This is a big deal in the world of Classic TV on DVD collecting…the first B+W TV Western Series to be released on DVD since WAC released A Man Called Shenandoah in 2018…and what was the last ONE HOUR B+W Western TV series released on DVD? I’d have to ponder on that one…

I received my 8 DVD (Region 2 locked, although it says Region 0 on the box in fine print) set of Stagecoach West from Renown Pictures UK last week. The 38 episode one hour Western series from Dick Powell’s Four Star Productions premiered in October 1960 as part of ABC’s Tuesday night lineup against CBS’ new sit-com The Tom Ewell Show and the returning and long running Red Skelton Show, and another premiere in NBC’s Boris Karloff’s Thriller

Stagecoach West starred Wayne Rogers (Cool Hand Luke, M.A.S.H., House Calls), Richard Eyer (7th Voyage of Sinbad, Invisible Boy, Desperate Hours) and Robert Bray (My Gun is Quick, Big House U.S.A., Lassie) as the operators of a Stage line in the old West…filmed on location at Old Tucson and area, the contemporary stomping grounds of Rawhide

Renown’s promotional materials…<br />
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This was an action packed series with many big name guest stars…very violent, especially compared to the early 1970s TV Westerns I’ve been watching lately…with the typically high production values evident in other Four Star series that have come to DVD, in whole or in part…Burke’s Law, Honey West, The Big Valley, Zane Grey Theatre, The Rifleman, Wanted Dead or Alive, The Westerner and The Loner…did I miss any?

I took some screen caps from the pilot episode, High Lonesome (October 4, 1960) D: Don McDougall. W: D.D.Beauchamp. Mary Beauchamp. Guest starring Jane Greer (Out of the Past), James Best, Robert F. Simon, Lane Bradford…

Simon Kane (Robert Bray), hoping to flee the shackles of indentured servitude imposed on him by evil banker Tom Osgoode (Robert F. Simon), finally pays off his $2000 debt and takes his 15 year old son Davey Kane (Richard Eyer) on a trip to the ‘High Lonesome’ country to start a new life…but not before Simon has to beat up the crooked banker Osgoode to finally get his ‘note’ that Osgoode has held over his head these many years…Osgoode hires professional killer Les Hardeen (James Best) to intercept Simon, to kill him and destroy the note in a bid to frame him for robbery…the stage line driver is Luke Perry (Wayne Rogers)…the Kanes and Perry are destined to form a solid partnership in short order…as they arrive at an overnight stage stop where Hardeen awaits…along with a mysterious woman, Kathleen (Jane Greer), who shows a strange concern of familiarity toward young Davey…<br />
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Robert Bray…a reliably intense presence…<br />
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Richard Eyer…best remembered as the boy ‘Genie’ in The 7th Voyage of Sinbad…the kid is very good in this series…the little Jack Russell Terrier is named ‘Hannibal”, a very talented movie pup…<br />
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Wayne Rogers, ten years away from his later career signature role on M.A.S.H.…<br />
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Robert F. Simon…<br />
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James Best…at his best as this dangerous but charming killer…<br />
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Old Tucson…a busy place for Westerns…<br />
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Jane Greer, undoubtedly best remembered for her role in the essential ‘Noir’ Out of the Past in 1947…<br />
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The mysterious Kathleen recognizes Hardeen for the killer he is, much to his surprise…he doesn’t remember her, but she testified against him in a case that saw Hardeen jailed for 5 years…he startles her by informing her that he’s here to kill a man…<br />
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Luke, having arrived at the way station and being unaware of what’s afoot, finds Hardeen to be amusing…<br />
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Simon, worried also for his son, soon understands that his life is in danger…a tense showdown soon transpires…if looks could kill…<br />
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Continued next post…
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Flashgear

