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105 of 118 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anne Francis is Female P.I. Honey West: A Cult Classic!
From VCI Entertainment comes the complete Honey West television series. Honey West stars Anne Francis in the title role, as a young and versatile female private eye, along with John Ericson as her loyal sidekick, Sam Bolt. The two get into many adventures and uncover lots of interesting cases & mysteries. This 4 disc set comprises all 30 episodes of the series first...
Published on September 29, 2008 by Mr.

versus
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgic trip back in time
I watched Honey West as a young teenager. Thought she was kick a!!. But oh, Bruce the ocelot!! He is gorgeous. I want one lol.
The series doesn't hold up well. Not bad for it's time, but outdated. Anne Francis is beautiful, single, & independent, but refers to herself as a girl & the guy is there to "save" her. I think if it had a little more of the 40's PI...
Published 17 months ago by Michelle Choquette


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105 of 118 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anne Francis is Female P.I. Honey West: A Cult Classic!, September 29, 2008
This review is from: Honey West: The Complete Series (Fullscreen B&W) (DVD)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
From VCI Entertainment comes the complete Honey West television series. Honey West stars Anne Francis in the title role, as a young and versatile female private eye, along with John Ericson as her loyal sidekick, Sam Bolt. The two get into many adventures and uncover lots of interesting cases & mysteries. This 4 disc set comprises all 30 episodes of the series first and only season.

DISC ONE: (chapter stops placed after the opening theme song of each episode)

"The Swingin' Mrs. Jones" - written by Gwen Bagni & Paul Dubov, directed by Paul Wendkos: Honey goes undercover at a fancy singles resort to track down a rich woman's blackmailer. This, the first episode in the series, sets the tone, showcasing Honey West's sleuthing expertise, martial arts skills, and seductive prowess, as well as her professional (yet flirty) relationship with partner Sam Bolt. The episode features Honey's first use of her 2-way radio compact communicator device as well as a tear gas earrings gadget. (25:23 - includes a "Next Week" promo)

"The Owl and The Eye" - written by William Bast, directed by Paul Wendkos: Honey plays cat burglar in order to help safeguard a rare jade owl which winds up stolen. Check out Honey slip up a pack of dogs, in once scene, using a fire extinguisher. (25:26 - includes a "Next Week" promo)

"The Abominable Snowman" - written by Glen Bagni & Paul Dubov, directed by Paul Wendkos: Honey's client is killed in a car crash with only a snow globe and the word "Snowman" as the only clues. This episode marks the first appearance of Honey's car phone (and Honey taking a bubble bath). (25:26 - includes a "Next Week" promo)

"A Matter of Wife and Death" - written by Tony Barret, directed by John Florea: Honey must protect a female executive who has been targeted for assassination. But who is the killer dressed in a frogman diving suit? Watch for Honey's brief catfight sequence. (25:26)

"Live a Little, Kill a Little" - written by Tony Barrett, directed by Murray Golden: Honey is hired to find a missing girl who is running from a murderous boyfriend. (25:28)

"Whatever Lola Wants...." - written by William Bast, directed by John Peyser: Honey is unknowingly hired by a killer to stop an embezzler. Will she be his next victim? This episode features a gas pen gadget. (25:17)

"The Princess and The Paupers" - written by Leonard Stadd, directed by Virgil W. Vogel: The lead singer of a `Beatlesesque music band known as The Paupers, is kidnapped and held for ransom. It's up to Honey to track him down. Actor Michael J. Pollard (Bonnie and Clyde & Tango and Cash) guest stars. Honey looks great in a black bikini. (25:06)

"In The Bag" - written by Gwen Bagni & Paul Dubov, directed by Seymour Robbie: Honey stumbles onto a diamond smuggling scheme when a little girl, in her care, gets her bag switched with the crooks'. Maureen McCormick (TVs Marcia Brady from The Brady Bunch)) guest stars. This episode features a homing beacon pen gadget. (25:27)

Extra Features:
Glamour Shots Photo Gallery - Includes 18 images of Anne Francis & co-stars from the series. (2:26)
Vintage Commercials - Hunts Steakhouse Catsup, Wesson Cooking Oil, The FBI TV Series, Maybelline Eye makeup (X2), Intensified Tide Laundry Detergent, Wilkinson Sword Ltd. Razor Blades, U.S. Savings Bonds. 8 commercials total. (6:25)

Total Running Time Approximately 212 Min.

