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Burke's Law: Season 1 - Volume 1 (First 16 Episodes)

4.6 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews

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  • Burke's Law: Season 1 - Volume 1 (First 16 Episodes)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

"Burke's Law" was a hit prime-time TV series that aired on ABC in 1963 and ran until 1966. It starred Gene Barry in the title roll (for which he won a Golden Globe - Best TV Actor Award in 1965) of an LA chief of detectives, who also happened to be a millionaire! Each episode featured unusual plot twists, glamorous settings and a fabulous list of guest stars. So good it was brought back for a brief run in 1994! VCI will be releasing season one in two separate collector's sets of 16 episodes each. Digitally remastered from the original 35mm master, each collection will also include `bonus' original commercials and previews. Bonus Features: </> Scene Selection| Burke's Lawisms| Vintage Commercials Specs: </> 4-DVD9s; Dolby Digital; 800 minutes; Color; 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio; MPAA - NR; Year - 1963-65; SRP - $29.99

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Watching the smart, sexy, sophisticated, and more than a bit naughty Burke’s Law is like entering Hef’s swinging pad for a little Playboy After Dark action. Gene Barry, in his Golden Globe-winning role, stars as Amos Burke, a millionaire playboy. He is described as "a bon vivant, elegant, an attractive man." He also happens to be a police captain in charge of homicide. "It’s what he does best," his partner explains. Well, not quite. He’s better at juggling a bevy of beautiful ladies. "We have a nodding acquaintance," he smooth-talks one. "You say ‘nodding’ about marriage and that’s the way I like it." Inevitably, his trysts are interrupted by word that a murder has been committed and a body found. Then, it’s off to the crime scene in his chauffeur driven Rolls Royce (piloted by the trusty Henry, portrayed by scene-stealer Leon Lontoc). Fun enough, but what further distinguishes Burke’s Law is its dazzling array of stellar suspects; former Hollywood greats, contemporary stars, comedians, indelible character actors, and fresh-faced up-and-comers. Just dig this line-up for the episode, "Who Killed Billy Jo?": Cesar Romero, Phil Harris, Tina "Ginger" Louise, Ida Lupino, Ken Berry as a swinging partygoer, and in a surprising cameo, David Niven as a bumbling juggler. Gary Collins provides some potent youth appeal as Tim, a go-getting new detective and fount of arcane information related to each case. But he’s no match for "the old captain," who dispenses his own brand of wisdom, such as, "Never drink martinis with a beautiful suspect," and "Never grow up; you’ll grow old," punctuating each aphorism with, "Burke’s law." A cop show like no other, Burke’s Law’s pleasures are anything but guilty, from the seductive voice that purrs, "It’s Burke’s Law" during the opening credits to guessing which star is the culprit. Wally Cox? Carl Reiner? Frankie Avalon? Carolyn Jones was nominated for a Golden Globe for her virtuoso quadruple role as sisters in "Who Killed Sweet Betsy?" and Barry himself has a high time with his dual role as a lookalike murder victim in "Who Killed Snookie Martinelli?" Almost worth the price of this set is the prologue in which Barry’s Snookie regales his exhausted all-night party guests with an energetic rendition of "C’est Si Bon." How ‘60s can you get? As a welcome bonus for classic TV buffs, each disc contains vintage 1963 commercials (Arnold Palmer for L&M cigarettes--"He’s been smoking them for years"). You’re still deciding whether to order this? "Don’t think about it, just do it." That’s Burke’s law! --Donald Liebenson

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Gene Barry, Gary Conway, Frankie Laine
  • Directors: Charles F. Haas, Byron Paul, Frederick De Cordova, Robert Ellis Miller, James Goldstone
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Black & White, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Original recording remastered
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: VCI Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: April 29, 2008
  • Run Time: 800 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0013PVGGI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,732 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Burke's Law: Season 1 - Volume 1 (First 16 Episodes)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Only-A-Child VINE VOICE on February 25, 2008
The 64 black and white hour-long episodes of "Burke's Law" were originally broadcast from 1963-65 on ABC. The show then morphed into "Amos Burke, Secret Agent" for another 17 episodes during the 1965-66 season. And one episode "Who Killed the Jackpot" served as the introduction of the "Honey West" characters played by Anne Francis and John Ericson.

Gene Barry played police captain Amos Burke, who headed up homicide while maintaining a lavish lifestyle; not because he was on the take but because he was already extremely rich and was just working for whatever intrinsic value the job provided. This was the main hook or novelty of the show, which was a weekly showcase of his lavish lifestyle (chauffeured limo with fully stocked bar, mansion, and a host of gorgeous women clamoring for his affections). Although technically a mystery-adventure series there was a significant comedy element generated by the reactions of his detectives and his superior to Burke's displays of wealth and indulgence.

