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

JohnHopper

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Gunsmoke - Seasons 10-12
Run Sheep Run (10.16) Burt Brinckerhoff, Tom Fadden, Ted Knight, Arthur Malet, Peter Whitney. The body of a no-good man is found in his burning store on the same night as the sudden disappearance of the nice couple he cheated out of the money for their ranch. A misunderstanding about a sale sets a young family on a tragic path.

Deputy Festus (10.17) Denver Pyle, Shug Fisher, Royal Dano guest as cousin/family of Festus. A comical episode that plays up the backwoods nature of the Haggen clan. They run from Dodge after assuming they have killed a man. He was injured by someone else.

One Killer On Ice (10.18) John Drew Barrymore, Dennis Hopper, Anne Helm. Anderson, a stylish bounty hunter, rides into Dodge City. He informs Matt that his partner has a wanted criminal at an ice house. The locale is a two-day ride from Dodge; Anderson wants Matt's help to bring the criminal in. The outlaw's brother intends to go gunning for Matt and Anderson. There's also a twist: Matt finds out Anderson didn't tell him the truth about what happened. Both Anderson's partner and the outlaw lie dead at the ice house.

Chief Joseph (10.19) Victor Jory, Robert Loggia, Leonard Stone, Joe Maross. Chief Joseph has come to town suffering from pneumonia. When he and his party are refused lodging at the hotel, a stranger steps in offering his room. Local sentiment is against this and like a boiling over teapot, trouble begins to brew.

Circus Trick (10.20) Walter Burke, Elizabeth MacRae, Warren Oates, Roy Roberts. A circus family comes to town and charms the populace, who don't know the family's real stock in trade is larceny.

Song For Dying (10.21) Theodore Bikel, Roger Ewing, Lee Majors, Robert F. Simon, Ford Rainey. The head of the Lukens clan blames Martin Kellums for not helping his young bride during a difficult childbirth when the doctor was away. When Kellums runs to Dodge, Matt does his best to keep everyone safe including the local citizens.

Winner Take All (10.22) Tom Simcox, John Milford, Margaret Bly, H. M. Wynant, Nestor Paiva. The head of the Lukens clan blames Martin Kellums for not helping his young bride during a difficult childbirth when the doctor was away. When Kellums runs to Dodge, Matt does his best to keep everyone safe including the local citizens.

The best of the bunch remain:
“One Killer On Ice”: my number one episode.
“Circus Trick”
“Song For Dying”
 
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Jeff Flugel

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While it's not old enough to be labelled "classic," I did watch and enjoy the epic 2006 western two-parter, Broken Trail, with Robert Duvall completing a trifecta of excellent cowboy roles (after Lonesome Dove and Open Range). Aside from that (and a couple of recent episodes of Q.I.), the rest of the past week's viewing was all vintage.

Surfside 6 – 2.17 “Separate Checks”
Judging from my (admittedly small) sampling so far, this, along with Hawaiian Eye, is definitely the lesser of the WB detective show stable, mainly due to the callow, bland nature of the young leads. Pre-Green Hornet Van Williams, as Ken Madison, is easily the most charismatic of the three, which is probably why he headlines more episodes than the others, including this one. Ken is hired to track down amiable con man Cliff Thornton (Roy Roberts, later of Petticoat Junction), but he’s not the only one. Mean-looking Bruce Gordon plays mob boss Joe Vodka, whose son was bilked out of 25 Gs by Thornton. Sandra Knight plays Thornton’s daughter. Ken Madison is good with his fists but no genius as a detective, and ends up solving the case thanks more to luck and plot contrivance. Sadly, no sign of co-star Diane McBain in this syndicated print…instead, things grind to a halt as Margarita Sierra rehearses an old standard and then chirps away for a minute to Ken before disappearing from the scene. A big thanks to Randall for posting decent copies of this and others in the 77 Sunset Strip thread.

Bourbon Street Beat
1.3 “Torch Song for Trumpet”
1.4 “Woman in the River”
Even though this was the least-successful of the WB detective shows, running only a single season, it’s superior to all but big gun 77 Sunset Strip, thanks mainly to its very talented leads, Richard Long and Andrew Duggan. I believe Russ has given both of these episodes his patented sarcastic commentary in the aforementioned 77 Sunset Strip thread, as I recognized the plots while watching. I highly enjoyed these two episodes and would love to see more. What was nice about them was that both lead detectives, suave Rex Randolph (Long) and big ex-cop Cal Calhoun (Andrew Duggan) share the investigative load, and have good chemistry together. The two actors are real pros and the scripts seem fairly adult and feature some nice, sharp dialogue. Van Williams appeared as Ken Madison here first, mostly paired with buxom Southern belle Arlene Howell as the agency’s secretary. Brad Dexter plays the villain in “Torch Song,” which also features effective turns from Richard Rust and Suzanne Lloyd. Mary Tyler Moore has a brief but memorable bit in the climax of “Woman in the River,” along with Jeannette Nolan, Raymond “Mr. Drysdale” Bailey, Denver Pyle and Henry Brandon. (Can’t knock cheap Jack Warner for a lack of good guest stars). This one might be my favorite of the four WB detective shows, though 77 Sunset Strip is growing on me quickly. All four of them are definitely stylishly entertaining time-wasters, and all have catchy theme songs. Sure wish we could see them released on DVD, but sadly, the chances of that are extremely remote at this point.