DISC TWO: (chapter stops placed after the opening theme song of each episode)

"The Flame and The Pussycat" - written by George Clayton Johnson, directed by James Goldstone: An arsonist is on the loose burning warehouses. Can Honey figure out his motives before she gets burned too? (25:27)

"A Neat Little Package" - written by Gwen Bagni & Paul Dubov, directed by Murray Golden: A newsstand owner suffering from memory loss hires Honey to help figure out the missing pieces of his past. This episode features a camera watch gadget. (25:18)

"A Stitch In Crime" - written by Gwen Bagni & Paul Dubov, directed by John Peyser: When $100,000 worth of designer eveningwear is stolen from Honey, will she be able to track them back down in time for the big fashion show in San Francisco? Catch a hilarious scene with Honey and Sam dressed as beatniks. (25:25)

"A Million Bucks In Anybody's Language" - written by Tony Barrett, directed by John Florea: Honey must discover who is responsible for the death of her latest client, who also happens to be another private investigator. Check out Honey in a sexy tiger skinned outfit. (25:25)

"The Gray Lady" - written by William Link & Richard Levinson, directed by Walter Grauman: A chameleon jewel thief (who only steals from celebrities) keeps Honey guessing when he steals from her latest client. This episode utilizes a special television monitoring device (as well as a memorable Honey fight sequence). Kevin McCarthy (Invasion of the Body Snatchers,UHF) guest stars. (25:27)

"Invitation To Limbo" - written by William Link & Richard Levinson, directed by Tom Gries: Honey must thwart a hypnotist from stealing valuable corporate files. Wayne Rogers (TV's Trapper John on M*A*S*H) guest stars. (25:27)

"Rockabye The Hard Way" - written by Gwen Bagni & Paul Dubov, directed by Bill Colleran: Honey travels to Mexico in order to recover a missing American with important military secrets. Joe Don Baker (Fletch, GoldenEye) has a small supporting role. (25:27)

"A Nice Little Till To Tap" - written by Tony Barrett, directed by Jerry Hopper: Honey goes undercover, as a teller, in order to nab a bank robber. (25:26)

Extra Features:
Behind The Scenes Photo Gallery - 21 images (2:49)
Vintage Commercials - Sucrets Throat Lozenges, Carnation Instant Breakfast, Coffe-mate, Cover Girl, Sylvania Blue Dot Flash Cubes, Pall Mall Cigarettes, Tareyton Cigarettes. 7 commercials total. (6:12)

Total Running Time Approximately 212 Min.

DISC THREE: (chapter stops placed after the opening theme song of each episode)

"How Brillig, O, Beamish Boy" - written by Don Ingalls, directed by Ida Lupino: Sam is kidnapped and held for ransom. Can Honey save him? This episode features an exploding pen gadget. (25:28)

"King of The Mountain" - written by Jay Simms, directed by Thomas Carr: Honey goes undercover as a private nurse for a rich, but possibly shady, recluse. A different type of camera watch is used in this episode. (25:18)

"It's Earlier Than You Think" - written by Marc Brandel, directed by James Brown: A dying man dressed up like Abraham Lincoln bursts into Honey's office with a very old newspaper. Who is after him and why? A hidden compartment ring gadget is featured in this episode. (25:28)

"The Perfect Un-Crime" - written by Ken Kolb, directed by Sidney Miller: A man with a good conscience hires Honey to put back the money he stole from the company he works for. (25:29)

"Like Visions and Omens and All That Jazz" - written by Tony Barrett, directed by John Florea: An heiress hires Honey to keep an eye on her daughter, who she believes has been targeted for murder. (25:28)

"Don't Look Now, But Isn't That Me" - written by Gwen Bagni & Paul Dubov, directed by James Brown: Honey's seeing double when an imposter, looking just like her, is stealing valuable furs. Anne Francis is a hoot in the dual role of Pandora Fox. A bolo belt gadget is used in this episode. (25:27)

"Come To Me, My Litigation Baby" - written by Gwen Bagni & Paul Dubov, directed by Thomas Carr: An insurance company hires Honey to run surveillance on a recently crippled man to see if he truly sustained his injuries or is in fact a fraud. This episode features the humorous "Honey West Walk" dance routine. (25:16)

Extra Features:
Vintage Commercials - Lucky Strike cigarettes, Pall Mall cigarettes, Traffic Safety, El Producto cigars, Prell shampoo, Chanel #5 perfume (X2), Vectra pantyhose, American Motors, Chiffon margarine, Crest toothpaste (X2), The UN in Action, Muriel cigars, Seven Seas salad dressing. 15 commercials total. (11:08)

Total Running Time Approximately 189 Min.

DISC FOUR: (chapter stops placed after the opening theme song of each episode)

"Slay, Gypsy, Slay" - written by Tony Barrett, directed by James Brown: A wealthy business man is kidnapped by a group of gypsies. Can Honey find him before its too late? John Ericson is hilarious in one scene disguised as an elderly man. There's also an amusing fight sequence with a gorilla. (25:27)

"The Fun-Fun Killer" - written by Art Weingarten, directed by Murray Golden: Things turn deadly at a toy factory when a metallic robot turns to murder. TRIVIA FACT: The same robot would later show up, that same year, in the Gilligan's Island Season Two episode: "Gilligan's Living Doll." (25:28)

"Pop Goes The Easel" - teleplay by Lila Garrett & Bernie Kahn, story by Gail Allen & Chris Christensen, directed by James Brown: Aunt Meg has her can of chicken gumbo soup stolen at a supermarket in what appears to be a huge publicity stunt involving an eccentric painter. (25:26)

"Little Green Robin Hood" - written by Ken Kolb, directed by Sidney Miller: A deluded jewel thief, who claims to be Robin Hood, preys on a rich woman...and charms Honey. Can she figure out this mystery? The episode features a homing beacon ring gadget. Eleanor Audley (the voice of Maleficent in Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty) guest stars. (25:27)

