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What did you watch this week in classic TV on DVD(or Blu)?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Bryan^H, Aug 28, 2015.

  1. BobO'Link

    BobO'Link Producer

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    OK... I *like* this show. In spite of that I absolutely agree with many (most actually) of your assessments of its overall shortcomings.

    Dennis *is* an annoying brat. Tommy *is* annoying but nowhere as much as Dennis. Wilson *is* an overbearing blowhard who never does anything if it's not in his interest and will spin misfortune to make it that way if necessary. Everyone else is rather boring and just sits back to take whatever comes along with a "Oh well... boys will be boys..." attitude (whether the "issue" is from Dennis or Wilson). You can pretty much see where things are going and what's going to happen within minutes. And that outfit? No self-respecting boy in those years would have willingly worn anything close. Overalls? Maybe (especially in the country if you lived on a farm), but never that shirt or one remotely like it.

    So... just *why* do I like this show? Don't know. Maybe it's because it struck a chord with me as a kid (I was 8 the year it ended). I also like the comic strip and the show feels pretty much like an extension of that so it also has that going for it - at least for me.
     
  2. Message #2002 of 3179 Jun 7, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2019
    Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Screenwriter

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    Going Straight - 1.1 "Going Home"
    BAFTA-winning, six episode follow-up series to what is widely accepted as one of the best Britcoms of all time, Porridge. This series begins with Fletch (the chameleonic Ronnie Barker) being freed from Slade Prison and trying his best to embark on a new life on the straight and narrow. He finds that it's hard work on the outside, and even harder to go straight after a lifetime of petty crime. Richard Beckinsale (Kate's dad) returns as his former cellmate and pal, Lennie Godbar, who strikes up a relationship with Fletch's daughter, Ingrid (Patricia Brake). Beckinsale's untimely death put the kibosh on any further series...luckily, the sixth and final episode wraps things up in perfectly poetic fashion.

    [​IMG]


    Ace of Wands
    - Series 3, Serial 1 "The Meddlers", parts 1-3
    While visiting a London street market that is apparently suffering from an 100-year-old curse, stage illusionist and amateur crimefighter, Tarot (Michael Mackenzie), befriends a young woman with telepathic abilities, Mikki (Petra Markham, ) and her brother, Chas (Roy Holder). Tarot soon finds out that certain malevolent forces are interested in shutting down the market...but why?

    Enjoyable stuff, this, the first of the surviving third season Ace of Wands serials (sadly, the previous - and apparently superior - two seasons were wiped by Thames Television, as was the deplorable yet common practice in Britain at the time). Though another series aimed at the children's market, what passed for kid's TV in the 1970s was altogether far too weird and unsettling by U.S. standards. Not to mention, in Ace of Wands case, the crazy Carnaby Street fashions, elaborate sets and plethora of magic tricks (courtesy of magic consultant Ali Bongo) that characterized this stylish series. It also boasts a super, psychedelic theme tune and opening credits sequence.

    Petra Markham was perhaps best known for playing Michael Caine's niece in the classic British gangster revenge pic, Get Carter. She replaced Judy Loe as Tarot's female assistant. Coincidentally, Loe was married to Richard Beckinsale, and is Kate Beckinsale's mum.

    [​IMG]


    I Dream of Jeannie - 2.1 "Happy Anniversary"
    The recent IDOJ and Bewitched rewatch thread elsewhere on the forum inspired me to check out this color episode of Jeannie, in which a sentimental Jeannie maroons Tony on the same island where he freed her one year before. However, Tony accidentally finds another bottle and frees the very ill-tempered Blue Djinn (Michael Ansara, Barbara Eden's then husband). Assorted amusing hijinks ensue...

    The aforementioned thread seems roughly split between those who preferred one series over the other. I don't really have a pig in that poke, being more of a casual fan of both series growing up. While I'll never be an uber-fan of either, I do enjoy both shows, and they each have their merits. IDOJ has the cool astronaut angle, but is more slapsticky and goofy, while Bewitched seems (at least in its first few seasons) a bit more sleek and sophisticated, but a little less lovable. The battle in the '60s sexpot sweepstakes between Barbara Eden and Elizabeth Montgomery is basically a wash, as they're both about as good as it gets, so it comes down to the male leads. For my money, Larry Hagman takes that contest hands down. He's surprisingly adept at comedy.

    Catweazle - 1.3 "The Curse of Rapkyn"
    Speaking of Bewitched, this summery, atmospheric and lighthearted little comedy series is vaguely reminiscent of its far more famous American cousin; though a very different sort of show, it nonetheless features a magician befriending a mortal and causing all sorts of mischief.