Whodunnit?
3.2 “Final Drive”
3.3 “Pop Goes the Weasel”
Between his iconic roles on Doctor Who and Worzel Gummidge, Jon Pertwee hosted this enjoyable murder mystery/panel game show hybrid for the last five of its six seasons, from 1973 – 1978. (There was a short-lived US version that aired in 1979, hosted by Ed McMahon, but the British version is much better). It’s a rather strange concept, but works surprisingly well: the episodes run around 40 minutes sans commercials, and are divided into 3 acts. The first two depict the fictional murder mystery as a drama play, then the third act sees a panel of four celebrities - one of whom is usually the stunning Anoushka Hempel - try to discover “whodunnit.” The actors in the mystery then assemble in the studio and answer (in character) a series of questions posed by the panelists. The panelists are also allowed to see one clip each from earlier in the program, to help them put together the clues to solve the case (they usually guess wrong). Often selected members of the studio audience are selected to give their verdict each episode, as well. Pertwee, in a procession of wild '70s fashions - flower-print shirts, pastel jackets and dangling bronze medallion - presides over things with his customary Third Doctor-ish aplomb. Some noteworthy actors show up in the dramatic sections of this series. “Final Drive” features Hildegarde Neill (a.k.a Mrs. Brian Blessed) Simon Williams and Michael Petrovich, and “Pop Goes the Weasel” has Glyn Houston, Robert Lindsay and Robin Stewart (who plays Sid James’ son in Bless This House). Aside from Ms. Hempel, panelists here include Aimi Macdonald, Simon Ward, and from Man About the House, Richard O’Sullivan and Paula Wilcox. All 6 seasons (the first hosted by Edward Woodward) are available from Network, and make for diverting light viewing.




The Thin Man – 2.1 “Scene of the Crime”
This episode is an extra on Warner Archives’ wonderful Blu-Ray of the 1934 film. The series, produced by MGM in the late '50s, aired for two seasons and is but a pale imitation of the original movies, but still a decent watch. Peter Lawford makes for a pretty good Nick Charles, but Phyllis Kirk as Nora is a far cry from the lovely Myrna Loy. I had a good laugh when I read one IMDB reviewer’s comment about being transfixed by “spooky Phyllis Kirk with her Moe Howard bangs, crazy eyes and painted over Mommie Dearest mouth” – ouch! (But not far off the mark). In this episode, at least, she comes across as an annoying Katherine Hepburn type, flighty and brittle. The story revolves around the Charles’ leasing a brownstone in NYC that was apparently the site of a brutal axe murder. While the police search for the body, Nick begins to suspect the missing woman’s husband (Hayden O’Roarke). Jack Albertson joins the cast from S2 on, in a recurring role as a put-upon police lieutenant.

Bless This House – 6.6 “Something of Value”
Broad but quite funny ‘70s Britcom, a vehicle tailor-made for former Carry On… comedian Sid James. James, his face wrinkled as a walnut, plays Sid Abbott, constantly perplexed by the younger generation, here embodied by his two college-aged children, snarky Robin Stewart and sweet dolly bird Sally Geeson (sister of Judy). The cast is rounded out by Diana Coupland as the usual long-suffering wife, and Anthony Jackson as Sid’s dim-bulb pal and neighbor, Trevor. In this episode, Sid’s eccentric uncle, a huge fan of Treasure Island, dies and leaves him what he hopes is "something of value" in his will. The usual sitcom antics and misunderstandings ensue. The show lives or dies on James’ central performance, and he’s up to the task…it’s no wonder that the series was forced to shut down when James died of a sudden heart attack just a few days after the last episode of S6 aired. This episode is available on YouTube, but once again, Network has done archive television fans a service, and put the whole series out in a complete DVD set.




77 Sunset Strip – 1.3 “A Nice Social Evening”
Ray Danton is charm personified as a cheerful, friendly and extremely rich visiting dignitary, Velasquez, who is targeted for assassination. Stu Bailey (Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.) is hired by the government to make sure no harm befalls this party animal while he’s on U.S. soil. Stu knows just the right way to inveigle himself into the playboy’s orbit – he brings into Dino’s two blonde babes dressed to the nines (Arlene Howell and the even more stacked Dorothy Provine, wearing a succession of tight evening gowns which leave little to the imagination). But when Velasquez holds a big birthday bash on his private yacht, Stu, Jeff and Kookie have their hands full making sure that he leaves the country in one piece. A few good action scenes and lots of eye candy here, from the period cars to the multitude of ‘50s pin-ups sashaying across the screen. Hardly a moment goes by without a cigarette dribbling out of our leads’ mouths. A fun watch, though it’s never explained who is actually behind the assassination attempts, and why they want this likable fellow killed. And I certainly don’t buy that hard-partying ladies’ man Velasquez would settle down and marry Arlene Howell after romancing her for a week, but this is 1950s television, after all. It does lead to a very good line from Howell, as she passes the keys to the sports car given to her as a present by Velasquez to Provine and says, “I won’t need the car, sugar…I got the garage.”

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Sergeant Cork – 3.1 “The Case of Two Poisons”
John Barrie gives a powerhouse performance as early Scotland Yard Sergeant Cork, who investigates assorted crimes and murders in fog-bound Victorian London with his trusty assistant Bob Marriott (William Gaunt, before joining The Champions). The series ran on ITV for 6 seasons and 66 episodes, between 1963 and 1968, and our good friends at Network (yes, again - seriously, I don't work for them...) have released the entire series on DVD. The transfers on these earlier seasons are a bit rough around the edges, but it’s a treat to have such a terrific detective series available in complete form, when so many other of its contemporaries have large chunks of their runs missing. The show is mostly stagebound but was recorded on film, and includes many atmospheric touches.

