DVD Release Date: May 15, 2012 (Shout! Factory)
Color / 1963-1964
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 32
Running Time: Approx. 798 minutes
Running Time of Features: N/A
Audio: English mono
Subtitles and Captioning: None
Special Features: None
The maid of the year is back on DVD with Hazel - The Complete Third Season! There was a long five year between the first and second seasons, but it only took a few months to get season three, and here, we get all 32 episodes of the 1963-1964 season in a four disc set.
Much like Screen Gems earlier successful series, Dennis the Menace, Hazel is yet another series based upon a comic strip, though Hazel ran in the Saturday Evening Post in the 1960s, and to this day, continues on to this day as a daily syndicated single panel comic through King Features (though good luck finding it in your local newspaper, it isn't widely distributed). The series takes Ted Key's creation, along with the Baxter family, and places them in a weekly sitcom, which aired for five seasons--four on NBC, then the final season as a retooled sitcom (with a new cast) on CBS. In this four disc set, we get the "middle" batch of episodes of this classic series.
The season begins with "Pot Luck à la Mode," where George fears Hazel and one of his clients may cause trouble. George tries to "tone down" Hazel in "An Example for Hazel." In "Dorothy Takes a Trip," Hazel is keeping an eye on George while his wife is out of town. Hazel gives George a desk, which may or may not have belonged to Abraham Lincoln, in "You Ain't Fully Dressed Without a Smile." Hazel has to cheer up George in "Cheerin' Up Mr. B." In "Piccolo Mondo," Hazel's boyfriend acts as an interpreter for George's business deal. Hazel gets involved in a feud of football owners in "Hazel Scores a Touchdown." In "George's 32nd Cousin," a distant cousin moves in, and Hazel can't wait to get rid of her.
Hazel and George help when a law student's wife is expecting in "The Baby Came C.O.D." Hazel is out to help poor children in "All Hazel is Divided Into Three Parts." In "The Vanishing Hero," Harold's image of his father as a hero is shattered by a visiting athlete. Hazel causes problems between George and Mr. Griffin in "Call Me Harve." Hazel persuades Mr. Griffin to hire their financially troubled neighbor in "The Retiring Milkman." Hazel helps a boy get into the Boy Scouts in "Hazel's Nest Egg." In "Hazel and the Halfback," Hazel will do anything to get Frank Gifford (yes, the one and only) attend her bowling exhibition. Hazel buys a new (very used) car in "Hazel and the Model T."
Hazel meddles in matchmaking for about the millionth time in "Hot Potato à la Hazel." In the two-part episode "Scheherezade and Her Frying Pan," Hazel takes a trip to California to visit her friend, who happens to be working as a maid for a powerful gangster. Hazel fills in for Dorothy in a fashion show in "The Fashion Show." In "George's Ordeal," Hazel makes a little bet... on George losing ten pounds. Dorothy faces a lawsuit in "The Reluctant Witness," and guess who is called upon to testify against her? Hazel is out to get a raise, again, in "Democracy at Work." In "The Countess," Hazel finds out that she may not only be coming into a lot of money, but may also be a countess.
Hazel meddles when George is trying to get a wealthy socialite to donate his art collection to a museum in "Hazel's Midas Touch." In "Everybody's a Comedian," George suggests that Hazel needs glasses, something which she refuses to believe. Hazel gets an opportunity to be in a cake commercial in "All Mixed Up." Hazel has to interfere when an Italian girl is trying to keep her snooty mother-in-law from taking her baby when her husband goes into the army in "Arrivederci, Mr. B." George has misgivings about the new handyman in "Such a Nice Little Man." In "The Campaign Manager," Hazel wants George to run for city council. Hazel and the Baxters assist at an Italian restaurant when the owner's wife is pregnant in "Let's Get Away From it All." The season ends with "Maid for a Day," where Hazel offers to coach George's sister when she is offered a role of a maid in a play.
