TITLE: DR. KILDARE - THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON (WBSHOP.COM) (AMAZON.COM)
Release Date: January 28, 2014 (Warner Archive)
Packaging: Viva Cases (two)
Number of Discs: 9
Number of Episodes: 34
Running Time: 1700 minutes
Running Time of Features: N/A
Audio: English Mono
Subtitles and Captioning: None
Special Features: None
Richard Chamberlain and Raymond Massey team up together once again for the second season of Dr. Kildare on DVD! The nine disc release from Warner Archive brings together the 34 episodes from the 1962-1963 season of the series, which was one of classic TV's first memorable medical dramas. The series was a classic series about the relationship between a young doctor and his mentor, a theme that paved the way for many other series such as Marcus Welby, M.D., Medical Center, and even (to an extent) the very recent sitcom Scrubs. However, the TV series wasn't the first time we met Dr. Kildare. Dr. James Kildare was the main character in a series of MGM films that were produced beginning in 1938, played by Lew Ayres, being led by his mentor Dr. Leonard Gillespie (played by Lionel Barrymore in the films). Eventually, by 1942, the Dr. Kildare character was eliminated in the films and they focused more on Dr. Gillespie. By the time the series began, though, they went back to the roots, and Chamberlain stars as Dr. Kildare, a medical intern, working under mentor Dr. Gillespie (Massey).
Kildare is temporarily assigned to the OBGYN unit in "Gravida One." Forest fire victims are at the forefront in "The Burning Sky," a special color episode (it aired during a week where NBC aired several series in color as a promotion for RCA color TVs; you can check out season 1 of the sitcom Hazel on DVD to see another series that participated in this promotion) filled with great guest stars including Robert Redford, Carroll O'Connor, and Harvey Korman. In "The Mask Makers," Carolyn Jones guest stars as a woman who can't see past her big nose (but her life gets even more complicated when she gets it fixed). In "Guest Appearance," Kildare takes the blame when the son of a talk show host dies. Kildare tries to prevent a woman from having her husband committed to a sanitarium in "Hastings' Farewell." The series tackles the issue of racial slurs in "The Cobweb Chain."
In "The Soul Killers," Suzanne Pleshette plays a nurse who may be dealing with her own serious personal problems. Kildare goes up against a small town coroner in "The Ancient Office." In "A Time to Every Purpose," a girl's mother worries about the loss of an eye will affect her daughter. Kildare finds himself on the wrong end of a malpractice suit in "The Thing Speaks for Itself." In "The Great Guy," a bone tumor causes some problems for a comedian. The hospital deals with a hepatitis outbreak in "The Mosaic." In "Good Luck Charm," Gloria Swanson plays the role of an actress who thinks that she is the most critical patient in the hospital, and Kildare is out to prove her wrong. A doctor going blind due to accidental radiation exposure has to make a major decision about how to spend his last days of sight in "A Trip to Niagara."
In "A Place Among the Monuments," Kildare prevents a suicide, but his work may not be done quite yet. Kildare is suspicious when a girl comes into the hospital with welts on her back in "Sister Mike." In "Dark Side of the Mirror," one twin sister needs a kidney to save her life, which should be easy to find… except the other twin doesn't want to give one up. Kildare has an encounter with a 17 year old girl who has been locked in her home since the age of five in "The Sleeping Princess." The series tackles the issues of continuing life support for those in a terminal coma in "Tightrope Into Nowhere." The season ends with "What's God to Julius," where a terminally ill brother is dying, but his bigger worry is who will take care of his mentally ill brother after he dies.
The episodes all seem to be unedited, and include the original MGM logo at the end of each episode. Runtimes are as follows:
1. "Gravida One" (50:01)
2. "The Burning Sky" (49:45)
3. "The Visitors" (50:04)
4. "The Mask Makers" (50:28)
5. "Guest Appearance" (50:12)
6. "Hastings' Farewell" (50:03)
7. "Breakdown" (50:02)
8. "The Cobweb Chain" (50:02)
9. "The Soul Killer" (50:08)
10. "An Ancient Office" (50:10)
11. "The Legacy" (50:08)
12. "The Bed I've Made" (50:09)
13. "A Time to Every Purpose" (50:11)
14. "Love is a Sad Thing" (50:08)
15. "The Thing Speaks for Itself" (50:11)
16. "The Great Guy" (50:08)
17. "The Mosaic" (50:08)
18. "Good Luck Charm" (50:10)
19. "Jail Ward" (50:10)
20. "A Trip to Niagara" (50:07)
21. "A Place Among Monuments" (50:01)
22. "Face of Fear" (50:09)
23. "Sister Mike" (50:10)
24. "A Very Infectious Disease" (50:06)
25. "Dark Side of the Mirror" (50:11)
26. "The Sleeping Princess" (50:09)
27. "Ship's Doctor" (50:08)
28. "A Tightrope to Nowhere" (50:09)
29. "The Balance and the Crucible" (50:09)
30. "The Gift of Koodjanuk" (50:09)
31. "An Island Like a Peacock" (50:10)
32. "To Each His Poison" (50:07)
33. "A Hand Held Out of Darkness" (50:07)
34. "What's God to Julius" (50:10)
This release of the series is a nine disc set, so as one would expect, Warner Archive has done their typical packaging of the series into two parts (but both of them are bundled together when you purchase them). Each part of the season comes in a Viva case with almost the exact same artwork (same photos and information), with the only difference being the inversion of the pink and black color schemes for the title of the set. On the front cover of the set, you'll find a photo of Dr. Kildare and Dr. Gillespie, and on the back, you'll find a few episode snapshots and a description of the set in general. The discs can be found inside each of the cases, with Discs 1-5 in Part One and Discs 6-9 in Part Two. Each disc has the same artwork that is seen on the cover art.
Menu Design and Navigation:
Once again, as is usually the case with Warner Archive products, the menus have artwork that is essentially the same as the cover art. The episodes are listed on the right side of the screen, along with a Play All option. Chapters are placed throughout each episode.
Video and Audio Quality:
While the video and audio quality of the set isn't perfect, it is fair to describe it as astonishingly great. The series hasn't seen a whole lot of airplay over the years, and Warner really doesn't have a huge incentive to remaster the series, but it is clear that they have done some work to clean this series up for DVD. You'll find a little bit of grain and debris here and there (more than you'd find on a series such as Perry Mason), and the one episode that is in color is obviously not the greatest looking color (as it was filmed in the earliest days of color), but I wouldn't say that anything looks bad. The audio on the set is very loud and clear in a standard mono track. However, there are no closed-captions or English subtitles.
There are no special features on this set. It would be great to see Richard Chamberlain participate in some sort of special features on a future release, though. He seems to show up on TV series and movies every now and then, and it seems that he could make time to do something for these releases.
Warner Archive has put together another great release of this much beloved (but sometimes lost) gem of classic TV. Seeing this series on DVD has been my first real exposure to the series, and I've really been impressed with what I've seen here. In some sense, the series does show some age. After all, medicine and the practice of medicine has gone through rather significant changes in the past 50 years. However, it still has all of the qualities of a timeless classic, with great acting (from some great guest stars as well) and it takes on many serious problems that could be tackled even in the modern era. Fans of medical dramas are sure to enjoy this set.
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: 4.5/5
-- Reviewed by skees53 on 02/24/14
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