This episode features a fine dramatic turn by ITC regular guest star Annette Andre, as the working class widow of an abusive gardener who becomes suspect number one when her husband dies from strychnine poisoning. The woman’s guilt seems assured when it’s discovered that she has been having a torrid affair with the caddish son (Barry Justice) of Lord Trubshaw, her dead husband’s former employer – but Cork becomes increasingly convinced of her innocence. A downbeat ending is leavened by some fine humorous touches, including witty banter between our two policemen leads and numerous guest stars doing eccentric character turns…most notably, a bearded Graham Crowdon, having a field day as police pathologist Dr. Tovey, overjoyed to be taste-testing several disposed of bottles of Lord Trubshaw’s stolen brandy, in order to see which one has been laced with poison. The second poison of the title, by the way, is meant figuratively, which becomes apparent at the finale, when Cork really rips into the spoiled, callous nobs.




Dick Turpin – 1.3 “The Champion”
Another lighthearted, action-packed romp about heroic Robin Hood-style highwayman, Dick Turpin (well-played by Brit comedy star Richard O’Sullivan). Before you protest and point out that the real Dick Turpin was an evil, murderous creep...the series cleverly sidesteps this issue, by maintaining that that the Turpin of the history books was actually an imposter, hung in the place of the real Dick, who’s all about helping the downtrodden and robbing the coffers of the idle rich, as he wanders the countryside with his young protégé, Swiftnick (Michael Deeks). In this story, the pair rescue champion pugilist, Tom “The Bristol Butcher” Bracewell (Don Henderson), and later enlist his aid in a prizefight to rid the small village of Mudbury of a resident tyrant (John Grillo) and his hulking muscle, Hogg (Robert Russell). But the baddies kidnap Tom, forcing Dick to take on the hulking brute Hogg in the ring himself, or else forfeit his 300 guineas wager. This series ran for four seasons and a total of 31 episodes between 1979 and 1982, and is a spirited historical swashbuckler, well worth seeking out.

Parkin’s Patch
1.2 “Lock, Stock and…”
1.3 “Dead or Alive”
Watched a few more eps of this very interesting 30-minute police procedural drama from Yorkshire Television, which ran on ITV from 1969-1970. The series follows brusque but dedicated PC Moss Parkin (John Flanagan) as he patrols the fictional village of Fickley, assisted in more serious cases by local detective Ron Radley (a pre-Blake’s 7 Gareth Thomas). In “Lock, Stock, and…”, someone has robbed the local tobacconist, Edwards (Michael Lees), of over 4,000 British pounds worth of product. The shop’s lock wasn’t tampered with, so someone seemingly had to have gotten their hands on the man's spare key. The investigation leads to local good time girl Mavis (Jan Butlin), who has an “arrangement” a couple nights a month with Edwards, and who has an ex-con little brother who she insists has gone straight. “Dead or Alive” revolves around a biker who walks into the police station and claims to have killed a girl. Moss thinks he’s having his leg pulled, until the head of the local reform school calls to report one of her girls being missing. A 25-year-old Patricia Quinn (of Rocky Horror Picture Show fame) plays the missing girl, dressed to kill in orange blouse, blue miniskirt and go-go boots. In fact, for a series set in the Yorkshire countryside, there’s a surprising amount of hot totty featured in most episodes…not the least of which is Heather Page as Moss’ sexy young wife, Beth. I’ve posted this before, but a good picture is worth repeating.

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Rustifer

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While it's not old enough to be labelled "classic," I did watch and enjoy the epic 2006 western two-parter, Broken Trail, with Robert Duvall completing a trifecta of excellent cowboy roles (after Lonesome Dove and Open Range). Aside from that (and a couple of recent episodes of Q.I.), the rest of the past week's viewing was all vintage.

Surfside 6 – 2.17 “Separate Checks”
Judging from my (admittedly small) sampling so far, this, along with Hawaiian Eye, is definitely the lesser of the WB detective show stable, mainly down to the callow, bland nature of the young leads. Pre-Green Hornet Van Williams, as Ken Madison, is easily the most charismatic of the three, which is probably why he headlines more episodes than the others, including this one. Ken is hired to track down amiable con man Cliff Thornton (Roy Roberts, later of Petticoat Junction), but he’s not the only one. Mean-looking Bruce Gordon plays mob boss Joe Vodka, whose son was bilked out of 25 Gs by Thornton. Sandra Knight plays Thornton’s daughter. Ken Madison is good with his fists but no genius as a detective, and ends up solving the case thanks more to luck and plot contrivance. Sadly, no sign of co-star Diane McBain in this syndicated print…instead, things grind to a halt as Margarita Sierra rehearses an old standard and then chirps away for a minute to Ken before disappearing from the scene. A big thanks to Randall for posting decent copies of this and others in the 77 Sunset Strip thread.

