TITLE: WANDA AT LARGE - THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON (WBSHOP.com)
Release Date: April 28, 2015 (Warner Archive)
Color / 1964-1965
Packaging: Viva Case (2)
Number of Discs: 8
Number of Episodes: 32
Running Time: 1610 minutes
Running Time of Features: N/A
Subtitles and Captioning: None
Special Features: None
The doctor is in, for the fourth season of Dr. Kildare on DVD! The eight disc set from Warner Archive brings all 32 episodes from the 1964-1965 season of the classic series starring Richard Chamberlain to DVD. In the series, Chamberlain stars as James Kildare, a young doctor trying to learn the ways of medicine under the guidance of Dr. Leonard Gillespie (Raymond Massey). The series dealt with every sort of medical problem that existed during the era (well, at least those that were able to be approved by network standards and practices), and ran from 1961 until 1966 on NBC. It, along with Ben Casey (which ran the exact same seasons on ABC), was one of the first medical dramas to set the tone for all future medical dramas, including the ones airing today.
This release is a Warner Archive release, meaning that you can only purchase it from their online store and other selected online retailers.
The season begins with "Man is a Rock," where an executive could be asking for serious heart problems if he doesn't change his lifestyle. It may be up to Dr. Kildare to diagnose a mystery ailment in "The Hand That Hurts, the Hand That Heals." The grandson of the hospital's founder is out to get them declared incompetent in "The Last Leaves on the Tree." A 15 year old views a friendship with Dr. Kildare in a much different way than he does in "What's Different About Today?" Lee Marvin guests as a former baseball player forced to face reality in "The Sound of a Faraway Hill." Ron Howard (who was already a few years into playing his role of Opie on The Andy Griffith Show at the time) guest stars in "A Candle in the Window." In the three-part episode "Rome Will Never Leave You," what starts out as a simple trip for medical research turns out to be much more than anticipated. A doctor and his son are stricken with a rare fever in "The Elusive Dik-Dik," and there is only enough serum to treat one of them... and Dr. Kildare may have to decide who gets it.
Lois Nettleton plays a nurse dealing with a difficult patient in "My Name is Lisa, and I Am Lost." Diana Hyland guest stars in "Please Let My Baby Live," where she plays a mother who is worried about her unborn child. Barbara Bel Geddes guest stars in "A Miracle for Margaret," where Dr. Kildare is considering moving out of the hospital and into research after a personal loss. Robert Culp plays a doctor who lost a malpractice suit in "Do You Trust Your Doctor?" Angie Dickinson and Leslie Nielsen also guest star (and also appear in a few more episodes in an on-going arc). Tom Bosley guest stars in "All Brides Should Be Beautiful," where a newlywed places her looks over life-saving cancer surgery. In the two-part episode "She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not," Dr. Kildare is in an automobile accident and his upcoming marriage begins to collapse as well when he learns the truth about his bride to be. Carol O'Connor makes a guest appearance in "Time Buyers." Norman Fell guest stars in "A Reverence for Life," where a patient refuses surgery for religious reasons, and Dr. Kildare is determined to fight back. The season ends with "Wings of Hope," where Earl Holliman plays a pilot who is diagnosed with asthma, a diagnosis that could be career ending.
For the most part, the episodes run around 50 minutes and 30 seconds. But there is one very odd and very peculiar episode in the mix. The twelfth episode of the season, "Catch a Crooked Mouse," only runs at 37:29, which is far too short for a one hour episode, even in 2015. It appears as if there is actually an entire act missing from the episode, as it ends sort of abruptly with no conclusion. Since I don't know how this episode was supposed to end, I can't say conclusively that it is missing an act, but the ending will leave you confused, wonder what happens next. Nothing is actually resolved when the episode ends, so this is not good.
