Top positive review
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The Best Yet!
on July 23, 2012
There's been many a time that I was tired of waiting and wanted to order these episodes from another source, but watching them now in full living color as I first saw them so many years ago Sunday nights on NBC makes me glad that I waited.
BONANZA is one of the greatest television series of all time, and this set is an excellent example of why. I won't comment on the quality of the many outstanding episodes as far as story, acting, direction, etc. (because all that goes without saying), but I will say if all you know of BONANZA is edited episodes you've seen on TV Land or time-compressed episodes on MeTV, or other broadcast or computer sources, you are missing out.
Each episode here is newly restored from original 35mm film materials complete with the original theme song and that beautiful peacock (at the beginning of every episode)! Most every show has extras like extensive photo galleries, and there so many special features and commentaries by performers who worked on the show that make it all worth the extra time it took for CBS Paramount Home Entertainment to release this set. The color is true (Lake Tahoe locations look spectacular!) and the sound is crystal clear (you can hear saddles creaking!).
Starting with the third season, BONANZA moved to Sunday nights and Chevrolet sponsored the entire hour. (You've heard of the expression, "Mom, apple pie and Chevrolet"? Well, for many years, it was "Mom, apple pie, Chevrolet and BONANZA!") There are so many wonderful, "cast commercials" in this set. (If you've never seen the "Cartwrights" away from horses - and most of the younger fans never have - you're in for a special treat when you see the gang each take the wheel and tool around the "Ponderosa.") So far my favorite is the commercial where they all drive up in the 1962 Chevy cars. Lorne (in the full-size Chevrolet) and Michael (in a Corvair) drive up first, Pernell is in the Corvette sports car and Dan (in the Chevy II) is saying that his is man-sized. (I believe it, too. I still drive a Chevy, by the way.)
There's another wonderful bonus I loved -- a humorous skit that Dan Blocker does with Henry Fonda and Cara Williams (a gifted comedienne who had her own TV show; she was billed as "the next Lucille Ball" at one time) that will take you all the way back to 1962 live television. And I love the special Christmas music and the numerous behind the scenes photos.
Watching these episodes makes me feel as though I'm a youngster again sitting in front of the TV. The easy to navigate DVD menus give me a choice between watching each complete and uncut episode without interruption or watching with the original intros ("Chevrolet Presents . . . Bow -- nan -- za!") and Chevrolet commercials. The official release of Season 3 is well worth your money - it's a must have!
Here's a list of many of the magnificent extras, also well worth the wait and the price of this set:
Audio commentaries --
Sue Ane Langdon talks about "The Many Faces of Gideon Flinch," and she still sounds as adorable as ever!
Lisa Lu narrates "The Day of the Dragon" and reveals the fascinating plans producer David Dortort had for her.
Audrey Dalton, "The Lady From Baltimore," explains filming techniques and what it was like to kiss both Pernell Roberts and Michael Landon!
Diane Mountford shares her precious memories of the cast and her experiences working on the beloved Christmas show, "Gabrielle."
DVD Executive Producer and historian Andrew J. Klyde explains so many fascinating details about Pernell Roberts' favorite episode, "The Crucible" (and many fans agree with him; this commentary makes one of the very best shows even better).
"Tales of Nevada" radio show excerpt - Andrew J. Klyde again discusses the series, as does Lorne Greene's son, Chuck Greene, who lives near Lake Tahoe, Nevada.
"The New March of Dimes Presents: The Scene Stealers" - a very funny skit with Lorne Greene and Dan Blocker (in costume as "Ben" and "Hoss") and comedy greats Buster Keaton and Ed Wynn (Wynn later guest-starred in a delightful BONANZA episode).
Photo Galleries - So many I don't know where to begin! In addition to scores of photos (many in color) taken on the set of almost every episode, you'll see pictures of Pernell Roberts and his stand-in, Betty Endicott, looking like twins (almost), shots of Dan Blocker and Pernell Roberts with an antique car they were trying to restore (not a Chevrolet!), and some of "the Cartwrights" making a personal appearance together at a rodeo and parade.
Thank you, decision-makers at CBS Paramount Home Entertainment, for restoring and releasing these episodes in BONANZA: The Official Third Season, and thank you, Andrew J. Klyde, for doing such a great job overseeing everything. This is the treatment all classic television programs deserve, and it doesn't get any more classic than BONANZA!