Bourbon Street Beat
1.3 “Torch Song for Trumpet”
1.4 “Woman in the River”
Even though this was the least-successful of the WB detective shows, running only a single season, it’s superior to all but big gun 77 Sunset Strip, thanks mainly to its very talented leads, Richard Long and Andrew Duggan. I believe Russ has given both of these episodes his patented sarcastic commentary in the aforementioned 77 Sunset Strip thread, as I recognized the plots while watching. I highly enjoyed these two episodes and would love to see more. What was nice about these episodes was that both lead detectives, suave Rex Randolph (Long) and big ex-cop Cal Calhoun (Andrew Duggan) share the investigative load, and have good chemistry together. The two actors are real pros and the scripts seem fairly adult and feature some nice, sharp dialogue. Van Williams appeared as Ken Madison here first, mostly paired with buxom Southern belle Arlene Howell as the agency’s secretary. Brad Dexter plays the villain in “Torch Song,” which also features effective turns from Richard Rust and Suzanne Lloyd. Mary Tyler Moore has a brief but memorable bit in the climax of “Woman in the River,” along with Jeannette Nolan, Raymond “Mr. Drysdale” Bailey, Denver Pyle and Henry Brandon. (Can’t knock cheap Jack Warner for a lack of good guest stars). This one might be my favorite of the four WB detective shows, though 77 Sunset Strip is growing on me quickly. All four of them are definitely stylishly entertaining time-wasters, and all have catchy theme songs. Sure wish we could see them released on DVD, but sadly, the chances of that are extremely remote at this point.

Whodunnit?
3.2 “Final Drive”
3.3 “Pop Goes the Weasel”
Between his iconic roles on Doctor Who and Worzel Gummidge, Jon Pertwee hosted this enjoyable murder mystery/panel game show hybrid for the last five of its six seasons, from 1973 – 1978. (There was a short-lived US version that aired in 1979, hosted by Ed McMahon, but the British version is much better). It’s a rather strange concept, but works surprisingly well: the episodes run around 40 minutes sans commercials, and are divided into 3 acts. The first two depict the fictional murder mystery as a drama play, then the third act sees a panel of four celebrities, one of whom is usually the stunning Anoushka Hempel, who try to discover “whodunnit.” The actors in the mystery then assemble in the studio and answer (in character) a series of questions posed by the panelists. The panelists are also allowed to see one clip each from earlier in the program, to help them put together the clues to solve the case (they usually guess wrong). Often selected members of the studio audience are selected to give their verdict each episode, as well. Pertwee, in a procession of wild '70s fashions - flower-print shirts, pastel jackets and dangling bronze medallion - presides over things with his customary Third Doctor-ish aplomb. Some noteworthy actors show up in the dramatic sections of this series. “Final Drive” features Hildegarde Neill (a.k.a Mrs. Brian Blessed) Simon Williams and Michael Petrovich, and “Pop Goes the Weasel” has Glyn Houston, Robert Lindsay and Robin Stewart (who plays Sid James’ son in Bless This House). Aside from Ms. Hempel, panelists here include Aimi Macdonald, Simon Ward, and from Man About the House, Richard O’Sullivan and Paula Wilcox. All 6 seasons (the first hosted by Edward Woodward) are available from Network, and make for diverting light viewing.




The Thin Man – 2.1 “Scene of the Crime”
This episode is an extra on Warner Archives’ wonderful Blu-Ray of the 1934 film. The series, produced by MGM in the late '50s, aired for two seasons and is but a pale imitation of the original movies, but still a decent watch. Peter Lawford makes for a pretty good Nick Charles, but Phyllis Kirk as Nora is a far cry from the lovely Myrna Loy. I had a good laugh when I read one IMDB reviewer’s comment about being transfixed by “spooky Phyllis Kirk with her Moe Howard bangs, crazy eyes and painted over Mommie Dearest mouth” – ouch! (But not far off the mark). In this episode, at least, she comes across as an annoying Katherine Hepburn type, flighty and brittle. The story revolves around the Charles’ leasing a brownstone in NYC that was apparently the site of a brutal axe murder. While the police search for the body, Nick begins to suspect the missing woman’s husband (Hayden O’Roarke). Jack Albertson joins the cast from S2 on, in a recurring role as a put-upon police lieutenant.

Bless This House – 6.6 “Something of Value”
Broad but quite funny ‘70s Britcom, a vehicle tailor-made for former Carry On… comedian Sid James. James, his face wrinkled as a walnut, plays Sid Abbott, constantly perplexed by the younger generation, here embodied by his two college-aged children, snarky Robin Stewart and sweet dolly bird Sally Geeson (sister of Judy). The cast is rounded out by Diana Coupland as the usual long-suffering wife, and Anthony Jackson as Sid’s dim-bulb pal and neighbor, Trevor. In this episode, Sid’s eccentric uncle, a huge fan of Treasure Island, dies and leaves him what he hopes is "something of value" in his will. The usual sitcom antics and misunderstandings ensue. The show lives or dies on James’ central performance, and he’s up to the task…it’s no wonder that the series was forced to shut down when James died of a sudden heart attack just a few days after the last episode of S6 aired. This episode is available on YouTube, but once again, Network has done archive television fans a service, and put the whole series out in a complete DVD set.