    Young Carrot (Robin Davies) lives on a farm in rural Britain and pals around with a scruffy, eccentric wizard named Catweazle (Geoffrey Bayldon), who accidentally transported himself hundreds of years into the future, where every piece of new technology he encounters appears as witchcraft. In this episode, after a run of bad luck strikes his father's farm, Carrot enlists Catweazle's aid in removing a curse put on the place centuries before, by another wizard called Rapkyn. To do so, Catweazle pilfers an old book of spells from a local museum curator (familiar character actor Peter Sallis). Unlike many British series from this era, this show was shot completely on film, which gives it a slicker appearance than the norm. A strange but highly enjoyable, gentle show, and Bayldon - who reportedly passed on playing the original First Doctor on Doctor Who - gives the title role his all.

    The Twilight Zone
    1.3 "Mr. Denton On Doomsday"
    1.5 "Walking Distance"
    Two classic first season episodes. In "Mr. Denton...," Dan Duryea turns in a terrific performance as a former ace gunfighter turned town drunk, who gets a shot at redemption, thanks to a mysterious traveling peddler named Henry J. Fate (Malcolm Atterbury). Jeannie Cooper plays a buxom bar girl who has a soft spot for Denton. Also with Martin Landau and an extremely young Doug McClure as a rival gunfighter.

    What can I say about "Walking Distance"? Just that it's easily one of the absolute best episodes of the show....hardly breaking news to fans. Gig Young plays a harried big city businessman, who drives off to clear his head and somehow ends up not only in the town he grew up in, but in the time he grew up in. A wonderfully bittersweet ode to memory, nostalgia, and the ineffable passing of time. Serling frequently stretched himself too thin on TZ, and not every script he wrote was up to snuff...but when he was firing on all cylinders, like here, he was really something.

    [​IMG]


    Mackenzie's Raiders - 1.1. "Mackenzie's Raiders
    Wow, what a fantastic, hard-edged and action-packed pilot episode this was! Fifties sci-fi movie legend Richard Carlson is very commanding here as cavalry officer Col. Mackenzie, whose hands are tied by bureaucratic protocol from chasing assorted bandidos and outlaws terrorizing the American Southwest across the Mexican border - that is, until he receives a top secret mandate from Washington that frees him to pursue whatever means necessary to clean up the territory...though if he or his men are caught or captured, the secretary will disavow any knowledge, etc., etc...No sooner does Mackenzie receive this news then it's all out commando raid city on the scumsuckers who have captured and tortured one of his men. Look for Morris Ankrum as a grizzled sergeant. Typically robust ZIV production, with loads of action and nice exterior location filming. Will be ordering the Timeless DVD set of this one-season wonder post haste...

    Parkin's Patch - 1.1 "Hoof Nor Horn"
    Interesting little half-hour drama from 1969-1970, focusing on the daily doings of a police constable in a rural farming village in the North York Moors. P.C. Moss Parkin (John Flanagan) and detective constable Ron Radley (sci-fi legend Gareth Thomas, of Blake's 7 and Children of the Stones fame) deal with - to quote the estimable Network's web blurb on the series - "cases ranging from petty pilfering to abduction, sheep rustling to missing persons." Parkin's foxy, mini-skirt wearing young wife, Beth (Heather Page) serves up hearty breakfasts and teas and mans the phone lines at the tiny police station / cottage where the couple make their home. This first episode (directed by Michael Apted!) throws the viewer right in the middle of things, with little explanation. Everyone's pretty cantankerous from the off, but the setting is novel and I think the series will grow on me. Sort of a precursor to Heartbeat. Fans of All Creatures Great & Small might also enjoy this grittier cop show take on Yorkshire country life.

    [​IMG]

    Here's a better shot of Heather Page, for those who like that sort of thing (you know who you are;))

    [​IMG]

    Dangerous Knowledge
    1.4 "Death Risk"
    1.5 "Surrender Value"
    1.6 "Dividends"
    Wrapped up this superlative 6-part Southern TV spy series last night. The twisty plot gradually becomes clear as the serial reaches its suspenseful conclusion. Though I was familiar with star John Gregson from his TV work, I did not know that he was one of the biggest movie stars in the U.K. in the '50s, with a veritable laundry list of famous British comedies, dramas and WWII flicks in his resume: The Lavender Hill Mob, The Holly and the Ivy, The Titfield Thunderbolt, Genevieve, Above Us the Waves, Pursuit of the Graf Spree/ The Battle of the River Plate. He's a bit disheveled and paunchy here, as a former military intelligence officer turned insurance salesman, but still possessed of a lot of charisma and a great speaking voice...no surprise, then, that much younger beauty, Laura (Prunella Ransome), finds herself inexorably pulled into his orbit. Excellent acting and a gripping story are abetted by a tight script by N.J. Crisp. Highest recommendations for this one.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Mysto

    Mysto Screenwriter

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    I'll have to check out Ace of Wands. I've never seen it but I remember Bill (Ali Bongo) telling me about it many many years ago.
     
