Archive for the ‘Smothers Brothers’ Category

‘Beverly Hillbillies,’ ‘Smothers Brothers’ erratic but welcome on DVD

October 6, 2008

I suppose vintage TV fans should be grateful for whatever they can get, especially since so many older shows aren’t available anywhere on cable. But I must admit I’m confused.

First, we find The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour: The Best of Season 3. Only trouble is, there’s no Season 1 or Season 2 DVD release. Reportedly Time Life still plans to release such sets for the first two seasons, just not in sequence. Presumably there were problems clearing music rights or some other snag.

But for now, it’s fantastic having 11 episodes from the third and final season of this cheeky, challenging and magnificent show. I just wish there were more of the brothers’ recorded output on CD. So far I’ve only found a Rhino collection which just scratches the surface.

Back to DVD, this week brings another numbering oddity with Paramount’s release of The Beverly Hillbillies: The Official Second Season. But there’s been no such release of the first season. In fact, the closest we’ve come so far have been MPI’s releases of The Beverly Hillbillies Ultimate Collection, Volumes 1 and 2. In those sets, season one spilled over into Volume 2, which then added 18 episodes from season two, along with a number of worthwhile extra features. So Paramount’s new release has many episodes that are new to DVD. (Note: The show’s name is misspelled on the spine of the DVD box. Ouch!)

While it’s good to see this “official” release of a beloved show in full-season form, one does wonder when or if the entire first season will be sold in such a way, not to mention seasons after the second one. Not that continuity is a big problem in the world of the oil-rich bumpkins.

Again, we take what we can get, and for now I’m happy to hunker down by the cement pond and watch Buddy Ebsen’s Jed and family make a mess out of a perfectly nice So Cal neighborhood with their backwoods ways.

While so many folksy rural shows of the ’60s (Green Acres, Petticoat Junction) were about the quaintness of the sticks, The Beverly Hillbillies was about hicks from the sticks being in the city which, for me, is much preferable. I’m a city boy at heart and have spent much time in Beverly Hills, and I can just imagine how wealthy hillbillies would impact that community. It’s a great premise with a great cast, and it gets more mileage from its comic culture shock than shows where it’s the city folks who go country. The Beverly Hillbillies even had the authenticity of actually being shot in So Cal.

So pull up a rocking chair and sit a spell. And as Tom Servo would say in Granny drag on Mystery Science Theater 3000, “Jeddddd!”