DVD Tuesday: Leave It To Beaver, The Real McCoys

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.

The big news this week is the release of Leave It To Beaver: The Complete Series, from Shout! Factory. You get all six seasons and 234 of the classic family sitcom that ran on CBS from 1957-1958 and then ABC from 1958 to 1963. Interestingly, the complete series comes out just two weeks after Shout! released Season Three on DVD; Season Four will come out in September with Seasons Five and Six also expected. For a bit of history, Universal Home Entertainment released the first two seasons on DVD in November of 2005 and May of 2006, respectively, and that was it. Fast forward to January of 2010 when Shout! announced it would be releasing the third season as well as the complete series on DVD.

An official press release for the complete series can be found here. All six seasons have been “beautifully restored and remastered” and there are a slew of bonus features, including the 1957 pilot episode (which aired as an installment of syndicated anthology series Studio 57, also known as Heinz Studio 57). Reviews can be found at DVD Talk, DVDTown and The Home Theater Forum. A recent article in The New York Times about Leave It To Beaver can be found here.

Also out today, from Infinity Entertainment, is The Real McCoys – Season 4, with all 39 episodes from the 1959-1960 season. I haven’t seen any reviews of this set yet. Finally, Alpha Video has two new public domain releases, both single discs, that are either out today or tomorrow (the official Alpha Video site gives June 30th, 2010 as the release date while Amazon.com says June 29th for one and June 30th for the other): Frontier Doctor, Volume 6, with four episodes of the Western adventure series, and something called Cigarette Commercials, which collects “dozens of politically incorrect cigarette television commercials from the 1950s and 1960s.”

4 Comments

  • Jeff Wildman says:

    As has been stated before, Universal was too hopeless to make a go of the most popular and enduring sitcom in their library, and it looks like Shout Factory are going to come out the winners on this LITB set. It’s had high pre-order activity, and the quality of the transfers are getting top marks, along with the extensive bonus features. Back to sleep Universal, and leave the release of TV on DVD to people who care about the properties that you so disgracefully can’t handle.

    As for “The Real McCoys”, Infinity moves at a glacial pace with this property, especially considering that they paid up-front for the entire series in their original licensing deal with SFM Media. Too bad that once again, these episodes will barely clock in at 22 minutes and are cut to shreds.

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    “Cigarette Commercials” will be an eye-opener to anyone born after 1970, for the last time ANY cigarette ads appeared on TV (and radio) was January 1, 1971. From 1948 through January 1971, there were hundreds of commercials produced and shown every year touting cigarette brands of all varieties. American Tobacco was the “vanguard” of the industry, as they were the first major tobacco company to create filmed TV ads [through industrial film producer Jam Handy, whom they'd previously done business with in creating "promotional films" for theatrical audiences] for “Lucky Strike”, including the famous stop-motion “cigarette square dance” and “marching cigarette” spots. Their success convinced other firms to spend money on TV advertising…and that DVD shows just a fraction of how far cigarette advertising went in 22 years.

  • pBOB says:

    I always thought LITB was an ABC show. Didn’t know it started out on CBS.

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    Oh, yes, ‘pBOB’- CBS aired the first season, then cancelled it because its ratings weren’t high enough for them to renew it for another season (it originally aired on Fridays, then Wednesdays by mid-season). MCA managed to convince ABC to take the show for another season in 1958, and it finally became a “hit” when it appeared just before “THE LAWRENCE WELK SHOW” on Saturdays by 1959.

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