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Sling Blade
Sling Blade
DVD ~ Billy Bob Thornton
Offered by arastash
Price: $19.50
62 used & new from $0.01

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WORTHY OF FIVE STARS (AND THEN SOME), November 2, 2011
This review is from: Sling Blade (DVD)
Billy Bob Thornton's "Sling Blade" from 1996 is one of the very best movies I have ever seen (or ever will see). It's a complete treasure from the first scene until the last. The whole cast is simply wonderful, from Mr. Thornton all the way down the line.

Many of the scenes in the movie are filmed by Director Thornton as static shots, with the camera not budging one inch as the actors go about their task of performing the scene, versus cutting back and forth from one camera angle to another.

This type of 'locked down' approach that was utilized in several scenes is a good one too, in my opinion, giving the viewer a chance to see all of the actors in the scene at the same time for an extended period. I wish more movies would employ that same type of shooting technique more often.

By way of its marvelous writing, stellar performances, and its understated and simple musical score, "Sling Blade" is probably one of the most powerful and emotionally heart-tugging films ever made. (At least it is for me.) And if you're not choking back tears near the end of this movie, then you must not be human.

Thank you, Billy Bob, for an exemplary motion picture.


The Fugitive: The Fourth and Final Season, Volume Two
The Fugitive: The Fourth and Final Season, Volume Two
DVD ~ David Janssen
Offered by MightySilver
Price: $27.03
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ONE FINAL VOLUME OF KIMBLE, GERARD, AND THE ONE-ARMED MAN (SEVERAL OF THESE EPISODES ARE BETTER THAN I REMEMBERED, TOO), February 20, 2011
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Tuesday, February 15th, 2011: The day a classic was completed (on DVD). That was the date when CBS/Paramount released "THE FUGITIVE: THE FOURTH AND FINAL SEASON: VOLUME TWO" in a 4-Disc DVD set, which means that all 120 episodes of that 1963-1967 television series are now available to own.

In this final batch of 15 color episodes, fugitive Richard Kimble is kept busy, as he continues to elude the law as well as trying to catch up to the one-armed man.

The original 1967 music seems to be totally intact and in place for these last fifteen "Fugitive" shows. And that news deserves a big "hooray".

Some of my favorite episodes in this collection include "The Ivy Maze", "Concrete Evidence", "The Breaking Of The Habit", and "The One That Got Away".

Of course, the top highlight of this DVD set is the famous two-part final episode, "The Judgment". Part 2 of the series finale became the highest-rated and most-watched single television program in the history of the medium when it first aired in the United States on Tuesday, August 29, 1967.

In other countries, however, the finale didn't air until September or October. And even in some parts of the USA, the last episode wasn't shown until September 5, 1967. Hence, a different version of William Conrad's closing narration can be found on some prints of "The Judgment Part 2". This DVD set includes the "September 5th" version of Conrad's narration.

Part 2 of the finale was seen by an amazing 72% of the viewing audience in the United States, with ABC estimating that 26 million U.S. homes tuned in to watch the last episode. Those figures are still, to this day, some of the highest ratings ever garnered for a television broadcast. The record was not to be broken for another 13 years, when the "Who Shot J.R.?" episode of "Dallas" eclipsed "The Fugitive's" record in 1980. And then the final episode of "M*A*S*H" surpassed "Dallas" in 1983.

In "The Judgment", Richard Kimble teams up with Police Lieutenant Philip Gerard to try and capture the real killer of Kimble's wife. Although very dubious about the results, Gerard agrees to delay Kimble's official arrest for 24 hours, so that Dr. Kimble can follow up some leads regarding the whereabouts of the elusive "one-armed man" (played by the hardened-looking Bill Raisch), whom Kimble is certain murdered his wife several years earlier.

While I feel this "teaming" of these two long-time adversaries weakened the last show of the series to a degree, "The Judgment" is still a pretty good concluding episode.

The final scene with Kimble and Gerard shaking hands after Kimble's release from custody is truly a great moment in television history. And this scene is carried out without a word of dialogue being spoken, which provides even a more powerful impact -- rather than having a gushy, overly sentimental final act. The simple, understated handshake said it all.

"The Judgment" features a large guest cast, including Jacqueline Scott, Diane Brewster, Richard Anderson, Michael Constantine, Diane Baker, J.D. Cannon, Louise Latham, and Joseph Campanella. Plus, of course, Barry Morse and Bill Raisch in their recurring parts as Lt. Gerard and the one-armed man ("Fred Johnson").

Jacqueline Scott plays Richard Kimble's sister, Donna. Scott had a recurring role as Donna throughout the four years of the series, appearing in a total of five episodes. She did an excellent job in the role, too.

Diane Brewster appears uncredited in the final episode, as murder victim Helen Kimble, via flashback sequences. You might better remember Brewster in another classic television series, "Leave It To Beaver", as Beaver Cleaver's schoolteacher.

Some "Judgment" facts & trivia:

According to "Daily Variety", Part 1 of "The Judgment" received a 37.2 rating and a 56.7 share of the U.S. television market in the USA, while Part 2 garnered a 50.7 rating and a 73.2 share.*

------------

The final two-parter takes place in three different cities -- Tucson, Los Angeles, and Kimble's hometown of Stafford, Indiana. Kimble's last alias he will ever need is that of "Frank Davis". "The Judgment" was co-written by George Eckstein and Michael Zagor, with both parts being directed by Don Medford.

------------

The following memo written by Executive Producer Quinn Martin appeared on the last page of "The Judgment's" teleplay:

To all QM staff, crew, actors, all guest actors, all ABC personnel, all advertising personnel:

This script marks the end of a very exciting and successful enterprise, and I would appreciate it if everyone would keep the contents a secret, and not discuss it with any members of the press or newscasters, except to acknowledge that it does prove Richard Kimble innocent.

To any members of the press or any newscasters:

If the above does not work, and by chance you find out the contents of the script, please honor the industry code of not giving the ending away, except to say Richard Kimble will be proved innocent. Thank you.

Warmest regards,
Quinn Martin *

------------

"In the final scene of the series...the original plan was to have the two adversaries [Dr. Kimble and Lt. Gerard] exchange a few parting words before going their separate ways. "In the first version of that final episode, our writers had gone a little overboard," recalled Barry Morse. "They wrote a scene...in which David [Janssen] and I said sentimental things to each other. At one point, I remember I suggested to David that, in order to mock this overly sentimental dialogue, we should throw ourselves into each other's arms and kiss each other firmly on the mouth! Well, we threatened that, but we never had to carry it out. By that time, we were all on such good terms with each other that everybody realized the absurdity, and it was agreed that we would make some changes in the dialogue. And I think somebody said, 'Well, what would be the best thing to say?' And I said, 'I think it would be best if we say nothing!' As is often...the case on the screen, what you do and what you look is much more eloquent than what you say.""*

* = Source: Ed Robertson's 1993 book "The Fugitive Recaptured", pages 178-180.

====================

THE EPISODES:

Disc 1:
The Other Side Of The Coin
The One That Got Away
Concrete Evidence
The Breaking Of The Habit

Disc 2:
There Goes The Ball Game
The Ivy Maze
Goodbye My Love
Passage To Helena

Disc 3:
The Savage Street
Death Of A Very Small Killer
Dossier On A Diplomat
The Walls Of Night

Disc 4:
The Shattered Silence
The Judgment, Part 1
The Judgment, Part 2

====================

DVD INFO:

>> Video is Full-Frame (1.33:1), and in color, as originally aired in 1967. The image quality is quite good. The colors look proper and natural. And there's every reason to believe that these episodes are presented complete and uncut here (time-wise), with the shows running for 51+ minutes each. The "in color" bumpers and opening teasers are included.

>> Audio is 2.0 Dolby Digital Mono. Sounds good too.

>> Bonus Feature -- There is one bonus featurette (on Disc 4), entitled "Composer Dominic Frontiere: The Color Of Music". Frontiere talks briefly about his career as a music composer.

This bonus program, which is presented in an anamorphic widescreen format, runs for 11-and-a-half minutes and is a continuation of a conversation with Mr. Frontiere that began with the "Season Of Change" featurette that is included in the fourth season's first DVD volume.

The last 3+ minutes of this bonus supplement include scenes from the final "Fugitive" episode, highlighting Frontiere's music from that show.

>> Menus are static and silent.

>> A "Play All" button is included on each disc.

>> English subtitles are included.

>> Chapter stops -- 7 per episode.

>> Packaging -- Amaray type of keep case, with two swinging "pages" that each holds two DVDs. Episode information is visible through the plastic on the left and right panels of the case. [Side Note -- There's a glaring error in the description for Part 2 of "The Judgment", with the description saying that Gerard and Kimble are headed for "Illinois". Of course, that should say "Indiana" instead. Somebody at CBS/Paramount should have checked out their facts a little better before writing up that episode blurb.]

====================

ADDITIONAL "FUGITIVE" MISCELLANY:

A BRIEF BIOGRAPHY OF DAVID JANSSEN ("DR. RICHARD KIMBLE"):

Born David Harold Meyer on March 27, 1931, in Naponee, Nebraska. He died of a heart attack at the age of only 48, on February 13, 1980.

Janssen was nominated for an Emmy Award three times (out of four years) for his work on "The Fugitive".

David's roster of acting appearances totalled a little more than 100 television and movie roles, beginning (as a 14-year-old boy) in the 1945 film "It's A Pleasure". Janssen's other big TV role, after "The Fugitive", was when he played private detective Harry Orwell in the series "Harry O" (1974-1976).

---------

A BRIEF BIOGRAPHY OF BARRY MORSE ("LT. PHILIP GERARD"):

Born Herbert Morse on June 10, 1918, in London, England. Died at the age of 89 on February 2, 2008.

Barry moved to Canada in the 1950s, where he has worked extensively in live theater, radio, and CBC television.

Morse made appearances in more than 130 motion pictures and television programs, starting with a 1942 appearance in the film "The Goose Steps Out".

Many people probably remember Morse best from his role as Professor Victor Bergman in the TV series "Space: 1999", which was on the air from 1975 to 1977.

Morse also was a writer and director within the TV industry, including one episode as director of "The Fugitive" in 1967 during the last season of the series. Morse directed Episode #118, "The Shattered Silence".

In addition to his memorable portayal of Lt. Philip Gerard in "The Fugitive", the long list of TV shows in which Barry Morse appeared includes these programs: "The Untouchables", "The Defenders", "Judd, For The Defense", "The F.B.I.", "Wagon Train", "The Outer Limits", "Naked City", "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour", "The Twilight Zone", and "The United States Steel Hour".

====================

THAT'S A WRAP:

It took 44 years, but all 120 episodes of the never-to-be-forgotten television masterpiece "The Fugitive" have now been made available on the home video market on DVD by CBS/Paramount.

And despite the unpleasant debacle with the background music that fans of this series had to endure beginning in 2008 (which, to Paramount's credit, was corrected--for the most part--in subsequent DVD releases), these 120 TV episodes are programs that deserve to be on the shelf of everyone who enjoys really good television shows.

In its four seasons on the air, "The Fugitive" created a compelling and realistic "running man" atmosphere that I don't think has ever been duplicated on either television or the big screen since Dr. Kimble stopped running in 1967.