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  4. Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Screenwriter

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    From what I've read, William Wallace (a.k.a. Ali Bongo) was rather proud of his work on the show...though a lot of it can't be seen today, unfortunately (as 2/3 of the show is missing). Network did put out a couple of sets of David Nixon's Magic Box (which he also consulted on) that I'm planning on picking up at some point...the previews make the show look like a lot of fun:



     
  5. GMBurns

    GMBurns Second Unit

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    "Bronk" arrived this week from the Archive. I watched the pilot film, which is listed as a bonus on the last disc. It is very different from the few other things I have seen Jack Palance do, but I enjoyed it quite a bit and am looking forward to seeing more of this series. I bought this because the early 70's are kind of the sweet spot for detective series that I love watching. This one looks like it will be fairly typical for the period, which means I will like it also. Plus it's fun seeing Jack Palance in more of a sympathetic role.
     
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  6. Jasper70

    Jasper70 Stunt Coordinator

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    Finished disc 3 of The Streets of SF. Really enjoying this show. Great scenery as well as the storylines.
    Finished season 1 of The A-Team. I watched this growing up but I guess it’s been so long I don’t remember seeing any of these episodes before.
    I was born in ‘69. So my main decades of TV I collect on disc are the 70’s and 80’s. Not that I limit myself to those, I have shows from the 60’s and all the way to current shows. It’s not just about the stories or the actors, I enjoy the older shows for the scenery, the fashions, cars, architecture, etc. They’re a time capsule.
    I loaned a good friend (a few years older than me) the complete Rockford Files. After watching a few episodes we were talking on the phone and he remarked how “clean” the show was, speaking to the difference between modern shows. That’s another thing I like about the older shows.
     
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  7. Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Screenwriter

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    Enjoyed the heck out of this roast of Dennis the Menace, Russ! Haven't seen the show myself yet...been on the fence about it, as I also have an aversion to screechy kid characters who fail to get their comeuppance. I am curious about Jay North's more grown-up series, Maya. It looks somewhat interesting; spun off from a movie with Clint Walker. Both movie and series are available on DVD from Warner Archive.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Message #2008 of 3179 Jun 8, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2019
    Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Screenwriter

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    Wow, how did I miss that Bronk has been released? Like you, Glenn, I've pretty much yet to meet a '70s cop show that I didn't like. Sounds like an interesting change of pace for Jack Palance, too. Thanks for the heads-up about the release!
     
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  9. Message #2009 of 3179 Jun 8, 2019
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    Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Screenwriter

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    Agreed with all of that, Harold! I was born a few years before you ('67), and caught a lot of late 50s and 60s shows in syndication growing up. I also keep up with modern shows, but will always have a soft spot for TV shows from roughly 1955 - 1985 in particular. While there are many very good modern shows out there which I watch and enjoy, there's just something special about shows from those earlier eras. For me, the time capsule element, while definitely a strong part of the appeal, is less important than the type of storytelling employed by those older shows, and especially the caliber and gravitas of the actors involved.

    I particular respond to the confident swagger and style that characterized TV shows from the late '50s to early 70s. And the music! So much great theme and incidental music back in the day. No to mention the freedom from modern TV's current fixation with serialized storytelling. Serialized plots work very well with certain shows and in certain contexts, but I think it's becoming an overused technique. There's something to be said about the comfort and satisfaction of watching a complete story unfold in a single half-hour or hour sitting.
     
  10. Message #2010 of 3179 Jun 8, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2019
    JohnHopper

    JohnHopper Screenwriter

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    Music composed by Lalo Schifrin (aka Mr. Mission: Impossible and Mannix).
    The theme is rather Harry in your Pocket-oriented.

     
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  11. Jasper70

    Jasper70 Stunt Coordinator

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    Agree about serialized plots. I love good story arcs, it adds to the enjoyment of the show. And growing up seeing shows first run a two parter to be continued next week was special. Nowadays it’s every show on tv. Got to keep you tuned in.
     
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  12. GMBurns

    GMBurns Second Unit

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    I got to watch the first "regular" episode last night, and I can tell I definitely will enjoy watching Bronk as I have opportunity. It also features Henry Beckman as a former policeman and friend who helps Bronk out. Beckman is one of those guys who shows up in everything during that era, but I especially loved his over the top antics as Clancy on Here Come the Brides.
     
  13. Message #2013 of 3179 Jun 8, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2019
    Rustifer

    Rustifer Screenwriter
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    Episode Commentary
    I Dream of Jeannie
    "Hurricane Jeannie" (S5E24)

    One of the last episodes of the series, this is a silly-cute 1970 entry where Jeannie (Barbara Eden) and Tony (Larry Hagman) are now married. She addresses him as "Anthony", he calls her "Darling"--and we can now safely assume that Tony has become hands on with what jiggles so alluringly under her genie outfit.