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Flashgear

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I previously wrote this in another thread...the only thing I can add is that there are no chapter stops within the body of the episodes...I spot checked the excellent English subtitles, something that some members will appreciate...the Four Star zooming logo with the familiar fanfare appears on nearly all of the 38 episodes...
I received my Renown/Talking Pictures 8 DVD set of Stagecoach West (1960-61, Wayne Rogers, Richard Eyer, Four-Star Productions) on Friday...I've spot checked all 38 one hour episodes, and can report that this is a high quality DVD set...it says 'region 0' on the back of the box, but that's an unfortunate mistake...they are region 2 locked, so you will need to have a region-free player...English subtitles on all episodes, 35 episodes derived from pristine 35mm, with PAL speed-up coming in at 48:12-48:32 each...one episode, Blind Man's Bluff, guest starring James Drury from a quality 35mm source, but without PAL, coming in at 50:20...only two problematic video dupe sources used for episodes 15, The Brass Lilly, and episode 30, The Dead Don't Cry, guest starring MTM, both preceded by a card saying that the master could not be located for these two episodes...so, fully 36 of 38 episodes look great, sourced from excellent 35mm vault elements...

Give me some time and I'll post some screen captures in a few days...I should probably start a new thread dedicated exclusively to Stagecoach West for that purpose...

I paid 35.25 pounds shipped (25 pounds + 10.25 S+H), $62.57 Canadian...about $50 American all in at the time of my purchase on February 27...this new release of Stagecoach West represents a tremendous bargain...let's hope Renown might give us some other highly desired Four-Star Productions...

High Lonesome (Pilot episode) continued...my screen caps from the new R2 Renown Pictures 8 DVD set...Luke Perry (Wayne Rogers) finally realizes that his new friend Simon Kane (Robert Bray)'s life is at stake...at the gun hand of hired killer Les Hardeen (James Best)...
Stagecoach West 23.JPG


A thunderstorm breaks out, just as a deadly duel takes place at the stage line way station...
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Here's a link to the Renown Pictures website with details on Stagecoach West...a reminder that you will need a region free player to enjoy this great set...

Let's hope for more of the phenomenal Four Star catalog of shows, most of which are apparently owned by 20th Century Fox...although the Fox logo does not appear on this box, as it did on Shout! Factory's DVD releases of The Westerner and The Loner...

More to come on Stagecoach West...next up, episode 2 with the stunning GiGi Perreau (Follow the Sun) and a nasty John Anderson...
 
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Jeff Flugel

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Here's a link to the Renown Pictures website with details on Stagecoach West...a reminder that you will need a region free player to enjoy this great set...

Let's hope for more of the phenomenal Four Star catalog of shows, most of which are apparently owned by 20th Century Fox...although the Fox logo does not appear on this box, as it did on Shout! Factory's DVD releases of The Westerner and The Loner...

More to come on Stagecoach West...next up, episode 2 with the stunning GiGi Perreau (Follow the Sun) and a nasty John Anderson...

Thank you for the excellent review of this R2 Stagecoach West set, Randall! It looks like a quality package all around, and glad to hear that the show delivers the gun-blazing western goods.

While it's true that the set is a bit pricey, I'm of the mind that we're lucky to be getting anything classic TV-wise released at all at this stage. Also, this is a big set, 10 discs, 38 hour-long episodes, most of them nicely remastered or at least in very good condition, judging from the screencaps above. So $50 doesn't seem too unreasonable for a smaller boutique label like Renown (though I certainly very much understand where Brad is coming from).

This is a series of which I had little knowledge beforehand, but based upon your comments here, I shall be putting it on my "to buy" list. Look forward to further comments from you on other episodes.
 

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ok - big question - are the episodes at the proper length and were they transferred at the proper frame rate, or do they suffer the 4% PAL speed-up for transferring 24fps as 25fps?
 

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ok - big question - are the episodes at the proper length and were they transferred at the proper frame rate, or do they suffer the 4% PAL speed-up for transferring 24fps as 25fps?
Good question. I just assumed being region 2 that they would be in PAL format. However, I've had decent success converting PAL to NTSC, while removing the speed-up, so that is no longer a concern of mine.
 

LouA

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This sounds great even though I’ve never seen the show. Is Amazon carrying it?
 