And the main spark that created that atmosphere, of course, was the star of the series--David Janssen. And when you throw in the great Barry Morse as the running man's tireless pursuer--how can you lose?

120 episodes on DVD, and 0 to go.

That last sentence is nice to see, isn't it?

I think so, too.

David Von Pein
February 2011
Comment Comments (39) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 5, 2014 1:30 AM PST


John F Kennedy - Years of Lightning, Day of Drums on DVD
John F Kennedy - Years of Lightning, Day of Drums on DVD

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A REMARKABLE FILM, WITH A BRILLIANT MUSIC SCORE, January 22, 2011
"JOHN F. KENNEDY: YEARS OF LIGHTNING, DAY OF DRUMS", narrated with great style and class by actor Gregory Peck, is a wonderful documentary film that tells the story of the all-too-short Presidency of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, who was inaugurated as the 35th President of the United States on January 20, 1961, and died at the hands of an assassin just 1,037 days later.

Featuring a remarkable musical score that words alone cannot possibly do complete justice to, "Years Of Lightning, Day Of Drums" is, in this reviewer's opinion, one of the very best films or documentaries ever created about President Kennedy.

The 85-minute film was made in 1964, very shortly after JFK's November 1963 assassination. It was produced by the United States Information Agency for release in foreign countries. But the film was so popular, it was finally released in U.S. theaters (through an act of Congress, no less) on April 10, 1966.

Also included in the movie is an abundance of rarely-seen color film footage of President Kennedy's funeral processions through the streets of Washington, D.C., on November 24 and 25, 1963.

"Years Of Lightning" was written and directed by Bruce Herschensohn, who also composed the film's stellar and poignant original musical score as well. It was practically a one-man Herschensohn show. And a well-crafted show it is, too.

David Von Pein
January 2009
January 2011
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 5, 2011 7:58 PM PDT


The Fugitive: The Fourth and Final Season, Volume One
The Fugitive: The Fourth and Final Season, Volume One
DVD ~ David Janssen
Offered by westcoastmedia
Price: $26.87
14 used & new from $22.87

23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NEXT -- "THE FUGITIVE" -- IN COLOR!, November 14, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
After three seasons in black-and-white, it's now time to watch Dr. Richard Kimble (David Janssen) run for his life in full living color, with the arrival of "THE FUGITIVE: THE FOURTH AND FINAL SEASON, VOLUME ONE", a 4-Disc DVD set released by CBS/Paramount on November 2, 2010.

And while I think it's definitely true that the episodes in the fourth and final year of the series are generally not as high in quality (script-wise) when compared to the three previous black-and-white seasons, there are still several very good shows to be found in the last year of the series, including some worthy cat-and-mouse encounters between Kimble and the one-armed man (whom we see a lot more of during season four).

"The Evil Men Do" is my favorite episode in this DVD collection, with guest star James Daly doing everything he can to help out Richard Kimble by attempting to kill Dr. Kimble's pursuer, Indiana Police Lieutenant Philip Gerard. Kimble must then decide what his priorities are: his own freedom or Gerard's life? Some tense moments are in order in Act IV.

These 15 episodes appear to be complete and uncut (about 51 minutes per show), and the color video looks very sharp and clear. In some of the episodes, there is some dirt visible during the title sequences, which I've noticed is a common occurrence on a lot of DVDs.

For some reason, the credit portions of some TV shows and movies on DVD haven't been cleaned up to remove all of the dirt and speckles. Such is the case with some of the title and credit segments in this "Fugitive" set.

But I'd say that CBS/Paramount, overall, did a really nice job with these DVD transfers. The colors look very true and accurate, and the mono audio sounds nice and full and clean too.

I was also pleased to see that the original "in color" bumpers and voice-overs that were shown at the beginning of each of the fourth-season episodes when they first aired in 1966 and 1967 are included on these DVDs. And for the most part, the original background music seems to be intact too, which is very good news indeed.

====================

BONUS MATERIAL:

Unlike all of the earlier "Fugitive" DVD releases, this volume contains English subtitles and a bonus feature. The bonus item is a 10-minute featurette called "Composer Dominic Frontiere: Season Of Change", in which 78-year-old Frontiere is briefly interviewed about his career as a Hollywood music composer and his association with "Fugitive" icons Quinn Martin and Peter Rugolo.

Quite a bit of Frontiere's music is sprinkled throughout many of these fourth-season "Fugitive" programs.

Some interesting tidbits of information are revealed in this short extra. The final three minutes of the ten-minute bonus consist of scenes from the "Fugitive" episode "Second Sight", which features some of Dominic Frontiere's musical handiwork.

The "Season Of Change" featurette is presented in anamorphic widescreen format (approximately 1.85:1).

====================

MISC. INFO:

This 4-Disc set has single-sided DVDs, with either three or four episodes on each disc.

The episodes are presented in Full Frame video (1.33:1); the audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (in English only); there are 7 chapter breaks per show; and the DVD menus are simple, static, quick, and silent (yay!).

And there's one extra menu choice this time around, that being a "Set Up" option for selecting the English subtitles.

The DVD packaging is identical to the first six releases of "The Fugitive", with all four discs fitting comfortably inside a space-saving standard-sized DVD keep case, with two swinging trays inside the case to hold the four DVDs (two per tray).

This "swinging tray" design is nice, in that it allows easy reading of the episode information that is printed on the paper insert that shows through the transparent plastic panels on the left and right sides of the case.

====================

THE EPISODES:

Disc 1:
The Last Oasis
Death Is The Door Prize
A Clean And Quiet Town
Sharp Edge Of Chivalry

Disc 2:
Ten Thousand Pieces Of Silver
Joshua's Kingdom
Second Sight
Wine Is A Traitor

Disc 3:
Approach With Care
Nobody Loses All The Time
Right In The Middle Of The Season
The Devil's Disciples

Disc 4:
The Blessings Of Liberty
The Evil Men Do
Run The Man Down

====================

A FINAL COMMENT:

Richard Kimble's run is almost complete -- 105 episodes on the DVD shelf, with just 15 to go. And these shows have all looked great on Digital Disc, with this first half of Season 4 being no exception.

The fourth-year episodes themselves are a bit of a hit-and-miss proposition as far as the quality of the scripts is concerned, but anyone who has started collecting "The Fugitive" on DVD certainly won't want to stop now.

David Von Pein
November 2010
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 5, 2011 9:43 AM PST


Psycho Movie Poster, 26.75" x 40" (1960)
Psycho Movie Poster, 26.75" x 40" (1960)

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If There's A Better Film Of This Kind, I've Yet To See It .... "Psycho" (1960) Remains At The Top Of Its Genre's Heap, October 21, 2010
Alfred Hitchcock's signature motion picture, "Psycho", first appeared on movie-theater screens on Thursday, June 16, 1960, and that film is still doing today (thanks to the DVD home-video format) what it was doing back in 1960 -- and that is: scaring a lot of people silly!

The black-and-white scare-fest known as "Psycho", which forever turned actor Anthony Perkins into "Norman Bates", is widely regarded by many people as one of the best motion pictures of all-time (and is often listed in the #1 spot among lots of folks' "Best Scary Movies" lists). And I'd certainly have to fully concur with those opinions. It's one of my favorite films to be sure.

"Psycho" has a way of sucking you in right from the beginning of the film. I, myself, always start to squirm a little bit during the second scene of the picture, when the man with the wad of cash ("Tom Cassidy", played with a certain degree of glee and relish by Frank Albertson) enters Janet Leigh's office.

That seems to be a common thread that runs through Mr. Hitchcock's movies -- i.e., since we know we're seeing an Alfred Hitchcock film, we automatically tend to feel slightly ill-at-ease at almost every turn. Hitch no doubt knew his audiences would feel this way, and took advantage of it with a masterful subtleness in much of his direction and in the scripts he ultimately brought to the movie screen.

Some people might think I'm ready for the funny farm with this next "Psycho" comment, but in my opinion, even the sound of the audio track used in this film seems to emit a kind of "eeriness". And I'm not talking about the music here. I can't really fully explain this audio thing. But, to my ears, the dialogue being spoken comes through on the mono soundtrack in a way that is telling me that I'm not watching a light-hearted Walt Disney picture.

Perhaps this audio thing I'm talking about is part of the embedded "psychological" make-up of the film that ultimately affects the viewer. Or maybe it's just me. Could be. But, anyway, it works for me, and tends to make this movie all the creepier from beginning to end.

The "Psycho" cast is a perfect blend of talent, with top-name stars mixed with very capable character actors and actresses, with the end result being a sense of realism and believability.

The cast roster consists of Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin, Martin Balsam, John McIntire, Simon Oakland, Frank Albertson, and John Anderson. And they all earned their salaries with effective performances.

The plot of "Psycho" is relatively simple (so it seems), but in the hands of "The Master" (aka: Sir Alfred Hitchcock), the film takes a drastic and unexpected turn 47 minutes after Saul Bass' "stabbing" opening credits begin to appear on the screen, with 57% of the movie still in front of us. I'm sure almost everybody knows the "turn" I'm referring to.

Between Mr. Hitchcock's inimitable style of direction, Joseph Stefano's knockout screenplay, and that unforgettable Bernard Herrmann music score, how could this film be anything but what it is -- an unsurpassed horror/suspense icon?

It's hard to believe that a film this good was made for the now-paltry sum of $806,947.55. (That to-the-penny figure comes courtesy of page #156 of the excellent 1990 book "Alfred Hitchcock And The Making Of Psycho", by Stephen Rebello. That publication serves as a worthy companion piece to this "Psycho" Movie Poster and to the Universal Home Video "Collector's Edition" DVD.)

"Psycho" certainly didn't have any trouble at all getting back that 800-grand in fairly short order at the box office, earning $15-million in U.S. ticket sales by the end of just its first year of release. And that was in 1960 and 1961, when the average price of a movie ticket was just 70 cents. That works out to 21.4-million people entering U.S. theaters to see the "Mother" of all scary movies -- "Psycho" -- from June 1960 to June 1961.

The movie didn't walk away with any of the major "Oscar" trophies on Academy Awards night, but it was in the running for a few (four to be precise). Janet Leigh received a nomination for Best Supporting Actress. But Shirley Jones took that trophy home (for her part in "Elmer Gantry"). And Alfred Hitchcock was also nominated for an Oscar for "Psycho", but was beaten out for Best Director by "The Apartment's" Billy Wilder.

Mr. Hitchcock, somewhat amazingly, never won an Oscar statue. He was nominated five times during a career which spanned more than 50 films, but was edged out for the award each time.