Barry was perfectly cast as the suave and sophisticated working playboy. Unfortunately the supporting cast was quite marginal and the writers never developed these secondary characters beyond the most superficial level. But this did allow room to showcase a multitude of guest stars and like "The Wild Wild West" many of these were Hollywood's hottest starlets. Especially memorable was former Miss America Mary Ann Mobley whose unexpected chemistry with Barry led to multiple appearances during the course of the series.

Unlike "Columbo", the series withheld the identity of the killer from viewers until the end although it was not disclosed in the standard "Murder She Wrote" moment of revelation.
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A decade before Aaron Spelling gave us a long list of big-name celeb guests on shows like "The Love Boat" and "Fantasy Island" he was serving them up on this great 1963-65 detective show "Burke's Law", which starred Gene Barry as the suave millionaire playboy police captain solving a murder from which a half dozen big named guest stars were among the suspects.

VCI's release of the first half of Season 1 (16 hour long episodes) is first-rate, especially since they've never handled a TV series before for release. The episodes clearly come from the original 35 mm masters, and while not as sharp as the prints we see on CBS/Paramount DVDs, they look very good. Original commercials from the film prints have been presented as a supplement, similar to Image's later releases of "Naked City" while the end of each episode retains the preview for the following week's show narrated by Barry.

VCI is committed to doing the entire run of the show (including its reimagined "Amos Burke" version) as well as the spin-off "Honey West" and they are to be commended for bringing back these B/W gems of mid-60s TV to us!
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How many of LA's Chief of Detectives, have been chauffeured to work in a Rolls Royce Silver Shadow, live in a palatial mansion, and are the toast of society? Enter one, Amos Burke, played expertly by Gene Barry, whose only real distinction in the cinema was a starring role in George Pal's "War of the Worlds," (1953).

Barry, not unlike the character depicted in "Burke's Law," was well-suited to the role. Born into a family with musical credentials, (his father was a violinst; his mother a singer) Barry had a sense of effortless style, grace, charm and an attractive baritone voice and, at one time, entertained the idea of an operatic career for the stage.

After appearing in several forgettable films, save "War of the Worlds," Barry embarked on a successful acting career throughout the 50's and 60's. He even had the distinctive honor to be the first villain in the pilot for "Columbo" entitled "Prescription Murder" (1968), as what else? An eminent psychiatrist suspected of killing his wife. In the 70's Barry starred in the short-lived series, "The Adventurer" with Barry Morse and the lovely Catherine von Schell (Maya from Space 1999), as a globetrotting, ultra wealthy, bachelor (although a little too old for the role)solving international capers. The european locales added a bit of flair to this otherwise pedestrian series.

Nonetheless, this first set of Burke's Law comes highly recommended. VCA has done a superb job of remastering the episodes and has even included vintage commercials from LARK and L&M cigarettes, Crest toothpaste, and other interesting spots from VCA's vaults--all accessible from the menu screen. The only downside to this set is that VCA has opted to only release the first 16 epsidoes of Season 1, rather than the whole season.
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Briefly, if you have fond memories of "Burke's Law" as a child and you have a significant other who did not have the opportunity to previously review the series, I strongly recommend that you watch the series by yourself.

When I was seven (7) years old, I vividly remember watching the noted series. More importantly, I also remember where and how I was commonly positioned (laying on the carpet), in front of our black and white television set, how our living room was arranged, the lasting aroma from dinner still lingering in the air, and even how my hair was styled (in long braids).

During the noted period, I lived in a small town located in the "Bay Area" and everything in my life was pretty routine and predictable. Conversely, I was @ an age where I was beginning to formulate some ideas about what I liked and disliked about my life (do you get the picture??).

In any event, one evening, "Burke's Law" popped on our T.V. set and I suddenly learned about a smooth, sophiscated, rich, and sauve LAPD cop being chauffeured by a limo driver. How exciting!!

Amos Burke's life seemed so glamourous, tantalizing, a litte dangerous, and all I knew is that I wanted more. While investigating and solving crime, he also did alot of kissing, which made me curious about how to kiss a boy?? (I am still questioning whether I am doing it right??).

Specifically, last night, besides all of the expected smooching, I watched the third (3rd) episode of the first (1st) series, which featured among many stars, "Mary Astor" (famous for her role in "The Maltese Falcon" w/Humphrey Bogart).

To summarize my viewing, I watched the noted episode with great wonder as well as disappointment. I watched with wonder because "Astor" still possessed her acting chops.
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