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The Loretta Young Show: Season 1
DVD | Box Set
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One of the brightest stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood, the lovely Loretta Young appeared in over 100 films during her movie career. Some of her most memorable roles from the 30s and 40s were A Man's Castle, Ramona and The Farmer's Daughter, for which she won an Academy Award in 1947. In the 1950's, Loretta turned her talents to television. Her show first aired in September 1953, and in all, Loretta made over 280 episodes! This 3 DVD box set includes the first thirty episodes, starting with the original show Letter from Loretta, retitled The Loretta Young Show. The weekly show made Loretta one of the best known and beloved personalities on television. Her patented entrance, a dramatic swirl through her living room door,wearing the latest in fashion designer gowns, gained for her the reputation as America's best dressed actress. Authorized by the Loretta Young Estate, this box set includes rare family home movies and photographs. Loretta's son, film producer Chris Lewis, narrates this journey through Loretta's career as actress, mother and role model to millions of American women.
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Top customer reviews
The sheer prestigious nature of this series cannot be underestimated - it remains nothing less than a milestone, and a testament to the talent and stamina of Loretta Young. Each week Ms Young dazzled audiences in stories of drama, comedy, historical intrigue and bittersweet romance. A lesser actress would never have made this series click so magnificently.
I won't spoil any of the surprises, because Ms Young was very much a "mistress of disguise" in this show, and part of the excitement is guessing what kind of character she'll play in each story. Extra features include a special "biography introduction" hosted by Young's son Christopher Lewis, rare home movies from Loretta's personal collection, a selection of Loretta Young movie trailers (including "The House of Rothschild", "The Unguarded Hour" and "Come to the Stable"), plus rare pieces of film featuring Loretta singing and dancing with sister Sally Blane in 1929.
* Trial Run
* A Family Out of Us
* Prisoner at One O'Clock
* Girl on a Flag Pole
* Turn of a Card
* The One That Got Away
* Kid's Stuff
* The Bronte Story
* Laughing Boy
* Love Story
* Thanksgiving at Beaver's Run
* The Faith of Chata
* The Night Dad Came Home
* Hotel Irritant
* Inga #1
* Lady Killer
* Secret Answer
* The Mirror
* Hollywood Story
* Act of Faith
* Big Little Lie
* New York Story
* Man's Estate
* Nobody's Boy
* Count of Ten
* The Clara Schumann Story
* Son, This is Your Father
* First Man to Ask Her
* Forest Ranger
Loretta Young was a very popular movie star prior to taking a big risk by deciding to star in her own series on the "small" screen in 1953 (when she was 40). But her new NBC-TV drama/anthology series was very well-received by viewers and stayed on the air for 8 seasons. The program earned Loretta multiple Emmy Awards during its lifetime on the airwaves.
Miss Young served as host for all of these shows, and starred in about half of the episodes herself. She appeared in the leading role in a total of 162 episodes of her series, which premiered on September 20, 1953.
The series was originally called "Letter To Loretta", but was re-named "The Loretta Young Show" midway through the first season, in February 1954.
A little about Loretta ...... Loretta Young was born "Gretchen Michaela Young" in Salt Lake City, Utah, on January 6, 1913. She appeared in a little more than 100 feature motion pictures in her career, beginning as a 4-year-old in "The Primrose Ring" (in 1917).
She starred opposite some of Hollywood's biggest names of the 1930s and 1940s, such as Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Ronald Colman, Cary Grant, Tyrone Power, Don Ameche, Charles Boyer, Robert Taylor, Joseph Cotten, and Robert Young.
Loretta won an Academy Award for her role in 1947's "The Farmer's Daughter". She passed away (of ovarian cancer), at age 87, on August 12, 2000.
This DVD set, produced in 2004, comes to us via "Marathon Music & Video", and presents all of these episodes in their original TV Full-Frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1. All episodes are in black-and-white. The DVD picture quality here isn't really very much better than some VHS tapes of this series that I have, including a 7-Tape set of VHS videos that was released by this same company ("M.M.&V.") in 1997. The DVDs are probably a trifle bit better than VHS quality, but not by much.