Another "Academy" surprise was the fact that Bernard Herrmann's stabbingly-effective musical score for "Psycho" failed to garner even an Oscar nomination. In retrospect, that seems like a blatant oversight indeed.

~~~~~~

A "Psycho" Trivia Break -- Did you know that Director Alfred Hitchcock was so determined to keep the film's key plot point a secret, he spread the false rumor that he was looking for an actress to play "Mother Bates" in the movie. Hitchcock even went so far as to tell the press that Helen Hayes and Judith Anderson were the "top candidates" for the part of "Mother".

In the finished film, the "Mother" we occasionally see on screen was actually played by three different actresses -- Margo Epper, Anne Dore, and Mitzi Koestner. The diminutive Koestner also appeared as a "Munchkin" in "The Wizard Of Oz".*

* = Mother Notes -- Many sources I have seen actually list two different women named "Mitzi" as performing some of the "body double" work on "Psycho" -- including Koestner and another lady who was known only as "Mitzi". I find that hard to believe, however, given that both doubles had the same not-very-common first name and both were of "midget" stature. I doubt there was more than one "Mitzi" who worked on the film.

Another tidbit of info that I found interesting about one of the trio of "Psycho Mothers", Anne Dore, is the fact that Dore once appeared in an episode of the TV sitcom "Leave It To Beaver", one of the very best television series ever made, IMO. Dore had a small part in the 1957 "Beaver" episode titled "The Perfume Salesmen".

The voice of "Mother" in the movie was handled by three other people -- Virginia Gregg, Paul Jasmin, and Jeanette Nolan (who was married to another "Psycho" cast member, John McIntire).

------------------------

LET'S TALK ABOUT THE "PSYCHO" DVD:

The video quality on the Region 1 version of the non-anamorphic "Psycho" DVD is very pleasing for an older (1998) release. You can freeze-frame an image in almost perfect, undistorted clarity anywhere on that disc (which is unusual for non-anamorphic video material), indicating a solid transfer, IMO. The image ratio on the DVD is the Widescreen OAR (Original Aspect Ratio) of 1.85:1.

Universal Home Video gave "Psycho" a facelift when the film was re-released on (Region 1) DVD in an enhanced Anamorphic Widescreen form in October 2005 (within the spiffy 15-Disc set titled "Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection", which includes 14 Hitchcock movies plus a bonus disc of extras).

I don't own that Hitchcock Gift Set, but I've heard that "Psycho" (on Disc #8 of that set) was given a new (and pretty good) Anamorphic Widescreen transfer. But, as mentioned, settling for the non-enhanced DVD version of the film is not a fate worse than Marion Crane's death, because the movie looks darn good on the 1998 disc.

The Audio .... The film was originally shown in theaters with only Mono sound; so that's the way it should probably remain for all time. Although, it would have been nice if some kind of Stereo or Surround Sound re-mix could have been placed on the DVD, so that Bernard Herrmann's one-of-a-kind music score could be "expanded" upon and stepped-up a notch or two (beyond just the original Mono).

But even without any kind of Stereo sound, the 2-channel Dolby Digital Mono track does very well for itself on the "Psycho" DVD. And, anyway, I have a feeling that the aforementioned "eerie" ("creepy") effect that I personally find within the Mono soundtrack would tend to be lost if the audio was expanded into a Stereo format.

BONUS MATERIAL (Region 1 DVD):

The 1998 single-disc Region 1 DVD "Collector's Edition" of "Psycho" from Universal Studios does the movie proud. It's brimming over with fulfilling bonus supplements, including an exquisite feature-length documentary, "The Making Of Psycho", which runs for 94 minutes.

The "Making Of" program was made in 1997 and (not surprisingly) was written, produced, and directed by the master of DVD documentaries and featurettes, Laurent Bouzereau. In my opinion, this is one of the very best making-of documentaries ever placed on a DVD product. It almost represents an entire second movie on the disc. I've watched it numerous times, and always end up wanting to watch it again, which is quite rare for a DVD supplemental feature.

The documentary, which was edited with obvious care by David Palmer, is chillingly scored with the use of Bernard Herrmann's incomparable "Psycho" music, with various musical cues from the film being placed strategically underneath the words being spoken by the people being interviewed. Very well done.

This bonus program is jammed full of extremely-interesting behind-the-scenes tidbits that should delight any "Psycho" fan. I particularly enjoyed the abundant interview segments with "Psycho" screenwriter Joseph Stefano.

Mr. Stefano's openness and affable nature make his interview immensely enjoyable and entertaining (and very informative). He's a joy to listen to, in my opinion. I would have loved to have sat down and talked one-on-one with him. But on a sad note, Joseph Stefano passed away on August 25, 2006, at the age of 84.

Stefano's interview segments include some engaging comments about the repeated reliance on the "mother" angle in the "Psycho" script and some "potty" talk regarding the "unsettling" nature of the scene in the film where a toilet is shown on screen for the first time in movie history.

Some Joseph Stefano trivia -- Stefano received $17,500 for his work on the "Psycho" screenplay, which must be one of the best bargains in the history of filmmaking.

Music Composer Bernard Herrmann's salary would also be considered very modest by today's standards. Herrmann, originally, was going to be paid exactly the same dollar figure as Stefano ($17,500), but Mr. Hitchcock was so elated with the music score for "Psycho", that Herrmann's salary was almost doubled to $34,501. (How that oddly-exacting sum was arrived at, I haven't the foggiest; that data is yet another tidbit of trivial info that I plucked from the intriguing pages of Stephen Rebello's previously-mentioned book all about the making of "Psycho".)

The other participants in "The Making Of Psycho" also provide an ample amount of interesting on-the-set information. We hear from Janet Leigh, Pat Hitchcock, assistant director Hilton Green, and Peggy Robertson (a personal assistant to Mr. Hitchcock; she passed away in February 1998, very shortly after this documentary was filmed).

All of these various interviews are very good. You can tell that Janet Leigh is having a really good time as she recounts her experiences on the set with "Mr. H." and her co-stars.

The making-of program is given movie-like treatment on the DVD too, with many chapter breaks provided throughout its lengthy 1.5-hour-plus running time, with separate Sub-Menus for the chapter listing as well. And, like the movie itself, three subtitling options are also provided for the documentary (English, French, and Spanish).

The audio for the documentary is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, with 1.33:1 Full-Frame video (except for clips from the film itself, which are shown in 1.85:1 Widescreen).

But the DVD producers didn't stop with just a terrific movie-length documentary program. No, there are several other interesting bonus items on the "Psycho: Collector's Edition" DVD too. Let's browse those features:

>> Newsreel Footage: "The Release Of Psycho" -- This splendid bonus, which has a run time of 7:42, is an "Advanced Press Book on Film" (a quote from this newsreel). I assume this feature was distributed to U.S. theaters prior to the film's initial release in mid-1960, to demonstrate, as stated in the newsreel, "the care and handling of Alfred Hitchcock's 'Psycho'".

The rarely-seen newsreel footage is a truly fascinating glimpse into the world of promotional advertising for a major motion picture, circa 1960. This short film looks sensational too. Remarkably pristine and clear.

>> Theatrical Trailers -- Including the "Tour of the Psycho Set" trailer, which is hosted and narrated by Alfred Hitchcock himself. This unique trailer is practically a "mini featurette" in and of itself, sporting an elaborate running time of six-and-a-half minutes! It's one of the longest movie trailers I've ever seen.

Upon reflecting on this on-the-set Hitchcock trailer, I've always thought it gave away a few too many plot points. In fact, Mr. Hitchcock himself is, in effect, telling the audience watching the trailer that multiple murders are going to be taking place in the film....and he even tells us WHERE the murders are going to be taking place (in the motel bathroom and on the staircase inside Norman Bates' creepy house up on the hill behind the motel).

I've also always thought this was an especially odd trailer from the standpoint of Mr. Hitchcock's unorthodox marketing campaign that he introduced for "Psycho". It was decided by Hitchcock that nobody would be allowed into the theater after the movie had begun, and patrons were strongly urged to keep the film's shocking plot points to themselves after leaving the theater.

But if anyone had seen that 6-minute Hitch-hosted trailer before going to see the movie for the first time, some of those "shocking" moments on screen could easily have been diluted quite a bit due to the "spoiler"-like content of that trailer. Very strange, IMO. But it's certainly a fabulous (and fun) trailer, with Mr. Hitchcock himself serving as our personal tour guide through the movie's sets.

>> The "Shower Scene" with and without music. Quite a startling difference indeed. Hard to imagine this scene without that piercing music. A similar "with and without music" comparison for the film's climactic "cellar"/"Norman in drag" scene is shown in the making-of documentary. That key scene was originally going to be done without any music at all. But, thankfully, Mr. Hitchcock decided to add the same "shower scene" music to that scene in the basement.

>> "Shower Scene" Storyboards.

>> Multiple Photo Galleries, with lots of great-looking production stills and poster art from the film.

>> Some very detailed text-only sections -- "Production Notes" and "Cast And Filmmakers Biographies".

>> Also included is a multi-page (fold-out) booklet, which has Chapter Lists for both the film and the "Making Of" program (26 Chapters each). The paper insert also contains several photographs and some lengthy and informative Production Notes.

------------------------

A final hunk of "Psycho"-babble:

1960's "Psycho" is a mega-classic, a motion picture that deserves to be re-visited a minimum of a couple times per year (and the superb Making-Of feature is also worthy of repeated viewings as well).

Any avid movie collector who does not have this Alfred Hitchcock spine-tingler in his or her DVD library should be "Psycho"-analyzed, post-haste. :)

For additional "Psycho" fun, I invite you to have a gander at my Amazon "Listmania List", titled "I've Gone Psycho For 'Psycho'!", which can be quickly accessed via my Amazon Profile page (it's the first "Listmania" displayed there).
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 27, 2011 9:01 AM PDT


Leave It To Beaver: The Complete Series
Leave It To Beaver: The Complete Series
DVD ~ Jerry Mathers
2 used & new from $134.41

336 of 342 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE HOLY "BEAVER" GRAIL, June 29, 2010
QUICK DVD STATS:

Number of Episodes -- 234 (Plus the Original Pilot Episode)
Number of Discs -- 37 (Single-Sided)
Video -- 1.33:1 Full Frame (B&W)
Audio -- Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English only)
Any Bonus Stuff? -- Heck, yes! (Details below)
Subtitles? -- No (But each of the episodes is Closed Captioned in English)
"Play All" Option? -- Yes
Are These Episodes Complete and Unedited? -- Yes! (With a very minor "but"; details below)
DVD Distributor -- Shout! Factory (The set is copyrighted by NBC Universal)

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On June 29, 2010, a very pleasant thing happened -- something that many people probably didn't think would ever happen in their lifetime -- the audio and video company "Shout! Factory" released to the public "LEAVE IT TO BEAVER: THE COMPLETE SERIES", a spectacular 37-Disc DVD collection that includes all 234 episodes of what I consider to be one of the best and most rewatchable television series of all-time.

And Shout! has treated The Beav with expert care too, make no mistake about that fact. These 234 shows (plus the pilot episode, entitled "It's A Small World", which is also included in this mega-set) look and sound fantastic on these DVDs. All of the episodes were filmed in black-and-white, and the restored B&W prints that are presented in this collection are sensational.

To quote Brian Ward, the producer of this DVD boxed set:

"These episodes are complete and look better than you've ever seen them before. They've been restored and remastered from the original film elements. I've honestly never seen 50s television look this good. For those that bought the original seasons 1 & 2 released a couple years ago, these are leagues above those transfers. They really are something." -- Brian Ward of Shout! Factory; January 27, 2010

