TITLE: DENNIS THE MENACE - THE FINAL SEASON (SEASON FOUR)
DVD Release Date: January 10, 2012 (Shout! Factory)
B&W / 1962-1963
Packaging: Amaray Case
Number of Discs: 5
Number of Episodes: 38
Running Time: 915 minutes
Runtime of Special Features: N/A
Audio: English mono
Subtitles and Captions: None
Special Features: None
Hey Mr. Wilson! America's first "bad boy" of television, Dennis Mitchell, is back for the final 38 episodes of the 1959-1963 TV series in a five disc set. Based upon the classic Hank Ketcham comic strip, which continues to run in newspapers all over the nation even these days, the series follows the daily adventures in the life of Dennis (Jay North), his family, and his neighbors, the Wilsons. There is one slight change in this season, though. Following the death of Joseph Kearns in the middle of the third season, George Wilson is no longer the neighbor, and in his place is John Wilson (Gale Gordon), a role that ended up taking him directly into his role on The Lucy Show a season later. The 38 episodes on this set give us our last look at the Mitchells and Wilsons together in one series.
Dennis has a new friend from far east in "The Chinese Girl." In "You Go Your Way," Dennis spreads the word that the Wilsons are about to split up. Mr. Wilson goes to court over a town ordinance in "The Little Judge." In "Poor Mr. Wilson," Dennis jumps to the conclusion that Mr. Wilson is broke. The Wilsons and Mitchells take a trip to the zoo in "San Diego Safari."
A little mixup lands Dennis in a naval base in "Dennis at Boot Camp." In "Henry's New Job," Henry may have a new opportunity that will relocate him and his family. Mr. Wilson takes over an advice column in "Jane Butterfield Says," but there are sure to be some consequences there. In "Wilson's Little White Lie," an innocent lie that Mr. Wilson tells Dennis turns into a story of Mr. Wilson being on death's bed.
Dennis has new novelty shoes in "The Creature with the Big Feet," but Mr. Wilson is pretty sure that the footprints in his yard are from a monster. Dennis has been appointed to represent his town to support a national forest creation in "Dennis Goes to Washington." In "Wilson's Allergy," Mr. Wilson is convinced that he is allergic to a certain neighborhood boy. Dennis spreads the "good news" (if only it were true) that Mrs. Wilson is expecting in "Baby Booties." In "My Four Boys," Mr. Wilson needs four boys to pretend to be his children after he wins an essay contest, so where will he find them?
Mr. Wilson becomes a cat-catcher in "A Tax on Cats." In "The Uninvited Guest," Dennis ends up staying with the Wilsons for a night, which is guaranteed to be a bad experience for John. Mr. Wilson blames rising property taxes are a result of the school wasting money in "The Three F's." In "Tuxedo Trouble," Dennis and his friends start a laundry service using Mrs. Elkins' old washing machine, which is sure to cause trouble. Dennis becomes the man of the house, at least temporarily, in "A Man Among Men." The series ends with "Aunt Emma Visits the Wilsons," where Mr. Wilson worries that his aunt is going to leave her life savings to Dennis instead of him!
