The Fugitive: Season 1, Vol. Two
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Dr. Richard Kimble is accused to be the murder of his wife. The night before his execution, he escapes. The only chance to prove his innocence is to find the man who killed hi wife. Kimble, persecuted by the Lt. Gerard, risks his life several times when he shows his identity to help other people out of trouble.
"Nervous?" a police officer reassures the uncomfortable-looking citizen brought in for questioning as witness to an attempted liquor store heist. "That happens to everyone who comes into a police station." This man, though, has good reason to be uneasy. He's Richard Kimble (David Janssen), who escaped en route to Death Row after being falsely convicted of killing his wife. The 15 compelling episodes that conclude the essential season 1 heighten his desperation and paranoia, as the rootless Kimble travels across the country, accepting odd jobs while searching for the One-Armed Man he saw leaving the scene of the crime. Fate, intones narrator William Conrad at one point, is not finished with Kimble. In the episode "Rat in a Corner," a woman who works in the post office recognizes him from his Wanted poster. In "Storm Center," an embezzler's girlfriend turns out to be the woman to whom Kimble refused an abortion five years earlier. In "End Game," one of the season's best episodes, a street photographer inadvertently snaps his picture, and the discarded photograph revealing his location inexorably makes it way to Kimble's nemesis, Lt. Gerard (the late, great, Barry Morse). Janssen is riveting as the tortured Kimble for whom a forced smile to appear normal seems excruciating. Each episode brings a new location and another human-interest story, as Kimble finds himself embroiled in sinister plots (the attempted murder of an heiress in "The Garden House," a stepmother's scheme to drive her stepdaughter insane in "The Homecoming"), family dramas ("Where the Action Is," in which a "rude, drunken brat" is at odds with her hotel owner father), and personal crises (the two-part "Angels Travel on Lonely Roads," in which Kimble escorts a nun en route to renounce her vows).
More of Kimble's backstory is revealed. In the powerful "Taps for a Dead War," we learn that he served in Korea, where his life was saved by a now-embittered vet whose face was horribly scarred in the process. The Fugitive gets some extra mileage out of a stellar roster of guest stars, including Warren Oates as the hapless stick-up man in "Rat in a Corner," Carroll O'Connor as a bullying sheriff in "Flight from the Final Demon," Telly Savalas as the hotel owner in "Where the Action Is," Pat Hingle as a sympathetic columnist in "Search in a Windy City," and most memorable, John McGiver and John "Tigger" Fiedler in "The End Game" as bickering, bantering housemates on opposite sides of the Kimble guilty-or-innocent question. The Fugitive's noir sensibility evokes dread and menace even in the most bucolic of settings. And everywhere he goes, Kimble wins hearts and minds against the police sworn to bring him in. As a surfer tells Gerard in "The End Game," "You know, after meeting you, I hope he makes it." --Donald Liebenson
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The Garden House - Pippa Scott, Robert Webber
Come Watch Me Die - Bruce Dern, Diane Ladd
Where The Action Is - Telly Savalas, Joanna Frank
Search in a Windy City - Pat Hingle, Nan Martin
Bloodline - Nancy Malone, John Considine
Rat in a Corner - Warren Oates, Malachi Throne
Angels Travel On Lonely Roads Pt. I - Eileen Heckart, Albert Salmi
Angels Travel On Lonely Roads Pt. II - Ruta Lee, Eileen Heckart
Flight From the Final Demon - Ed Nelson, Carroll O'Connor
Taps For a Dead War - Tim O'Connor, Lee Grant
Somebody to Remember - Madlyn Rhue, Gilbert Roland
Never Stop Running - Joanna Moore, Claude Akins
The Homecoming - Shirley Knight, Gloria Grahame
Storm Center - Bethel Leslie, Dennis Patrick
The End Game - Christopher Connelly, Joe Campanella
frightened by the program's opening monologue when (Season 3) went with the
still images, and William Conrad's voice over, with the famous intro:
The Fugitive, a QM Production...starring David Janssen as Dr. Richard Kimble, an
innocent victim of blind justice.
Falsely convicted for the murder of his wife...reprieved by fate when a train wreck
freed him en route to the death house...
freed him to hide in lonely desperation...
to change his identity...
to toil at many jobs...
freed him to search for a one-armed man he saw leave the scene of the crime...
freed him to run before the relentless pursuit of the police lieutenant obsessed
with his capture.
CBS/Paramount Home Video did a superb job with the DVDs which are crystal
clear and excellent sound quality. I completed the two volumes for Season One.
The episodes are based on a similar storyline. Kimble, while 'toiling at many jobs...'
is caught up in the affairs of his employers, their family, and friends. My favorite
episode of Season One is 'WHERE THE ACTION IS'.