These shows do, indeed, look gorgeous on these DVDs, but I will add this note about the video quality --- The majority of the episodes in Season 1 and Season 2 of this set appear to me to have pretty close to the same video quality as the Universal DVD releases of those two seasons which came out in November 2005 and May 2006 [Season 1; Season 2].

Those two Universal sets have pretty good overall picture quality too, but most of the scenes that were filmed indoors are peppered with an abundance of grain. The scenes shot outdoors, however, look perfect and free of almost all grain.

This Shout! set mirrors those Universal video characteristics for the first two seasons, with the indoors footage being speckled with much more film grain than is found in any of the last four seasons. There are exceptions to this though, with one exception being the first-year episode "Brotherly Love", which looks quite a bit better in this Shout! set than it does in the 2005 Universal release, with less grain visible in the Shout! version.

Some of the shows from Season 1 also look darker on the Shout! DVDs when compared to the Universal edition (particularly the episode "Captain Jack"). So it would certainly seem as though Shout! has not used the exact same prints of the shows that Universal worked with in 2005.

But once I got to Season 3 of this Shout! set -- WOW! Simply magnificent in all respects! Almost all of the grain in every episode has been completely eliminated for the final four seasons. It's remarkable how blemish-free these new high-definition DVD prints look. Almost as if they were filmed yesterday. They look that good.

The highest praise I can muster goes to the Shout! people for taking the time and effort to do this classic TV sitcom the "DVD justice" it richly deserves.

One of the things that I immediately noticed when watching some of the episodes from Seasons 3 through 6 (which were filmed after the Cleavers moved into their new house on Pine Street in Mayfield) was the chair in the living room, the one in which dad Ward Cleaver is often seen sitting while reading the newspaper.

The chair's bold and unique fabric looks particularly bright on these remastered DVDs. The pattern practically jumps right off the screen, illustrating just how superb these DVD transfers really are. It might even be a good idea to wear sunglasses when watching those living-room scenes from now on. :)

Each episode is presented complete and uncut, just as they were originally aired on network television in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The average length per episode is about 25 minutes and 45 seconds.

A few episodes clock in at about 24:55. But then there are still others that exceed 26 minutes. So, I think it's probably safe to say that these episodes are just about as complete as we're ever going to get.

And Shout! DVD producer Brian Ward has also assured fans that all of the episodes in this set are uncut -- "The episodes are complete" were Mr. Ward's exact words on May 26, 2010 (via a post Brian made at the Shout! Factory Community Forum).

There is, however, one small section of one episode that is missing. And I'd be willing to bet that it's missing by pure accident. It's the preview (or "teaser") that was originally aired at the very beginning of the episode "The Black Eye". That short preview, narrated by Hugh Beaumont (which is when we hear Hugh say, "And that's our story tonight on Leave It To Beaver"), is nowhere to be found in this Shout! set. It is there, however, in the Universal 2005 DVD set.

The reason I said it's missing by "accident" is because of the way the order of most of the show openings for Season One have been rearranged. The short preview scenes that were part of the first-year episodes were (I think) originally aired PRIOR to the opening titles. That's the way they are presented in the 2005 Universal DVD set anyway.

But in this Shout! set, the majority of the preview clips are shown AFTER the opening credits. There are seven exceptions, however. The following seven episodes are presented as they originally aired, with the teaser coming prior to the opening titles: "Music Lesson", "The Perfect Father", "The State Vs. Beaver", "Beaver Runs Away", "Party Invitation", "The Bank Account", and "Lonesome Beaver".

This is a real mystery to me. I can't figure out why in the world the people who were responsible for remastering these episodes would have decided to reverse the order of the teasers and opening credits for about 80% of the first-season episodes in seemingly willy-nilly fashion, while choosing at the same time to leave the teasers where they should be in the first place (at the very beginning of the show) on 7 of the 39 episodes. It doesn't make a bit of sense. It almost looks like somebody at NBC Universal was being deliberately spiteful.

~big shrug~

Anyway, my guess would be that when someone was fiddling around with the chronology of most of these show-opening segments, somehow the preview/teaser clip for the "Black Eye" episode was never re-inserted and was inadvertently cut out completely.

Here's another oddity that I noticed about the first-season previews -- In this Shout! set, the preview segment for the episode "Brotherly Love" is completely different from the one that can be found on the 2005 DVD. The narration by Hugh Beaumont is identical in both DVD versions, but the video is totally different. Weird, huh? I had no idea that more than one preview segment existed for any of the episodes in Season 1. (It kind of makes the 2005 Universal DVD set for the first season of LITB seem a tad more valuable now, since there's something unique about a portion of it.)

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THE SHOW:

"Leave It To Beaver" premiered on CBS-TV on Friday, October 4, 1957, and continued on network television for a total of six seasons, finishing up in 1963. Each of the six seasons consisted of exactly 39 episodes, a hefty number when compared to current seasonal standards.

CBS carried the show for the first season only. For the final five years, "Beaver" was a part of the ABC-TV schedule.

The LITB storylines were always very simple and uncomplicated, which is probably a big reason why it is so charming and appealing. No major earth-shattering disasters ever befall the Cleavers. Nobody ever gets hurt (except an occasional scraped knee), the parents (Ward and June) rarely fight about anything serious and never threaten to leave each other, and above all, these characters really seemed to care about each other, without getting too sappy about it.

All of the above-mentioned traits helped make "Leave It To Beaver" what it was each week in 1957, and what I believe it remains today: a good, clean, fun, uncomplicated half-hour of entertaining television.

Starring Jerry Mathers as Theodore (Beaver) Cleaver, Tony Dow as his brother Wally, Barbara Billingsley as June, and Hugh Beaumont as Ward, the excellent cast of "Leave It To Beaver" was a well-chosen group in my opinion.

While it's true, I suppose, that the acting was a bit on the "stiff" side on many occasions, I still think that this ensemble did quite well on this show. A sense of true believability and realism finds its way quite comfortably into each of these episodes.

Toss into this cast grouping the very funny Richard Deacon, who portrayed Ward's friend and co-worker, Fred Rutherford, plus Ken Osmond as the ever-sarcastic Eddie Haskell, Frank Bank as Clarence "Lumpy" Rutherford, Rusty Stevens as Larry Mondello, and all of Beaver's and Wally's other various friends, classmates, and schoolteachers, and you've got a really first-rate supporting cast of characters to build stories around.

Right out of the gate in Season 1, a whole bunch of top-notch episodes are on tap, with some of my favorites from the first year being: "The Black Eye", "Tenting Tonight", "Beaver's Short Pants", "Party Invitation", "The Bank Account", "Train Trip", "The Perfect Father", "Beaver Runs Away", and my #1 fave from the rookie season, "The Haircut", which has Beaver getting scalped by barber Wally in one of the funniest episodes of the whole series.

There's also the funny "Captain Jack" episode -- which was the very first show to be filmed; but was the second program to be aired. "Captain Jack" has Wally and Beaver sending away for a pet alligator, and includes the very funny scene where Minerva (the maid who is never seen again in the series) comes running up the basement stairs screaming "Help! A monster! There's an alligator in the basement!" .... This is followed by Ward's skeptical -- "An alligator?!" (LOL.)

"Captain Jack" also has the distinction of being the very first episode in television history to show a toilet on screen. (The "tank" portion of the Cleaver toilet is shown, not the [~gasp!~] "bowl" itself.) :-)

In fact, it was the "toilet" scene in "Captain Jack" that kept that episode from being aired by CBS as the debut show of the series in late 1957. But LITB show executives, including writers Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher (who authored a great number of the episodes during LITB's six-year history, including "Captain Jack"), stuck by their guns and won the "toilet battle" with CBS bigwigs, and thus "Captain Jack" (toilet scene intact) was approved for network broadcast one week later, being aired on October 11, 1957, as Leave It To Beaver episode #2.

And yet another winning Season-One entry is entitled simply "Lumpy Rutherford" -- where we get our first look at Clarence Rutherford, known to most people as "Lumpy" (or "The Lump"). You'll note how Lumpy goes from being one of Wally's feared enemies to one of his best friends as the series progresses.

As mentioned, the original "Leave It To Beaver" pilot episode ("It's A Small World"), which originally aired on April 23, 1957, has also been included in this Shout! set. It was first aired as an installment of the syndicated anthology program "Studio 57". And it's a darn good pilot too, in my opinion, with a good storyline (unlike a lot of other series-launching pilots).

I know that a lot of people don't particularly like the Beaver pilot very much, but I myself think it's a pretty good show, which does a nice job of introducing the series and the characters. I actually find myself returning to watch this pilot show quite a bit.

I will say, though, that it would have been nice if Hugh Beaumont could have been included in the pilot's cast too. His presence would certainly have made it a better program, to be sure. Because Hugh's portrayal of Ward Cleaver will live on forever as one of the top "TV dad" performances there ever was.

Both Barbara Billingsley and Jerry Mathers co-star in the "Small World" pilot, but different actors played the parts of Wally and Ward. Paul Sullivan portrayed Wally and Casey Adams (aka Max Showalter) filled Ward's shoes.

A 13-year-old Harry Shearer (famed voice actor on "The Simpsons") also was featured in the cast of the pilot episode. It's a small part for Shearer, but he was very good as "Frankie Bennett", an Eddie Haskell-like smart-aleck. I was impressed by the naturalness of Harry's performance.

LITB veterans Richard Deacon and Diane Brewster are also part of the "Small World" cast, although not in the same roles that they ended up playing in the series. Deacon's part, in fact, is a fairly extensive one, as an executive for the "Franklin Milk Company".

Some of my other favorite episodes from Seasons 2 through 6 are listed below. You'll notice a preponderance of episodes centering on Wally here, especially in Seasons 5 and 6. The shows that focused primarily on Wally and his friends in the latter years of the series are, in my view, a tad bit better than the "Beaver"-oriented shows from those same seasons.

The writers/producers of the series, Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher, obviously realized that Tony Dow was becoming somewhat of a teen heartthrob, and therefore wrote many episodes featuring Wally as the center of attention during the last two or three seasons:

Season 2 --- "Happy Weekend", "Wally's Haircomb", "The Shave", "Wally's New Suit", and "Most Interesting Character".

Season 3 --- "Teacher Comes To Dinner", "Beaver Takes A Bath", "Larry Hides Out", "Ward's Baseball", and "Beaver Takes A Walk".

Season 4 --- "Eddie Spends The Night", "In The Soup", "Beaver Won't Eat", "Wally And Dudley", and "Chuckie's New Shoes".

Season 5 --- "Wally's Car", "Wally's Chauffeur", "Wally's Big Date", "Wally Stays At Lumpy's", and "Beaver's Long Night".

Season 6 --- "Wally's Dinner Date", "Wally's Practical Joke", "The All-Night Party", "Wally's License", and "Wally's Car Accident".

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DVD BONUS MATERIAL:

Shout! Factory has produced an entire disc of supplemental bonus material for this monster-sized DVD collection, and there's some very good stuff in here too. Let's have a gander:

>>> "It's A Small World" -- The original "Leave It To Beaver" pilot episode (discussed earlier). Running time: 25:07.

>>> "Forever The Beaver: The Cleavers Look Back" -- This is a 74-minute featurette made in 2005, with some of the cast members from the show (Jerry Mathers, Tony Dow, and Barbara Billingsley) looking back on the series. Also featured in this bonus is Brian Levant, one of the co-creators of "The New Leave It To Beaver" (aka "Still The Beaver") TV series, which aired in the 1980s.

