1950s TV’s Greatest Shows

1950s TV’s Greatest Shows

On DVD: 
Monday, July 1, 2002

The “Golden Age” of television lives on in this DVD of classic television shows from the 1950’s.

There is an influx of DVDs on today’s market with episodes of TV shows from the “Golden Age” of television. A large portion of these earlier show from the 1950s have fallen into public domain and because of that fact there are multiple companies that are in business to put together DVDs with “classic TV episodes” Most of these DVDs are very cheaply produced and sometimes visually worse than a VHS tape. Falcon Pictures is one of these companies that compiles older TV shows and puts them out on DVD, this particular set, TV's Greatest Shows (1950s) includes 3 DVDs with the following episodes:

DVD #1

The Jack Benny Program 10-31-54 "How Jack Found Mary" w/ Jack Benny . Dragnet 09-09-54 "The Big Crime" w/ Jack Webb. The Burns and Allen Show 10-09-52 "Free Trip to Hawaii" w/ George Burns and Gracie Allen . The Lone Ranger 12-29-49 "Cannonball McKay" w/ Clayton Moore

DVD #2

The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet 02-13-53 "Valentine Show" w/ Ozzie & Harriet Nelson. Sea Hunt 1956 "Mark of the Octopus" (pilot) w/ Lloyd Bridges. The Red Skelton Show 01-25-55 "Trailer home" w/ guest, Mary McCarty. Suspense 06-29-54 "The Hunted" w/ Ward Bond

DVD #3

Our Miss Brooks 05-13-55 "Here is Your Past" w/ Eve Arden. Mr. & Mrs. North 12-05-52 "The Comic Strip Tease" w/ Richard Denning and Barbara Britton . The Life of Riley 04-24-53 "Riley's Operation" w/ William Bendix . Racket Squad 02-28-52 "Hearse Chaser" w/ Reed Hadley

When I saw the slipcase cover for the three DVDs I thought maybe a company had got it right and had started to put out more professionally produced DVDs. To quote the front label they are “digitally restored” and the cover has some sharp pictures. The menu system is bland but not the worst I have seen from these types of releases. Unfortunately while they may be “digitally restored” the picture quality is absolutely dreadful. I am not sure what their source material was like but there are parts where the film has big blotches on the bottom for a few seconds and is just overall low quality.

Another thing that was a bit of a turn off is the fact that this DVD set is advertised as “TV’s Greatest Shows” I know that is not true and I have a hard time thinking these are even the best episodes from the selected shows on the DVDs….Some of the shows are supposed to be comedies and I laugh at a lot more things than most people, but some of these episodes are just awful, not funny in any way, and they top it off with the bad picture quality. Just because something is old does not make it a good show that is a classic worth watching and definitely does not make it part of “TV’s Greatest Shows”

In case anyone feels like I am passing this off as bad because of it’s age and the fact that there are no special effect or high paced action scenes. I will just say that I grew up watching Nick-at-Nite and I have probably seen more older B/W TV shows that most people my age. If done right older TV shows on DVD can be great, what Paramount has done with The Andy Griffith Show is fantastic, the shows are all in sequential order season by season. Companies need to stop making these crazy motley DVDs with a selection of shows and instead focus on putting individual shows together as they were originally aired.

Review by William Henderson