Wanted: Dead or Alive - The Complete Series
Special Edition, Special
DVD | Box Set
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Special Edition Re-Release of the TV Series!
It s hard to believe it s been fifty-five years since Steve McQueen, The King of Cool, made his television debut as Josh Randall, the cowboy cavalier and bounty hunter from the American Wild West! A man of few words, Randolph let his mare's leg, an 1892 Winchester sawed-off shotgun, do most of his talking as he took on criminals, protected people in need and battled rival bounty hunters in each exciting, pulse-pounding episode!
Star-Studded Guest Stars Include: Michael Landon, Warren Oates, James Coburn, Ralph Meeker, Steve Brodie, DeForest Kelly, Kenneth Tobey, Clu Gulager, Lee Van Cleef, Martin Landau, Lon Channey Jr., Dylan Cannon, Brad Dexter, James Coburn, Mary Tyler Moore, Richard Donner and many more!
Available For the First Time in One Collection!
All 94 Original Episodes
Five Featurettes - The Art of the Replica, The Mare s Leg, Reckless, The Women of Wanted: Dead or Alive, Winchester: A Weapon of Legend
All-New Special Features:
Select Colorized Episodes - The Martin Poster, The Favor, Six-Up to Bannach, Reunion for Revenge
Photo Gallery of the Original Wanted: Dead or Alive Comic Book
Feature Length Film - The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery starring Steve McQueen, Crahan Denton and David Clarke
Top customer reviews
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The show itself:
So how does the show rate. Well, judging by my 5 star review you can guess how I feel. This show came early in Steve McQueens acting career, yet you probably would never have guessed. The seriousness and professionalism he brought to such great roles in movies like The Sand Pebbles and The Great Escape are equally evident in this show. The dialogue doesn't feel forced, McQueen acts, speaks and moves as if really Josh Randall, bounty hunter. The support cast can vary in some cases from well done, to stereotypical of the day (for example, in one episode McQueen captures an "Apache" and forces him to take him to water...the "Apache" has rather light colored eyes and the credits indicate a rather Germanic last name), but it is made up for with some classic greats like Alan Hale Jr. (the Skipper from Gilligan's Island) giving great performances. Now, I won't fool you into believing that the plot lines and acting are at the cinema level of such great movies as Sergio Leone's "Man with no name" trilogy, Unforgiven or Open Range. But how could a 24 minute long (not including credits), black and white TV series from the late 50's approach the level of a 3 hour Hollywood movie with multi-million dollar budgets? No, it isn't Oscar level, but the episodes still give you good plots and writing for the 24 minutes. Some can be formulaic (like when McQueen plays the humble good guy and gives over his bounty money to the down-and-out person of said given episode.) But for the most part you get hit with catchy situations that don't necessarily seem as if they came out of a Louis L'amour novel. As long as you can accept the limitations that such a short TV show from that time period had to work with then you will be quite satisfied all around with what this show offers you.
Packaging and video transfer reproduction:
There are 12 DVD's, each in it's own paper sleeve, and held inside a DVD case that is roughly the width of 2 1/2 or 3 regular sized DVD cases. Some would see this as a minor negative. Frankly it does not bother me since I have started converting my CD and DVD collection into jewel case/DVD case-less packaging. Now, as soon as I get a DVD or CD in I pull out the disc, all the papers/artwork that come with it, stick the disc in a Case Logic disc case and put the papers/artwork in a special box dedicated to it. This way I can pick up a case (usually divided into categories like "TV shows", "War movies", "Westerns", etc.) and have instant access to a whole collection. But if you still use CD DVD cases be aware the packaging is not quite as good as many other multi-disc DVD cases.
The reproduction to digital of the original show, for the most part is very good. You will get the occasional audio oddity, like low volume or the odd "click" or "pop". I have not watched all the episodes yet, but of those I have watched the video is just fine. So the only issue I have found so far have been audio only.
The moral of the story:
For under $20 you get 94 episodes, bonus material, a great actor just coming into his stride, respectable video/audio quality and overall a well made show. What more could you ask for!?
WANTED, shot between 1958 - 1961, is the story of Josh Randall, a former Confederate soldier turned Western bounty hunter. Traveling alone, Randall wanders from one godforsaken hellhole frontier town to another, tracking down wanted criminals and bringing them in (dead or alive) for the often considerable reward money. A tough and ruthless man ("I'd just as soon kill ya as look at ya," is one of his trademark lines) who packs a "Mare's Leg" (a cut-down, sawed-off lever action rifle in a hip holster) instead of a pistol, Randall nevertheless possesses a code of honor, considerable Old West charm (taking his hat off when addressing the ladies, etc.), and isn't above the occasional Quixotic quest to help a pretty lady or an old friend in need. Hell, he'll even risk his life for one of the men he's caught if he decides the fella (or occasionally, the lass) can't get a fair trial or is being hounded by vigilantes. At one point, in Season Two, he even picks up a partner, Jason Nichols (Wright King), and while the partnership doesn't last long, it does provide some fireworks.
The format of WANTED was interesting: the episodes were a tight 30 minutes in length, which meant that there is very little fat on the scripts. Because of this, very few of the stories seem to drag, and for the most part they manage to leave the viewer feeling as if he'd watched a full hour's worth of action and intrigue. There are occasional clunkers, sure, but for the most part the quality is surprisingly good for a show that cranked out about 30 episodes a season. Of course, one of the great pleasures of watching television and film from this era is seeing so many actors who later became famous -- Michael Landon, James Coburn, Martin Landau, Lee van Cleef, DeForest Kelly, Mary Tyler Moore, etc. -- while they were still young unknowns. And the half-hour format proved surprisingly flexible, with some stories highly dramatic, others pure action, some romantically charged or tragic, and quite a few downright funny. Of course, being shot in the late 50s-early-60s, the sensibilities are different than today. There are a couple of episodes where Josh does things that are kind of hard for me to stomach, but for the most part he's the sort of honorable-yet-flawed hero that can also get cold-cocked in a fistfight, played for a fool by a treacherous gal, or wiped out in a poker game.
To sum up, I'd say that if you like Westerns, especially the older-school sort of Western with plenty of gunplay, trail dust and nickel whiskey, this series is for you. If you're a fan of Steve McQueen and want to see how he developed the acting style that led to him being crowned as "The King of Cool," you'll also enjoy this. So get on your horse and ride.
As for the discs themselves, they are wonderful, crisp and clear for a fantastic, truly classic TV series and they receive a 5 star rating!. I gladly would have paid a few dollars more though for better packaging.