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Leave it to Beaver - Season Three


TITLE: LEAVE IT TO BEAVER - SEASON THREE


Info:

DVD Release Date: June 15, 2010 (Shout! Factory)
B&W/1959-1960
MSRP: $39.97
Number of Discs: 6
Number of Episodes: 39
Running Time: approx. 17 hours
Runtime of Special Features: approx. 1 hour, 42 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; Closed-captioned
Special Features: Audio Interview with Jerry Mathers and Frank Bank from Shokus Internet Radio's Stu's Show


Introduction:

From creators Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher come the comedic tales of young Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver and his priceless experiences on Pine Street. Join Beaver, his brother Wally and their friends as they learn the meaning of childhood, growing up and the value of family through it all.

All 39 episodes of the third hilarious season of the quintessential TV classic Leave it to Beaver are presented like you've never seen them before: completely restored and remastered from brand-new high-definition transfers of the original film elements.


Episodes:

Wally is appointed chairman of the blind date committee for a Saturday night dance and ends up with only one girl on his list and no idea how to go about assigning her an escort in "Blind Date Committee." With the sitter unable to come to the Cleavers' house while Ward and June are away overnight, Wally steps up to watch over Beaver, with disastrous results in "Beaver Takes a Bath." Beaver is suspended from riding the bus to school after he breaks the new rules in "School Bus." Unable to resist the allure of a double bill at the Mayfield Theatre, Beaver sneaks away from his house while serving out his most recent punishment in "Beaver's Prize." June submits a photo of Beaver to Miss Landers' class baby picture contest in "Baby Picture." Beaver's obsession with his father's old pedometer - and honor - intensifies when he makes a bet with Whitey that he can walk as much as 20 miles in a single day in "Beaver Takes a Walk." Beaver and Larry find themselves in trouble with the law after a rowboat they're loaned at the lake turns out to be stolen in "Borrowed Boat."

Moved by Miss Landers' poetry reading, Beaver takes it upon himself to go back to his old home to reclaim and care for a tree once given to him for his birthday in "Beaver's Tree." Wanting to do something nice for Beaver's favorite teacher, June and Ward invite Miss Landers to dinner in "Teacher Comes to Dinner." Beaver and Larry go looking for luck around every corner after a fortune-telling machine delivers them a very positive prediction in "Beaver's Fortune." Beaver becomes a bitter debt collector after a simple 25-cent loan to Larry keeps him from being able to see a movie, severely driving a wedge between the two best friends in "Beaver Makes a Loan." A simple magic trick gets the better of Beaver when he and Larry convince Benjie Bellamy that Beaver's been transformed into a rock in "Beaver, the Magician." Beaver's feeling are hurt when the "exquisite" birthday present he buys for his mother's birthday is hidden, rather than displayed proudly at the Mothers Club tea. Jean Vander Pyl plays of the Mothers Club members.

Beaver's going into the chinchilla business in "Tire Trouble." Larry informs Beaver of his plans to run away to Mexico after he's confined to his room as punishment for showing Beaver his sister's diary in "Larry Hides Out." Beaver finds himself in a bit of a pickle after he tells his class that he owns a talking parrot he saw at the pet shop on the way to school in "Pet Fair." Wally unwittingly foils Eddie and Lumpy's attempt to cheat on a test in "Wally's Test." When Beaver loses the copy of "Treasure Island" he checked out with Ward's library card, the overdue fees to accumulate in "Beaver's Library Book." Wally overzealousy dives headfirst into his sophomore class elections after a spirited pep talk from Ward in "Wally's Election." Ward has hired a nice old man named Andy to paint the house in "Beaver and Andy."

Beaver and Larry are forced to go to a series of dances by their parents in hopes that they will learn social graces in "Beaver's Dance." Beaver is invited to join Harold's secret club, "The Bloody Five," while Larry is excluded, prompting Larry to start his own rival club in "Larry's Club." Wally has a difficult time getting his letterman's sweater back from a flirtatious young girl at school after he loans it to her at a basketball game in "School Sweater." After watching a movie titled "The Mad Hypnotist," Beaver attempts to try it for himself in "The Hypnotist." Wally draws Alma Hanson as his date for an upcoming school picnic in "Wally and Alma." Beaver is granted permission to take his brand-new bike to school, but on the first day he takes it, it's "borrowed" by a boy who doesn't return it in "Beaver's Bike."

Wally is talked into buying an orchid for Myra, his pretty and sophisticated date for the spring dance in "Wally's Orchid." Beaver is punished after destroying Ward's autographed baseball and trying to pass off a new ball with signatures forged by Larry and himself in "Ward's Baseball." Beaver's not allowed to have a wild mouse as a pet, but what will Ward say when he brings home a new pet monkey in "Beaver's Monkey." Beaver is elated when the appreciative owner of a wallet he's found declares she'll send him the best present she can find as thanks in "Beaver Finds a Wallet." Beaver's class is assigned to write a composition on what their mothers did before they were married in "Mother's Day Composition." While on a joint family picnic with the Rutherfords, Beaver is annoyed by the constant flirtation form the Rutherfords' daughter Violet in "Beaver and Violet." Veronica Cartwright guest stars as Violet and Majel Barrett plays Gwen Rutherford. Wally is slated to attend a Saturday-night party with Eddie, but that morning Wally finds that Beaver has hung his jacket, pockets stuffed with minnows, in the closet next to his suit in "The Spot Removers."