"Just The Bear Facts, Ma'am" - written by Gwen Bagni & Paul Dubov, directed by James Brown: Honey and Sam go undercover as stunt doubles on a movie set in order to discover the truth behind a woman's death. The episode features an amusing Silent Movie dream sequence. (25:16)

"There's A Long, Long, Fuse a Burning" - written by Gwen Bagni & Paul Dubov, directed by Thomas Carr: An ex-con & bomb expert is the police's prime suspect when a recent tirade of explosions begins to occur all over town. Dick Clark (American Bandstand) guest stars. (25:28)

"An Eerie, Airy, Thing" - written by William Link & Richard Levinson, directed by James Brown: An old war buddy of Sam's threatens to jump to his death unless his wife takes him back. (25:26)

Extra Features:
Vintage Commercials - Sweeta Sweetener, Old Spice cologne (X2), El Producto cigars, PSA, High Sierra After Shave, Baby Magic Lotion, The United Way, Dippity-Do Setting Gel, White Rain Hairspray, Muriel cigars, Voyage To The Bottom of The Sea & The FBI (X2) TV promos, Twelve O'Clock High + The Legend of Jesse James & A Man Called Shenandoah, Breck Shampoo & Hairspray, ABC TV Schedule by Honey West, TV Guide. 17 commercials total.

Total Running Time Approximately 189 Min.

This series is a lot of fun and Anne Francis is great to watch. The remastered picture and sound quality are quite impressive for a series this old. Only a scant few shots are very grainy at times, but overall the episodes look very good. While the Photo Galleries and Vintage Commercials are a nice touch, it would have been even more fun to include interviews and/or commentary tracks with Anne Francis herself. She no doubt would have shared a lot of insightful stories that went on during the filming of this classic series. The show itself has a nice blend of action, drama, and tongue & cheek humor that's fun and exciting. In one scene, where the "bad guys" fall into an electrified pool of water, a man asks Honey, "Are they dead?" Honey slyly replies, "No, just stunned. Electrocution is illegal in California." Pick this series up and rediscover Honey West all over again.

Honey West - The Complete Series (1965-66)
4 Discs, 30 Episodes
B&W 802 Mins. Not Rated
Dolby Digital English Language Only (No Subtitles)
Original Fullframe Presentation (1.33:1)
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57 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TV First Female Detective, August 26, 2008
This review is from: Honey West: The Complete Series (Fullscreen B&W) (DVD)
The one season of the TV show Honey West (1965-66) was a piece of TV history in the making. Her show would pave the wave of female detectives for generations to come. There were a few before her, but not many where she could keep up with the boys. Her show lead the way for other Female lead shows like Cagney and Lacey and the Girl From U.N.C.L.E.

The show was a black and white, thirty minute action packed thriller of a mystery. As I said it lasted only one season, but many in the network took notice of it and what could be done in 30 minutes.

Film actress Anne Francis, who starred in Forbidden Planet (Ultimate Collector's Edition), takes the role with a plomb for action. She can handle herself in a male PI world with the best of them. Her small detectibe agency had many high tech gadgets that would make James Bond blush. She had brains combined with muscle. She could handle herself in high socity and slumming with the best.

She is aided by Sam Bolt (John Ericson), who acts like mother hen to the adventurous West. For those fans of fan fiction, some assume she was a kin to James West ((The Wild Wild West: The Complete Series )..but that is rumor like the Green Honest is kin to the Lone Ranger. BUT I digress!

This DVD collection has all the Honey West shows from her series. However, what is missing is the pilot of the show which aired on Burke's Law

This collection has the cleanest master copies I have seen for a show forty years old, cleaner than other DVD shows like Superman, Wild West West or Perry Mason. Thankfully the video producers of this project did not colorize these episodes.

There are a few extras such as ads of the period like VCI did with their Roue 66 first season collection. However, there are no audio commentary, I wish there was. With Star Anne Francis being ill, it would be nice to hear her thoughts on this show.

So is this worth getting, YES. It would be a treasure in any mystery fans library of classic television. I am putting Ms West between Ironside and Columbo, you know the deiective with brain and can think out a mystery.

Bennet Pomerantz AUDIOWORLD
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75 of 92 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Honey West (1965-1966) ... Anne Francis ... VCI Ent. (2008)", July 31, 2008
This review is from: Honey West: The Complete Series (Fullscreen B&W) (DVD)
VCI Entertainment presents "HONEY WEST COMPLETE SERIES" (17 September 1965) (30 Episodes on 4 DVD's) (Dolby digitally remastered) --- Actress Anne Francis portrayed Honey West on television --- The character made her first television appearance in an episode of the series Burke's Law (1965) --- The character was popular enough that the ABC network spun her off into the series Honey West (1965-1966), produced by Aaron Spelling --- Honey West is a fictional character created by Gloria and Forest Fickling under the pseudonym "G.G. Fickling", and appearing in numerous mystery novels by the duo --- Both picture and sound have been digitally restored from the original 35 mm fine grains.