Almost all of the episodes on the set are unedited, but unfortunately, there is one on the set which definitely appears to be a syndicated version. The episode "Campaign Manager" runs at 22:40, almost three minutes shorter than the other episodes, and is missing the opening teaser. The remaining episodes all run at 25:30, though a few run about 10 seconds shorter. I don't think there is anything to worry about with those episodes, though, because the shorter ones actually have the original closing credits intact, and I'm guessing that the missing 10 seconds is some sort of Ford promo tag. Runtimes for all of the episodes are as follows:
1. "Pot Luck à la Mode" (25:30)
2. "An Example for Hazel" (25:29)
3. "Dorothy Takes a Trip" (25:31)
4. "You Ain't Fully Dressed Without a Smile" (25:30)
5. "Cheerin' Up Mr. B." (25:31)
6. "Piccolo Mondo" (25:22)
7. "Hazel Scores a Touchdown" (25:31)
8. "George's 32nd Cousin" (25:22)
9. "The Baby Came C.O.D." (25:31)
10. "All Hazel is Divided Into Three Parts" (25:30)
11. "The Vanishing Hero" (25:30)
12. "Call Me Harve" (25:31)
13. "The Retiring Milkman" (25:29)
14. "Hazel's Nest Egg" (25:20)
15. "Hazel and the Halfback" (25:31)
16. "Hazel and the Model T" (25:31)
17. "Hot Potato à la Hazel" (25:31)
18. "Scheherezade and Her Frying Pan (Part 1)" (25:27)
19. "Scheherezade and Her Frying Pan (Part 2)" (25:28)
20. "The Fashion Show" (25:28)
21. "George's Ordeal" (25:30)
22. "The Reluctant Witness" (25:28)
23. "Democracy at Work" (25:31)
24. "The Countess" (25:33)
25. "Hazel's Midas Touch" (25:30)
26. "Everybody's a Comedian" (25:32)
27. "All Mixed Up" (25:29)
28. "Arrivederci, Mr. B." (25:27)
29. "Such a Nice Little Man" (25:24)
30. "Campaign Manager" (22:40)
31. "Get Away from it All" (25:30)
32. "Maid for a Day" (25:26)
Like most recent releases from Shout! Factory, the set comes packaged in a standard Viva case. On the cover, there is a photo of Hazel with a bunch of flowers on a pink background. The back of the Viva case has a brief description of the season, along with a family snapshot and a few episode snapshots. Inside, there are four discs, each containing eight episodes, which have the same artwork as the cover art. There is also a listing of episodes inside the case, along with original airdates and descriptions.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus on the set are very basic. The main menu has the same artwork as the cover art, with options of Play All and Episodes. The theme song plays in the background. Clicking on Episodes takes you to another menu, with the same picture of Hazel, where all of the episodes are listed. Once you select an episode, it plays immediately. Chapters are placed throughout each episode.
Video and Audio Quality:
Before I go into this set specifically, there is a little bit of history which needs to be said about the second season, and the reaction which that caused. After the release of the second season, there was a huge outcry about the "awful" quality of the video and audio on the episodes. Negative reviews by customers were posted all over sites like amazon.com and angry fans flooded Shout! Factory's online message boards, and people reported having to return them because the episodes were "unwatchable." Personally, I feel that those criticisms were not just a bit extreme, but in fact a major over-dramatization. I'm not sure exactly what fans were expecting, but these episodes are nearly 50 years old and this was one of the first sitcoms to air in color. Considering what we have here, these episodes actually look pretty decent.
With all that being said, the video and audio quality of the episodes isn't perfect. There is grain and debris, and yes, you'll find more in some episodes than in others, but it is never something to be deeply concerned about. The colors are clearer and more vivid than most other series that aired in color in the 1963-1964 season which means, no, it isn't as bright and colorful as the latest episode of any series on any of the major networks, but given the time in which it was done, it looks fine for the most part. The only real problem is that some of the episodes have black level issues, which are a bit annoying, but I'd hardly classify that as unwatchable.. The audio is fine, but not perfect, with a very dull mono track which has varying levels throughout the set, but everything is audible. The only real shortcoming is the lack of subtitles or closed-captioning on the set.
There are no special features once again. Even something like original sponsor openings would be great.
It is great to see Shout! moving ahead with this series, and hopefully we'll get all the way through the series, as there are only two seasons to go after this one. It really is a shame that one of the episodes on the set ended up being an edited episode (there is no positive way to spin that), and considering the uproar over the alleged "poor video quality" on the last set, I would imagine that fans are going to be in an uproar yet again over the edited episode. Hopefully, though, Shout! will go to greater lengths (I'm not necessarily assuming that they didn't this time) to obtain all unedited episodes for subsequent releases.
All in all, this is a decent, though not perfect, release of the series, and I think that fans of this series, as well as fans of other classic series of the era will enjoy this set. If you haven't seen the series, it is a mainstay on Antenna TV (if it is available in your area) to check out before you buy it... but regardless, it has all of the qualities of a vintage sitcom of the early '60s.