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UPDATE OCTOBER 23,2012 ON THE RELEASE OF THE SECOND HALF: I just spoke directly with Lightyear Entertainment, who answered my question on, when can we expect the release of the second half of this fabulous show I'm Dickens... He's Fenster? They told me they don't have a date as of yet, the reason being they have to sell more of this first half in order to generate enough money to do the prep work necessary to release the second half. So, I hope more people find out about this wonderful old show and buy it, so the wait will be shorter! It just wouldn't be the same without the second half, especially just to see the great ping pong tournament again! Let's keep our fingers crossed that sales pick up this Holiday Season and Thank You Lightyear for answering my question for us fans who have to have the second half of this GREAT show!

I'm Dickens...He's Fenster is one of the rarest and funniest one season sitcoms that hasn't been completely seen in 50 years. Although on rare occasion, a few of the episodes were shown on smaller networks by special request in a few cities, no broadcasting company would ever spend the money for syndication for a one season show with only 32 episodes. The most requested episode was Table Tennis, Anyone?, as it's genius comedy was rated as hilarious as the Lucy And The Chocolate Factory episode from I Love Lucy.

This is not the typical one season television show that was canceled because it was a flop. This hilarious 1962-1963 show was shown on ABC at 9:00 p.m. on Friday nights. It was up against the top rated NBC's Sing Along With Mitch and Route 66 on CBS. By the time the unbelievably high final ratings came in near the end of the season in 1963, ABC did not have the foresight to renew I'm Dickens...He's Fenster for another season and so this very funny show never saw a second season. Not renewing their contracts, left the cast and main characters of John Astin and Marty Ingels already signed on to other projects- John Astin signed on to The Addams Family. By the end of this first and only season, I'm Dickens...He's Fenster not only beat out both Sing Along With Mitch and Route 66 in the ratings, but critics gave the show rave reviews from the NY Times, The Hollywood Reporter and Time Magazine. This left the viewers back in 1963 truly disappointed in never seeing a second season of the two best friend carpenters played by Astin and Ingels.

This show was created, written, directed and produced by the fantastically talented Leonard Stern, who's other contributions to television include The Honeymooners, Sergeant Bilko, The Steve Allen Show, Get Smart, He And She and McMillan And Wife. While having his home remodeled in 1961, Stern couldn't believe the construction workers sealed a ladder inside his chimney and couldn't pass up writing a sitcom about such real life unbelievable hilarity. The show is about two young blue collar carpenters- Harry Dickens (Astin) and Arch Fenster (Ingels). Dickens is married to Kate played by Emmaline Henry and Fenster is a bachelor. The comedy surrounds Harry Dickens longing for an exciting life that best friend bachelor Arch Fenster enjoys with his little black book, which Harry's wife Kate would never allow, and their fellow workers getting into hilarious predicaments on the job with their boss Mr. Bannister. Many guest stars got their television beginnings on this show, and some of the guest stars include Yvonne Craig (Batgirl), Lee Meriwether, Harvey Korman, Chris Korman (Harvey's son), Sally Kellerman, Ellen Burstyn, Edy Williams, Jim Nabors and more. It's going to be really great seeing these tv stars again in their television debuts, on this 30 minute black and white situation comedy.

This one season of I'm Dickens...He's Fenster is being sold in half sets by TV Time Machine Productions, which is a company owned by Lightyear Entertainment. Lightyear Entertainment bought out RCA Video Productions in 1987, who owned this show and many other old gems. TV Time Machine Productions said they have digitally restored these episodes to perfection for the show's 50th anniversary, and added many Bonuses. In this Volume 1 they will include Episodes 1-16; NEW interviews with John Astin, Marty Ingels, director Arthur Hiller, Creator Leonard Stern and others; Audio Commentary from John Astin, Marty Ingels, Yvonne Craig, Lee Meriwether, Chris Korman, Leonard Stern and others; 4 featurettes; a tribute to Leonard Stern; commercial bumpers; promos; cast commercial; thank you video and a 6 page booklet. They stated Volume 2- the second half with episodes 17- 32 will follow soon.

I can't wait till April 24th, 2012 to see those two wonderful carpenters Dickens and Fenster make me laugh again after not seeing them since 1962! They are just PERFECT together, like this over 10 hour bonus packed dvd set!

