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

BobO'Link

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I've been watching my S12 BR of Dr. Who with Tom Baker (his 1st season) as The Dr.

It got off to a somewhat shaky start with "Robot", a story arc I found rather lackluster. It suffers from quite a lot of what I don't like about many BBC dramatic productions, especially their SF output, from those years: Incredibly cheap looking sets, poor lighting, average direction, some hammy acting, padded scripts, and staged like a play. The story wasn't too bad but could have stood tightening to 3 episodes instead of 4.

While the bugs and outer space sequences were a bit cheesy, the other production values increased with "The Ark in Space" story although it still suffers from the staginess of BBC dramatic productions of the era (something that didn't impact their comedy stuff... go figure...). In spite of that, I enjoyed this one far more than the first. I was quite curious as to where they'll go next as they didn't leave the Ark in the Tardis but via a transportation device. Unless I missed something, the Tardis is still on the Ark.

The next story, "The Sontaran Experiment" actually completes the story begun in "The Ark in Space" story in spite of having a different title. That transportation device took them to Earth where they checked things out for the people on the Ark. BUT - at the end of the episode they didn't transport back to the Ark but to a different time and space. They land in:

"Genesis of the Daleks", where I learn how to properly pronounce "Dalek", takes us to their origin. I found it quite interesting with some better scripting and directing this time out. I knew going into this one that the Dalek's are a main antagonist to The Dr. and he battles them frequently. It seems the Time Lords had intercepted The Dr. and his companions and dumped them here to stop the creation of the Daleks with The Dr. being given a Time Ring to return them to his Tardis when they've completed the mission.

I really don't quite what to make of Tom Baker as The Dr. He plays the role a bit goofy at times, aloof at times, and serious at times, but in the first couple of story arcs mostly kind of goofy and very eccentric and frequently "bug eyed." There wasn't as much of that "bug eye" goofiness in the 3rd story so maybe he's finding his footing in the character. I did like him better in the Sontaran and Dalek stories.
 
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Rustifer

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And frankly, I just don't have much interest in watching a tormented, down-on-his luck, disheveled loser of a P.I. version of Perry Mason investigating a grotesque baby murder, thanks very much...no matter how good Matthew Rhys might be in the role.
I'm with you on this one, Jeff, much as I'm a sucker for well-produced shows on throwback eras. I watched the first episode of this version and there's no way I can equate Matthew Rhys' Perry Mason with that of Raymond Burr. I bet Erle Stanley Gardner wouldn't either--who once proclaimed Raymond Burr as the "embodiment of the character".
This new version would be a pretty good series if Rhys was playing a character other than Mason.
 

Montytc

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I'm with you on this one, Jeff, much as I'm a sucker for well-produced shows on throwback eras. I watched the first episode of this version and there's no way I can equate Matthew Rhys' Perry Mason with that of Raymond Burr. I bet Erle Stanley Gardner wouldn't either--who once proclaimed Raymond Burr as the "embodiment of the character".
This new version would be a pretty good series if Rhys was playing a character other than Mason.
I think this would be pretty good if it were called "Dave Black Private Eye" instead of "Perry Mason." It has no connection at all with the classic series, they might as well have called it Matlock. On its own terms it's pretty good although very dark, but invoking the Perry Mason name pushes me away instead of pulling me in. I've watched the first two episodes but I don't think I'm going on.
 

BobO'Link

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Some things work when given a "darker" treatment. The "updated" Battlestar Galactica is one that works far better for me than the original, although I still like the original. Not so much for the updated Lost in Space on Netflix. I'd much rather watch the original, cheesy as it is in the later seasons, than the "darker" remake. CBS's darker take on Star Trek leaves me cold (at least S1 - I've not seen S2). I have no desire to watch Riverdale (a "dark" Archie Andrews?!? - I don't think so) and and don't think I'd ever enjoy Perry Mason in a darker setting like that which has been described for the new series.
 

Ron1973

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I've gotten myself on a Starsky and Hutch kick since getting my Roku. It's available on a variety of networks on there, but the actual Roku network seems to be the best option for picture quality. Crackle and Plex seemed to be using outdated masters that had a LOT of blurring issues when people would move. It's advertised as being HD on Roku. It's one of those shows that I was aware of but never watched that much, mainly because it didn't get syndicated here too much. I was still a small kid when it was on, and I don't remember seeing much of it. I'd be curious to know what was up against it or what night it aired (I know, I know, I can look it up) because my parents watched a variety of stuff.
 