Under the production staff of:
Directors:
James H. Brown (6 episodes, 1966)
John Florea (3 episodes, 1965-1966)
Murray Golden (3 episodes, 1965-1966)
Paul Wendkos (3 episodes, 1965)
Thomas Carr (3 episodes, 1966)
John Peyser (2 episodes, 1965)
Sidney Miller (2 episodes, 1966)

Screenwriters:
Gwen Bagni
Paul Dubov
Gloria Fickling
Skip Fickling
G.G. Fickling

Honey West, a slinky, glamorous female private eye, was something new to television --- In an era when actresses were confined to sedate housewife and girlfriend roles, this series marked a unique and original departure. This was the first dramatic TV series in the U.S. with a female star in an action-adventure role traditionally played by a male actor. In addition to being television's first modern, independent, self-sufficient woman, Honey frequently engaged in energetic fight scenes and shootouts. As The Avengers had not yet aired in America, it was unprecedented to see a beautiful, curvacious woman in a catsuit beating up male attackers with a high-kick, judo-flip, or well-placed karate chop. She is also the first character, male or female, on U.S. television to use martial arts as self-defense.

Her untamed feline qualites were reflected by her leopard spot and animal-print wardrobe and decor --- She also kept an exotic pet ocelot and raced around in a convertible sportscar --- The risque aspect of the novels was toned down for television, although sultry Anne Francis nevertheless exuded a considerable sex appeal --- And she frequently went on undercover missions requiring some revealing outfit or bikini, etc.

In keeping with the secret agent trend of the '60s, Honey was outfitted with a number of James Bond-type gimmicks: an exploding compact, a garter-belt gas mask, and tear-gas earrings --- Her partner and man-Friday "Sam" (John Ericson) usually stayed in the background or sat in their high-tech surveillance van talking to Honey via a radio hidden in her lipstick case --- Their relationship was kept platonic, and Honey usually had to rescue him instead of the other way around --- (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

the cast includes:
Anne Francis ... Honey West
John Ericson ... Sam Bolt
Irene Hervey ... Aunt Meg
Bruce ... Bruce the Ocelot
Don Gazzaniga ... Butler
Ken Lynch ... Lt. Barney

COMPLETE EPISODE GUIDES:
1. "The Swingin Mrs. Jones" (September 17, 1965)
2. "The Owl and the Eye" (September 24, 1965)
3. "The Abominable Snowman" (October 1, 1965)
4. "A Matter of Wife and Death" (October 8, 1965)
5. "Live a Little... Kill a Little" (October 15, 1965)
6. "Whatever Lola Wants..." (October 22, 1965)
7. "The Princess and the Paupers" (October 29, 1965)
8. "In the Bag" (November 5, 1965)
9. "The Flame and the Pussycat" (November 12, 1965)
10."A Neat Little Package" (November 19, 1965)
11."A Stitch in Crime" (November 26, 1965)
12."A Million Bucks in Anybody's Language" (December 3, 1965)
13."The Gray Lady" (December 10, 1965)
14."Invitation to Limbo" (December 17, 1965)
15."Rockabye the Hard Way" (December 24, 1965)
16."A Nice Little Till to Tap" (December 31, 1965)
17."How Brillig, O, Beamish Boy?" (January 7, 1966)
18."King of the Mountain" (January 14, 1966)
19."It's Earlier Than You Think" (January 21, 1966)
20."The Perfect Un-crime" (January 28, 1966)
21."Like Visions and Omens... and All That Jazz" (February 4, 1966)
22."Don't Look Now, But Isn't That Me?" (February 11, 1966)
23."Come to Me, My Litigation Baby" (February 18, 1966)
24."Slay, Gypsy, Slay" (February 25, 1966)
25."The Fun-Fun Killer" (March 4, 1966)
26."Pop Goes the Easel" (March 11, 1966)
27."Little Green Robin Hood" (March 18, 1966)
28."Just the Bear Facts Ma'am" (March 25, 1966)
29."There's a Long, Long Fuse A' Burning" (April 1, 1966)
30."An Eerie, Airy, Thing" (April 8, 1966)

SPECIAL FEATURES:
1. Anne Francis Photo Galleries
2. Vintage Commericals
3. Behind the Scenes Photo Gallery
4. Episode Selections
5. Each Episode is complete with no commercial interruptions

BIOS:
1. Anne Francis
Date of Birth: 16 September 1930 - Ossining, New York
Date of Death: Still Living

2. John Ericson (aka: Joseph Meibes)
Date of Birth: 23 September 1926 - Düsseldorf, Germany
Date of Death: Still Living

3. Irene Hervey (aka: Irene Herwick)
Date of Birth: 11 July 1909 - Venice, California
Date of Death: 20 December 1998 - Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California

Check out my review on "Burke's Law - Season One - Volume One" featuring Gene Barry, Gary Conway and Regis Toomey also from VCI Entertainment and posted on Amazon.Com

Hats off and thanks to Robert Blair and his staff at VCI Entertainment --- VCI was named in Variety and Hollywood Reporter as the first company to produce and release motion pictures directly to the home marketplace --- order your copy now from Amazon or VCI Entertainment where there are plenty of copies available on DVD, stay tuned once again for top notch releases --- VCI are experts in releasing long forgotten films and treasures to the collector -- looking forward to more Nostalgic Collections.