>>> "Ken Osmond And Frank Bank Remember" -- This featurette, which was made in April 2010, allows us to visit with two members of the LITB cast who weren't part of the "Forever The Beaver" program -- Ken Osmond and Frank Bank. Running time: 29:54.

>>> "The Drum Major Of The Toy Parade: A Conversation With Dave Kahn" -- Dave Kahn, the composer of the LITB theme song, is interviewed. Kahn was 94 at the time of this very brief interview. He passed away in July 2008. The person conducting this interview is Tony Dow. And Tony makes a mistake when he says that Kahn's theme song (entitled "The Toy Parade") was jazzed up in the third season of the LITB series. But it wasn't until the sixth and final year of the show that the "jazzing up" of Mr. Kahn's famous theme song was done for the opening and closing credits. The length of this bonus supplement is 3:16.

>>> U.S. Treasury Film -- This bonus is sort of a "mini" episode of "Leave It To Beaver". It was produced during the third season of the series, in cooperation with the United States Treasury Department. Beaver learns a valuable lesson about saving money in this rarely-seen 15-minute advertisement for U.S. Savings Bonds. This program hasn't been restored or remastered like the other episodes in this set, so the video quality is a little rough around the edges. It also doesn't include a laugh track, and the absence of such a track here serves to emphasize the importance and necessity of the "canned" laughs that we hear throughout all of the regular episodes in this series. Because after hearing an episode without any laughs at all, it becomes painfully obvious that those laughs coming from a "canned" audience are definitely better than hearing dead silence instead.

>>> Original Promos -- Two ABC-TV promotional ads for LITB. Some episode clips from various seasons of the show are included in these two brief television ads. And watch out for an alternate take of a scene from the fifth-season episode "Wally's Weekend Job". When Wally is getting chewed out by Mary Ellen Roger's father, LITB aficionados will instantly be able to tell that the dialogue being spoken is from a different take of that scene which ended up on the cutting-room floor. The picture quality for these ABC promos is really terrible. No cleaning up of this material was done at all (which is understandable, since these TV ads are merely a bonus anyway). But when watching how these promos have deteriorated as they have, it makes you appreciate the exceptional quality of the episodes in this set. The running time for these two promos is 2:01.

>>> Another cool bonus included in this collector's set is a very unique and rare item -- a replica of an original board game called the "Leave It To Beaver Money Maker Game". The paper replica of the game comes folded and tucked underneath the tabs that are affixed to the inside front cover of the slim plastic case reserved for the "Bonus Features".

>>> DVD Trailers -- A collection of promo spots for some other TV-on-DVD sets marketed by Shout! Factory. These same promos/trailers are also on Disc 1 of each of the six seasons in this LITB set (but they can easily be skipped on those six discs by pressing the Menu button).

More --- In addition to the full disc of extra stuff, there are also six radio shows included in this massive DVD set too (one show per individual season set). These radio programs all come from "Shokus Internet Radio" and are all episodes of "Stu's Show", which is an online program hosted by Stu Shostak. Stu is the owner and operator of Shokus Video and Shokus Internet Radio.

Shostak's show regularly features guests from the world of 1950s and 1960s television, including several shows with "Leave It To Beaver" cast members, six of which can be found scattered throughout this DVD mega-set. Most of the radio programs in this set are pretty lengthy too, running for about 1 hour and 45 minutes each.

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THE PACKAGING:

The packaging that Shout! has put together for this LITB Complete Series set is very nicely done, adding just one more element of "near perfection" to this outstanding DVD release.

The outer slipcase box is fairly thick and sturdy, and it looks cool too. The way Beaver seems to be snagging "The Complete Series" with his fishing pole is a clever design.

Each of the six individual seasons has its own case, with all six seasons then sliding comfortably (but not too tightly) inside the outer slipcase box. The one disc full of bonus material is housed in a separate plastic "slim" case.

The individual season cases are standard-sized (half-inch wide) Amaray type plastic keepcases, which means that this set has a fairly small overall footprint on your shelf (considering there are 234 episodes, plus a disc of extras, contained in this box). The total width of the whole package is just a shade under 4 inches.

The discs in each of the six seasonal cases (which are all single-sided! Yay!) are colorful and are arranged nicely too, in that the DVDs don't overlap one another at all. There are two swinging "leaf" pages hinged to the center of each plastic case, with each of these pages holding two discs (one on each side of the page/leaf). Discs 1 and 6 are attached to trays that rest in the front and back covers of the case.

Each of the seasons features a different promotional picture on the front of the plastic case and on the six discs within that set.

A 12-page booklet is included for each of the six individual seasonal sets, which is kind of a "bonus" unto itself, since a lot of DVD products have gone "paperless" entirely nowadays.

The six booklets, like the rest of this collection, are attractive and nicely put together too, with information about all 39 episodes for each individual season, including writing and director credits, show descriptions, and original airdates for each episode. Plus, the booklets are sprinkled with a few LITB publicity photos too.

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THE MENUS:

The menu structure for these DVDs is pretty simple and non-gimmicky, which is always a good thing (IMO). All of the menus are laid out in a "wet cement" fashion, giving the impression that all of the words on the screen have been written in wet cement (to mimic the opening titles from Season 1 of the series).

The main menu and all of the sub-menus have the LITB theme music playing in the background, and it plays on a continuous loop. I'd prefer silent menus myself, or possibly a one-time playing of the music and then silence.

Each disc's main menu is adorned with various promotional pictures taken from the individual season contained on that disc.

There are sub-menus for "Episodes" and "Bonus Feature". The "Bonus Feature" option only appears on Disc #1 for each season (the single bonus item on those discs is one of the radio shows mentioned previously). There are 6 or 7 episodes per disc.

All discs include a "Play All Episodes" option. From the main menu, this continuous playback feature is simply labeled "Play". From the Episodes sub-menu, it's listed as "Play All".

A few chapter breaks have been inserted for each episode, and they are nicely placed, including a break right after the opening credits, which is always a good place to put a chapter stop, IMO, allowing a quick bypass of the main titles in order to get right to the beginning of an episode.

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FINAL THOUGHTS:

"Leave It To Beaver" is an American institution. Although extremely simple and unsophisticated in nature, the show never fails to entertain.

What other television show could possibly produce entire half-hour episodes that revolve around nothing more than getting a ring stuck on your finger, or buying a new suit, or writing a grade-school poem....and yet make these seemingly mundane occurrences come out so charming and realistic on our TV screens?

Not many shows could accomplish this task as nicely and skillfully as "Leave It To Beaver" managed to do.

This 37-Disc set is a little like placing a piece of mid-20th-century Americana right into your living room. And having the whole series in one box is enough to make any Beaver fan do a few cartwheels.

I think possibly the thing I treasure the most about having all 234 "Leave It To Beaver" episodes in my DVD library is being able to revisit Mayfield and the Cleaver gang anytime of the day or night by simply popping in one of these discs. Knowing that I can do that is kind of a comforting thought all by itself.

David Von Pein
June/July 2010
Comment Comments (35) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 20, 2014 10:28 AM PDT


Evidence of Revision
Evidence of Revision

2 of 34 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars THIS DOCUMENTARY'S SEGMENT ON JFK'S ASSASSINATION IS NOTHING BUT CONSPIRACY-FLAVORED PROPAGANDA, May 23, 2010
This review is from: Evidence of Revision (DVD)
An outfit called "Conspiratus Ubiquitus" produced this 6-part, 10-hour video documentary entitled "Evidence Of Revision: The Assassination Of America".

Part 1 of the program focuses on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, while relying heavily on the use of archival news footage from November of 1963.

And after just a very few minutes, I could tell that my initial suspicions about the JFK section of this documentary were going to be accurate -- it is a shameless propaganda piece, designed to sway the thinking of people who have not studied the evidence in the case in any depth at all, and to also mold the thinking of individuals who have not seen all of the uncut, as-it-was-happening network television coverage from the day of John F. Kennedy's murder (November 22, 1963).

The point at which I knew my initial suspicions about the program had been confirmed beyond all doubt is the point when we see some TV footage from the morning of 11/22/63 at the Chamber of Commerce breakfast in Fort Worth.

At one point during this Fort Worth footage, the television announcer tells the viewing audience all about the circumstances surrounding the 1901 assassination of President William McKinley.

And just before the announcer begins talking about McKinley's assassination, these words are flashed on the screen by the documentary filmmakers --- "Preparing The Public Mind....A Pause....Then He Begins To Read...."

Now, I can't see any other way to interpret those words than this way:

The documentary filmmakers were actually suggesting that the TV announcer's comments about President McKinley's assassination were part of some kind of plot or conspiracy in order to "prepare the public" for the so-called "cover story" about Lee Harvey Oswald being the lone gunman in the assassination of President Kennedy, which is an assassination that would be taking place later that day.

What other conclusion could I possibly come to after reading the filmmaker's caption -- "Preparing The Public Mind" -- on the screen at that precise moment?

But to imply that the TV announcer had advance knowledge of JFK's assassination (which was still more than three hours away when he made those comments to the television audience about McKinley's murder) is simply reprehensible and completely irresponsible on the part of the documentary filmmakers.

Now, maybe the filmmakers had some other "innocent" reason or motive for placing those words ("Preparing The Public Mind") on the screen at that exact moment when McKinley's assassination was being discussed, but I certainly cannot think of any other reason for doing it--other than to embed in the minds of the viewers something that is totally ludicrous and ridiculous -- i.e., the notion that the TV announcer (or someone connected with the television coverage that aired live on the morning of 11/22/63 from Fort Worth's Hotel Texas) had some kind of advance information that the President was going to be killed later that day.

And then a little later in the documentary I saw former Dallas Deputy Sheriff Roger D. Craig pop up on the screen (via several clips taken from Mark Lane's video "Two Men In Dallas"). At that point, my opinion about this particular documentary went downhill even more (a lot more).

Because for anyone to place any faith whatsoever in what Roger Craig had to say about anything connected to the events of 11/22/63 is to place your faith in a known and provable liar. And he lied about some pretty important stuff in Mark Lane's "Two Men In Dallas" video, too. No question about it.

Craig's biggest lie, of course, was when he said he saw the words "7.65 Mauser" stamped on the rifle that was found on the sixth floor of the Book Depository. The rifle that was found was actually Lee Harvey Oswald's 6.5-mm. Mannlicher-Carcano, of course. And several rifle experts agree that the rifle being handled by Dallas Police Lieutenant J.C. Day, as seen in the film taken by WFAA-TV cameraman Tom Alyea just after the rifle was first discovered, is indeed a Mannlicher-Carcano, not a German-made Mauser.

Roger Craig's "7.65 Mauser" lie is so blatant, and so outrageous, that for any reasonable person to believe anything else uttered by that lying evidence-mangler would be for that person to admit that he was taking the word of a known liar at face value.

