DVD Tuesday: Kukla, Fran and Ollie; The Six Million Dollar Man

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.

This past Sunday (November 20th), Amazon.com started selling Kukla, Fran and Ollie – The First Episodes: 1949-54<, a 2-disc set containing twenty episodes of the classic children's program that will not be available in stores. Why was it released on a Sunday? It was Fran Allison's birthday. According to an article in The Chicago Sun-Times, the set was put together from “80 episodes hand-selected by Tillstrom that were transferred to videotape before his death in 1985.” The set was produced by Mark Milano, webmaster of Kukla.tv, in collaboration with the Burr Tillstrom Copyright Trust and the Chicago History Museum (where the set can be purchased).

Here’s a list of the episodes included:

Disc One

12/5/49 Salute To Television
9/8/49 Screen Test
9/26/49 Madame Ooglepuss Loses Her Wig
8/17/49 Lemonade
10/6/49 Ice Cream – with Dave Garroway
10/31/49 Halloween
11/30/49 Kukla Kiddish
12/20/49 Making A Christmas Tree Stand
12/28/49 Hansel and Gretel

Bonus: Homecoming – with Gene Rayburn (excerpt)

Disc Two

6/28/50 Puppetry Festival
11/3/50 As You Like It
12/20/50 Winter Carnival
11/26/51 First 15 Minute Show
12/5/51 Guppies Gavotte
12/12/51 Fran Practices Christmas Singing
4/22/52 June Lockhart
5/2/52 Leaving New York
10/12/52 Fifth Birthday
1/3/54 Miss VUHF
2/21/54 “The Mikado” Dress Rehearsal

Bonus: Sweet William (excerpt) Bonus: “Here We Are” (excerpt)

Another exclusive release out today is The Six Million Dollar Man: The Complete Collection from Time-Life. It can only be purchased at the Time-Life website (Canadians can purchase it here). Included are over 17 hours of bonus features (although a blooper reel mentioned in press releases is not on the set according to TVShowsOnDVD.com). Reviews can be found at DVD File and DVD Town.


  • DuMont says:

    When I popped over to Amazon.com to purchase the DVD for “Kukla, Fran and Ollie – The First Episodes: 1949-54”, I was surprised to see that it was already sold out. I read through the Chicago Sun-Times article on it, and apparently this DVD was a special issue for collectors, and it was limited to 1,000 copies.

    Hopefully, the strong sales will motivate another DVD release (hopefully, with a few more copies) at a later date.

    And it’s great to see ‘The Six Million Dollar Man’, finally with a proper full DVD set release. Kudos to Universal, and I do hope they dig back into their library as they do have many interesting early-era tv series that I’d like to see again.

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    I’m pleased that Burr Tillstrom preserved virtually almost all of the original series’ kinescopes, donating them to the Chicago History Museum before his death…and that the new 2-disc set means they’re being appreciated by a new generation that never saw the live telecasts!

  • Mark Milano says:

    The KFO DVD is not sold out! Amazon insisted on listing it as “unavailable” until we went live on Nov. 20 – but I put “Available on November 20” in the listing title.

    So the DVD has been available for order since that day – please try again!

  • EricW says:

    Oh, so YOU’RE the one who lit the KFO fire under Tom Shales! :)

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