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Baa Baa Black Sheep - Volume 1

4.6 out of 5 stars 272 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(May 24, 2005)
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$21.94 $17.80

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The sky's the limit for high-flying action as the popular WWII military series, Baa Baa Black Sheep (Black Sheep Squadron), comes to DVD for the first time ever! Ride along with the heroic "Black Sheep Squadron," a group of misfit Marine fighter pilots. Robert Conrad stars as the unconventional squadron leader, Major Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, with Simon Oakland, Dana Elcar, John Larroquette, James Whitmore Jr., Dirk Blocker, W.K. Stratton and Robert Ginty as the pilots known as the "Terrors of the South Pacific." This thrilling double-sided 2-DVD collection is fully loaded with the first 10 episodes of Season 1, plus the original 2-hour pilot, of the war series where men were men, and the South Pacific was the place for unlimited adventure!

A likable mix of WWII action and light comedy, the first 10 episodes of the NBC series Baa Baa Black Sheep (1976-78) wing their way onto DVD in this double-sided two-disc set. Based on the adventures of Marine Corps pilot Major Gregory "Pappy" Boyington (played in the series by the always dependable Robert Conrad) and his squadron of roguish ace fliers in the South Pacific Theater, Baa Baa Black Sheep benefited from an excellent cast (which included such TV and film vets as Simon Oakland and Dana Elcar, as well as up-and-comers like John Larroquette and Larry Manetti of Magnum, P.I.) and scripts from series creator Stephen J. Cannell (as well as long-time TV scribes like Philip De Guere and Milt Rosen) that offered a enjoyable balance of humor and combat. The blend gets an excellent showcase in the 1976 two-hour pilot, Flying Misfits, which kicks off volume 1; the remaining 10 adventures pit Pappy and the Black Sheep boys against the Axis Japanese in a secret squadron of captured planes ("The Meatball Circus," episode 8), a brainwashed American captain ("Presumed Dead," episode 7), and a tough major (Charles Napier) with designs on commanding the squadron ("Best Three out of Five," episode 3). Fans of the series may question the decision to include only half of the first season's episodes in this set (the 1976-77 season ran for an additional 12 episodes before being dropped by NBC; the series was revived in late 1977, rechristened Black Sheep Squadron, and ran for an additional 13 episodes before being canceled in 1978), but the inclusion of the two-part pilot and interviews with the real Pappy Boyington (who served as the show's consultant and even cameos in the pilot) should appease any concerns. --Paul Gaita

Special Features

Disc 2:
  • From the NBC News Archives: Interviews with Major Gregory Boyington

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Dirk Blocker, Robert Conrad, Robert Ginty, John Larroquette, Jeff MacKay
    • Directors: Robert Conrad, Alex Beaton, Jackie Cooper, Philip DeGuere, Edward Dein
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Widescreen, Color, Dolby, NTSC
    • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
    • Subtitles: English
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
    • Number of discs: 2
    • Rated:
      Not Rated
    • Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
    • DVD Release Date: May 24, 2005
    • Run Time: 1168 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (272 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B0007YMWGY
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,309 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "Baa Baa Black Sheep - Volume 1" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Top Customer Reviews

    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    I watched this show when it first came out in the late 70s. Based very loosely on the memoirs of Col. Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, USMC, Ret. (also titled Baa Baa Black Sheep), it tells a fictionalised and highly romanticised account of the exploits of the Marine Corps Fighter Squadron VMF-214 (aka The Black Sheep). This ragtag squadron based in the Solomon islands created headlines when in a span of 12 weeks in late 1943, it accounted for 197 enemy planes destroyed or damaged. That run ended with Boyington's own downing by the Japanese and his subsequent secret internment as a POW. Upon his release at the end of the war, he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his role as Commanding Officer of the Black Sheep.

    The TV series of course takes liberties with actual history. Boyington and the Black Sheep were stationed at Espiritu Santo in the New Hebrides (present-day Vanuatu). They also flew from Vella Lavella but there was no island called Vella La Cava or Epiritos Marcos. Although Boyington describes his men as misfits and the series happily plays this up, more balanced later accounts note that the men were more likely stragglers who had been separated from their units or got lost in the general confusion of the war and army bureaucracy. His Intelligence Officer is on record noting that none of the men in the squadron were facing disciplinary action while they were with the unit. When the series aired with his name attached as Technical Advisor, surviving members of the Black Sheep recalled how they ribbed him about it and how he had to apologise. One of the veterans is quoted to have indignantly said, "We never went up drunk. The only thing accurate about the show was that we flew Corsairs."