VOLUME 1- The first half of this Season 1 includes Episodes 1-16:

01. 09-28-1962 A SMALL MATTER OF BEING FIRED (this is the pilot)
02. 10-05-1962 NURSE DICKENS
04. 10-19-1962 HARRY, THE FATHER IMAGE
05. 10-26-1962 PART-TIME FRIEND
06. 11-02-1962 THE ACTING GAME
07. 11-09-1962 THE TOUPEE STORY
11. 12-07-1962 THE JOKE
12. 12-14-1962 LOVE ME, LOVE MY DOG
13. 12-21-1962 HERE'S TO THE THREE OF US
14. 12-28-1962 GET OFF MY BACK
16. 01-11-1963 THE GODFATHERS

VOLUME 2- The second half of this Season 1, WHICH WILL BE RELEASED LATER AND SOLD SEPARATELY, will include Episodes 17-32:

17. 01-18-1963 THE CARPENTERS FOUR
19. 02-01-1963 MR. TAKEOVER
20. 02-08-1963 HAVE CAR, WILL QUARREL
21. 02-15-1963 SAY IT WITH PICTURES
23. 03-01-1963 THE BET
24. 03-08-1963 THE SYNDICATE
26. 03-22-1963 HARRY, THE CONTRACTOR
27. 03-29-1963 TABLE TENNIS, ANYONE?
28. 04-05-1963 KICK ME, KATE
29. 04-12-1963 NUMBER ONE SON
32. 05-10-1963 HOTEL FENSTER
120120 comments|87 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 25, 2012
I was 5 and a half years old when I first saw this series...and remembered it was quite funny and clever...and when I saw the ad for the DVD, I was shocked to see it also starred John Astin, one of my favorite actors of all time! ( I had remembered Marty as the greatest goofball of all time...well, either him or Bob Denver). Well, I just received my DVD today, and the pilot episode was AMAZING...funny, full of all the old classic 60's sitcom stars, and just a joy. This is a great yourself a favor and buy this treasure...My wife, who DIDN'T remember this series remarked about John Astin's acting...that he was wonderful, just like he was on the Addams family. That he didn't so much play Gomez, but that Gomez WAS John Astin! And if you like the Addams Family, you have GOT to get this DVD set! (Oh...the packaging and DVD presentation was top-notch!)
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VINE VOICEon May 17, 2012
Honestly, I had never heard of I'M DICKENS...HE'S FENSTER, so when it popped up on my Amazon recommendations list, I was intrigued. I watched a few brief segments on the internet and liked what I saw, so I ordered it. And, boy, am I glad I did! This show is great, and it breaks my heart that we only have one season of it (It was canceled after the first season). Harry Dickens and Archie Fenster are best friends who both work as carpenters for a construction firm. Harry is married to Kate, but he dates vicariously through his friend Archie, who is something of a ladies man. The three leads all have fantastic chemistry and form a seamless ensemble. The show revolves around their schemes, misunderstandings, and and arguments, and it's wonderful. The scripts are witty, the acting spot on, and the slapstick is classic. My favorite episode is "The Joke" which revolves around a disagreement among Harry, Kate, and Archie over the funniness (or lack thereof) of a joke Harry wants to use during a speech he has to make. It's Brilliant.

This three disc set contains half of the episodes from the first season and disc of special features, including a featurette on the physical comedy that is so integral to the show. The latter half of the episodes is slated for a second set that can't come out soon enough for me.
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on April 26, 2012
It's about time that this classic show had a proper video release. The picture quality is outstanding. Watch this series and you'll realize how bad most TV shows are these days. Here's hoping the second half of the series gets released. Please support classic TV dvd's, it's the only way more will get put out on video.
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on July 11, 2012
High praise for this wonderful show.
Astin and Ingels, and Emmaline Henry. Wow!! Great cast. This show was doomed to cancellation. The ABC network, how many times were they the ruination of a great show.
Get this volume 1 collection. Marty Ingels, who I knew very little about, is a great comedy actor - what timing --, and with Astin they are a great comedy team. Emmaline Henry of I Dream of Jeannie fame is so much more lovable and sweet in her characterization of Kate Dickens, John Astin's Screen Wife, just the opposite of Mrs. Bellows, she really shines in this role.
Not a stinker in the first 16 episodes and in a few I laughed/howled right out loud. Great writing and physical comedy. I can't wait for the final 16 episodes to be released in Volume 2.
John Astin has gone up a notch in my book, and Marty Ingels is now in my book, and I've added a couple of notches for him. And I got to know, a little better, a few great character actors from this show such as David Ketchum, Noam Pitlik (gotta love that name), and Henry Beckman, who really is a scene stealer in the episodes I've seen him in so far. I normally think of, and recall, Mr. Beckman in the serious role, and not in comedic situations. He should have done more. He was Colonel Harrigan a few years later in McHale's Navy.