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This sounds great even though I’ve never seen the show. Is Amazon carrying it?
I did not find it at this time on Amazon US. While it is listed on Amazon UK it did not appear to accept shipping outside the UK. However, if you go to the Renown link previously provided you can buy it direct and have it shipped to the US. It goes for 25 pounds with an additional 10 pounds for shipping to the US, which comes to around $50. I'm not sure if anyone found another approach to purchasing it.
 

Flashgear

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ok - big question - are the episodes at the proper length and were they transferred at the proper frame rate, or do they suffer the 4% PAL speed-up for transferring 24fps as 25fps?

Good question. I just assumed being region 2 that they would be in PAL format. However, I've had decent success converting PAL to NTSC, while removing the speed-up, so that is no longer a concern of mine.
You must have missed it, but I answered these questions already in my second post in this thread...here they are again, itemized...I have spot checked and scanned all 38 episodes in the 8 disc set...
35 episodes derived from pristine 35mm, with PAL speed-up coming in at 48:12-48:32 each...

one episode, Blind Man's Bluff, guest starring James Drury from a quality 35mm source, but without PAL, coming in at 50:20

only two problematic video dupe sources used for episodes 15, The Brass Lilly, and episode 30, The Dead Don't Cry, guest starring MTM, both preceded by a card saying that the master could not be located for these two episodes

so, fully 36 of 38 episodes look great, sourced from excellent 35mm vault elements...
 

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Stagecoach West episode 2, The Land Beyond (October 11, 1960) W: D.D. Beauchamp, Mary M. Beauchamp. D: Thomas Carr. Guest starring GiGi Perreau, Robert Harland, John Anderson, Lane Bradford.

Newlywed Sarah Proctor (the luscious GiGi Perreau, soon to co-star the next season on Follow the Sun) has eloped with her husband Lin (Robert Harland), and against her rich father's wishes...her father has hired gunslinger Cole Dawson (a scary John Anderson) to drag her back against her will...what her father doesn't know is how ruthless Dawson is...if need be, he will kill Lin to accomplish his mission and be paid handsomely for that...Dawson tracks the couple to Timberline Wyoming, where they are about to board the stagecoach for points West...he leans hard on a terrified Sarah, and punches out Lin in front of Luke (Wayne Rogers), Simon (Robert Bray) and Davey (Richard Eyer)...Luke intervenes and punches out Dawson, whereupon the gunslinger pulls his gun on him...only deterred by Simon taking a bead with his double-barreled side by side shotgun...my screen caps from the new Renown R2 DVD set...
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Sarah, knowing that Lin's life is at stake if he fights for her, decides that she must go back to her father in a bid to have Dawson called off...but she also cannot tell him why she has tearfully decided to return without him...only she knows that Dawson will kill to get his money...
Stagecoach West 58.JPG


Despite Sarah's pleas to do so, the Stage cannot just turn around on it's scheduled run...so as they continue West, Luke and Simon discover the bridge has been torn apart and is impassible...they have no choice but to repair it, and send Davey ahead on foot as an escort for Sarah to walk to the comforts of the way station...
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After Sarah turns in, Davey goes out for firewood and is startled to see Dawson and his two hired guns arriving on horseback...it was Dawson and his men who wrecked the bridge!
Stagecoach West 77.JPG


'Hannibal' raises the alarm...good boy!
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Davey quickly gets Sarah to flee out the window and into the darkness with him, as Dawson and his goons arrive just ahead of Luke and Simon on the stagecoach...
Stagecoach West 82.JPG


Continued next post...no spoilers...
 
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Flashgear

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Stagecoach West episode 2, The Land Beyond continued...my screen caps taken directly from the new Renown region 2 DVD set...

