Release Date: November 4, 2013 (Warner Archive Collection)
Packaging: Viva Case
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 29
Running Time: 716 minutes
Running Time of Features: N/A
Audio: English Mono
Subtitles and Captioning: None
Special Features: None
In the fourth season of Alice, Flo got one last (well, almost last... more on that a bit later) "stow it" from the mouth of Mel Sharples as she left Mel's Diner once and for all. Although she is headed to Houston, she lands in Fort Worth, where she grew up, and buys a rundown roadhouse which she names Flo's Yellow Rose. Without Mel, Alice, and Vera in her life, she now has to deal with a true nightmare: her own family, including Mama (Sudie Bond), sister Fran (Lucy Lee Flippin), and the regulars at the Yellow Rose. While initially a ratings success in a short six episode first season, that success didn't carry over into the second season, which made the show largely fade into the memories of fans... that is, until now, as Warner Archive has released all 29 episodes of this classic series on DVD.
The series kicks off with "Homecoming," where Flo is headed to a great new job in Houston, but getting held over in her hometown of Fort Worth ends with her buying a rundown roadhouse. Earl faces a fight at the Yellow Rose in "Showdown at the Yellow Rose." In "Happy Birthday, Mama," Mama's surprise party includes one of Mama's old boyfriends. Flo gets into a bit of a competitive spirit in "Take My Sister, Please." In "The Reunion," Flo may have the chance to escape Cowtown once and for all.
The second season begins with "The Enemy Below," where a smelly guest threatens Flo and her business. Farley becomes zoning commissioner in "Farley, the People's Choice." A crazy miner is after Flo in "Bull is Back in Town." In the two-part episode "A Castleberry Thanksgiving," where Flo brings together the entire family for the perfect Thanksgiving dinner... but things don't go as perfect as planned when Daddy (guest star Forrest Tucker) shows up. Flo goes out of the way to keep Mariam's marriage intact in "Willoughby vs. Willoughby." In "So Long, Shorty," the perfect funeral takes place... but where it takes place is a bit unusual. Randy leaves home (but lands in the back room of the Yellow Rose) in "Deserted Islands." In "The Miracle of Casa de Huevos," Flo becomes a miracle worker on Christmas. In "Grey Escape," Flo and Fran have to deal with a runaway situation.
Flo does some matchmaking for Fran in "Not With My Sister, You Don't," but it doesn't go as planned. Flo can't pay her rent, and her home ends up being wheeled away in the two-part episode "The Price of Avocados." In "Gunsmoke at the Yellow Rose," Flo fantasizes about the Yellow Rose from a 1880s perspective. The series is about to fade out by the time the episode "What Are Friends For?" airs, but maybe a little visit from Mel (Vic Tayback) can help bring back the ratings. In "Just What the Doctor Ordered," obtaining Flo's birth certificate (which contains her real age) gives Earl the perfect opportunity for blackmail.
Hoyt Axton (who would later appear with Holliday in Gremlins) guest stars in "You Gotta Have Hoyt." Flo has an experience with a UFO in "Flo's Encounter of the Third Kind." George Lindsey guest stars as (what else?) a gas station owner in "No Men's Land," and he is about to file a lawsuit against Flo over her restrooms. The series ends with "The Daynce," where Flo flirts with high society.
The episodes are presumably unedited, with runtimes as follows:
1. "Homecoming" (24:33)
2. "Showdown at the Yellow Rose" (24:44)
3. "Happy Birthday, Mama" (24:50)
4. "Take My Sister, Please" (24:40)
5. "The Hero of Flo's Yellow Rose" (24:47)
6. "The Reunion" (24:46)
7. "The Enemy Below" (23:40)
8. "Farley, the People's Choice" (24:10)
9. "Bull is Back in Town" (24:55)
10. "A Castleberry Thanksgiving (Part 1)" (24:49)
11. "A Castleberry Thanksgiving (Part 2)" (24:44)
12. "Willoughby vs. Willoughby" (24:45)
13. "So Long, Shorty" (24:57)
14. "Deserted Islands" (24:54)
15. "The Miracle of Casa de Huevos" (24:36)
16. "Grey Escape" (24:38)
17. "Pretty Baby" (24:51)
18. "Not With My Sister, You Don't" (24:54)
19. "The Price of Avocados (Part 1)" (24:39)
20. "The Price of Avocados (Part 1)" (24:58)
21. "Welcome to the Club" (24:55)
22. "Gunsmoke at the Yellow Rose" (24:55)
23. "What Are Friends For?" (24:02)
24. "Just What the Doctor Ordered" (23:57)
25. "Footsie" (24:04)
26. "You Gotta Have Hoyt" (23:56)
27. "Flo's Encounter of the Third Kind" (24:05)
28. "No Men's Land" (23:59)
29. "The Daynce" (24:03)
The set comes packaged in a standard Viva case. On the cover, we have a photo of the cast inside the Yellow Rose (honestly, it isn't the best picture for cover art, but it'll do), with the series logo above it and "The Complete Series" written inside of a ring that appears to be left from a coffee cup, which is a nice effect. There are a few episode photos on the back, along with a description of the series. Inside the case, you'll find the four discs, all of which have the series logo and a list of episodes printed on each disc. And, as is usual with most recent Warner Archive multi disc releases, early copies of this set are presented on pressed DVDs as opposed to DVD-R discs.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The main menu on the each disc is the only menu that you'll find on the set. It has a photo of Flo, along with a listing of episodes and a Play All option. Once you select an episode, it plays immediately. There are chapters throughout each episode.
Video and Audio Quality:
The video quality on the set is about on par with the Alice releases from the same era (which is to be expected), although somehow, these episodes look a little bit better at times. Honestly, even though nobody would call these perfect, the episodes look rather nice for a series that has mostly remained on the shelves for over three decades. The audio is a rather boring mono track, but it certainly does the job. The episodes lack closed-captioning and subtitles.
There are no special features on this set. It would have been nice to have seen Polly Holliday give some sort of brief interview or something on this set.
I am simply amazed that we are able to see this series on DVD, at all! It took a very long time for Alice to arrive on DVD, and given the ways of Warner in the pre-Warner Archive days, I always assumed this series never stood a chance to see the light of day on DVD... yet we finally have it! Better yet, they've put together a set that is essentially flawless. With this set, we now have every single appearance of Flo Castleberry on this show and Alice on DVD. Although I've seen sporadic episodes of the series over the years, this is my first chance to actually sit down and enjoy it, and honestly it is a rather decent series that was forced to live in the shadow of Alice. I was pleasantly surprised to find how well the character of Flo stands on her own, in her own environment, as the star. In fact, the character seems even better as the star. Hopefully, we'll continue to see more of Alice (even though it will have no Flo) on DVD to follow up this release.