Total Time: 900 mins on DVD ~ VCI Entertainment 8515 ~ (9/02/2008)
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must for Anne Francis Fans, November 19, 2008
By 
Terry Sunday (El Paso, Texas United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Honey West: The Complete Series (Fullscreen B&W) (DVD)
If you're here reading reviews of "Honey West: The Complete Series," there's a pretty good chance that the reason you're interested in this DVD can be summed up in two words--"Anne Francis." There's also a pretty good chance that you're male, that you were born fairly close to the middle of the last century and that you first encountered the lovely Miss Francis starring as Altaira in the 1956 film "Forbidden Planet."

If you fit this profile, and, as I did, developed a huge pre-pubescent crush on Miss Francis, you're sure to find "Honey West: The Complete Series" a most enjoyable trip back through time. There are other reasons for giving this series a look, of course, such as the clever (for their time) James-Bond-style gadgets, the decent (although not really cerebral) story lines, Honey's 1965 Shelby 289 Cobra and even her perennially irritated pet ocelot Bruce. Or you can look at the series as one of the very few examples--along with Emma Peel in "The Avengers," which began airing on American television at almost the same time in 1965 as "Honey West"--featuring a strong, smart, sexy and capable female lead. Or you can look at it as pure nostalgia, and let it take you back to a far simpler time of clearly defined heroes and villains, and of pure black-and-white moral choices. But let's face it, Anne Francis is the big attraction for us aging baby boomers. In her performances as Honey, she is just as alluring today as she was more than 40 years ago. With her dynamic screen presence, crisp, no-nonsense manner and complete competence, she is a true joy to watch.

I recommend "Honey West: The Complete Series" most highly. Even if you don't fit the profile, you should still consider it. It presents a self-contained slice of television history that laid the foundation for female characters and roles that continue to evolve today. Look at "The Sarah Connor Chronicles," for instance, and you'll see how far things have come from the groundbreaking, genre-bending days of "Honey West."
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Private Chick (updated: RIP Anne Francis (1930-2011)), October 6, 2008
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This review is from: Honey West: The Complete Series (Fullscreen B&W) (DVD)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Honey West has several attractions. As a detective show, it covers the basics of a new mystery in each episode, seemingly packing as much into its half-hour format (25 minutes without the ads) as many hour-length shows. It's got action, if mostly of the most rudimentary kind--rock'em-sock'em fights with karate chops, and a few more elaborate set pieces. There are spy gadgets, though nothing very exotic: communication devices in sunglasses, surveillance gear, a little knock-out gas, that sort of thing. It's got attitude, both tongue-in-cheek humor and some early feminist chic--Honey West is in charge, sexy and smart, kicking butt with martial arts while also remaining sweet and hardly offensive to any male insecurities. And it's got attractive stars, not only the bemoled Anne Francis in the title role but also John Ericson as her partner with the equally pulpy name Sam Bolt, who looks at various angles like Warren Beatty or Kurt Russell, and who seems to be doing a bit of young Brando at times. There's also Irene Hervey as Honey's Aunt Meg, who brings a homey charm. And of course there's Bruce Biteabit, Honey's pet ocelot, emphasizing Honey's own feline qualities.

The script formula

The formula for the show is pretty simple. A typical episode starts with some provocative event, such as Honey stealing a museum artifact, or gunshots followed by Sam jumping through a window and running to Honey's waiting car. Honey has been hired or will soon be hired to investigate something related to the opening scene. Honey and/or Sam often gets a job at some crucial location (they seem to never have trouble getting hired!) to do undercover work, during which they sometimes communicate by talking into their fake eyeglasses or the like. Often Honey ends up in some skimpy clothes or elegant gown. Almost always Sam does surveillance from his Econoline van, fitted out with a periscope, listening equipment, and monitors to watch from remote cameras. There's a lot of witty banter, or at least tongue-in-cheek banter, especially between Honey and Sam, and sometimes between them and the criminals who are happy to explain their plans before attempting to kill them. At some point there is a fight where Honey, often joined by Sam, usually knocks someone out with karate chops. If it's the last fight of the show, it's topped off with a witty remark or two. Then there's a brief final scene where it's time to relax or celebrate, often with Sam and Honey going out for dinner.

Some romantic tension between Sam and Honey is maintained, but not much ever comes of it (it is the first season, after all). Sam is devoted, Honey merely friendly. They're a team, each backing the other and sometimes taking the lead, though Honey often frustrates Sam by doing whatever she wants despite his worries for her safety.

Guns are of little use. If someone brandishes a gun, it will usually be knocked out of his (sometimes her) hand, leading to a fight in which Honey will flip the bad guy over by the arm, and chop him unconscious. Honey and Sam get their share of concussions too--thank goodness they're both quick healers!