77 Sunset Strip – 1.3 “A Nice Social Evening”
Ray Danton is charm personified as a cheerful, friendly and extremely rich visiting dignitary, Valazquez, who is targeted for assassination. Stu Bailey (Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.) is hired by the government to make sure no harm befalls this party animal while he’s on U.S. soil. Stu knows just the right way to inveigle himself into the playboy’s orbit – he brings into Dino’s two blonde babes dressed to the nines (Arlene Howell and the even more stacked Dorothy Provine, wearing a succession of tight evening gowns which leave little to the imagination). But when Velazquez holds a big birthday bash on his private yacht, Stu, Jeff and Kookie have their hands full making sure that he leaves the country in one piece. A few good action scenes and lots of eye candy here, from the period cars to the multitude of ‘50s pin-ups sashaying across the screen. Hardly a moment goes by without a cigarette dribbling out of our leads’ mouths. A fun watch, though it’s never explained who is actually behind the assassination attempts, and why they want this likable fellow killed. And I certainly don’t buy that hard-partying ladies’ man Valazquez would settle down and marry Arlene Howell after romancing her for a week, but this is 1950s television, after all. It does lead to a very good line from Howell, as she passes the keys to the sports car given to her as a present by Valezquez to Provine and says, “I won’t need the car, sugar…I got the garage.”

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Sergeant Cork – 3.1 “The Case of Two Poisons”
John Barrie gives a powerhouse performance as early Scotland Yard Sergeant Cork, who investigates assorted crimes and murders in fog-bound Victorian London with his trusty assistant Bob Marriott (William Gaunt, before joining The Champions). The series ran on ITV for 6 seasons and 66 episodes, between 1963 and 1968, and our good friends at Network (yes, again - seriously, I don't work for them...) have released the entire series on DVD. The transfers on these earlier seasons are a bit rough around the edges, but it’s a treat to have such a terrific detective series available in complete form, when so many other of its contemporaries have large chunks of their runs missing. The show is mostly stagebound but was recorded on film, and includes many atmospheric touches.

This episode features a fine dramatic turn by ITC regular guest star Annette Andre, as the working class widow of an abusive gardener who becomes suspect number one when her husband dies from strychnine poisoning. The woman’s guilt seems assured when it’s discovered that she has been having a torrid affair with the caddish son (Barry Justice) of Lord Trubshaw, her dead husband’s former employer – but Cork becomes increasingly convinced of her innocence. A downbeat ending is leavened by some fine humorous touches, including witty banter between our two policemen leads and numerous guest stars doing eccentric character turns…most notably, a bearded Graham Crowdon, having a field day as police pathologist Dr. Tovey, overjoyed to be taste-testing several disposed of bottles of Lord Trubshaw’s stolen brandy, in order to see which one has been laced with poison. The second poison of the title, by the way, is meant figuratively, which becomes apparent at the finale, when Cork really rips into the spoiled, callous nobs.




Dick Turpin – 1.3 “The Champion”
Another lighthearted, action-packed romp about heroic Robin Hood-style highwayman, Dick Turpin (well-played by Brit comedy star Richard O’Sullivan). Before you protest and point out that the real Dick Turpin was an evil, murderous creep...the series cleverly sidesteps this issue, by maintaining that that the Turpin of the history books was actually an imposter, hung in the place of the real Dick, who’s all about helping the downtrodden and robbing the coffers of the idle rich, as he wanders the countryside with his young protégé, Swiftnick (Michael Deeks). In this story, the pair rescue champion pugilist, Tom “The Bristol Butcher” Bracewell (Don Henderson), and later enlist his aid in a prizefight to rid the small village of Mudbury of a resident tyrant (John Grillo) and his hulking muscle, Hogg (Robert Russell). But the baddies kidnap Tom, forcing Dick to take on the hulking brute Hogg in the ring, or else forfeit his 300 guineas wager. This series ran for four seasons and a total of 31 episodes between 1979 and 1982, and is a spirited historical swashbuckler, well worth seeking out.

Parkin’s Patch
1.2 “Lock, Stock and…”
1.3 “Dead or Alive”
Watched a few more eps of this very interesting 30-minute police procedural drama from Yorkshire Television, which ran on ITV from 1969-1970. The series follows brusque but dedicated PC Moss Parkin (John Flanagan) as he patrols the fictional village of Fickley, assisted in more serious cases by local detective Ron Radley (a pre-Blake’s 7 Gareth Thomas). In “Lock, Stock, and…”, someone has robbed the local tobacconist, Edwards (Michael Lees), of over 4,000 British pounds worth of product. The shop’s lock wasn’t tampered with, so someone seemingly had to have gotten their hands on the man's spare key. The investigation leads to local good time girl Mavis (Jan Butlin), who has an “arrangement” a couple nights a month with Edwards, and who has an ex-con little brother who she insists has gone straight. “Dead or Alive” revolves around a biker who walks into the police station and claims to have killed a girl. Moss thinks he’s having his leg pulled, until the head of the local reform school calls to report one of her girls being missing. A 25-year-old Patricia Quinn (of Rocky Horror Picture Show fame) plays the missing girl, dressed to kill in orange blouse, blue miniskirt and go-go boots. In fact, for a series set in the Yorkshire countryside, there’s a surprising amount of hot totty featured in most episodes…not the least of which is Heather Page as Moss’ sexy young wife, Beth. I’ve posted this before, but a good picture is worth repeating.

View attachment 74896
Great chunk 'o shows, Jeff! You should transpose your Surfside 6, Bourbon Street Beat and 77 Sunset Strip reviews over to the 77 SS thread for additional readers. Good stuff!
 

Rustifer

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Episode Commentary
The Lone Ranger
"Legion of Old Timers" (S1E4)

The sad thing about watching a Lone Ranger episode in my jaded adulthood is that I find it hard to believe that I was enthralled with the series as a kid. Let me redirect---Sure, as a boy growing up in the 1950's, what was more fascinating than cowboys, Indians, horses and six shooters? Never did thoughts of simplistic scripts, predictable events and characters that displayed no gray area between good and bad ever enter my consciousness like it does now. But be that as it may...