    The exploits of the Black Sheep form about a third of his memoirs.
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    Format: DVD
    Major "Pappy" Boyington (Robert Conrad) commanded the Black Sheep Squadron during World War II in the Pacific and fought the war his own way taking a team of misfits and turning them into a stellar flying fighting unit. While the TV series about Boyington had little to do with the real heroes that fought in World War II, it made for exciting TV in the 70's.

    There are the expected analog artifacts visible particularly during the sequences involving stock footage (which got used quite a bit during the series). Also, some of the footage shot for the pilot and early episodes were recycled to cut costs where possible and, again, these bits of film betray the age of the series much more so than the episodes shot for each individual episode. Universal does a nice job with the picture there's the expected amount of grain for a vintage series. The flesh tones are solid although a bit on the warm side (but that's the way I remember the series when I watched it originally and even in syndication). Color is good throughout and the image is generally quite sharp although there are bits where the images are a bit soft. Audio is presented in the original mono without any embellishments. The mono sound is a bit muddy at times but the dialog is clear throughout most of the episodes. Compare the dirty footage from the pilot episode (granted it's an old videotape of the series pilot) to the digitally cleaned up footage here and you'll see that Universal has done a pretty decent job of cleaning up the show (even the stock footage looks better than I expected in many cases). Color matching is off during some of the stock footage but that was the case with the original series.

    A 1976 interview from "The Today Show" featuring Boyington and Robert Conrad is the only extras included here.
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    Format: DVD
    I remember watching Baa Baa Black Sheep when I was a kid and then rediscovering it on the History Channel. I LOVED IT!

    It is the stories of the famed WWII Marine Corp fighter squadron VFM-214 better know as the "Black Sheep". The series follows the exploits of this unit in the air and on the ground. The acting is quite good, as is the chemistry among the actors. The combat scenes combine new footage and some actual combat footage from the war. This does look a bit awkward at times but I never found to be that big of an issue. It is very fun viewing and quite family friendly.

    Robert Conrad is perfect in his depiction of the hard living, hard drinking commander of the outfit Greg "Pappy" Boyington. Among the series regulars were a very young John Larroquette and Red West, former bodyguard for Elvis Presley. You will doubtless recognize other faces in the cast as many became staples in 80's TV and some can still be seen today.

    Watch for the actual Greg Boyington making a cameo as he pins a medal on Conrad in one of the episodes.

    Good to see this come back!
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    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    I was a hige fan of this series when it was on television, and I was even more excited to find that Universal had made this great DVD set of the first ten episodes plus the television pilot. Robert Conrad stars as Major (later Colonel) Greg Boyington. Boyington was flying with the American Volunteer Group (The Flying Tigers) in China right after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Mad because he was owed some $3,000 in back pay, he decided to return to the Marine Corps at his original rank of major. After some difficulties with the Marine brass, he finally received his major's commission and set about forming his squadron.

    Although the pilots in the series are portrayed as "misfits" awaiting court-martial, in reality, none of the pilots in the actual Black Sheep were up on any charges. Most had become detatched from their original squadrons and hooked on with Boyington. As for the cast of the show, Dirk Blocker (Lt. Bragg), Robert Ginty (Lt. Wiley), John Larroquette (Lt. Andersen), Jeff MacKay (Lt. French), Larry Manetti (Lt. Boyle), W.K. Stratton (Lt. Casey), and James Whitmore, Jr. (Capt. Gutterman) made up the Black Sheep. Dana Elcar starred as the by-the-book Col. Lard, who never trusted Boyington and was out to get him at every turn. Simon Oakland starred as General Moore. He genuinely liked the Black Sheep and ran interference between Boyington and Lard.

    The actual combat sequences are very good, overall. Actual F4U Corsairs were used, and real battle footage was interspersed to give the combat sequences a much more realistic look. This unit went on to become one of the most successful units in the South Pacific, racking up a kill record that many other units could only dream about.
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