A favorite technique to transition between scenes, used about once per episode, sometimes more, is to start a sentence in one scene and finish it in the next. For example, after Honey and Sam have a tiff, Aunt Meg says to Honey, "You'd make a nice couple. Why not get married, then you can fight ..." [sudden scene change to Sam telling Honey apropos something else entirely] "... legally, that's the only way to do things, legally." Or, as a variation, Sam yells at Honey, "It's not the first time you shaded the facts! Are you doing it now? Because if you're fencing ..." [cut to scene with Honey watching two people fencing]. Just another fun touch.

The scripts are by a bunch of different people (and there were about as many directors) but are consistent enough in characterization. The quality of the mysteries varies from pretty good to absurdly silly, but both kinds have their pleasures.

1965

The series has plenty of period atmosphere. The clothes precede the height of 60s fashion, and Honey's high-class wardrobe is mostly in a less obviously time-bound style, but "flood" pants are in evidence, along with thin ties (almost all the men wear them, mostly with suits), a few floral prints. The decor is more late 50s and early 60s than what the 60s came to be known for.

There are a few attempts to show "mod" culture, the clothes, hair, attitudes and dancing--very tame, mild stuff but amusing. One episode features Bobby Sherman as a rock-and-roller with a substantial acting role.

There are lots of big cars with big engines, many of them convertibles. Honey's own car is a tiny, very sporty brand new convertible Shelby Cobra, with a Ford 289 engine.

Fans of Gilligan's Island will recognize the lagoon in one episode, along with a few other borrowings in others.

Special features

The special features add to the retro experience. On each of the four DVDs, separate from the episodes, there are some vintage TV ads such as would have been played during the show, about 50 altogether. They're for cigarettes and cigars, makeup, perfume, ordinary stuff, along with some promos for the series itself. All in black and white.

There are also some still photos in a sort of slide show on the first two DVDs.

Guest stars

Since the show only ran for one season it didn't rack up the list of guest stars that many series do, but there are several faces you'll recognize. Besides Bobby Sherman, there's Dick Clark, a very young Maureen McCormick (Marsha Brady), Wayne Rogers (Trapper John), and a bunch of popular character actors, including Joe Don Baker (CIA agent Jack Wade in GoldenEye) in his first credited role, John McGiver (the friendly Tiffany's salesman in Breakfast at Tiffany's), Michael J. Pollard (Barrow sidekick C.W. Moss in Bonnie and Clyde), and Warren Stevens (Doc Ostrow in Forbidden Planet).

Music

The theme and score is light jazz, with some of the campy lounge style that was used in TV themes of the day. Lots of sax, muted horns, blaring horns, marimbas, discreet electric guitar, double bass, drums. Joseph Mullendore (1914-1990), the composer/arranger of the score, worked on many TV shows and several films in the 50s through 1970. A soundtrack album is available on CD (here).

Cancellation

According to Anne Francis and others, despite being up against more popular shows, Honey West was expected to go into a second season, in color, but ABC decided they could buy the US broadcast rights to the British series The Avengers, which had been part of the inspiration for Honey West (along with the more tawdry Honey West books), for less money than making their own series. Francis said that this might have been a blessing for her, as she had a four-year-old child at the time and found the intensive schedule of a TV series very taxing.

Picture/sound quality

I'm with the crowd who thinks this one is good in black and white. It fits the noir detective aspects and keeps the limited production values of a mid-60s TV show from being even more obvious.

The picture quality is pretty good. If you look closely, it's pixelly, with lots of "jaggies," some moire, but it probably looks better than it did on a lot of TVs when it was broadcast, with pretty good detail and contrast, not oversharpened. The prints are clean, with only the occasional speck.

The sound is generally good clear mono, out of sync in a few places, but not too badly.

Where are they now?

The stars of the series had careers in both film and TV before their TV work well kept them mostly on TV. (It used to be that film producers just wouldn't hire TV actors.) I hadn't seen them lately and got to wondering whatever happened to them. Here, for the curious, is what I found (updated for 2011).

Anne Francis did some movies and a *lot* of TV roles after Honey West, including a reprise of that role for a revival of Burke's Law in 1994. She had what was supposed to be a major role in Funny Girl in 1968, but most of it (and much else) was cut to focus more on Streisand. In 1970 she wrote, directed and produced a short art film about rodeo life called Gemini Rising (shown at festivals and on PBS), but it didn't open doors for her in those professions. That same year she became the first single woman in California to adopt a baby. She published an autobiography in 1982, Voices from Home: An Inner Journey, that focuses on her personal development and includes accounts of spiritual and paranormal phenomena. She pretty much retired from acting by 1999 (her last and only other film role was in 2004) and lived in Santa Barbara, California. At her website (annefrancis dot net) she posted monthly newsletters, several of which dealt with her bout with lung cancer in 2007-8. (Those old webpages can be found by the web-savvy via the internet archive at archive dot org.) She died of pancreatic cancer on January 2, 2011, age 80. Time did a fine memorial, "Honey from the Forbidden Planet: Remembering Anne Francis (1930-2011)," which can be found online by searching the title.