...This particular early episode (1949) contains an introductory narration that is eventually dropped in later stories. Old Banty Bishop (Emmett Lynn) is outraged. He informs his boss, Circle K ranch owner Bob Kittredge (DeForest "Bones" Kelley) that he's been held up by a bunch of "white-livered, chicken-hearted, sneak-thievin' bandits". Banty was not shy in his repository of adjectives. But Banty is accused of burying some stolen cash on the grounds of the ranch. Kittredge has no option but to fire Banty and hire Red Devers (Norman Willis) as the new foreman. At this point, the plot already bares at least seven or eight holes in it, but we'll push on regardless...

...The Lone Ranger and Tonto, likely on an outing looking for a nice picnic spot, see a sign nailed to a tree stating the Circle K ranch is up for sale, as advertised by Red Devers. The Lone Ranger has long been suspicious of Red Devers and his henchmen. "I think we should investigate" opts LR to a totally disappointed Tonto. Tonto had spent hours making perfect egg salad and caper sandwiches. There goes the picnic, dammit. Even Silver snorts in disgust. On the way to the ranch, they run into a drunk Banty who moans about being "washed up". LR cheers him up with a bunch of trite homilies that nearly makes Tonto barf into his saddlebags. Banty spills the beans about Red Devers and his henchmen taking over the Circle K Ranch. Even more reason to investigate.

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Tonto points out a swell picnic spot; Silver tells the Lone Ranger a dirty joke; Tonto's strange hobby of poking horse patties...

Now here is when we get one of the rare joys of the series--when LR takes off his mask and puts on a disguise. Tonto, utilizing his hair and make up skills from the Apache College of Cosmetology, does a bang-up job in transforming LR into a potential buyer of the ranch. "There! Me finished" grins a happy Tonto.

The ranch house itself looks like a suburban tri-level in Pasadena. I half expected to see a Buick in the driveway. The Lone Ranger dickers with Devers over the sale of the ranch until terms are met. Meanwhile, owner Kittredge is being held hostage in a back room . Needless to say, the Lone Ranger later returns to the ranch as himself and after a ferocious fist fight and gun battle, returns the ranch to its rightful owner. We can all rest easier with the Lone Ranger around. Hi-yo Silver.

Notes:
I had occasion to be in Los Angeles on business about 6 years ago. While driving around the far outskirts of the city, I found myself oohing and ahhing over the countryside. When my native LA'er companion asked me what was so impressive, I pointed out that all the scenery looked like it was straight out of the Lone Ranger series. My companion nearly fell out of the car, laughing.
 

BobO'Link

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Episode Commentary
The Lone Ranger
"Legion of Old Timers" (S1E4)

The sad thing about watching a Lone Ranger episode in my jaded adulthood is that I find it hard to believe that I was enthralled with the series as a kid. Let me redirect---Sure, as a boy growing up in the 1950's, what was more fascinating than cowboys, Indians, horses and six shooters? Never did thoughts of simplistic scripts, predictable events and characters that displayed no gray area between good and bad ever enter my consciousness like it does now. But be that as it may...

...This particular early episode (1949) contains an introductory narration that is eventually dropped in later stories. Old Banty Bishop (Emmett Lynn) is outraged. He informs his boss, Circle K ranch owner Bob Kittredge (DeForest "Bones" Kelley) that he's been held up by a bunch of "white-livered, chicken-hearted, sneak-thievin' bandits". Banty was not shy in his repository of adjectives. But Banty is accused of burying some stolen cash on the grounds of the ranch. Kittredge has no option but to fire Banty and hire Red Devers (Norman Willis) as the new foreman. At this point, the plot already bares at least seven or eight holes in it, but we'll push on regardless...

...The Lone Ranger and Tonto, likely on an outing looking for a nice picnic spot, see a sign nailed to a tree stating the Circle K ranch is up for sale, as advertised by Red Devers. The Lone Ranger has long been suspicious of Red Devers and his henchmen. "I think we should investigate" opts LR to a totally disappointed Tonto. Tonto had spent hours making perfect egg salad and caper sandwiches. There goes the picnic, dammit. Even Silver snorts in disgust. On the way to the ranch, they run into a drunk Banty who moans about being "washed up". LR cheers him up with a bunch of trite homilies that nearly makes Tonto barf into his saddlebags. Banty spills the beans about Red Devers and his henchmen taking over the Circle K Ranch. Even more reason to investigate.

View attachment 74916 View attachment 74917 View attachment 74918
Tonto points out a swell picnic spot; Silver tells the Lone Ranger a dirty joke; Tonto's strange hobby of poking horse patties...

Now here is when we get one of the rare joys of the series--when LR takes off his mask and puts on a disguise. Tonto, utilizing his hair and make up skills from the Apache College of Cosmetology, does a bang-up job in transforming LR into a potential buyer of the ranch. "There! Me finished" grins a happy Tonto.

The ranch house itself looks like a suburban tri-level in Pasadena. I half expected to see a Buick in the driveway. The Lone Ranger dickers with Devers over the sale of the ranch until terms are met. Meanwhile, owner Kittredge is being held hostage in a back room . Needless to say, the Lone Ranger later returns to the ranch as himself and after a ferocious fist fight and gun battle, returns the ranch to its rightful owner. We can all rest easier with the Lone Ranger around. Hi-yo Silver.

