a happy customer. It’s clearly from ancient masters that, while not breathtaking, get the job done. I did notice in the first episode what appeared to be a few instances of time speeding, but it wasn’t consistent throughout the program and didn’t really take away from my enjoyment.

The key selling point here is the sense of warmth and decency that Henry Fonda exudes - exactly the same reason I purchased his best friend Jimmy Stewart’s sitcom some years ago. The writing and topicality is somewhat dated, as it probably was the day it aired - but it’s just pleasant to be around Fonda. I’ll gladly enjoy the rest of these episodes and in the future will put this in rotation with the Jimmy Stewart Show.
 

Flashgear

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The Smith Family Season two Episode three, Stakeout (Sept. 29, 1971)...Ron Howard is at the movies with his girlfriend when they see his "Dad" Henry Fonda in a car having a grand time with a pretty and much younger girl than dear old Mom...his growing fear of dad's possible philandering and the home-wrecking heartache that will ensue in their happy home now runs wild...as he tries to convince his hesitant sister that they need to start tailing dad in a bid to discover the truth and protect their devoted mother...what they don't know is that the beautiful young lady (Ahna Capri) is actually a policewoman and the police are on an undercover operation to catch a violent robber (Norman Grabowski in a scary goalie's mask) who victimizes the local "lover's lane"...I found this one to be quite compelling, and it is very much to the credit of Ron Howard and Darleen Carr that I bought into the convincing believability of this fictional family unit...my screen caps from the VEI season two set...
Smith Family 29.JPG

Smith Family 30.JPG

Smith Family 31.JPG

Smith Family 32.JPG

Smith Family 33.JPG

Smith Family 36.JPG

Smith Family 34.JPG

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Smith Family 38.JPG

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Smith Family 43.JPG

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Smith Family 50.JPG

Smith Family 51.JPG
 

Jeff Flugel

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The Smith Family Season two Episode three, Stakeout (Sept. 29, 1971)...Ron Howard is at the movies with his girlfriend when they see his "Dad" Henry Fonda in a car having a grand time with a pretty and much younger girl than dear old Mom...his growing fear of dad's possible philandering and the home-wrecking heartache that will ensue in their happy home now runs wild...as he tries to convince his hesitant sister that they need to start tailing dad in a bid to discover the truth and protect their devoted mother...what they don't know is that the beautiful young lady (Ahna Capri) is actually a policewoman and the police are on an undercover operation to catch a violent robber (Norman Grabowski in a scary goalie's mask) who victimizes the local "lover's lane"...I found this one to be quite compelling, and it is very much to the credit of Ron Howard and Darleen Carr that I bought into the convincing believability of this fictional family unit...my screen caps from the VEI season two set...

View attachment 73104
Ah, Ahna Capri...

Thanks a bunch for posting these screencaps, Randall! I had never heard of this show before the DVD set was announced earlier in this thread. It sounds like a bit of an odd one, but interesting. Nice to know that the show has its merits. As you say, the colors look good, even if the transfers aren't as crisp as one might like. Might consider picking this one up down the road...but it'll have to get at the back of a very long line!
 

Neil Brock

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Its funny how the first season used that sappy 50s song, Primrose Lane, making it look like a throwback family show, then the second season open, they decided to try to turn Fonda into Dirty Harry!
 
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David Deeb

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It's a time capsule show of America at that time. A laugh out loud scene from a recent episode...

A young woman who may know something about a crime she wouldn't admit, finally relents and comes back to the police station to tell Fonda and the other detectives some information. The captain, perplexed why she would return, calls Fonda over and in all seriousness asks Fonda: "Is she a dingaling"?

There are so many better shows on TV these days, yet I honestly frequently enjoy watching entertainment from other eras whether it is this, the Three Stooges, the Marx Brothers, obscure television series, classic films and more. There is so much to be discovered about geography, architecture, art, culture, American values and communication from that era.

Also, it is now for sale on Amazon for those that asked. But ordering from VEI directly is the same price and probably helps them out a lot more anyway. I ordered from VEI and received in a week.
 
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Neil Brock

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Shows from that late 60s, early 70s era, where middle aged writers try to depict the young generation were lame then and unintentionally hilarious now. Its funny but with the Primrose Lane opening, its like they took a 1950s typical sitcom family and time transported them into the early 70s, where college student Cindy would never think of trying marijuana or associating with anyone who did, and throwing in youthful expressions. Also, and this perplexed me when I watched the show back then, why does the youngest son speak with a British accent?
 

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