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Leave it to Beaver - The Complete Second Season


TITLE: LEAVE IT TO BEAVER - THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON


Info:

DVD Release Date: May 2, 2006 (Universal Studios Home Entertainment)
B&W/1958-1959
MSRP: $49.98
Number of Discs: 3 (double-sided)
Number of Episodes: 39
Running Time: 1009 minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: N/A
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English subtitles
Special Features: None


Introduction:

Beaver is back! One of the greatest family sitcoms—not to mention the show that DEFINED the "perfect" family—is back for its second season on DVD, just months after the release of the first season, in a three-disc box set from Universal Studios Home Entertainment.

The second season of the show isn't much different from the first season, although the second season does mark the shows move from CBS to ABC. Still, the characters are all the same: there's Ward (Hugh Beaumont) and June (Barbara Billingsley), who happen to be the PERFECT parents, there's older brother Wally (Tony Dow), and of course, the show just wouldn't be complete without Theodore Cleaver himself, aka Beaver (Jerry Mathers).


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

This set has a whopping 39 episodes (twice as many episodes as a season of a show today!) of the show, yet still, there are too many great and memorable episodes to truly make a "best of" list for the season. But, in the interest of being somewhat brief, I'll try to. The season begins with "Beaver's Poem," where Beaver has to write a poem for school, and then Ward helps him a little bit... then a little bit more... and a little bit more... and keeps on helping him until Beaver's poem becomes Ward's work. In "Eddie's Girl," Eddie claims to have a girlfriend, but the girl that he thinks is his girlfriend is actually more interested in Wally! Beaver's newest friend in "Beaver and Chuey" only speaks Spanish, so Eddie (who just happens to be taking Spanish in school) decides to teach Beaver a phrase to tell his new friend—except Eddie knows that what he is telling Beaver to tell Chuey is actually an insult! In "The Shave," all of Wally's friends are shaving, and Wally wants to prove to the other guys that he has to shave too—leave it to Ward to help him prove it. Larry and Beaver decide to try smoking in "The Pipe," but they don't jump into tobacco right away, they start out by smoking coffee grounds! Wally convinces Ward and June to let him shop for a new suit on his own in "Wally's New Suit," but what will they do when he picks out the tackiest one he can find?

On Disc 2, in "Beaver Plays Hooky," Beaver and Larry believe that it is a better idea to just skip school than to be tardy one more time, which seems to work out fine until they accidentally appear on live television. Wally becomes concerned about his pug nose after a girl he likes notices it in "Wally's Pug Nose." After being disciplined (well, not quite) by Ward, Beaver decides to go to an adoption agency to find new parents in "Beaver Gets Adopted." Beaver decides to go into Mrs. Rayburn's office after school to find the legendary (and non-existent) spanking machine that she has in "Price of Fame."

Finally, on Disc 3, Beaver gets a new sweater in "Beaver's Sweater," but somebody else in the class has the same sweater, and it's Judy! Wally has a new hairstyle in "Wally's Haircomb," but Ward and June aren't too pleased about it. Larry and Beaver are in charge of a cookie fund in "The Cookie Fund," but what will they do when they are conned out of three dollars? In "Found Money," Larry's mother refuses to give him money to go to the carnival, so Larry decides to go to the carnival with money he "finds," as in finding some of his own mother's money that HE threw out the window!


Packaging:

The packaging for this season is somewhat like the packaging used for the first season (the standard box release), but it is not exactly the same. This time, instead of a white box, we have a blue box, with a picture of Beaver on the front (a different picture than the one used for the first season) and a picture of the entire Cleaver family on the back. The first season was missing any indication on the side that it was the first season, but this time, the box clearly says on the spin "The Complete Second Season." The cardboard used on the box this time is a little more flimsy than the box that was used for the first season, but that isn't a major deal. Once again, the set uses slim cases, also in the blue color scheme, with the same artwork that is on the front of the box. The back of each slim case includes not only a listing of each episode on each disc, but also a brief description of the episode. As for the discs themselves, they are two sided, so there isn't any disc artwork. Episodes 40-46 are contained on Disc 1/Side A, 47-53 are on Disc 1/Side B, 54-60 are on Disc 2/Side A, 61-67 are on Disc 2/Side B, 68-74 are on Disc 3/Side A, and finally, 75-78 are on Disc 3/Side B.