Richard Gallagher

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I'm with you on this one, Jeff, much as I'm a sucker for well-produced shows on throwback eras. I watched the first episode of this version and there's no way I can equate Matthew Rhys' Perry Mason with that of Raymond Burr. I bet Erle Stanley Gardner wouldn't either--who once proclaimed Raymond Burr as the "embodiment of the character".
This new version would be a pretty good series if Rhys was playing a character other than Mason.
I look at it as a prequel, which is plausible because in Raymond Burr's portrayal there is nothing about Mason's history before he became an attorney. I know a few attorneys who started out as PIs. We get a hint of Mason's legal acumen in the first episode.

As for classic TV, a few days ago I finished watching the entire run of DECOY, a surprisingly adult 1957-58 syndicated series starring Beverly Garland as a New York policewoman who often goes undercover. The exteriors were filmed on location in New York City and the list of guest stars (most of them early in their acting careers) is impressive. The picture quality is very good but the audio is occasionally a bit inconsistent in terms of volume. Amazon apparently has only the Alpha Video releases, which I presume are poor and would avoid, but Deep Discount is still offering the full season set from Film Chest for $13.14. The Film Chest set includes a program guide that identifies many of the locations.
 

Purple Wig

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I'm with you on this one, Jeff, much as I'm a sucker for well-produced shows on throwback eras. I watched the first episode of this version and there's no way I can equate Matthew Rhys' Perry Mason with that of Raymond Burr. I bet Erle Stanley Gardner wouldn't either--who once proclaimed Raymond Burr as the "embodiment of the character".
This new version would be a pretty good series if Rhys was playing a character other than Mason.
Agree wholeheartedly. In these exceedingly grim times this is the last thing I want to watch.

My classic TV viewing lately has mainly been over the airwaves and cable.

Alias Smith & Jones - The Man Who Murdered Himself. Patrick Macnee and Slim Pickens!

The Virginian - The Ordeal.

The Virginian - Letter of the Law. Simon Oakland, James Best, and Clu Gulager, who I used to see in my neighborhood often, one of my favorite actors. Talked to him for awhile once, incredibly nice guy. Discussing the Killers, he was quite emphatic about Norman Fell being a great actor. Somehow 87th Precinct came up and he also said Robert Lansing was a fantastic actor who might not have gotten the appreciation he deserved.
 

Jeff Flugel

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Agree wholeheartedly. In these exceedingly grim times this is the last thing I want to watch.

My classic TV viewing lately has mainly been over the airwaves and cable.

Alias Smith & Jones - The Man Who Murdered Himself. Patrick Macnee and Slim Pickens!

The Virginian - The Ordeal.

The Virginian - Letter of the Law. Simon Oakland, James Best, and Clu Gulager, who I used to see in my neighborhood often, one of my favorite actors. Talked to him for awhile once, incredibly nice guy. Discussing the Killers, he was quite emphatic about Norman Fell being a great actor. Somehow 87th Precinct came up and he also said Robert Lansing was a fantastic actor who might not have gotten the appreciation he deserved.
Great stuff, Alan! Very cool that you once chatted to Clu Gulager. Speaking of The Virginian (on which I believe Mr. Gulager had a recurring role), I watched my first-ever episode of the series the other evening (from late in S1). More about that later...
 

bmasters9

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The Virginian - Letter of the Law. Simon Oakland, James Best, and Clu Gulager, who I used to see in my neighborhood often, one of my favorite actors.
Speaking of Clu Gulager, I think my favorite role of his was where he played Insp. George Turner (a narcotics officer out for revenge [against the killer of his girlfriend] who gets it by spiking a dealer's supply of cocaine w/cyanide [rat poison]; said poisoning has deadly effects for much of San Francisco, including Turner's own son [played by Mark Hamill]), in "Poisoned Snow," fourth-season premiere of The Streets of San Francisco, OAD Thurs. Sept. 11, 1975 on ABC; this is one I've gone back to many a time from my copy of the Streets all-in-one, it's just that good.

 
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Rustifer

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Speaking of The Virginian (on which I believe Mr. Gulager had a recurring role), I watched my first-ever episode of the series the other evening (from late in S1).
I've said it before and now I'll say it again--I think The Virginian theme song is the best ever within the TV Western genre. Orchestrated majesty. Perfectly composed by the great Percy Faith.
 