A lot of "noise" and grain are visible on these prints; but the episodes themselves are still very fun to watch all these years after their initial TV airings. The writing for this series was first-rate, IMO. Some really good story lines play out on screen (most with Loretta herself in the leading role).
The audio on these DVDs is a re-mixed Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Stereo (or, per the packaging, "Full Dimension Surround Sound"). But, to tell the truth, this audio sounds no better (or "full") than these episodes' original Mono sound. A full-fledged 5.1 track is actually pretty much of a wasted effort when applied to this type of material, because Loretta's series features very little in the way of music or sound effects that would benefit at all from placing any sound in the rear speakers of your home theater. In addition, this TV series is mostly dialogue-driven, so most of the audio will (or should) stay fixed in the front (center) speaker.
This "faux 5.1" sound still has a lot of background hiss and crackling underneath the dialogue. But I, for one, don't mind this at all. In my view, it lends an "old-time" sound quality to the 1950s material on the screen. The "hiss/crackling" isn't highly pronounced, however. So it shouldn't really be very annoying to anyone's ears.
Each of the three discs in this collection comes in its own separate full-sized DVD plastic case, with unique cover art on the front of each disc. A thin (but adequate enough) cardboard slipcase box comfortably holds the three discs. There are no paper enclosures included here. Episode titles are listed on the back of each DVD case, as well as on the discs themselves.
There are 10 episodes per disc. I've noticed a few small edits in these prints, with Loretta's trademark "dress-swirling entrance" being cut out of some of the programs. The fact that the episodes are not displayed on a "timed" track on these DVDs makes it much more difficult to check for full, unedited running times. IOW, there's no "elapsed time counter" shown on these discs (it just says "Play" where you'd normally see the episode run time clicking off the minutes and seconds elapsed). So, if you want to "time" the shows, you'll need to do it yourself, clocking the run times on your own.
I have "clocked" one of the episodes in this DVD collection, and the running time was just under 25 minutes, including the opening and closing credits (24:50 to be precise). So, for the most part, based on that run time, I believe that what we're getting here are the full-length episodes as they originally were seen on network television in the early '50s.
In addition to the thirty Season-One (1953-1954) episodes of Loretta's series, this boxed set comes complete with some interesting extra features as well. Bonus programming includes the following items:
>> A brief Loretta Young "Biography", hosted by Loretta's son, Chris Lewis. (Run Time -- 3:30.)
>> Loretta Young Home Movies (also hosted/narrated by Chris Lewis). This bonus is really fun to see. Many old-time (1930s) behind-the-camera clips from Loretta's movies are shown here. Plus many shots of Loretta and family at home too. This home-movie bonus runs for a fairly-lengthy 27:45.
>> Loretta Young Movie Trailers.
>> Plus a few "Bonus Film Clips" of Loretta. This bonus section includes a rare old-time movie clip of a 16-year-old Loretta Young singing and dancing with her older sister (Sally Blane) in the 1929 film "The Show Of Shows". Other film snippets feature Miss Young doing some public-service announcements. Some good old stuff here.
Still more information about this DVD set:
>> ANY SUBTITLES? -- No.
>> LANGUAGES -- English only.
>> CHAPTER STOPS? -- No.
>> "PLAY ALL" FEATURE? -- No.
>> DVD REGION CODE -- "Zero" (playable all over the world).
>> MENUS -- Main Menu doubles as Episode-Selection Menu as well. ... Theme music from the series plays while the Main Menu is on screen. ... Slight bit of animation on each disc (with a cleverly-inserted "montage" of several Loretta Young "full-skirted entrances").
On the whole, this three-disc DVD package (with 30 episodes from Loretta Young's highly-acclaimed weekly television series right through to the bonus materials featuring the show's star) provides a fine tribute to one of America's greatest and most beloved actresses of her day. And there are some darn good and well-scripted TV episodes in here too. I'm grateful to those involved for bringing these very rarely-seen installments of Miss Young's excellent TV series to the DVD-Video format.