DVD Tuesday: Whispering Smith, Frontier Circus

Every Tuesday I take a look at obscure and/or classic television programs, specials, miniseries or made-for-TV movies being released on DVD. For the record I consider anything broadcast prior to 1980 to be classic or else there wouldn’t be much to discuss. The releases referred to in these posts are encoded for Region 1 use in the United States and Canada.

There are a slew of new releases out today, including two relatively obscure Westerns from the early 1960s from Timeless Media Group. First from Time Life comes Whispering Smith, a half-hour Western that starred Audie Murphy as a police detective working out of Denver, Colorado during the 1870s. Production on the show started in 1959 but it didn’t premiere until May of 1961. According to this TVShowsOnDVD.com news article, the set includes the 20 episodes broadcast NBC and five unaired episodes; some sources indicate there were a total of 26 episodes, six of which were never aired. Either way, this is a rare program that likely hasn’t been seen since it originally aired back in 1961.

Another rare Western comes to DVD today courtesy of Timeless Media Group: Frontier Circus – The Complete TV Series. The series ran for 26 episodes during the 1961-1962 season on CBS. It starred Chill Wills, John Derek and Richard Jaeckel as the owners and operators of a circus traveling the Midwest during the late 1880s, performing in a new town each week. Guest stars included Elizabeth Montgomery, Don Haggerty, Eddie Albert, Vera Miles, Dick York, Claude Akins, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Mickey Rooney.

Also out today from Paramount Home Video is Perry Mason: Season Five, Vol. 1. The fifth season ran for 30 episodes during the 1961-1962 season so this first volume likely contains 15 episodes, although I haven’t seen an official episode count. Finally, you can pick up The Bill Cosby Show – Season 2 from Shout! Factory, but its an online exclusive, meaning you can only order the set through through their website. While that may be frustrating and/or problematic to some, at least the episodes are making their way to DVD.


5 Comments

  • Jeff Wildman says:

    Just a note of correction: “Whispering Smith” is being released by Timeless Media Group as opposed to Time Life as stated.

  • RGJ says:

    Thanks for the correction.

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    NBC/Universal, who owns the rights to “WHISPERING SMITH” and “FRONTIER CIRCUS”, won’t release them on DVD because a) they’re in black and white; b) they think NOBODY cares about those shows because they’re “obscure”; and c) they believe they can make much more money with the “sausage links” they’ve been grinding out for NBC [and other networks] over the past few years, successful or not. “Familiarity breeds contempt”…and they’re pretty contemptable. Thank god Timeless Media got the rights to release these shows!

  • ejp says:

    The S2 release of “Bill Cosby Show” is a much welcome development to finally see this show completed on DVD. Shout!’s release recycles much of the same art work and menu design from S1 (using the S1 theme music for the menus instead of S2) but the transfer quality looks outstanding.

  • Joe Wehberg says:

    Frontier Circus was by far one of the best TV westerns ever made. I collected nearly the entire series on 16mm film many years ago and still have them. I also bought the DVD set produced by Timeless Media which I was so very happy to see and glad that someone is taking steps to get these wonderful shows before the public again. The quality of the shows by TM varies from excellent to good. but I’m not going to gripe about that because at least they are making them available to folks who have never seen great television.

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