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Rustifer

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Episode Commentary
Father Knows Best
"Betty's Crusade" (S1E24)--1958

Jim's (Robert Young) insurance company is planning a new office building--right on the very spot of Betty's favorite campus dive--Hanno's Hovel. Jim is excited over getting a new, modern office. Betty's pissed at losing her access to greasy burgers and flacid french fries. Therein lies the plot.

Old German Mr. Hanno (Ludwig Stossel)--now retired from his Nazi activist agenda--has let his little restaurant fall into disrepair and thus his lease is being revoked in favor of Jim's fancy new office. Betty (Elinor Donahue), along with two or three of her creepily clean-cut friends, plan to reverse the tide before it's too late. She doesn't realize it's her father's company that's spearheading the death of Hanno's. Upon learning this, her Spanx nearly snap in furious disappointment at her dad. Why, it's a slap in the face to all the teenagers who depend on Hanno's milkshakes to maintain their acne-ravaged cheeks. Betty is determined to fight Jim's company and save Hanno's for posterity.

Desperate events call for desperate measures--like passing the hat among the students to cough up their hard-earned burger money. But they fall far short of their goal to raise enough cash so that Hanno can fix up his hovel and renew the lease. Oh, the drama of it all! There goes all the campus sex that takes place in Hanno's restroom--where Betty's phone number is prominently scrawled on the walls.

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Betty models the latest in schoolmarm couture: Hanno murmers some bad German words; Wanna visit the restroom, Betty?

Jim makes it a point to visit Hanno to explain the bad news since Betty is too lily-livered to do it herself. He witnesses Hanno feeding destitute students for free and consoling the downtrodden with encouraging advice. Hanno can't make the improvements he needs because he gives everything away. Jim's conscience is figuratively spanked. The solution to the problem is suddenly revealed to the noble Mr. Anderson.

This is a sweet and touching episode--as many of them are--which raised this series up a few rungs on the era's sitcom ladder.
 
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BobO'Link

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I look at it as a prequel, which is plausible because in Raymond Burr's portrayal there is nothing about Mason's history before he became an attorney. I know a few attorneys who started out as PIs. We get a hint of Mason's legal acumen in the first episode.

As for classic TV, a few days ago I finished watching the entire run of DECOY, a surprisingly adult 1957-58 syndicated series starring Beverly Garland as a New York policewoman who often goes undercover. The exteriors were filmed on location in New York City and the list of guest stars (most of them early in their acting careers) is impressive. The picture quality is very good but the audio is occasionally a bit inconsistent in terms of volume. Amazon apparently has only the Alpha Video releases, which I presume are poor and would avoid, but Deep Discount is still offering the full season set from Film Chest for $13.14. The Film Chest set includes a program guide that identifies many of the locations.
Amazon still offers the Film Chest edition for $11.99. It'll be a bit less expensive at DD during one of their coupon events.

I paid $8 for my copy just over 2 years ago and *still* haven't made time for it... Almost every review I read about Decoy and Naked City comments about the 50s/60s shots of New York in the series and just how much the city's changed over the decades. I picked up copies of both as much for that as the reported overall good quality of the rest of the shows (scripts, acting, etc.).
 

Doug Wallen

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Remembering Carl Reiner by watching episodes of;

The Dick Van Dyke Show - The Complete Series - Bluray
My Mother Can Beat Up My Father (4.1) Ken Berry. Rob is humiliated when Laura proves she can handle herself. Another good showcase of Dick's physical comedy.

The Ghost Of A. Chantz (4.2) The show does a spooky episode in a haunted cabin ripping off Candid Camera.

A Vigilante Ripped My Sport Coat (4.4) Trouble between Rob and Jerry concerning crabgrass.

The Man From 'Emperor' (4.5) Rob is offered a job as comedy editor at a Playboy type of magazine.

Romance, Roses and Rye Bread (4.6) Sid Melton. A deli owner is in love with Sally.

Three Letters From One Wife (4.9) Millie mails letters to praise Rob's "smart" show which is postponed.

It Wouldn't Hurt Them To Give Us A Raise (4.10) Roger C. Carmel. How corporations work through diversification.

Pink Pills For Purple Parents (4.11) Isabel Randolph, Tom Tully. Rob relates how one should never take anyone else's medication.

Coast To Coast Big Mouth (5.1) Carl Reiner. Laura drops a big secret on national television. Great second half between Laura, Alan and Rob.

Uhny Uftz (5.3) Silly flying saucer story, a favorite from childhood. Watch out for the burping water.