Delayed by repairing the bridge before they could cross it, Luke and Simon finally arrive with the stage at the way station...unaware that Cole Dawson and his hired guns await in ambush...taking them hostage at gunpoint and demanding the whereabouts of Sarah, who has been hidden outside by Davey in the trees outside...
Stagecoach West 95.JPG


Dawson is an evil sadist...he doesn't just want to kill Lin, but also is determined to humiliate him by goading the tenderfoot into strapping on a gun and face off in a fast draw...Luke and Simon know that Lin doesn't have a chance, and they also know that Dawson will eliminate all witnesses to the killing...they hope to distract Dawson and his hired hands while one of them grabs the gun after breaking the lamps...
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Before they know it, the needed distraction is provided by young Davey, as he bursts in with dad's shotgun...but Simon is horrified that his son's life will be snuffed out first...
Stagecoach West 102.JPG


Davey is one brave boy...Richard Eyer is very good in this series, unlike so many child actors of the day who were terrible actors...Eyer is definitely on par with another kid in a contemporary Four Star Western series...Johnny Crawford on The Rifleman...
Stagecoach West 104.JPG


Dawson goes for his gun, but Davey blasts out the lamplights, and in the dark throws the shotgun to his dad...ordered by his father to flee back outside...what follows is a very well staged and exciting gun battle...
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Man, this is one very violent Western...in just the first two episodes, at least a half dozen killings...one guy dying face down in the mud...a bad guy shot in the back as he flees by a good guy...a whole lot of mayhem to come, including having Davey's lovable dog Hannibal gun butted into the dirt by an outlaw!

As you might expect, it's a happy ending for Sarah and Lin...
Stagecoach West 119.JPG


As it is for our heroes...
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Thomas (Tommy) Carr directed hundreds of TV episodes and B-pictures over his long and accomplished career...he was once quoted as saying the heaviest cross he ever had to bear was dealing with Steve McQueen and Clint Eastwood...
Stagecoach West 125.JPG

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Stagecoach West is a tremendously entertaining TV Western...and this episode was terrific as an action piece, with believable characters, great performances from all involved...especially good performance by the lovely GiGi Perreau, and John Anderson was a tremendously threatening 'heavy'...

I think I'll jump ahead a little to watch El Carnicero ('The butcher'), a Jack Lord episode next (he did two episodes of Stagecoach West), co-starring John Dehner, this one was filmed in the spectacular environs of Cochise Stronghold National Monument! Love that place!
 
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smithbrad

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Oh man, Randall...you're really selling me on this series!
He sold me from the get go :)
- Hour long series with a more serious tone
- Wayne Rogers (one I get past the MASH memories)
- Robert Bray
- All the famous guest stars, including one of my favorites in the first episode, James Best, that he captured so many images of.
 

Flashgear

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Oh man, Randall...you're really selling me on this series!

Good! Ha, ha...I'm hoping that Renown can sell a sh*t load of Stagecoach West DVD sets, Jeff and Brad! Then maybe we can get another Four Star series out of the vaults...perhaps one of our British HTF members who has watched Renown's 'Talking Pictures' channel in the U.K. can tell us what other vintage American series they have shown on that cable channel...maybe Richard Diamond, Robert Taylor's The Detectives, Trackdown etc...

I'm thinking that the new Stagecoach West DVD box set will be listed on Amazon in the near future...but I also found Renown's shipping was fast, and I can't quibble about the price for getting 38 one hour episodes of this tremendous vintage TV Western...especially as other entities have given us zero classic B+W TV releases on DVD (KL gave us both seasons of The Outer Limits on Blu) since WAC last gave us season one of Mr. Novak in 2019 (some of us worked damn hard on getting WAC to release Mr. Novak!)...and I think the last B+W TV Western released was A Man Called Shenandoah in 2018...and as I said earlier, I can't remember the last hour long B+W TV Western complete series that was released...order (if you can) directly from Renown via this link...


By the way, at about the same time as her guest starring appearance on Stagecoach West, that delicious damsel GiGi Perreau guest starred in one of my absolute favorite Rawhide episodes...Incident at Poco Tiempo, playing a nun, alongside Agnes Moorehead! I have an affection for nuns generally, having many fine and kind teachers that were nuns during my grade school years...but for the love of God, I wish Hollywood didn't put so many sexy actresses in a nun's habit, it conflicts my sensibilities! Ha, ha...
 
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Flashgear

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Here's the great Skip Martin/Herschel Burke Gilbert theme music opening, and closing vocals by Bud and Travis for Stagecoach West...man, this is another theme I'll have rattling around in my head for days on end, it's just as catchy as my previous brain dominating favorite, Daniel Boone...
 
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