John Ericson lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he has been active in the theater, served on the state film promotion board and, lately, acted in local film projects. After Honey West he, like Francis, did a few movies and lots of TV, until 1989. After a long hiatus from film, he costarred in a small independent film, Birthday, about a young woman and a dying man, and had a supporting role in the wild (and critically panned) feminist Western The Far Side of Jericho, both made in 2006. In 2008 he appeared in an episode of the TV series Crash.

Irene Hervey was already through most of her career when she appeared on Honey West. Between 1968 and 1981 she did a few more TV episodes and a couple movie roles, including radio station owner Madge Brenner in 1971's Play Misty for Me. She worked as a travel agent in her later years, taking advantage of the travel benefits to go around the world to see her son, singer Jack Jones, perform. She died in Woodland Hills, California, in 1998.

According to Ralph Helfer, the animal trainer who provided them, Bruce the Ocelot (Bruce Biteabit) was actually several ocelots of more than one subspecies. I was unable to discover their later careers.

Honey's Cobra (the car, serial # CSX 2540) is alive and well in Indiana, currently owned by Joyce Yates. After being lent to the show, it was reportedly sold in 1966 by Shelby American as a used car for $3,900.

In sum

Honey West is fun. It's good light entertainment, a for-the-time unique feminist twist on the detective show, with attractive stars, a little mystery, a little action, some gadgets, some clever dialogue. Not always top-drawer, but still enjoyable even when coasting. Moonlighting fans will find many of the same attractions here.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Aaron Spelling's Sweet Series: Honey West., October 22, 2008
This review is from: Honey West: The Complete Series (Fullscreen B&W) (DVD)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Honey West? I'd never heard the name before. I didn't know there was a whole series of novels, and I definitely didn't know that Anne Francis was a groundbreaker for future leading ladies. As I popped in the discs one by one, I was on the fast track to visit 1965 and find out all about The Swingin' Mrs. Jones.

The Episodes:

Truth be told, I didn't even blink at the episodes being in black & white, because I grew up with re-runs of other shows without color, but it took me a little while to get used to the show being only 30 minutes long.

Most of the episodes were pretty formulaic, but I could see the redefined gender roles: Honey would typically do all the investigating, and Sam would do more of the menial tasks like surveillance in the "H.W. Bolt & Co. TV Repairing" van. Honey would save the day with martial arts, while Sam would typically get knocked out from behind. Honey West got to change outfits about 2-3 times per episode: whether it was a bikini, an evening gown or a black catsuit, they only served to accentuate her drop-dead-gorgeous looks (yes, I am biased).

I never knew if I'd see a pair of glasses with a hidden microphone, a bottle of sun tan lotion as a homing device, or a garter belt as a gas mask.

One frequent technique I enjoyed were the quick cuts for humor. One minute Sam would be yelling at Honey saying "You are not gonna do any more crazy things! THAT'S THE..." and the scene immediately cuts to Honey at a movie theater with an usher saying "Ticket, please..."

Cameo roles? Well, I noticed Joe Don Baker, Richard Kiel, Dick Clark, Alan Reed (the voice of Fred Flintstone!), a very young Maureen McCormick, a.k.a. Marcia Brady, George Burns in a few cigar commercials, even a robot which appeared in a Gilligan's Island episode one year later!

Okay, how about the box set itself?

(1) First off, this is a space-saver's dream come true. All 4 discs come in a single DVD case so there's no worrying about finding shelf space for this series.

(2) Vintage Commercials:

I was pleased to find over 40 commercials in this box set. From Sylvania's Flash Cubes to Dippity-Do, each of them had me in stitches. The one for Sucrets relieving sore throat pain enough to smoke a cigarette never ceased to make me laugh!

(3) Glamour Shots: This feature is found on the first two discs of the set, showing promotional pictures of the cast as well as a few caricatures.

(4) Hidden Trailers: On the first disc there are trailers for "Next week's exciting episode of Honey West" - These are only accessible at the end of the credits of the first 3 episodes.

I can't go on with this review without a little recognition for some people behind the scenes:

(1) Honey's gowns were designed by Nolan Miller, a television costume designer who did work on the 1980s series "Dynasty", and "The Colbys".

(2) John Ericson's wardrobe was done by Botany 500, a men's apparel line which provided the wardrobe for Don Adams in "Get Smart", and several game show hosts such as Bob Barker and Dick Clark.

(3) Joseph Mullendore did the music for the episodes, and his unique dramatic music was also found in the original Star Trek series.

Are there any cons to this box set? There are but a few:

(1) The Vintage Commercials are not listed on any of the discs. Since there were over 40 advertisements, finding just one is impossible - we also have to fast-forward to the commercials we want, they do not have individual chapters.

(2) There is no Closed-Captioning on the episodes. Other shows from the 1960's have captions in their re-runs; I'm not sure why that wasn't done here.

Even with said drawbacks, I enjoyed this series very much. Honey West was a few years before my time, so I never knew Anne Francis paved the way for roles like Jennifer Garner in Alias or shows like Charlie's Angels. If you're a fan of retro television shows like The Avengers, You will definitely enjoy this.