M Squad - The Complete Series
The Frightened Wife (.22) - Can't comment as my copy has a huge scratch that damaged this episode.

The Black Mermaid (1.23) Marcia Henderson, Stanley Adams. Ballenger is undercover to find a robbery suspect.

The Man In Hiding (1.24) Alan Baxter, John Hoyt. A pencil left at a bank robbery keeps gnawing on Ballenger that leads him to an exclusive school.

The Chicago Bluebeard (1.25) Vaughn Taylor, Bart Burns, Amzie Strickland. Ballenger investigates woman's murder.

Girl Lost (1.26) Margaret Field, Bill Williams. An amnesiac woman is tied up in a recovery of stolen money scheme. Ballenger believes she is innocent and is in danger.

Hideout (1.27) Jack Elam, Stacey Graham, Dick Miller. Robbery suspects hideout in a suburban widow's home. Ballenger goes undercover as a "boyfriend" to help.

Shot In The Dark (1.28) Karin Booth, Ken Lynch, John Zaremba, Raymond Greenleaf, Bartlett Robinson. A sniper is loose in Chicago.

The Twenty-Six Girl (1.29) - Can't comment as my copy has a huge scratch that damaged this episode.

Gunsmoke - Seasons 10-12
Eliab's Aim (10.23) James Hampton, Don Kelly. More Haggen hijinks. The goofy nephew of Festus, Eliab Haggen, comes to Dodge with the hope of shooting off a tiny piece of his ear (the hangy down part), because Festus bit off a piece of his dad's ear years ago in a fight.

Thursday's Child (10.24) Jean Arthur, Scott Marlowe. Kitty welcomes her mentor to town, but her friend is burdened by a secret: she's here to deliver the child of her outlaw son, a man willing to take his own mother hostage.

Breckenridge (10.25) Ben Cooper, Elisha Cook, Jr., John Warburton. A young attorney newly arrived in Dodge works the law to keep his client out of Matt's clutches, then has ample reason to regret it.

Bank Baby (10.26) Jacques Aubuchon, Harry Carey, Jr., Gail Kobe, Virginia Christine, Hampton Fancher. Bert Clum uses his clan to get what he wants. They are camped outside of Dodge. When they meet a small wagon train, he hatches a plot to rob the local bank. But he needs to snatch a baby to hide behind first.

WKRP In Cincinnati - The Complete Series
Jennifer Falls In Love ((2.5) Thomas Callaway. Jennifer is in love with a blonde haired model of a guy named Steel Hawthorne. The only problem? He is poor. And he also seems interested in her because she has money. Is he treating her the way she treats other men?

Carlson For President (2.6) Howard Witt. Including the incumbent Charles Tillman, Mr. Carlson is one of four people running for the one open city council seat, many at the station believing it solely a measure to gain Mother Carlson's approval. Including Herb as his campaign manager, everyone at the station is helping Mr. Carlson with the campaign, some who have the ulterior motive of Mr. Carlson having less time to spend at the station if he wins.

Mike Fright (2.7) In reference to the garbage strike happening in the city, Johnny, on the air, makes a flippant comment that if the city won't pick up people's garbage, the people should bring their garbage to the city by dumping it on the steps of city hall. Much to Johnny's surprise, hundreds of his listeners take the words to heart and dump their garbage at city hall.

Patter Of Little Feet (2.8) Carol Bruce, Allyn Anne McClerie. Arthur's wife Carmen believes that she may be pregnant, causing Carlson (Gordon Jump) to consider whether or not he is ready for another child at his age.

The Rockford Files - The Complete Series
Beamer's Last Case (4.1) James Whitmore, Jr., Jack Kelly, Bibi Besch, Robert Loggia. Rockford returns from vacation in Puerto Rico to discover someone has been using his identity, his trailer and totaled his Firebird. And that's just the beginning of his problems...

Trouble In Chapter 17 (4.2) Ed Nelson, Claudette Nevins, Arlene Martell. Jim is reluctantly drawn into being bodyguard for a famous author, who believes her popular book on the perfect wife is the cause of death threats against her.

The Battle Of Canoga Park (4.3) Nora Marlowe, Adrienne Marden, Tom Atkins, Gretchen Corbett, John Dennis Johnston. Jim finds himself in an explosive situation when the gun he hides in his cookie jar is used in a murder.

Second Chance (4.4) Isaac Hayes, Malachi Throne, Dionne Warwick, Stuart Margolin. When the life of Gandy Fitch's girlfriend is in danger, he turns to Rockfish for help. (Actually calls him Rockford in this one.)