The episodes all appear to be unedited, with runtimes as follows:
1. "The Chinese Girl" (25:12)
2. "You Go Your Way" (25:26)
3. "Dennis and the Circular Circumstances" (25:25)
4. "The Little Judge" (25:24)
5. "Poor Mr. Wilson" (25:27)
6. "Dennis in Gypsyland" (25:24)
7. "The New Principal" (25:26)
8. "San Diego Safari" (25:22)
9. "Dennis at Boot Camp" (25:21)
10. "Henry's New Job" (25:27)
11. "Wilson's Second Childhood" (25:25)
12. "Jane Butterfield Says" (25:27)
13. "Dennis and the Hermit" (25:27)
14. "My Uncle Ned" (25:25)
15. "Junior Astronaut" (25:20)
16. "Wilson's Little White Lie" (25:26)
17. "Dennis, the Rain Maker" (25:24)
18. "The Creature with the Big Feet" (25:24)
19. "Dennis, the Confused Cupid" (25:24)
20. "Dennis Goes to Washington" (25:24)
21. "The Big Basketball Game" (25:25)
22. "Wilson's Allergy" (25:25)
23. "Baby Booties" (25:28)
24. "My Four Boys" (25:23)
25. "Dennis and the Homing Pigeons" (25:20)
26. "A Tax on Cats" (25:25)
27. "The Uninvited Guest" (25:25)
28. "Dennis Plays Robin Hood" (25:24)
29. "The Three F's" (25:24)
30. "Never Say Dye" (25:25)
31. "The Lost Dog" (25:31)
32. "Tuxedo Trouble" (25:25)
33. "Hawaiian Love Song" (25:28)
34. "The Lucky Rabbit's Foot" (25:24)
35. "Listen to the Mockingbird" (25:26)
36. "First Editions" (25:24)
37. "A Man Among Men" (25:24)
38. "Aunt Emma Visits the Wilsons" (25:26)
The packaging on the set is very similar to the previous releases, which means that that all of the seasons are consistent on packaging. This time, we have a yellow package, with a picture of Dennis on a swing on the cover. On the back, we have a few cast snapshots, and a description of the final season of the series. Inside the case, we have the five discs, all of which have the same artwork as the cover. Disc 1 contains episodes 1-8, Disc 2 contains episodes 9-16, Disc 3 contains episodes 17-24, Disc 4 contains episodes 25-31, and Disc 5 contains episodes 32-38. There is also an episode insert inside, which gives brief episode descriptions for all of the episodes. The episode-by-disc breakdown on this guide is a little bit off, but the correct breakdown can be found in the Episodes section of this review.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus on the set are basically very similar to the first three seasons, with the main menu having a photo of Dennis on a swing (same as the cover art) with options of Play All and Episodes. The main menu plays the theme song from the final season (which was slightly different from the previous seasons) in the background. Selecting Episodes takes you to a text listing of the episodes on the disc. There are chapters placed within each episode.
Video and Audio Quality:
The episodes on this set look and sound pretty good, but it isn't exactly perfect. Shout! Factory has confirmed in the past that the "restored" episodes that they used for this set were prints that were put together to prepare the series to air on Nickelodeon in the 1980s, which certainly means that they aren't newly restored. However, considering that a lot of series originally produced in that era (the 80s) haven't been restored either, it isn't a big deal. There isn't much that could be done to improve anything here, anyway. The problems are mainly limited to a few black level issues, minimal grain and debris, and a somewhat low audio level on a few episodes. But the series really looks as good as it does in syndication. Unfortunately, the episodes are not closed-captioned.
The series had a decent start on special features with the release of the first season, and there was one brief one on the second season, but beyond that, this series has been completely neglected. Although it would be kind of a stretch, it would have been nice to have had some kind of interview with Jay North. Of course, much simpler options would be original promos and things along those lines.
I can't believe that we actually got the entire run of this series in less than a year! Many series get stalled after just one or two seasons, and even the most successful series often have snags along the way, but with Dennis, we've consistently gotten new releases at a fast pace. I guess the only drawback with this is that it didn't allow many special features to be compiled for the releases, but then again, those may not have been in the plans anyway. The episodes have looked great on DVD, and as far as I can tell, there haven't been any cuts made on any of the episodes. That is always great to see.
Now that we have the complete run of this series on DVD, it would be nice to see a studio get to work on releasing volumes of the animated series from the 80s, although that is somewhat unlikely considering how successful volumes of animated series tend to perform on DVD. As for this series, though, I feel that the book has been completed, and there really isn't much that needs to be done to improve what is out there. The series wouldn't really shine much more on Blu-ray than it does on DVD, and we've probably gotten about all of the interviews and such that we'll ever get out of this series. So, we've got the four season sets that have been released, and I think every fan should be reasonably satisfied.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4/5
-- Reviewed by skees53 on 01/03/12
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