DVD Tuesday: Mr. Ed, The Lola Falana Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show

It’s the first Tuesday of October and what a day for classic fans of television it is. Everybody’s favorite sitcom about a talking horse is finally arriving on DVD, courtesy of Shout! Factory. You can pick up Mister Ed: The Complete First Season with all 26 black and white episodes from the 1960-1961 season. Mr. Ed debuted in syndication on January 5th, 1961; it moved to CBS in October of 1961 for its second season. Unfortunately, according to reviews at DVD Talk and Sitcoms Online, eight of the episodes appear to be syndicated versions, running roughly 22 minutes rather than 25 or 26. Extras include commentary on the premiere episode from stars Alan Young and Connie Hines as well as a documentary that runs a little over half an hour. The original, unaired pilot episode, however, is nowhere to be found.

Also out today is The Mary Tyler Moore Show – The Complete Fifth Season from 20th Century Fox. This is the first release for the show since July of 2006 and for a while it looked as if the last three seasons would never make it to DVD. Then there was apparently going to be a complete series box set rather than individual releases for the remaining seasons. So if you’re a fan of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, be sure to pick up this one up and let 20th Century Fox know you’ll be buying the last two seasons as well. The set includes all 24 episodes from the 1974-1975 season but no bonus features.

If you didn’t buy Get Smart – The Complete Series when Time Life released it exclusively in November of 2006 (or later, in 2008, when it was sold all over the place), you’ve probably been buying each season individually. Get Smart: Season 4 is out today from HBO Home Video. No bonus features (those are apparently only available through the complete sets) but you get all 26 episodes from the 1968-1969 season. And Season Five comes out on December 12th.

This is a bit of a rarity: Video Service Corp is releasing The Lola Falana Show. It wasn’t really a show per se but rather a series of four variety specials broadcast during the 1976-1977 season on ABC. No bonus features but the specials themselves should be enough for fans. DVD Talk has a review available, which suggests the DVD set “remains an archival curiosity, and little more. It’s entertaining at times, but mostly in a jaw-dropping, ‘did we ever think that was funny’ kind of way.”

Finally, as I wrote about on Saturday, two of Gene Roddenberry’s made-for-TV movies from the 1970s are now available through Warner Archive, an online service that presses DVD-Rs on demand. You can buy Genesis II and Planet Earth individually for $19.95 each or together for $29.95. Having never purchased anything from Warner Archive, I can’t say what the quality will be like, but do note the following: “This film has been manufactured from the best-quality video master currently available and has not been remastered or restored specifically for this DVD and Digital Download release.” I’m also not sure why the telefilms are said to be available for pre-order yet have today as a release date.


2 Comments

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    January 5, 1961 is the date WNBC-TV in New York began carrying “MISTER ED” when it premiered in syndication (they aired it on Thursday nights at 7pm). What happened was, the series was SO successful, CBS president James T. Aubrey was looking for a “compatible” series to air before “LASSIE” on the network’s Sunday night schedule for the fall of ’61…and decided “MISTER ED” would be the perfect lead-in at 6:30pm(et). Besides, he had a “friend” at Filmways- Marty Ransohoff, I believe- and arranged for the show and its primary sponsor, Studebaker, to make the switch from first-run syndication to CBS for season two. And that led to other Filmways series finding a berth on the network: “THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES”, “PETTICOAT JUNCTION” and “GREEN ACRES”, before Aubrey’s dismissal in February 1965.

    20th Century-Fox really doesn’t care about “THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW”: the fact that I haven’t seen it in syndication OR cable ever since they got their grubby little hands on it tells me they’d rather not reissue it at all…and have to be FORCED to release the entire series on DVD, season by season. What’s the matter, it’s not as “hip” and “attractive” to 18-34 year old dummies, as, say, “24”, “FAMILY GUY” or, god help me, “ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT”? Or MAYBE Mary’s show was more successful [and had more “buzz”] than almost anything Fox has “manufactured” in the past decade, and possibly SOMEONE at News Corp. JUST DOESN’T LIKE IT. Could it be YOU….RUPERT MURDOCH???

    The opinions just expressed by me are not necessarily those of ‘RGJ’, or anyone connected with Television Obscurities. Thank you.

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    There were, incidenatlly, TWO versions of the original 1958 unaired version of the pilot starring Scott McKay & Sandra White (as “Wilbur & Carlotta Pope”), and a different breed of horse as “Mister Ed”- “THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF WILBUR POPE”; and, for Studebaker’s consideration in 1959, “ED AND WILBUR POPE” (the same pilot, with new titles reflecting Studebaker’s potential sponsorship). The unaired version of Alan Young & Connie Hines’ 1960 pilot episode also has “custom” Studebaker titles and a ten-minute “pitch” following the episode, featuring executive producer George Burns, Alan and Connie speaking directly to Studebaker executives and salesmen about their potential series.

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