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Father Knows Best - Season Five


TITLE: FATHER KNOWS BEST - SEASON FIVE


Info:

Release Date: August 17, 2010 (Shout! Select)
B&W / 1958-1959
MSRP: $39.99
Packaging: Viva pack
Number of Discs: 6
Number of Episodes: 38
Running Time: 1020 minutes
Running Time of Features: 52 minutes
Audio: English mono
Subtitles and Captioning: None
Special Features: Window on Main Street Episodes (2)


Introduction:

Robert Young may have not been perfect in real life, but as Jim Anderson, he proves that usually, Father Knows Best! All 38 episodes of the fifth season are now available on a six disc DVD set DVD as a Shout! Select title (meaning that it isn’t available at traditional media outlets). In the fifth season, everybody is getting older in the family. With Betty already out of high school and Bud graduating from high school at the end of this season, only little Kathy (who isn’t so little by now) remains as a kid by this time. But these changes don’t mean that the family is moving apart. They’re still all together and just as strong as they’ve always been in the fifth season of Father Knows Best!


Episodes:

Betty could be getting married in the season opener, “Vine Covered Cottage,” but will those bells really ring? Kathy has a boyfriend in “Kathy’s Romance,” but he seems to be more interested in Jim than Kathy. Jim is sure that he knows best when he tries to teach the family to plan everything out in “Always Plan Ahead.” Jim and Margaret are getting married again in “Second Wedding.” Bud gets to babysit a car in “Bud the Caretaker,” but what will he do when he finds a dent in the car? Dick York guest stars in “Betty, the Pioneer Woman.” Rita Moreno plays an exchange student from India in “Fair Exchange.” In “Margaret Wins a Car,” Margaret wins a raffle and gets a new car, but when she uses it to help out an orphanage instead of her own children, how will her children react?

The family gets trapped in a cabin for Christmas in “The Christmas Story.” Bud’s new basketball coach is his own father in “The Basketball Coach.” Kathy gains control of Bud’s lawn mowing business in “Kathy, Girl Executive.” Bud tries to buy Margaret an expensive bottle of perfume for her birthday in “Bud, the Big Shot.” Kathy decides that she wants to be treated like an adult in “Kathy Grows Up,” but is this what she truly wants? In “It’s a Small World,” Margaret must decide between an important luncheon or an important trip with her husband.

Bud has two dates for one prom in “Two Loves Has Bud.” Bud tries to impress a wealthy girl by taking her to an expensive restaurant in “Bud and the Debutante.” Bud writes an unflattering article about a teacher in “The Meanest Professor” as a joke, but it all backfires when he reads the article. Will Bud pass physics? Possibly not in “Bud Has a Problem.” The family acts out a detective story while the TV set is on the fritz in “The Great Anderson Mystery.” Bud decides to break with traditions in “The Gold Turnip.”

For the most part, the episodes on the set are unedited, but there are a few issues of concern. The episode “The Promised Playhouse” is definitely a syndicated version of the episode, running at 22:42. However, it is important to note that this episode was merely a flashback episode of a first season episode, and the unedited version from the first season is available on that set. Still, I don’t understand why they couldn’t find an unedited season 6 version of this episode. The other issue is very minor, and that is that the original Screen Gems logo is chopped off of each episode and replaced with a 1980s Colex logo on almost every episode. There is one good thing about one episode, though. The episode “Live My Own Life” actually has Robert Young’s preview of the next episode after the end of the closing credits. It is too bad these couldn’t have been left intact for all of the episodes! Runtimes for all of the episodes are as follows:

Disc 1:
“Vine Covered Cottage” (25:40)
“Be Kind to Bud Week” (25:40)
“Kathy’s Romance” (25:41)
“Voice from the Past” (25:41)
“Frank’s Family Tree” (25:41)
“Always Plan Ahead” (25:42)
“Second Wedding” (25:42)

Disc 2:
“Bud the Caretaker” (25:40)
“Betty, the Pioneer Woman” (25:41)
“Fair Exchange” (25:40)
“Bud, the Snob” (25:39)
“Margaret Wins a Car” (25:41)
“The Great Experiment” (25:45)