    Roger (Bill Dailey) and Dr. Bellows (Hayden Rorke) are marooned at Tony's house during a particularly bad storm (cue the studio thunder and lightning sfx). Much to Bellows' puzzlement, everything in the house is operable despite a wide power outage, thanks to Jeannie's magic. Tony is busy on the only phone in Cocoa Beach that works, trying to help land a couple of astronauts returning from space. The obvious lack of any technological assistance needed to pull off such a feat does not seem to burden the series' writers one bit. In fact, why bother at all since Jeannie takes it upon herself to literally beam the two astronauts down safely onto Tony's couch. Dr. Bellows witnesses this miraculous event and is nearly struck catatonic with incomprehension. Tony tries to convince him he's dreaming, but Bellows will have nothing of the sort. Both Jeannie and Tony come clean to him as to her true identity--and suddenly Bellow's carapace of ignorance is penetrated thus now understanding all the inexplicable events that have rained down upon him during his relationship with Tony.

    upload_2019-6-8_9-48-9. [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Oh yeah, she got even better looking as the series aged...

    Of course, the series began to "jump the shark" earlier once Roger Healey became aware of Jeannie's powers, so most of the humorous dumbfoundedness of the unwitting Roger began to dissipate the solid story line heretofore. Adding in Dr. Bellows on the secret would pretty much kill off the entire premise and one could assume that the writers were just running out of gags--and gas. This episode strives to save itself at the end by having the entire evening actually appear to be just a dream--a much too easy solution. I guess it was only natural that the writers would try to wrap it all up by letting everyone in on the joke.

    Watching this episode reminded me of the breathless excitement we all had when the series premiered in glorious black & white back in 1965. An astronaut finding a genie in a bottle was a fantastical postulate that fostered such a significant number of enjoyable and truly funny episodes. It would have made a great James Garner-Doris Day movie had the TV series not existed.

    Randoms:
    In 1965, the show had an estimated audience of nearly 12 million viewers

    Jeannie's bottle was actually a 1964 Christmas edition decanter of Jim Beam bourbon

    Edwards Air Force Base, close to Los Angeles, was used sometimes as a stand-in for the Kennedy Space Center, and other California locales were used in place of Florida's Cocoa Beach
     
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  14. Rustifer

    Rustifer Screenwriter
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    Jeff: Reading your review of this episode reminded my I had a DVR of the (above) 5th season story so I was finally inspired to get around to watching it.

    Personally, I think the hotness meter between Barbara Eden and Elizabeth Montgomery points most favorably towards Barbara. Just sayin'.
     
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  15. JohnHopper

    JohnHopper Screenwriter

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    The story gimmick about a “jaded man, tired of his social situation returning to his past to see relatives” was so good,
    they did it again during season 2 through “The Trouble With Templeton” in another context. They even reworked
    the iconic scene with the stagey lighting that freezes the people in a state of amazement.
    The mature man crisis was also present in the first season of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery:
    “They’re Tearing Down Tim Riley's Bar”.

    Moreover, the score for “Walking Distance” by Bernard Herrmann was so great that the music editor recycled it
    on other CBS series like Gunsmoke and Rawhide.
     
  16. Purple Wig

    Purple Wig Stunt Coordinator

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    Weighing in on the Dennis The Menace controversy....Wasn't old enough to see it first run, syndicated in the early 70's it didn't grab me but I'd keep it on in the background. However after not seeing it for 40 some years, I caught an episode in a motel room and liked it enough to consider buying the DVDs.
     
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  17. Purple Wig

    Purple Wig Stunt Coordinator

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    This week, most of the shows on the "Family Comedy" disc of TMG's "101 Timeless TV Classics". Burns & Allen, The Lucy Show, Life With Elizabeth, Ozzie and Harriet, Trouble With Father, the Goldbergs, Mama, Hey Mulligan, The Beulah Show, Jackson and Jill.

    "Mama" seems like a transmission from a world that's gone. I'll be picking up one of the Goldbergs collections after seeing this episode. Beulah was also a good surprise. Jackson and Jill was one I don't remember ever hearing of but I'd like to see more.

    Also a "Ben Casey" on YT thanks to the tip on on of the other threads here.
     
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  18. Mysto

    Mysto Screenwriter

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    When I was very young - Beulah and Stu Erwin were two of my favorite shows.
     
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  19. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    Battlestar Galactica -"Gun On Ice Planet Zero"

    Get Smart S2- "A Man Called Smart"
     
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  20. Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Screenwriter

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    Hey Jack, good to hear from you! If you don't mind me asking, which version of Battlestar do you have - the original DVD set or the Blu-Ray? Am thinking of picking this series up for old-times' sake and am eyeballing the Blu-Ray edition, unless I can find a much cheaper DVD version.
     
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