"Evidence Of Revision" does exactly what many conspiracy theorists accuse the various "lone assassin" documentaries of doing -- it picks and chooses its content very carefully, so that it conveniently leaves on the cutting room floor the many, many hours worth of network television coverage from November 1963 that vividly illustrate exactly the OPPOSITE conclusion from the one that the "Revision" filmmakers wish to convey.

From a video or audio standpoint, the best way to get a clear and unbiased view of the facts surrounding JFK's tragic murder, in my opinion, is to not rely on any single documentary film or video, but instead take the time to watch (or listen to) all of the UNCUT and UNEDITED television and radio footage that exists from the day President Kennedy was shot and killed.

And when watching the uncut TV/radio coverage, in combination with the knowledge that ALL of the physical evidence that exists in connection with the murders of both JFK and police officer J.D. Tippit points to only one person (Lee Harvey Oswald), the overall picture of the true events of that day becomes quite clear -- namely that the assassination of John Kennedy was an assassination carried out by ONE PERSON (Oswald) who fired THREE SHOTS from a single weapon coming from ONE LOCATION (the Texas School Book Depository).

Anything else is just pure speculation (and, in the case of many things uttered by Roger D. Craig, are just flat-out lies).

As of this writing, I have not watched the other five parts of the 6-part documentary (which all deal with things other than the JFK assassination), but if Parts 2 through 6 are anything like Part 1, I'd wager to say that "Evidence Of Revision", in its entirety, is pretty much worthless.

David Von Pein
May 2010
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O.J.Simpson~Time Magazine Special Report: O.J. Simpson Not Guilty!
O.J.Simpson~Time Magazine Special Report: O.J. Simpson Not Guilty!
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars WHAT DO YOU SUPPOSE THE ODDS ARE OF THESE TWO THINGS OCCURRING IN THE VERY SAME MURDER CASE?, April 7, 2010
Former football star O.J. Simpson murdered Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman on June 12, 1994. The evidence couldn't be any clearer and more definitive. O.J. Simpson is guilty of those two murders.

The lies that Simpson told to the police during his 32-minute interview with Detectives Tom Lange and Phil Vannatter the day after the murders, plus the obvious lie he told to limo driver Allan Park on the night of the killings ("I overslept; I just got out of the shower; I'll be down in a minute") are enough, all by themselves, to convince any sensible and reasonable person of Simpson's guilt. And that's not even including the fact that Simpson's own blood was found at the scene of the crime and the blood of the two murder victims was found inside his house and car.

But I want to talk about something else here. I want everyone who currently believes that O.J. Simpson is innocent of committing these murders to ask themselves if the following scenario that I'm going to be talking about could possibly be true. Is the following scenario really a believable and reasonable scenario?

Incredibly, Simpson's team of high-priced defense lawyers did, indeed, want the jury at O.J.'s 1995 criminal trial to think that the following set of circumstances WAS reasonable and WAS believable and WAS the absolute truth. And those defense attorneys, amazingly, actually succeeded in pulling the wool over the eyes of each of those twelve jurors, thereby causing those jurors to allow a double-murderer to walk out of a Los Angeles courtroom a free man.

In order to believe (for even one second) that the defense team's theories about O.J. Simpson's innocence were true, those defense lawyers (including the likes of Johnnie Cochran and Barry Scheck) had to get the jury to swallow the fantastic and outrageous notion that the following two things occurred, IN TANDEM, in this murder case:

1.) According to the defense lawyers, Orenthal James Simpson was framed for the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman by various members of the Los Angeles Police Department, most notably Detective Mark Fuhrman, who was accused by the defense of planting a bloody glove on Simpson's property a few hours after the murders were committed.

And, incredibly, defense attorneys Cochran and Scheck wanted the jury to believe that not only did Fuhrman have a desire to frame Mr. Simpson, but that several other members of the Los Angeles Police Department ALSO wanted to take part in the so-called "frame-up" of O.J. Simpson too.

The silly defense team really had no choice but to put forth the allegation that other LAPD members wanted to join forces with Fuhrman and frame Simpson, because the evidence is clear that Mark Fuhrman was taken off of the case on June 13th, 1994, and would have had no opportunity at all to "plant" any blood at Simpson's Rockingham estate the day after the murders.

So, the defense attorneys leave the "planting" of the blood and other evidence (such as the socks in Simpson's bedroom) up to other LAPD officers, such as Detective Philip Vannatter, who, along with Fuhrman, Johnnie Cochran called the "evil twins of deception".

2.) Massive amounts of physical evidence (which is evidence that all points toward the guilt of the defendant, O.J. Simpson) was contaminated at the Los Angeles Crime Laboratory, which is a lab that the defense conveniently referred to at the trial as a "cesspool of contamination".

This contaminated evidence included ALL FIVE of the blood drops that were deposited at the crime scene by the murderer. (And ALL FIVE blood drops were determined to be the blood of O.J. Simpson via DNA testing.)

And as a result of this sloppy handling of the blood evidence by the LAPD criminalists, the defense contended that ALL FIVE of the crime-scene blood drops (which, according to the defense team, actually was the blood of the real killer, who was not O.J. Simpson) were magically turned into the blood of Orenthal J. Simpson.

ALL FIVE blood drops were, amazingly, transferred from the "real killer's" DNA into ONLY O.J. Simpson's DNA. And this "cross contamination" occurred merely as a result of a criminalist getting a very small amount of blood from Simpson's sample test tube onto his gloves.

And, per the loopy defense team, this "cross contamination" occurred even though the five crime-scene blood drops were many yards away, on the other side of the room, wrapped in multiple layers of paper and other packaging.

And this "cross contamination" supposedly occurred even though the criminalist in question testified that he immediately changed both of his gloves after Simpson's blood had stained his gloves.

And keep in mind that this "contamination" that was alleged by the defense is INNOCENT contamination. What I mean by that is this: According to Simpson's lawyers, the contamination was the result of mere sloppiness and incompetence on the part of the criminalists at the LAPD crime lab. It wasn't, therefore, a result of any plotting and/or scheming by anyone at the LAPD who might have been attempting to frame or set up O.J. Simpson as the murderer.

Therefore, what we and the jury at the 1995 trial are left to conclude is this (according to Simpson's repulsive defense team of evidence-manglers):

Amazingly and unbelievably, if the defense is 100% correct about everything they told the jury back in 1995, we have no choice but to believe that both the #1 and #2 items listed above are, miraculously, things that CO-EXISTED IN TANDEM AND IN PERFECT UNISON WITH ONE ANOTHER in order to make it look like an innocent man named O.J. Simpson had really committed two murders in June of 1994.

Is there a reasonable and rational person on this planet who could possibly believe that #1 and #2 above are things that BOTH existed in the O.J. Simpson murder case?

Are we really supposed to take seriously the defense theory that includes the INNOCENT and NON-DEVIOUS occurrence of massive amounts of contaminated blood evidence (which all turns into O.J.'s DNA, as if it were done by way of a genie's magical powers) IN CONJUNCTION WITH the additional absurd theory, involving a totally SEPARATE and DIFFERENT group of people, that has multiple police officers engaging in a DEVIOUS and NON-INNOCENT act of attempting to frame O.J. Simpson for two murders?

In other words, wasn't it extremely lucky for Mark Fuhrman, Phil Vannatter, and the rest of the sinister LAPD officers who were framing O.J. Simpson to have such sloppy people working in the L.A. crime lab when the Simpson blood evidence was being handled at that facility?

I wonder what the odds are of just ONE of the above two extraordinary allegations being true (let alone BOTH of them being true in the O.J. Simpson murder case, and in perfect tandem and "O.J. DID IT" harmony with each other)?

Well, I guess almost anything is "possible". I suppose it's possible that hundred-dollar bills will fall from the sky into my back yard tomorrow afternoon. And I suppose it's also possible that the planet Venus will suddenly crash into the Earth tomorrow too. But are either of those things "reasonable" things to believe (especially on the same day)?

It couldn't be more obvious that the reason Simpson's defense lawyers resorted to ridiculous theories like #1 and #2 above is because it is the ONLY kind of defense they could come up with. And that's because their client--O.J. Simpson--was guilty of the two murders he was charged with committing. And the evidence proves he was guilty.

Vincent Bugliosi, the author of the 1996 best-seller "Outrage: The Five Reasons Why O.J. Simpson Got Away With Murder", possibly said it best when he said:

"When your blood is found at the murder scene, that's the end of the ballgame! There's nothing more to say!"

David Von Pein
April 2010
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Jim Moore's "Lone Assassin" Conclusion Is Correct, But Some Other Things In This Book Are Highly Debatable, January 21, 2010
I really hate to bash a Lone-Assassin believer, but sometimes it becomes necessary, IMO. And in the case of LNer Jim Moore (who wrote this 217-page book on the JFK assassination, "Conspiracy Of One", published in 1990), unfortunately I feel the need to do so.

Mr. Moore, to his definite credit, has the bottom-line conclusion correct when he claims that Lee Harvey Oswald (alone) shot and killed President John F. Kennedy and Dallas policeman J.D. Tippit on November 22, 1963. But there are two points, in particular, in his book that I simply cannot reconcile in my own "LN" mind whatsoever.

One of these points is Moore's belief that the "Single-Bullet Theory" gunshot from Oswald's Mannlicher-Carcano rifle occurred at about frame number 235 of the famous Zapruder Film of the assassination.

Mr. Moore claims that President Kennedy was reacting to being lightly struck in the face by fragments of metal or concrete after Oswald's first shot missed the limousine and hit the pavement to the rear of the car. Moore's theory is exactly the same as another author (Jim Bishop; in "The Day Kennedy Was Shot"), who also postulated that Kennedy was reacting to being sprayed by flying concrete when we see JFK raising his arms in obvious distress just after frame 225 of the Z-Film. Moore believes that the bullet which pierced JFK's back and throat was actually fired by Oswald approximately ten Z-Film frames later.

That theory re. the SBT timeline is one that I just cannot believe at all, even if I were being forced at knifepoint to accept it. In order to believe Mr. Moore's odd SBT timeline as fact, we would have to believe that President Kennedy just happened (coincidentally) to place his hands near the exact same location on his body (his neck/throat) where a bullet would be making its exit less than one second later.

Which brings up a second problem with Moore's hypothesis -- HOW did that bullet get past JFK's hands if they were directly in front of the place where the missile would be exiting at Z235? Via the Z-Film, Kennedy's hands certainly appear to be IN THE WAY of any bullet that would be exiting his throat at Z235. And yet JFK's hands were obviously not struck by the passing bullet. Mr. Moore, on page 160, attempts to reconcile this problem with this passage:

"It's important to remember that at no time in frames 235 to 238 do either of Kennedy's hands cover his neck or throat."

I disagree. In Z235-Z238, it sure looks to me like John Kennedy's hands are most certainly covering the exact area of his throat where a bullet exited.*

* = Which, of course, makes perfect sense too (via a Z224 SBT bullet strike, which I believe is the correct Z-Film time-stamping of the event), since Kennedy would naturally be moving his hands toward the "pain point" on his neck where a bullet has just ripped through his windpipe. But, for some reason, Mr. Moore thinks the President's hands are completely clear of the bullet-exiting throat area.

