DVD Tuesday: Eight is Enough; The Ernie Kovaks Show

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.

Last Tuesday saw a half dozen DVD releases of interest to fans of classic television. Today there are only two. First up is Eight is Enough – The Complete First Season from Warner Home Video, featuring all nine episodes from the 1977-1978 season. The series, which ran until May 1981, was a mid-season replacement.

Diana Hyland, who played Joan Bradford, was only able to appear in four episodes before illness forced her to withdraw from the series. Sshe died less than two weeks after the series premiered in March of 1977. According to this article in the Kansas City Star, the episodes in which Hyland appear feature a different opening credit sequence and the set includes as a bonus feature a segment taken from The Today Show reuniting six members of the cast.

Also out today, from Shout! Factory, is Ernie Kovacs: The ABC Specials, a single-disc release featuring the last five of Kovacs’ eight half-hour ABC specials (originally broadcast from 1961-1962). These were originally included in Shout! Factory’s The Ernie Kovacs Collection, released in April of last year. According to a DVD Talk review, the menus retain their “Disc 5” numbering from the larger collection. Why the first three ABC specials have yet to be released is a mystery; they are not missing, as both UCLA’s Film & Television Archive and The Paley Center for Media have all eight specials in their collections. There could be rights issues involved or the quality of the first three specials could be considered unsuitable for release. That is just idle speculation on my part, however.

3 Replies to “DVD Tuesday: Eight is Enough; The Ernie Kovaks Show”

  1. That KC Star article also says that the 1977 miniseries ‘Washington: Behind Closed Doors’ will also be coming to DVD in June, which I was not aware of.

  2. Maybe it could be rights issues. Comedy Channel (later Comedy Central) aired some of Kovacs’s work in the early 90’s. They also aired only the last five ABC specials. The channel trimmed some of the specials to fit in more commercials. They also aired cut down versions of his hour long 1956 summer NBC shows.

  3. Three of the last five Ernie Kovacs specials are edited on the DVD. The September, October, and December 1961 specials have the non Kovacs Dutch Masters commercials edited out as well as the lead-ins to the commercials that Kovacs did.

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