With 30 episodes and the extra features, Honey West is a sweet deal.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great to have this out on DVD, September 26, 2008
This review is from: Honey West: The Complete Series (Fullscreen B&W) (DVD)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The 1965 detective-action series, "Honey West," starring Anne Francis, is an iconic pop culture touchstone for many retro enthusiasts, hipsters, and fans of old classic TV (including many viewers who were around to see these shows when they were first broadcast...)

The series is stylish and lighthearted, features a fair amount of buxom T&A (generally accompanied by great Mod-era clothing) but it also packs enough of a punch to qualify as a legitimate action show. One of Aaron Spelling's earliest productions, and has an interesting relationship with his later hits, particularly "Charlie's Angels," which also featured vivacious female crime-fighters. Unlike "Charlie's Angels," however, "Honey West" didn't hinge solely on the perceived glamor of its female lead -- the stories are generally straight crime dramas, and the series' noirish feel is greatly enhanced by the black-and-white cinematography. It's not the greatest TV show ever, but it's fun and a great time capsule of 1960s pop culture. If you enjoy "Mannix," "The Avengers" or "Perry Mason," you might want to give this a spin as well. (Joe Sixpack, Slipcue film reviews)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great slice of the 1960s, January 7, 2011
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This review is from: Honey West: The Complete Series (Fullscreen B&W) (DVD)
"Honey West" stands as a precursor to later Aaron Spelling shows like "Charlie's Angels" and "Melrose Place", insomuch that the action revolves around a gorgeous woman. In this case, that woman is the late Anne Francis, who proves to be absolutely stunning and capable as the title character. Anne Francis actually reminds me a little of the late Elizabeth Montgomery, who was busy with her own series, "Bewitched" at the time. But whereas Montgomery's Samantha Stephens could wiggle her nose to make things happen, Honey West had to use brains, skills, technology, a little muscle in the form of her partner Sam (well played by John Ericson), and a little grounding in the form of her Aunt Meg (also nicely played by Irene Hervey).

And then there's Bruce, the pet ocelot who looked right at home in the midst of all the chaos. It's one thing for people to remember how fetching Anne Francis looked in all those evening gowns or in the stealthy bodystockings, but Bruce holds his own whenever he's on screen. He definitely earned his place in TV animal star lore, alongside other favorites like Arnold the Pig ("Green Acres"), Ben ("Grizzly Adams") and Tiger ("The Brady Bunch").

Like many shows from the time period, "Honey West" features a bevy of actors who would later become famous in other roles, including James Best ("The Dukes of Hazzard") and James B. Sikking ("Doogie Howser, M.D."), and celebrities like Bert Parks (longtime host of the Miss America pageant) and Dick Clark (who has hosted so many shows it's not fair to choose just one). The music sets an appropriate tone - a high-energy opening theme to get you ready for action, and a low-key closing theme that acts to cool you down and get your ready for next week. And the language remains nice and clean, which means the whole family can enjoy it.

It only ran for one season, but "Honey West" is an unusual and entertaining part of television history. It's definitely worth the purchase.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Restoration, October 6, 2008
This review is from: Honey West: The Complete Series (Fullscreen B&W) (DVD)
Several years ago, I purchased the complete set of "Honey West" on VHS tapes. The quality was simply awful. It's such a pleasure to now be able to see the series, I mean literally see each episode. The restoration process was done very well.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thighs, sighs, and private eyes, November 5, 2011
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This review is from: Honey West: The Complete Series (Fullscreen B&W) (DVD)
"Honey West" was one cool show, with a jazzy musical score and TV's first lady private eye. I'm not sure there would be another until Laura Holt in "Remington Steele" almost 20 years later. Anne Francis looked great in the role, with the most famous mole on TV. It was enough for the 8 year old version of me to develop a serious crush, and the 8 year old version of me didn't even know why boys were supposed to like girls yet. LOL

Some of the story lines are a bit formula. By the mid-60s there had already been dozens of private-eye shows, some of them with very long runs (77 Sunset Strip for example), so there was plenty of plot fatigue in the genre. You'd even find production schedule pressure causing things like slightly modified versions of the same script appearing on more than one series. I can remember one particular story, for example, being used both on "Bourbon Street Beat" and "Maverick", and of course Maverick wasn't even a private-eye show. Still, Honey West threw in some of its own twists, such as radio sun-glasses, judo, and exploding earrings.

Honey West was an early effort of Aaron Spelling, so it's no wonder that the show had a good look and a sexy flair which was years ahead of its time. Unfortunately, it was simultaneously a few years behind its time, being filmed in B&W at a time when color was emerging as the dominant TV format. That may have held back its viewership enough to cause it to end after only one season. But that one season does have 30 episodes, and thus 30 chances to see Anne Francis at her lovely best, which her wardrobe invariably showed to best advantage.

High drama? No. A lot of fun? Yes. I particularly liked the pilot episode, which was woven into "Burke's Law", another of my favorite crime series of the 60s.

This DVD set is of acceptable quality. Make sure to set your TV to 4:3 ratio for it to look its best, but the picture here has better than average sharpness for a 60s TV show on DVD. The sound is of remarkably good quality, without ear-jarring distortion even in the music.
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Honey West: The Complete Series (Fullscreen B&W)
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