To be completely fair to Jim Moore, it is somewhat difficult to tell on the Z-Film exactly where JFK's hands are located in relation to the neck wound during this time in question, so Mr. Moore could possibly be correct when he says Kennedy's hands aren't in direct line with the bullet's flight path. But it looks to me like JFK's left hand is dangling right where the bullet exited.

Moore's "Z235" SBT theory has a bunch of other problems too, with respect to the second wounded victim who was riding in the Presidential limousine on 11/22/63, Texas Governor John B. Connally.

Governor Connally, in my opinion, is positively reacting (involuntarily) to a bullet striking him during the Zapruder frames prior to when Mr. Moore claims he has been hit. And I've never understood WHY so many researchers fail to see and properly assess the obvious "Connally reactions" that can be viewed with ease on decent-quality copies of the Zapruder movie.

The Zapruder Film is telling us that Connally is being hit by gunfire at precisely frame #224. The Governor's right shoulder drops and moves forward noticeably at exactly Z224....the right side of Connally's suit jacket very clearly "bulges" outward (toward the center of his chest) at precisely Z224....JBC's mouth suddenly opens at Z225 and a startled/pained/distressed look comes across his face....both of his shoulders then rise and fall quickly (as if he's "flinching") starting at Z226....and a huge sign of a "hit" is the extremely-rapid "up then down" movement of Connally's right arm, which also begins at Z226, just two frames after the initial "moment of impact" frame at Z224.

Jim Moore thinks that all of these things going on with Connally (except the movement of JBC's jacket, which is ignored altogether by the book's author) were merely due to the Governor reacting to the SOUND of a shot that missed the whole car! (See Page 119 of "Conspiracy Of One".)

This is an astoundingly-inaccurate evaluation by Mr. Moore of the pre-Z235 JBC reactions, IMO. And it's particularly silly when additional attention is focused on that strange "arm raising" that Connally engaged in, starting at Z226 (the very same arm, by the way, which was attached to JBC's fractured wrist). The "rising arm" is a very odd "unexplainable" if the Governor was NOT reacting to a bullet having just hit that very same arm (wrist).

Plus, author Moore also has the exact same "delayed reaction" type of problem via his "Z235" SBT timeline that he evidently thinks only exists via the Warren Commission's and House Select Committee's SBT chronologies. Because Moore has JFK and JBC undergoing the very same kind of two-second-long "delayed reaction" when it comes to each of them reacting to the first missed shot (with respect to BOTH victims' sudden arm movements that occur only AFTER Zapruder frame 225).

The WC and HSCA assumed that John Connally had suffered a delayed reaction to being shot during pre-Z225 frames of the Z-Film. But Moore doesn't buy the "2-second delay" on Connally's part if the SBT shot had actually occurred as early as Z190, per the HSCA analysis. (And I don't buy it either.)

But Mr. Moore has to believe in virtually the same kind of "delayed" reaction too (for both victims)....because, per Moore, he sees some kind of "reactions" on the Z-Film prior to Z235, but Moore thinks these are caused by a shot that missed the car (at Z-Frame #186), which is a shot that occurred some 2.68 seconds earlier than Moore's "SBT" frame at Z235!

Therefore, Mr. Moore seems to be advocating a "Two-Victim, In-Unison, Perfectly-Synchronized, Two-Second Delayed Reaction" on the part of both Kennedy and Connally (due only to reacting to a shot that missed them both, except for concrete fragments assumed to be striking JFK; but even there, Kennedy WAITS until Z226 to start jerking his arms upward toward his face, even though, per Moore, the President had been stung by fragments of concrete more than two full seconds earlier).

Sorry, Jim, but I cannot purchase that scenario. And I also don't think it's very likely (at all) that a missed shot could have hit Elm Street and then zoom across Dealey Plaza (at grass level after hitting the Elm pavement near the limo) and then strike the Main Street curb, resulting in bystander James Tague's minor cheek injury. This book claims that all of that stuff actually occurred via Oswald's first "missed" shot on 11/22/63. (Sounds to me as if Mr. Moore's first-shot missile might be a truly "Magic" bullet.)

Another question I have via Moore's (and Bishop's) theory is -- Why would concrete pieces hit Kennedy in the FACE if the missed shot struck the street to the REAR of the automobile (as Moore suggests did occur on page 198 of his book)? It doesn't add up.

A much better overall explanation to tighten these "reactions" up in a realistic manner is to endorse a "Z224" SBT timeline. At that Z-Film frame, everything fits perfectly. Just watch the film again and see if you don't agree.

------------------------

The second thing in this book that I cannot accept at all is Mr. Moore's explanation of why almost all of the witnesses at Parkland Hospital said they saw a large wound in the back of President Kennedy's head on November 22nd. To quote from page 180 of this book:

"...The explanation for this [head wound] discrepancy is so simple few will subscribe to it. The Parkland doctors all saw President Kennedy in only one position--face up. An exit wound across his forehead might have been labeled 'at the front of the skull', but a wound on the right side? Doctors would have seen the missing area 'at the rear of the skull', of course." -- Jim Moore

The above explanation is pure nonsense (even though I am an "LNer" myself). And, admittedly, this disagreement I have with Mr. Moore on this point doesn't do my own lone-assassin position any favors; but IMO it's just common sense.

Moore is telling his readers, in essence, that ALL of the many Parkland doctors and nurses actually did see the President's head wound on the "right side" of his head, but EACH ONE OF THEM was apparently stupid enough to somehow label the wound's location as being at the BACK part of the head. (And each of these Parkland witnesses would later demonstrate with their own hands where they thought the wound was located; with each person placing their hand on a REAR portion of their own head.)

It's just silly to think that ALL of these Parkland witnesses would somehow be disoriented enough to NOT know the "side" of the head from the "rear" of the head. And all just because JFK was lying flat on his back the whole time.

It seems to me that such a strange explanation would be akin to becoming confused about the location of a person's ear, just due to the fact the person is lying down. For example, why would anyone suddenly think an ear was located at the BACK of a person's head, rather than the "side" of the head?

Now, having gushed the above tirade regarding the head-wound variables and controversy, I'll now say this in favor of the "Single Assassin" point-of-view.....

I'll admit, I have no idea how to fully reconcile the many different witnesses who claimed to have seen a large exit wound in the rear of John F. Kennedy's head. But I do know that there is just as much HARD evidence (actually even more) that tends to refute those "Back Of The Head" witnesses. Evidence such as:

1.) The Zapruder Film, which shows no "BOH" wound at all; and shows, instead, an exit wound on the RIGHT SIDE of Kennedy's head.

2.) The autopsy photographs and X-rays, which verify that the exit wound was chiefly "parietal" and "temporal" (i.e., "side" and "top" of the head), and not "occipital" (i.e., at the "rear" of the head).

3.) The official autopsy report (signed by all three autopsy physicians), which verifies that President Kennedy was shot only twice, with both shots coming from "above and behind" the victim.

4.) The unwavering testimony of all three of JFK's autopsy doctors (James Humes, J. Thornton Boswell, and Pierre Finck), testimony which confirms the "RIGHT SIDE-TOP" location of Kennedy's head (exit) wound.

The autopsy photographs and X-rays also verify the fact that there was only ONE single bullet hole of entry on the President's head. This is critically important, of course, because it (in essence) is telling any reasonable researcher that it really doesn't matter exactly WHERE on the head the larger (exit) wound was located....because the ONE lone wound of entry is verifying that ONLY ONE BULLET struck Mr. Kennedy's skull....and that bullet definitely came from behind JFK.

As I said, I cannot fully explain the strange "BOH" tale that has been told by so many Parkland (and Bethesda) people since 1963. But I'm certainly not willing to insult the basic intelligence of multiple professional medical technicians, doctors, and nurses by speculating that NONE of these people could tell the SIDE of a patient's head from the BACK of his cranium. That's just crazy, IMO.

If I were to hazard a guess as to why (and how) so many different observers could all see the same (wrong) thing re. JFK's head wound, I'd say it's possibly due to the fact that the massive amount of blood coming from the President's large wound on the right side of his head was pooling toward the BACK of his head while he was resting flat on his back on the hospital stretcher, creating the incorrect impression to the observers that the wound was located where the greatest amount of blood was seen.

I think it's also possible (and, I admit, this is just a guess as well) that when Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy was "trying to hold his head on" (as Mrs. Kennedy later said) during the high-speed ride to the hospital, it's quite possible that the loose piece of "hinged" scalp (which is a "flap" of skull/scalp that can be seen in the autopsy photos taken at Bethesda after the body was returned to Washington) was at least partially hiding the large hole at the right side of JFK's head when he was in the emergency room at Parkland.

This "flap" of loose scalp could then have dislodged itself from INSIDE the cratered wound on the right side of the head before the autopsy photos were taken on the night of November 22. The "flap", as seen in the photos, is not covering any portion of the right-side head wound, but instead is hinged "outward" from the wound.

Whether that "flap" was configured in that exact "outward" position at Parkland we can never know. But I think it's certainly a possibility that the "flap" could have been covering the large exit wound, especially in light of the fact that Jackie Kennedy, we know, was physically handling the President's head during the drive to Parkland, and also was "trying to hold his head on".

------------------------

Another "Conspiracy Of One" drawback is the pitiful lack of photographs and/or illustrations. There is a small (and proverbial) section of "slick pages" in the center of the book, containing a few black-and-white photos (16 total pages); but these pictures are little more than perfunctory and peripheral in nature and were probably thrown into the center of the book as more-or-less an after-thought (possibly because the author felt he needed at least a few photos in a book about the JFK assassination, which, after all, was the most-photographed murder in history).

And since it was the most-photographed killing in the history of the world, any book that purports to be "definitive" re. the JFK case should, in my opinion, rely on many of those photos and motion-picture film frames to help tell the story. But Mr. Moore's volume is woefully lacking in such visual resources. There's not a single picture or graph or illustration within this publication (except for the 16-page photo spread in the middle of the book). And that's a shame.

I think it's also rather interesting to note that the author (Mr. Moore) rakes the "critics" (aka: the Conspiracy-loving Kooks) over hot coals because of their "blatant sensationalism" in choosing to publish some of the autopsy photos of President Kennedy in their pro-conspiracy books over the years, with Moore calling these authors a "tasteless mob".

But then Mr. Moore decides to publish three grisly frames from the Zapruder Film in the mini photo section within this book (including the "impact" Z-Film frame, Z313). And in addition to those three pictures, Moore also includes a photo of JFK's blood-stained shirt as well.

Those aren't specifically "autopsy" photographs shown in this book, true. But the inclusion of those four blood-filled pictures within this volume certainly are contrary to this statement made by Mr. Moore on page #178:

"I will not feed on the bloody frenzy they [the "tasteless mob"] have so successfully generated."

------------------------

A Final Word:

Despite my numerous negative remarks about the contents of this book, it's my opinion, as mentioned earlier, that Mr. Moore most certainly arrived at the correct final conclusion (i.e., Lee Harvey Oswald did it and did it alone), and that is the most important thing in a true-crime publication of this nature.

But for someone who evidently, per this book's text, spent 23 years researching the JFK murder case, Jim Moore's fairly-thin 200-plus-page hardcover edition of "Conspiracy Of One", which doesn't even contain an Index, falls quite a bit short of living up to the book's boastful subtitle -- "The Definitive Book On The Kennedy Assassination".