Notes:
I had occasion to be in Los Angeles on business about 6 years ago. While driving around the far outskirts of the city, I found myself oohing and ahhing over the countryside. When my native LA'er companion asked me what was so impressive, I pointed out that all the scenery looked like it was straight out of the Lone Ranger series. My companion nearly fell out of the car, laughing.
Mom tells me that the faster the LR rode the faster I rode my horse (I had one of these):

1593615167664.png


And, of course, I was wearing my cowboy hat and holster.

I didn't care that the stories were simplistic nor that it's all pretty black and white (really didn't notice either). The Lone Ranger always won, he was a stand-up guy, and treated everyone fairly, even the bad guys. And I loved Tonto (in spite of them having him speak pidgin English - even as a kid I knew that wasn't how Indians spoke). I always hated it when TLR would send him into town for some reason as I just knew some stupid towns person would beat him up or disparage him in some way.

And those "disguises" he wore... I never understood why he wasn't recognized as, to us kids, it was quite obvious who he was.

Hmm... I never knew those were egg salad w/caper sandwiches. I always thought they were tuna salad...

Hi-yo Silver, away!
 

Jeff Flugel

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Whodunnit?
Aside from Anoushka Hempel, panelists here include Aimi Macdonald, Simon Ward, and from Man About the House, Richard O’Sullivan and Paula Wilcox. All 6 seasons (the first hosted by Edward Woodward) are available from Network, and make for diverting light viewing.
I only realized my mistake above after the editing window on my post closed (it sure seems like that window is a lot shorter than it used to be these days), but when I wrote "Simon Ward" as one of the panelists on Whodunnit?, I meant to say Patrick Mower. For some reason, I always get those two mixed up.

Here's Simon Ward (known more for his film appearances, such as Young Winston and Richard Lester's The Three Musketeers):



And here's Patrick Mower, who worked mostly on British television but had his share of movie roles (the Hammer classic The Devil Rides Out, for one):



I don't why I mix those two up so often, as they don't really look that much alike. Anyway, here's a pic of Patrick Mower as one of the regular panelists on Whodunnit?, from the S3 episode "Pop Goes the Weasel," reviewed above, along with Anoushka Hempel, Richard O'Sullivan, Paula Wilcox and, of course, the one and only Jon Pertwee.)



And as a mea culpa for my mistake, here's one more shot of lovely recurring panelist (and former Bond girl, now famous interior designer) Anoushka Hempel:

 
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Rustifer

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(it sure seems like that window is a lot shorter than it used to be these days)
It sure does! In fact, there have been a lot of changes in this site that I'm sure aren't necessarily for the better. I guess I'll get used to it, but I thought it was working just fine before*.

*Grumblings of an old codger who's reluctant to sudden changes
 

Jeff Flugel

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It sure does! In fact, there have been a lot of changes in this site that I'm sure aren't necessarily for the better. I guess I'll get used to it, but I thought it was working just fine before*.

*Grumblings of an old codger who's reluctant to sudden changes
Glad to know that I'm not the only one that has noticed, Russ!
 
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Montytc

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77 Sunset Strip: Season 1
Episode 2 - Lovely Lady, Pity Me

Hawaiian Eye: Season 1
Episode 17 - Then There Were Three


There has been enough talk on the thread about these shows that I decided to dig out one of my old homemade discs recorded off the Goodlife TV network years ago. It turned out to be a very enjoyable two hours of TV watching. Nick Clooney was hosting the shows much like the folks on Turner Classic Movies, and he added a few fun facts before and after each episode.

The 77 Sunset Strip episode was very good, with Stu getting involved with a mystery woman played by Kathleen Crowley who led him to all kinds of bad places. Before we were done, Stu is a murder suspect who has to be saved by Jeff and the way cool Kookie.

The Hawaiian Eye episode is OK, involving an heiress played by Nancy Gates, who runs into a group of bad guys who want to bilk her out of who new island she inherited. Can you believe that?

Just watching these two episodes, it feels like Hawaiian Eye suffers from a weaker cast. It is fun to see a young Robert Conrad and I can't find fault with a young Connie Stevens, but the group just doesn't match up to the 77 Sunset Strip cast.

I only recorded three episodes of each of these when I had the chance, and I would kick myself in the butt if I could actually do that for not saving a lot more when I had the chance. I just assumed all these would be released on DVD at some point so I didn't bother. (And yes I know what it means to assume) I'll admit I'm still eyeballing some of those sets sold on line, because I can't find anywhere else to see them.
 

BobO'Link

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I only realized my mistake above after the editing window on my post closed (it sure seems like that window is a lot shorter than it used to be these days)...
It is. I already can't edit a post from yesterday (~13 hours ago). IIRC it *was* around 3 days before the edit opportunity expired.
 

Dan McW

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When Foxx returned to the series, several episodes into S4, they began the practice of audience applause the first time any of the principal cast members came on stage. Like during its original airings, I found it intrusive, annoying, and frequently overly long, although not as long or rambunctious (cat calls, whistling, etc.) as I recall.
When the audience started applauding like that, that's when Sanford & Son jumped the shark for me. It was no longer as funny. Fred's insults to Esther seemed to fall flat. Gone were the hysterical shows like "Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe" and "Fred Sanford, Legal Eagle," which aired back-to-back in January 1974.