Runtimes for the episodes are as follows:
1. "Man Is a Rock" (50:27)
2. "Maybe Love Will Save My Apartment House" (50:26)
3. "The Hand That Hurts, the Hand That Heals" (50:25)
4. "The Last Leaves on the Tree" (50:26)
5. "What's Different About Today?" (50:24)
6. "The Sound of a Faraway Hill" (50:27)
7. "A Candle in the Window" (50:26)
8. "Rome Will Never Leave You (Part 1)" (50:25)
9. "Rome Will Never Leave You (Part 2)" (50:25)
10. "Rome Will Never Leave You (Part 3)" (50:28)
11. "The Elusive Dik-Dik" (50:26)
12. "Catch a Crooked Mouse" (37:29)
13. "An Exchange of Gifts" (50:27)
14. "Never is a Long Day" (50:25)
15. "Lullaby for an Indian Summer" (50:27)
16. "Taking Care of My Little Girl" (50:26)
17. "My Name is Lisa, and I am Lost" (50:32)
18. "Please Let My Baby Live" (50:28)
19. "No Mother to Guide Them" (50:30)
20. "A Marriage of Convenience" (50:31)
21. "Make Way for Tomorrow" (50:25)
22. "A Miracle for Margaret" (50:29)
23. "Do You Trust Your Doctor?" (50:27)
24. "All Brides Should Be Beautiful" (50:28)
25. "She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not (Part 1)" (50:28)
26. "She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not (Part 2)" (50:27)
27. "A Journey to Sunrise" (50:27)
28. "The Time Buyers" (50:25)
29. "Music Hath Charms" (50:28)
30. "Believe and Live" (50:30)
31. "A Reverence for Life" (50:27)
32. "Wings of Hope" (50:32)
The set contains eight discs, so Warner Archive has packaged this set into two "parts," although they only sell the complete season as one set. Both parts are packaged in standard four disc cases, and have the same artwork (with a slight color inversion for each one). On the cover art, there is a photo of Dr. Kildare and Dr. Gillespie, and on the back, there are a few snapshots from some of the episodes, along with a description of the season and some of the guest stars in the season. Inside, the discs contain the same artwork that is seen on the cover, and episode titles are printed on each disc.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus are the pretty standard Warner Archive menus. Essentially, all they have is the artwork that is seen on the cover of the set, and a list of all of the episodes on the set. There is also a Play All option. Once you select an episode, it plays right away. There are chapters throughout each episode.
Video and Audio Quality:
Warner Archive usually includes the disclaimer that their titles are not remastered for DVD, but I'm not sure that is the case for Dr. Kildare. All of these releases have looked and sounded excellent on DVD, with no real problems. Of course, film does hold up better over time, but it seems that the quality of this is probably also due to some remastering. There is a little bit of grain and debris to be found, but it is nothing that is terribly noticeable. Unfortunately, there is one usual Warner Archive flaw: no closed-captions or subtitles.
There are no special features in this set, as it is a Warner Archive release. It would still be nice to see Richard Chamberlain participate in something for the final season of the series. He seems to know that this series was a big part of his career, and he is still doing very well (described as "still gorgeous" by the New York Post back in November even) at age 81.
Four seasons down and one more to go! The fifth season was actually a bit different from the first four in that the series switched to a half hour format, airing 58 episodes total (two episodes per week) in a more serialized manner, but hopefully we'll see it arrive on DVD by the end of the year or so. Warner Archive has really been doing a good job with this series, and the episodes have all looked great on DVD, with hardly any flaws worth noting. Medical dramas are a bit odd in that the diseases and treatments change a lot over the years (and in some cases, the treatments used decades ago are highly controversial or just considered outright bad today), but all of them still have their nostalgia value, and Dr. Kildare was one of the "originals."
The only complaint that I have about this set is the episode that (at least appears to be) missing roughly 13 minutes. I'm sure it was just an honest oversight, but I just wonder how or why that was able to make it past quality control, and if there are any plans to fix it. Hopefully there are. I'm not even entirely sure that it is a mistake, but it certainly seems to be, and I hope that if it is, the mistake will be fixed.
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 05/23/15
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