The Month in Home Media is a monthly column highlighting short-lived or rare television series, specials, miniseries or made-for-TV movies released on DVD or Blu-ray during the previous month, as well as recent additions to streaming services like Warner Archive Instant. The releases discussed in this column are encoded for Region 1 use in the United States and Canada. The Month in Home Media is published on the first Thursday of each month.
If you thought October was a slow month, wait until you read about November. There were two Alpha Video releases out last month — a random collection of unsold pilots and 1950s TV episodes plus four episodes of Dick Tracy starring Ralph Byrd — and very little else. Also, Warner Archive Instant added Beyond Westworld and Wizards & Warriors to its streaming service.
Lost TV Classics (TV Episodes, Alpha Video, DVD)
This one-disc release includes includes a mixture of random public domain episodes and unsold pilots: “Kimbar of the Jungle,” a 15-minute adventure series starring Steve Reeves that was produced in 1949 (I’ve also seen the date 1958 attached to it); an episode of the 1952 syndicated detective series The Files of Jeffrey Jones, starring Don Haggerty; the 1961 unsold pilot “The Phantom” starring Roger Creed; and an episode of Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Presents called “The Ludlow Affair” from 1957 that was a backdoor pilot for a series about British detective Bulldog Drummond. There’s also what I believe is another unsold pilot called “The Storyteller” with host Marvin Miller sharing the strange but true stories of real people. Miller hosted a radio version for many years in the 1940s. This is a reissue of a similar collection first released in August 2013, which included the Allan Lane “Red Ryder” unsold pilot in place of “The Phantom” pilot. Manufacture-on-demand.
Dick Tracy – The Lost Shows (TV Episodes, Alpha Video, DVD)
Ralph Byrd, who played Dick Tracy in a number of serials during the 1940s, returned as the famed detective in a half-hour ABC series that ran for one season from 1950-1951, followed by a second season in first-run syndication from 1951-1952. This single-disc release includes four episodes that may be a mix of ABC and syndicated episodes or just syndicated episodes. I’ll have to defer to Dick Tracy experts on that one. Alpha Video released four episodes back in 2006 and I’m not sure if these are the same four episodes or not. It appears a number of public domain DVDs of Dick Tracy episodes have released over the years. Manufacture-on-demand.
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has announced that both Battlestar Galactica (ABC, 1978-1979) and its spin-off/continuation Galactica 1980 (ABC, 1980) will be released on Blu-ray in May 2015. Note that two sets are being offered: the more expensive Definitive Collection includes both new 16:9 widescreen versions of the two shows as well as the original 4:3 full screen or full frame versions while the cheaper Remastered Collection only includes the new 16:9 widescreen versions. In other words, if you want to see the episodes in their original 4:3 aspect ratio, you’ll have to pay more (TVShowsOnDVD.com).
VCI Entertainment will release 10 episodes of Waterfront on January 27th, 2015. The half-hour drama series, which aired in first-run syndication for two seasons between 1954 and 1956, starred Preston Fester as the captain of a tugboat. I believe this will be the first time episodes of the series have been released on any format (TVShowsOnDVD.com).
Warner Archive Instant has added Beyond Westworld (CBS, 1980) and Wizards and Warriors (CBS, 1983) to its streaming service. Both are apparently streaming in high definition. The two short-lived shows were released on DVD earlier this year through Warner Archive.
Hit the comments with any news about upcoming DVD/Blu-ray releases or additions to streaming services.