The audience applauding on Sanford wasn't as bad as it was on "Welcome Back, Kotter" and "Chico and the Man," where IIRC the audience applauded as soon as the lights came up AND when every series regular first appeared.
 

ScottRE

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I only realized my mistake above after the editing window on my post closed (it sure seems like that window is a lot shorter than it used to be these days), but when I wrote "Simon Ward" as one of the panelists on Whodunnit?, I meant to say Patrick Mower. For some reason, I always get those two mixed up.


And here's Patrick Mower, who worked mostly on British television but had his share of movie roles (the Hammer classic The Devil Rides Out, for one):




And as a mea culpa for my mistake, here's one more shot of lovely recurring panelist (and former Bond girl, now famous interior designer) Anoushka Hempel:

I remember both of these primarily for their guest spots on Space: 1999.

The audience applauding on Sanford wasn't as bad as it was on "Welcome Back, Kotter" and "Chico and the Man," where IIRC the audience applauded as soon as the lights came up AND when every series regular first appeared.
Happy Days is where this really got bad for me. F'n Potsie would walk in and there would be a 15 second pause for audience screaming. The show always ground to a halt with Potsie stopped to sing... That's when Happy Days became its own worst enemy.
 

BobO'Link

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I know there must be some people who actually like those "applause breaks" but I'm not one of them. I've frequently stopped watching a show when that kind of stuff became "normal." It does nothing but drag the show down and kill any pacing at that point.
 

BobO'Link

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I finally broke down and watched S9 and S10 of Friends. I watched it most of the time during the original airings and liked it well enough that I purhased it on DVD. It was also one of my daughter's favorite shows and my oldest granddaughter also likes it. I really don't recall watching the last few seasons every week during its original airings so these were mostly fresh (I did recall a couple of episodes). It's funny enough in spite of itself and ended on a satisfying note even if it was a bit implausible and obviously designed to evoke emotion from the audience.

I really only finished it because my granddaughter came in asking if I had it on disc. I handed her those 2 seasons as I couldn't locate the others (in a box somewhere). She took them and then returned them a day later with a "I want to start with S1 so you can have these back until I get to them." Sigh... now I have to dig through the boxes and find it for her. Oh well... could be worse. She took S1 of The Gilmore Girls instead as it was still unopened on the shelf (purchased for my wife who gave it back unopened a few years later with a "I'm not going to watch these." She really won't bother with discs at all prefering to stumble across her favorites when channel hopping and then watch them with commercials. I don't get it...).
 
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ScottRE

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I know there must be some people who actually like those "applause breaks" but I'm not one of them. I've frequently stopped watching a show when that kind of stuff became "normal." It does nothing but drag the show down and kill any pacing at that point.
It also removes any real sense of reality, tenuous as it may have been. Stopping for the audience applause, to the point where the actors have to stop and restart a line or shout over the fading screams, turns what was a halfway humorous comedy into a personal appearance or a concert sort of thing. At the same time, it was a different era where audiences would lap up repetition and catch phases. You couldn't be a TV star without one

 
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Jeff Flugel

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77 Sunset Strip: Season 1
Episode 2 - Lovely Lady, Pity Me

Hawaiian Eye: Season 1
Episode 17 - Then There Were Three


There has been enough talk on the thread about these shows that I decided to dig out one of my old homemade discs recorded off the Goodlife TV network years ago. It turned out to be a very enjoyable two hours of TV watching. Nick Clooney was hosting the shows much like the folks on Turner Classic Movies, and he added a few fun facts before and after each episode.

The 77 Sunset Strip episode was very good, with Stu getting involved with a mystery woman played by Kathleen Crowley who led him to all kinds of bad places. Before we were done, Stu is a murder suspect who has to be saved by Jeff and the way cool Kookie.

The Hawaiian Eye episode is OK, involving an heiress played by Nancy Gates, who runs into a group of bad guys who want to bilk her out of who new island she inherited. Can you believe that?

Just watching these two episodes, it feels like Hawaiian Eye suffers from a weaker cast. It is fun to see a young Robert Conrad and I can't find fault with a young Connie Stevens, but the group just doesn't match up to the 77 Sunset Strip cast.

I only recorded three episodes of each of these when I had the chance, and I would kick myself in the butt if I could actually do that for not saving a lot more when I had the chance. I just assumed all these would be released on DVD at some point so I didn't bother. (And yes I know what it means to assume) I'll admit I'm still eyeballing some of those sets sold on line, because I can't find anywhere else to see them.
Good stuff, Tim. I agree with your general consensus on these two shows. By the way, Randall has posted a handful of episodes over in the 77 Sunset Strip thread, in case you want to check them out. There's one Surfside 6, one Hawaiian Eye, one 77 Sunset Strip and I believe 4 Bourbon Street Beats over there...the BSB's are nearly complete, at around 48 minutes (at least the two I talked about in my post above). Enjoyable lunchtime viewing, I've found.

And maybe our good friend Randall has a few more of these shows up his sleeve (hint hint...) :)
 
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Jeff Flugel

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She really won't bother with discs at all prefering to stumble across her favorites when channel hopping and then watch them with commercials. I don't get it...).
Me either! (But your wife is not alone in her preference...)

I also haven't seen much of those last two seasons of Friends. I do like the show and cast quite a bit, all 6 have expert comic timing. Haven't watched any episodes for ages, but recall the first 6 or 7 seasons quite fondly.

I think your granddaughter will enjoy The Gilmore Girls. It's a very good show, overall.
 

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