Disc 3:
“The Christmas Story” (25:39)
“The Basketball Coach” (25:39)
“Kathy, Girl Executive” (25:42)
“The Good Samaritan” (25:40)
“The Ideal Father” (25:39)
“Big Shot Bud” (25:38)
“Hard Luck Leo” (25:40)

Disc 4:
“Bud, the Campus Romeo” (25:39)
“Crisis Over a Kiss” (25:40)
“Kathy Grows Up” (25:40)
“A Man of Merit” (25:39)
“Betty Makes a Choice” (25:40)
“It’s a Small World” (25:39)

Disc 5:
“Two Loves Has Bud” (25:39)
“The Extraordinary Woman” (25:39)
“The Art of Romance” (25:44)
“Formula for Happiness” (25:38)
“Bud and the Debutante” (25:38)
“The Promised Playhouse” (22:42)

Disc 6:
“The Meanest Professor” (25:38)
“Live My Own Life” (26:01)
“Bud Has a Problem” (25:38)
“The Great Anderson Mystery” (25:39)
“Margaret Goes Dancing” (25:28)
“The Gold Turnip” (25:27)


Packaging:

As is the case with other Shout! Select titles, the packaging style is changed for this set from the previous releases. The previous releases of the series used slimcases, while this one uses a Viva-pack style packaging. Otherwise, though, the packaging is very similar to the previous sets, just with a burgundy color scheme this time. The cover art this time focuses on Jim and Margaret, with smaller pictures of each of the children below them. The back of the case has brief information about the season, as well as a few black and white snapshots from the episodes. Inside the case, there is a listing of all of the episodes along with original airdates (but no descriptions). The discs themselves contain no artwork aside from the series title and disc number. Disc 1 contains episodes 1-7, Disc 2 contains episodes 8-13, Disc 3 contains episodes 14-20, Disc 4 contains episodes 21-26, Disc 5 contains episodes 27-32, and Disc 6 contains episodes 33-38.


Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus are similar to the previous sets, but they have been somewhat simplified this time. There is only one menu now (the main menu) and it has the theme song playing in the background with options of Play All and a list of episodes on the disc. Chapters are placed throughout each episode.


Video and Audio Quality:

It seems that there is a slight decline in video and audio quality in this set, but it isn’t what I would call a major problem. Particularly, the sharpness seems to have decreased on these episodes, and there seems to be more grain and debris than before. Additionally, there is still the issue of low audio levels, and there is some hiss, crackle, and pop all throughout the audio track on every episode. Unfortunately, closed-captioning was not included on this set, and the episodes also lack subtitles.


Special Features:

Once again, the special features include episodes of the series Window on Main Street, which Robert Young starred in immediately following the cancellation of Father Knows Best. This time, we have “The Editor’s Daughter” (25:55) and “The Big Spender” (25:50). It is always interesting to see this series, but the episodes of it are hit or miss, just like any anthology series. So far, nine episodes have been released of the series (eight on Father Knows Best DVDs, and a ninth one on the Merry Sitcom! DVD from last year), and only four more remain to be released. Will all of them be on the sixth season release? I hope so!

It would be nice to see some more cast featurettes on the sixth season. Apparently, the producer of these sets is looking into including the reunion movies on the release of the sixth season (when/if that happens), so that’ll be a nice thing to see when that set is released!


Final Comments:

This is another great set, but it does present a few problems that the series didn’t have on the releases of seasons 2-4. I’m not sure why the video and audio quality declined on this set, nor do I know why the one syndicated episode made it into this set. Still, it is great to see that this series is being continued on DVD, even if it is as a Shout! Select title. This is a series that I typically ignored in syndication, and I regret doing so, as I’m finding myself become a huge fan of it through DVDs. It is a great family sitcom that gives a great perspective on family life in the 50s, even if it is through rose colored lenses.

I can’t wait to see the final season on DVD. Let’s hope that Shout! Factory knows best and gives us an excellent set to finish off the series!


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

Video Quality: 3.5/5
Audio Quality: 3.5/5
Special Features: 1/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 10/02/10

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