Kimble is caught in the middle of a family feud between a tough no nonsense
hotel/casino owner Dan Polichek (Telly Savalas), and his beautiful rebellious
daughter Chris (Joanna Frank), who blames him for her mother's death.
Many guest stars that appeared in the Fugitive went on to successful shows
of their own, including Telly Savalas, who became the icon Lt. Theo Kojak.
I often wondered how the Kojak character would have developed if he also
had a beautiful and rebellious daughter like Chris Polichek.
Janssen's title character, Dr. Richard Kimble, encounters many twists, turns, sheriffs, helpful strangers, and assorted close calls with his chief rival, police lieutenant Philip Gerard (Barry Morse), during the second half of his first season on the run.
This collection of episodes offers up some real dandies from the 4-year history of "The Fugitive" too, with a few of my own personal favorites being: "Search In A Windy City", "Somebody To Remember", "Rat In A Corner", "The End Game", and the virtually-perfect two-parter "Angels Travel On Lonely Roads".
While the above episodes rate as some of my top picks from this batch of shows, every single one of these programs actually earns high marks on my quality meter. Each installment in the series always offers up something good and entertaining....beginning with the always-solid performances of Mr. Janssen.
The wrongly-accused doctor from Indiana travels from town to town, and job to job, and girl to girl, while performing the dual task of avoiding the law and attempting to locate the one-armed man whom Kimble is convinced killed his wife two years earlier.
And in episode #19 of this first season (which is contained within this boxed set), Dr. Kimble comes face-to-face with that one-armed man for the first time since the night of Helen Kimble's murder. It's one of the most thrilling moments in the whole series, as Kimble gets a brief glance of one-armed Fred Johnson on a bus near Chicago.
For me, one of the most rewarding things about this television series is that these hour-long dramas never get tiresome to watch....no matter how many times I have seen them. Like a fine wine, "The Fugitive" only gets better with age, and with multiple viewings too.
And the fantastic music that accompanies each episode (most of which was composed by Peter Rugolo) certainly doesn't hurt things a bit either. The music is just made to order for this series. And, quite literally, a lot of it WAS made to order, being written by Rugolo specifically for "The Fugitive".
Paramount has restored and remastered these "Fugitive" TV prints very nicely. Just like the "Volume 1" set, this second set provides outstanding video quality. Just about perfect as far as I can tell.
The first-rate black-and-white photography comes through in fine fashion on these four DVDs, with very little to complain about (even when watching on a large-screen television set).
My hat is off to Paramount/CBS Studios for treating an iconic TV series like "The Fugitive" the way it deserves to be treated -- with great care and attention paid to producing the highest-quality DVD transfers possible.
Having these eminently-rewatchable episodes digitally preserved for all time to the high standards that can be found in the two first-season "Fugitive" DVD sets that have thus far been released by Paramount is certainly something for Fuge fans to be very pleased about. I know I am anyway.
For the trivia-minded, "The Fugitive" was named "Best New Show" of the 1963-1964 season by "TV Guide" magazine. During the first year of the series, David Janssen, as the on-the-lam Dr. Kimble, was seen by an average of 21-million people every Tuesday night.
Running Times: 51-plus minutes per episode.
Video: Original Full-Frame TV ratio (1.33:1). B&W.
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono.
Subtitles: None. (But Closed-Captioning is offered.)
Menus: Silent; Static; Simple; No Sub-Menus; Main Menu serves as the "Episode Selection" Menu screen.
Discs: Single-sided, Dual-layered.
Bonus Material: None. (Except for some "Previews" of other Paramount DVD products.)
Chaptering: There are seven DVD "chapters" per show, with the breaks coming at appropriate locations throughout each program -- at the end of each "Act", as well as a break just after the opening credits and right after the "Epilog" scene.
I very much like the ability to go straight to the very beginning of a particular "Act" in any episode via these DVDs. This chaptering was perfectly done by Paramount. And it's just another small factor that makes this DVD product an excellent one, in my opinion.
Paper Enclosures: None.
Packaging: Standard Amaray-type plastic case (which perfectly matches the first volume of Season 1), with a disc affixed to each side of the case, plus an extra swinging "leaf" (or "page") in the center that holds the other two discs.
This style of DVD case is nice and compact, with a very good type of disc-holding device (hub). The discs aren't so tight that it drives you nuts when trying to remove them; but they're not too loose either.
About the only thing that would have made the packaging any better here, in my view, would have been if a quick-reference disc-by-disc episode list could have been included on the back of the case (similar to the way Paramount has done with its last six seasonal DVD releases of "The Andy Griffith Show").
But with these "Fugitive" DVDs, you've got to remove Discs 1 and 4 from their holders in order to get a look at the episode information which is visible underneath them. It's not a major hassle, but a list of episodes elsewhere on the package would have been useful too.