The Dog And Pony Show (4.5) Joanne Nail, Walter Brooke, Ed Lauter, Al Ruscio, Stuart Margolin, Gary Crosby. Helping a young woman with a history of mental illness leads Jim into crossing paths with the Mob and federal intelligence.

St. Elsewhere - Season 6 - Hulu
Their Town (6.17) Friends gather to celebrate Westphall's birthday in New Hampsire, while Ellen, Craig and Lizzie question all the decisions they've made in their lives.

The Naked Civil Surgeon (6.18) Lawrence Pressman, Philip Sterling, Kyle Secor, David Paymer, Stacey Dash, Byron Stewart, Beatrice Straight. Surgeons are forced to work nude during an OR-infection study; a visitor lifts Auschlander's spirits; a dumpster dweller protests hospital waste; Morrison and Novino fight an infection in the ICU.
 

Montytc

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I've gotten myself on a Starsky and Hutch kick since getting my Roku. It's available on a variety of networks on there, but the actual Roku network seems to be the best option for picture quality. Crackle and Plex seemed to be using outdated masters that had a LOT of blurring issues when people would move. It's advertised as being HD on Roku. It's one of those shows that I was aware of but never watched that much, mainly because it didn't get syndicated here too much. I was still a small kid when it was on, and I don't remember seeing much of it. I'd be curious to know what was up against it or what night it aired (I know, I know, I can look it up) because my parents watched a variety of stuff.
Starsky and Hutch was one of my favorites as a teenager and I own the complete series and still watch an episode now and then. Even cooler was my older cousin who bought one of those special Starsky painted Ford Torino's. Very cool.
 

BobO'Link

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I started S3 of Sgt. Bilko (aka The Phil Silvers Show) last night. I get to E3, "Hillbilly Whiz", to see Dick Van Dyke, in his very first role, as Private Hank Lumpkin, a recent draftee from the south who regularly hunts squirrels armed only with rocks. And he hits as well as he pitches. Bilko sees $$$ and schemes to sell him to the NY Yankees - but Lumpkin's a true southern guy and his daddy'll have a fit if he plays for *Yankees*! Of course Bilko talks a good talk (hearing Yogi Berra talk "southern" is a hoot), gets a huge contract, but Lumpkin's girlfriend, Lulabell, comes with him and says "You said you'd be home in 4 weeks! It's baseball or me! Pick!" Hmmm.... what would *you* do if it's $125,000 (in 1957 $$) or your "Daisy Mae" looking girlfriend?
 

JamesSmith

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Came across a few episodes of My World and Welcome to It, awhile back. Finally watched them. The writing and novelty of the show was pretty good. Shame it only lasted one year. William Windon was great in it, especially the one where his "character" talks to a dinosaur, trying to discuss how much more sophisticated humanity was from dinosaurs. After the talk, the colossus died with a smile on his face.

Still, infinitely better than anything produced today.

Before that I watched seasons 1 and 2 of Superboy. Mixed bag. Some episodes are awfully bad, but other times good. Both actors playing the Boy of Steel had their strengths, and the writing got better in time. The first season did have some fine effects though. Would like to know what others thought of it?

--james
 

BobO'Link

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I'm too late to add these to my post about "Bilko" so...

Hank Lumpkin on the mound with a fast ball:
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Hank meets the Yankees (appropriately outfitted in "Southern Gentleman" style clothes) each says "Sho nuff" when shaking hands with Hank. Yogi (far left) looks quite uncomfortable:
1594163239054.png


Lullabell meets Bilko and the men:
1594163410601.png


What do you mean you're not coming home?!?!
1594163373173.png


Me or baseball? But Lulabell, honey...
1594163454696.png


You *carpetbagger*!!!
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Bilko tears up the contract... Win some, lose some (or does he? You'll have to watch the episode to find out):
1594163548639.png
 

Richard Gallagher

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Amazon still offers the Film Chest edition for $11.99. It'll be a bit less expensive at DD during one of their coupon events.

I paid $8 for my copy just over 2 years ago and *still* haven't made time for it... Almost every review I read about Decoy and Naked City comments about the 50s/60s shots of New York in the series and just how much the city's changed over the decades. I picked up copies of both as much for that as the reported overall good quality of the rest of the shows (scripts, acting, etc.).
Thanks. Amazon's search function failed me! Or I screwed up!
 
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