But the heart of the show is the chemistry between Ingels and Astin. As in the opening credits gotta switch off who gets first billing in my review.
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on October 24, 2012
When Amazon sent me an e-mail about recommendations that I might like,this show was listed.Since I had not heard of this series at all I disregarded it. A few days later while watching "Leave it to Beaver" this series was mentioned.Now with my curiosity piqued I decided to read the reviews, 8 at this time,on Amazon to see what it was all about.All reviews were favourable so I decided to buy this DVD.I'm glad to report that the reviewers were correct.This is a funny series about two carpenter friends and the comic situations they get into in the workplace and at home.Apart from the two lead characters, Dave Ketchum who plays another worker and Frank Devol who plays the boss, Mr Bannister,are excellent.Frank Devol was also a composer and composed the theme music for shows like"My Three Sons"and"The Brady Bunch".Also appearing as John Astin's wife in the show is Emmaline Henry who played Mrs Bellows on "I Dream of Jeannie".Some of the episodes on this DVD smacks of comic genius.Unfortunately,and this is the gyp, and why I gave it 4 stars, is because it is only the first 16 episodes.This is Volume One.Considering that this only lasted one season and is not well known you would think that they would release the whole series in one go.If nobody remembers this series why would they buy only half a season and then wait for the next to be released.On the plus side Disc 3 is full of bonus material and commentaries by the actors and actresses who were in the shows.Over three hours.So that kind of makes up for not being a whole season.Plenty of pratfalls and laughs with this show.
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on May 26, 2012
I was 5 when I last saw this show, but I remember it being very funny. 50 years later it's still funny, great slapstick, and great performances by Astin & Ingels. The sets are cheap, staging is dated, but it still made me laugh. One complaint only and that is that they should have added closed captioning. After 50 years I imagine a lot of the show's fans are hard of hearing.
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on November 19, 2013
It is rare that a cast who are individually so brilliant can work together as an ensemble with equal brilliance. This is truly as funny a show as I remembered it being. As a big fan of Route 66 in those days, I missed many of these episodes on their first airing, but once I discovered the show, I was hooked--and then, all of a sudden, there weren't any more!

And now I feel I've been hung out to dry yet again, after only being able to see HALF of the one available season of the show, and the anticipated release of Volume 2 now being over a year past due. As one reviewer wrote, "They told me they don't have a date as of yet, the reason being they have to sell more of this first half in order to generate enough money to do the prep work necessary to release the second half." Does the entertainment industry really believe this circular reasoning themselves? Do they not realize that customers don't like to get their hopes up by buying PART of something that may never be able to have in a complete form? It's bad enough when giant outfits like Fox buy up, then sit on, an inventory of fine shows like WKRP and Newhart, and never let us have them all--but at least they do release ENTIRE SEASONS at a time, if or when they finally release them at all!

The astronomical term "lightyear" signifies a very long distance. Too bad Lightyear, the company, only goes half the distance! Half a season at a time was the very thing that suppressed sales of the Route 66 DVD releases. I stopped playing the game of dribs and drabs by Season 3 and waited for somebody else to acquire the rights, then finally bought the whole show as a set. That might or might not ever happen in this case, considering there was only the one season. So my advice to other customers? I rated this purchase 5 stars because the show itself is that good. You'll probably be as glad you bought it as I am; but just be aware you could also end up feeling as frustrated as I do. I seldom long for "what might have been," but I do sometimes earnestly ache for what I know IS real and possible right now.

And my advice to the industry? Stop being corporate weasels and COMMIT to your decisions. Sure, you might misjudge once in a while, but you'll never experience big rewards either without enough commitment to follow through!
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on June 13, 2012
Great Little pick Up by Lightyear Video. I hope they continue releasing old sitcoms from the 1960s, that ran for a short time and little known shows from the 1970s to the 1980s. I like them to hopefully release any of these, The Good Guys, It's About Time, Mickey, He & She, Grindl, Ensign O'Toole, Occasional Wife, The Pruitts of Southampton, Run, Buddy, Run, No Time for Sergeants, Wendy and Me, My Sister Eileen, C.P.O. Sharkey, The Tim Conway Show, Detective School, Carter Country, The Tortellis, Temperatures Rising, Mary (1985 TV series) Oh Madeline or Amanda's By the Sea. This DVD is very funny and really done well as a Comedy. This really needs promotion, because it is a kind of classic that people really do not know much about. This is what you call a real sitcom, you actually laugh, not like the shows on TV today. I never seen this show before as it was before my time, but the 1960s just had the best timeless comedy when it comes to slapstick or ensemble casting. People really need to get this show same as Car 54 Where Are you, no excuse. I just wish the Bilko (The Phil Silvers Show) complete series was available on DVD, that series has had the greatest lack of respect in DVD history, not being completed on DVD in the year 2012, CBS Paramount pull your finger out or give it to Lightyear.
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on August 16, 2012
Dickens and Fenster are like a hammer and nail, they work perfectly together to get the comedy job done. I recalled snippets of this show from my youthful days of too much tv time. I enjoyed it back then and was thrilled to see it on DVD, to be viewed 50 years later. John Astin is the "steady eddie" and plays it quite well, both physically and in dialogue. Marty Ingels plays his role as Arch with verve and panache, along with touches of unbridled craziness. They both pull it off well together. Emmaline Henry is delightful as Kate, and she brings a female comedic influence into the mix. Frank DeVol is just "off the wall" with his low key portrayal as Bannister. And don't forget the excellent, well known first rate sit-com supporting players such as Dave Ketchum, Henry Beckman, and Noam Pitlik. Leonard Stern shines with his creation. On top of all these kudos, the theme music by Irving Szathmary is catchy and is still playing in my mind! All in all, this is one of the "aces" from the classic television days gone by.
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