Following is a list of the 15 episodes that are included on these four DVDs. I've added a brief description for some of the shows, plus a look at the aliases that Richard Kimble used in each program, along with the episode numbers and the original ABC-TV air dates. .....
16. "The Garden House" (First Aired: January 14, 1964) .... Alias: "Sanford".
17. "Come Watch Me Die" (January 21, 1964) .... Alias: "Ben Rogers". .... This episode features some good character actors that pop up in other "Fugitives" as well; and keep an eye open for Diane Ladd as a waitress. I don't recall ever having seen this program prior to this DVD release.
It's an unusual episode in some respects, one of which is that Dr. Kimble finds himself in the unlikely position of becoming a sheriff's deputy. And there's also the fact that part of the plotline had me totally fooled until near the very end of the show. (I like the fact that an episode could pull the wool over my eyes....and Richard Kimble's too.)
18. "Where The Action Is" (January 28, 1964) .... Alias: "Jerry Shelton".
19. "Search In A Windy City" (February 4, 1964) .... Alias: "George Blake". .... This is one of the very best shows in the 4-year history of "The Fugitive" (IMO), with a terrific "double chase" taking place within this episode -- Lt. Gerald is hot on Kimble's trail; while at the same time, Dr. Kimble (for the first time) actually sees and pursues the elusive one-armed man. Everything about this episode spells tension-filled excitement.
Bill Raisch, as the one-armed man, actually only made ten total appearances throughout the series (not counting flashbacks or the opening "montage" for each show), making his guest-starring appearances all the more special and memorable due to their relative infrequency.
Pat Hingle also co-stars in "Windy City", and gives an impressive performance too, as a newspaper reporter (Mike Decker) who at first helps Kimble, but then has other ideas.
20. "Bloodline" (February 11, 1964) .... Alias: "Dick Lindsay".
21. "Rat In A Corner" (February 18, 1964) .... Alias: "Dan Crowley". .... Warren Oates gives a fine performance in a guest role as the self-centered "rat" alluded to in the show's title.
22. "Angels Travel On Lonely Roads; Part 1" (February 25, 1964) .... Alias: "Nick Walker". .... The 2-Part "Angels" entry is worthy of as much praise as I can possibly heap onto it. These are incredibly good episodes, due in no small part to guest-star Eileen Heckart's wonderful performance as "Sister Veronica", a nun who is travelling cross-country in a rattletrap of a car and happens upon the always-helpful Dr. Kimble during her journey.
Kimble joins the Sister on her trip to California (as driver, repairman, bread-winner, and hitch-hiker), with the pair encountering several obstructions and roadblocks that impede their progress.
This two-parter demands to be viewed again and again. I appreciate its greatness more deeply with each successive screening. Magnificent in all respects.
23. "Angels Travel On Lonely Roads; Part 2" (March 3, 1964) .... Alias: "Nick Walker".
24. "Flight From The Final Demon" (March 10, 1964) .... Alias: "Al Dexter". .... Carroll O'Connor guests as a sheriff who stumbles across the forever-running Dr. Kimble. .... "I couldn't just stand there and let 'lard belly' take you in." [LOL break.]
25. "Taps For A Dead War" (March 17, 1964) .... Alias: "Bob Davies". .... More fine guest-star performances are on tap in "Taps", with both Tim O'Connor and Lee Grant showing off their considerable acting skills.
26. "Somebody To Remember" (March 24, 1964) .... Alias: "Johnny Sherman". .... A highly-memorable "Gerard-chasing-Kimble" installment. A co-worker of Kimble's arranges a slick-sounding little plot, which involves "duping" Lt. Gerard into believing Kimble has left the country. This one's a real suspense-builder right to the end.
27. "Never Stop Running" (March 31, 1964) .... Alias: "Doc". .... The fetching Joanna Moore is featured as one of the guest stars in this episode. And, as usual, she's excellent. Joanna makes this particular show extra worthy of praise, IMO.
28. "The Homecoming" (April 7, 1964) .... Alias: "David Benton".
29. "Storm Center" (April 14, 1964) .... Alias: "Larry Phelps".
30. "The End Game" (April 21, 1964) .... No alias used. .... The first-season wrap-up features another worthy manhunt, orchestrated by the always-persistent Lt. Philip Gerard. Guest stars John Fiedler and John McGiver provide some comic relief in this episode, which closed out a fabulous rookie season for this Quinn Martin production.
A PARTING FUGE THOUGHT:
If you bought Volume 1 of the first "Fugitive" season on DVD, then this second volume practically becomes mandatory. There's no way that any fan of this remarkable TV series will want to miss out on owning this outstanding collection of top-notch shows.
There probably ought to be a law requiring everyone with a DVD player to obtain this set of discs. (In fact, I think Lieutenant Gerard was instrumental in getting such a sensible law placed on the books in late 2007. I'll check on that statute and get back to you.) ~grin~
David Von Pein
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