David Von Pein
December 2006
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The Fugitive: Season 3, Vol. 2
The Fugitive: Season 3, Vol. 2
DVD ~ David Janssen
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23 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars GREAT COLLECTION OF EPISODES .... STILL TOO MUCH SUBSTITUTE MUSIC, BUT COULD BE MUCH WORSE .... OVERALL: A RECOMMENDED PURCHASE, December 17, 2009
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"THE FUGITIVE: SEASON THREE, VOLUME TWO" arrived on DVD from CBS/Paramount on December 8, 2009, just six weeks after the first half of Season 3 was released.

This 4-Disc set contains a great selection of episodes from what is (in my opinion) the very best television drama series that ever aired on American TV screens: "The Fugitive", starring David Janssen as falsely-convicted Dr. Richard Kimble and co-starring London-born actor Barry Morse, who seemingly was born to play the part of Kimble's chief adversary, Indiana Police Lieutenant Philip Gerard.

When I first received this volume and started looking over the episode descriptions on the inside cover of the DVD case, I kept saying to myself over and over: "Oh, that's right, THAT great episode is included in this set too! Excellent!" (or something similar to those thoughts anyway).

And while I consider myself to be a (very) big fan of "The Fugitive" and also fairly well-schooled in the episodes and their themes, etc., I will readily acknowledge that I'm not as much of an "expert" on this brilliant TV series as some other people I have encountered on the Internet, which is probably why I was making the above-mentioned comments to myself as I perused the episode list for this second volume of Season #3. I had simply not remembered that so many truly good episodes of this series would be occupying this DVD collection.

By "truly good episodes", I'm talking about the following "Fugitive" shows, which rank among my own personal favorites from this DVD volume (or from any season of "The Fugitive", for that matter):

>> "Wife Killer", co-starring Bill Raisch as the elusive one-armed man. This episode serves as a great roller-coaster ride, with Kimble chasing down (and catching) the one-armed man ("Fred Johnson") thanks to a car accident which results in Johnson nearly dying.

>> "Ill Wind" features another of the many instances in the series which has Lt. Gerard hot on the heels of Dr. Kimble, with Gerard actually recapturing his prey here, only to lose him again in the end.

This time, Mother Nature plays a big part in allowing Kimble to regain his freedom, as a hurricane forces the hunter and the hunted to take shelter in a rickety barn in southern Texas.

There are some things in "Ill Wind" that seem a bit on the implausible and far-fetched side, such as when Dr. Kimble saves the life of his pursuer not just once--but twice.

But the script (written by Al Ward) is a finely-tuned one, as it skillfully brings Kimble and Gerard together and allows for Kimble's ultimate re-escape from the law in a way that, in the end, doesn't throw credibility completely out the window. This is truly an exceptional installment in the 4-year lifespan of "The Fugitive". Don't miss it.

BTW, the haunting ballad (entitled "The Running Man") that is sung by Tim McIntire throughout "Ill Wind" is completely intact on the DVD, which is very good news indeed.

In fact, every note of music in "Ill Wind" is from the original 1966 version of the show. There's none of the annoying replacement music to be found in this sterling episode, which is more good news. (Although there is less music contained in "Ill Wind" than there is in most other "Fugitive" episodes, mainly due to the hurricane that rages throughout most of the show. The wind from the howling storm was meant to serve as a substitute for music in some spots of the script.)

>> "In A Plain Paper Wrapper" gives 15-year-old Kurt Russell a second opportunity to show up as a guest star. In an earlier episode from Season 2, Russell played Lt. Gerard's son ("Phil Jr."), but here he plays a different character, a boy who purchases a rifle through the mail and plans to capture Richard Kimble with the help of his friends. This is another episode that provides its fair share of good, tense moments, and Lois Nettleton's appearance certainly doesn't detract from the nice scenery either. ;)

>> "This'll Kill You" combines some tender moments with some good action and suspense, as Mickey Rooney guest stars as laundromat operator and former bookie "Charlie Paris", who is double-crossed by his former girlfriend (played nicely by Nita Talbot). Rooney is absolutely wonderful in his part here. A good, solid episode all the way around.

>> "The 2130" has veteran 64-year-old actor Melvyn Douglas making a guest appearance. Douglas' character attempts to aid Lt. Gerard in tracking down Dr. Kimble--with the help of a computer known as "The 2130".

The other shows on this four-disc set are pretty darn good too (a full episode list is provided later in this review), including the extraordinary "Running Scared", which is an episode that I had never once seen prior to getting this DVD collection. It co-stars Jacqueline Scott as Richard Kimble's sister, and Scott is excellent--as always. (Unfortunately, Scott's first name is misspelled in the credits of this episode.)

"Running Scared" had me on pins and needles all the way through it. It's a well-scripted cat-and-mouse nail-biter that was written by Don Brinkley and directed by James Sheldon.

It's an episode that features numerous interesting twists and turns, with Lt. Gerard travelling to Fort Wayne, Indiana, in another effort to recapture Dr. Kimble. The final seconds of Act III are brilliant. And just when I thought things couldn't get any better--along came Act IV.

In my opinion, Act IV of "Running Scared" is one of the best single "Acts" in any "Fugitive" episode during the entire four-year history of the series. The scene which reunites Dr. Kimble with his sister, Donna, is wonderful, with Jacqueline Scott shining especially bright in that scene. There's a tenderness there which seems so genuine and real, you'd almost swear that David Janssen and Jackie Scott were brother and sister in real life.

And the closing moments of Act IV place the final elements of "sheer perfection" on the episode.

I can't say enough good things about "Running Scared". It is simply sensational, and it makes this DVD aggregation worth owning all the more. Moreover, it's an episode that seems to have every note of its original 1966 music score completely intact (from what my ears could detect anyway).

One of the reasons why it's so nice to have complete-season sets of television programs on DVD is that it affords people the opportunity to experience shows like "The Fugitive" for the first time. And, in my case, this particular DVD set has now allowed me to see a first-rate episode of my favorite TV drama for the very first time ever. And I'm grateful for that.

==================

THE MUSIC:

Like with the other CBS/Paramount DVD volumes of "The Fugitive" from Season 2 and Season 3 (but not Season 1), there is replacement music sprinkled throughout most of the 15 episodes in this S3,V2 set, which does not make me happy.

But it does appear to my ears that at least the majority of the original music from 1966 is intact on these DVDs, with a few of these Season-Three episodes escaping without a single note of Mark Heyes' substitute music in them, with those episodes being "Ill Wind", "Shadow Of The Swan", and "Running Scared". (Plus, "Stroke Of Genius" seems to be about 99% Heyes-free.)

Possibly the biggest mystery concerning this "Music Replacement Debacle" (which I think is a reasonable and accurate description for the mess surrounding the "Fugitive" music on the post-Season 1 DVDs) is this:

Why did CBS/Paramount decide to keep the original 1960s music completely intact for several ENTIRE episodes in Seasons 2 and 3, but then also decided to rip out and replace some of the VERY SAME background musical cues in other episodes? It just doesn't make sense.

I'm certainly no expert on music copyright issues, but the random and seemingly willy-nilly fashion in which some of the music on these "Fugitive" DVDs has been removed and replaced with new arrangements is truly baffling to me.

But I am glad that CBS/Paramount at least had the common sense (and the brains) to keep the bulk of composer Peter Rugolo's outstanding music intact and untouched on these DVDs (as well as keeping intact the majority of the background music that originated from the vaults of the CBS Music Library).

And I am also pleased that the people in charge at CBS/Paramount decided not to follow through with their original music-replacement plan for "The Fugitive" from 2008, when CBS Home Entertainment issued this statement:

"Obviously we would have preferred to include all the original music in "The Fugitive" second season DVD release, but unlike season one, there were a large number of cues, the current ownership of which was not clear. We didn't want to disappoint fans by significantly delaying the release of the second season so we chose to replace the music. We kept the original theme song, but decided it would be better to rescore full episodes to give viewers a seamless, consistent experience throughout. Taking everything into consideration, we thought this was the best solution. We hope our track record on previous releases shows that we truly care about classic TV and its fans." -- CBS Home Entertainment; June 17, 2008

But, as CBS/Paramount soon found out from devoted fans of "The Fugitive", that "best solution" was actually the worst possible solution (by far) to the music problem.

The currently-available "Fugitive" DVDs for Season 2 and Season 3 aren't perfect, music-wise, that's for sure. But those discs, which have most of the original 1960s music included on them, are light-years better than CBS' "best solution" alluded to above.

==================

THE EPISODES:

Disc 1:
Not With A Whimper
Wife Killer
This'll Kill You
Echo Of A Nightmare

Disc 2:
Stroke Of Genius
Shadow Of The Swan
Running Scared
The Chinese Sunset

Disc 3:
Ill Wind
With Strings Attached
The White Knight
The 2130

Disc 4:
A Taste Of Tomorrow
In A Plain Paper Wrapper
Coralee

==================

SOME DVD SPECS:

>> Video is presented, as it should be, in its originally-aired Full-Frame format (1.33:1). The picture quality is just superb for these black-and-white shows, just like the other volumes in this "Fugitive" series of DVDs distributed by CBS/Paramount.

>> Audio is crisp and clean-sounding on 2.0 Dolby Digital Mono tracks.

>> There are no bonus features included (except for a few CBS DVD "Previews" attached to Disc 1).

>> Menus are silent and static (as all DVD menus should be, in my opinion).

>> A "Play All" option is provided on each disc.

>> All episodes seem to be uncut (from the standpoint of "running time", that is), with each show running in the neighborhood of 51-and-a-half minutes.

>> No subtitles. But Closed-Captioning is offered.

>> Seven chapter breaks per episode.

>> The four discs are all single-sided and dual-layered.

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SOME "ILL WIND" TRIVIA:

>> The ballad "The Running Man", which is such an integral part of the episode "Ill Wind", was written by "Fugitive" associate producer George Eckstein.

>> "Ill Wind's" original episode title was "Ballad For A Bitter Land".

>> Costumer Steve Lodge recalls a prank that the crew pulled on David Janssen during the filming of "Ill Wind". .... "David was a devoted fan of [the TV series] 'Batman'," Steve explained. "When we found that out, one of the guys on the crew cut a stencil resembling the Bat Signal, then taped it to a baby spotlight while David was rehearsing a scene. .... Then somebody turned on the spotlight so that the Bat Signal was projected onto the [canvas backing] behind David. .... 'What in hell is that thing supposed to mean?' demanded the director, Joe Sargent. David just grinned and said, 'I think that someone's trying to tell me that I'm a 'Bat' actor.'"

[Trivia Source: Pages 132 and 133 of "The Fugitive Recaptured", by Ed Robertson ©1993.]

==================

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Dr. Richard Kimble has been on the run for 90 episodes now, and each of those 90 shows has made its way onto DVD in good-looking form, thanks to the efforts of CBS/Paramount.

The substitute music that must be endured for Season 2 and Season 3 is another issue, of course. But if you're a true-blue fan of this television show, then I honestly believe that every single volume that has been released on DVD to date by CBS/Paramount is worth owning--even with some of the subpar Mark Heyes replacement music randomly thrown into the episodes.

"The Fugitive" (1963-1967) is THAT good. Even with a little Heyes.

I now look forward to the fourth and final season of the series on DVD, which will have a markedly different look to it. For better or for worse...."NEXT -- THE FUGITIVE -- IN COLOR!"

David Von Pein
December 2009
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 21, 2009 4:32 AM PST


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