Menu Design and Navigation:

Like the packaging, the menus are mostly the same as the menus from the first season, but there are some changes. When the main menu comes up, you are greeted with the options of Episode Index, Languages, and Play All, with the theme song playing in the background. To go along with the box art, the menus are all in a blue color scheme. The Episode Index menu takes you to a menu where, well, you select episodes. And once you select the episode, the episode plays IMMEDIATELY. There is no episode menu this time with an episode description; you'll have to rely on the back of each slim case this time. Chapters were missing in season one (and chapters seem to be a big problem with Universal DVD sets lately in general), but much to my surprise, this set includes chapters placed at all of the appropriate places (after the opening credits, midway through the episode, and just before the closing credits). And additionally, that annoying 22 second Universal logo that plagued season one is gone this time (although a few episodes mysteriously have a short NBC Universal logo at the END of the episode), so once you start the episode, the episode itself begins playing.


Video and Audio Quality:

These episodes are from the 1958-1959 season, so if you are expecting high-definition video and audio quality, you'll be TERRIBLY disappointed. However, if you are realistic and understand that the show is very old and isn't going to be perfect, you'll be happy with this set, because the video and audio quality looks much better than just decent. It is obvious that the video has been cleaned up to an extent, and the audio (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono for the audio geeks out there) is perfectly fine. There is still some dust and debris here and there, but what can you expect from a show that is nearly 50 years old? The episodes aren't closed-captioned, but English subtitles are available. The first season included Spanish subtitles also, but they aren't there this time.

Update: It appears that the audio is a bit out of sync in the episode "Wally's Haircomb." We've heard this from multiple people.

The episodes all run between 25:30 and 26:00, although one is a little shorter; however, it is still roughly 25 minutes long, so I hardly think there is any reason to be concerned. The disc breakdown and runtimes of the episodes are as follows:

Disc 1/Side A:
40. Beaver's Poem (25:51)
41. Eddie's Girl (25:54)
42. Ward's Problem (25:48)
43. Beaver and Chuey (25:47)
44. The Lost Watch (25:48)
45. Her Idol (25:55)
46. Beaver's Ring (25:47)

Disc 1/Side B:
47. The Shave (25:48)
48. The Pipe (25:55)
49. Wally's New Suit (25:54)
50. School Play (25:46)
51. The Visiting Aunts (25:50)
52. Happy Weekend (25:59)
53. Wally's Present (25:48)

Disc 2/Side A:
54. The Grass Is Always Greener (25:48)
55. The Boat Builders (25:53)
56. Beaver Plays Hooky (25:43)
57. The Garage Painters (25:54)
58. Wally's Pug Nose (25:51)
59. Beaver's Pigeons (25:31)
60. The Tooth (25:55)

Disc 2/Side B:
61. Beaver Gets Adopted (25:51)
62. The Haunted House (25:53)
63. The Bus Ride (25:56)
64. Beaver and Gilbert (25:54)
65. Price of Fame (25:55)
66. A Horse Named Nick (25:50)
67. Beaver's Hero (25:53)

Disc 3/Side A:
68. Beaver Says Good-Bye (25:34)
69. Beaver's Newspaper (25:23)
70. Beaver's Sweater (24:54)
71. Friendship (25:55)
72. Dance Contest (25:53)
73. Wally's Haircomb (25:35)
74. The Cookie Fund (25:53)

Disc 3/Side B:
75. Forgotten Party (25:55)
76. Beaver the Athlete (25:50)
77. Found Money (25:52)
78. Most Interesting Character (25:56)


Special Features:

There are no special features on the set. Most of the stars of the show are still alive and very willing to talk about the show, so Universal ought to take advantage of this and use them for interviews, or better yet, commentaries. Other footage would be nice too, but considering how old the show is, it would probably be very difficult to track down such footage.

There are trailers on Disc 1/Side A for the movie "Nanny McPhee" (I've never seen it, but it looks like a pretty bad movie), as well as a preview for Universal's various sitcom releases of shows from the 80s.


Final Comments:

This is such a great show to watch! I don't know how anybody could not love this show. I'm not a huge fan of too many of the family sitcoms of the 1950s and early 1960s, but this show is just so much different from the rest and very enjoyable—I love watching these episodes over and over again! You can always watch Leave it to Beaver on TV Land, but these DVDs make the experience much more enjoyable, because there is always so much missing from the episodes on TV Land, and they just look better on the DVD set. I would like to see more special features next time, but aside from that, Universal did a fine job on this set. It is definitely worth buying and even worth saving for if your weekly allowance is (much like Beaver's) measured in cents.


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

Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 05/12/06

To purchase the DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000EGDANO/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

Questions or comments about this set? Post on our message board:

http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=172279


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