Beaver submits his picture to a modeling agency's ad in a magazine and receives a letter stating that he is a top prospect in the modeling field in "Beaver, the Model." Wally gets a job selling "Igloo Bars" after school, but when he imprudently gives credit to a number of customers, he finds himself coming up a bit short in "Wally, the Businessman." Cheryl Holdridge appears as Gloria Cusick. Beaver learns that chivalry has its price when he reads the book "Ivanhoe" and becomes invested in becoming a courageous knight who protects women and the weak in "Beaver and Ivanhoe." Wally is voted into "The Crusaders," the high school letterman's club, and must perform a role in the annual "Crusaders' Follies" in "Wally's Play." A mix-up between gifts leads Beaver to believe June is playing a mean trick on him by getting a nylon slip as his end-of-school-year present to Miss Landers in "Last Day of School." Wally takes over coaching Beaver's football team, "The Lightning Eleven" in "Beaver's Team."

All of the episodes appear to be unedited, with running times of around 25-26 minutes. They are presented in their original broadcast order. The disc breakdown, original airdates and runtimes are as follows:

Disc 1
Blind Date Committee (10/03/59) (25:58)
Beaver Takes a Bath (10/10/59) (25:01)
School Bus (10/17/59) (25:58)
Beaver's Prize (10/24/59) (25:41)
Baby Picture (10/31/59) (25:57)
Beaver Takes a Walk (11/07/59) (24:55)
Borrowed Boat (11/14/59) (26:03)

Disc 2
Beaver's Tree (11/21/59) (24:58)
Teacher Comes to Dinner (11/28/59) (25:56)
Beaver's Fortune (12/05/59) (24:58)
Beaver Makes a Loan (12/12/59) (24:58)
Beaver, the Magician (12/19/59) (25:17)
June's Birthday (12/26/59) (25:58)

Disc 3
Tire Trouble (01/02/60) (24:56)
Larry Hides Out (01/09/60) (25:50)
Pet Fair (01/16/60) (25:55)
Wally's Test (01/23/60) (26:01)
Beaver's Library Book (01/30/60) (25:53)
Wally's Election (02/06/60) (26:00)
Beaver and Andy (02/13/60) (25:57)

Disc 4
Beaver's Dance (02/20/60) (25:52)
Larry's Club (02/27/60) (24:57)
School Sweater (03/05/60) (25:19)
The Hypnotist (03/12/60) (25:07)
Wally and Alma (03/19/60) (25:59)
Beaver's Bike (03/26/60) (25:36)

Disc 5
Wally's Orchid (04/02/60) (25:58)
Ward's Baseball (04/09/60) (25:43)
Beaver's Monkey (04/16/60) (25:54)
Beaver Finds a Wallet (04/23/60) (26:00)
Mother's Day Composition (04/30/60) (25:56)
Beaver and Violet (05/07/60) (25:20)
The Spot Removers (05/14/60) (25:56)

Disc 6
Beaver, the Model (05/21/60) (25:37)
Wally, the Businessman (05/28/60) (25:31)
Beaver and Ivanhoe (06/04/60) (25:57)
Wally's Play (06/11/60) (25:32)
Last Day of School (06/18/60) (24:56)
Beaver's Team (06/25/60) (25:36)


Packaging:

The 6-disc set contains all 39 episodes from the third (1959-60 season). The outer cardboard box has a black & white photo of Beaver and Wally. At the top of box, the show title logo is in various colors and the background is in various shades of green. It has a nice retro look. On the back of the outer cardboard box, there are 3 smaller photos: Beaver and Wally holding a barbell; Ward, June, the Beaver and Wally waving outside of the house; Ward kissing June on the forehead. A synopsis of the set, the bonus feature and the DVD specs are noted. The main clear plastic case slides out from the top or bottom of the cardboard box. It has the same photo of Wally and Beaver and same background color scheme. The back of the plastic case is also identical to the outer cardboard box. Inside the case, they managed to squeeze in all 6 discs. Disc 1 is an embedded holder on the front of the case. Discs 2-5 are held back-to-back in 2 plastic holders in the center of the case. Disc 6 is an embedded holder on the back of the case. A 12-page episode booklet is included that lists the episode titles by disc. They provide the writing and directing credits, original airdates and 1-2 sentence episode summaries. There are 8 small black & white photos sprinkled throughout the booklet. While the case is designed to take up minimal space, the episode booklet in my case arrived with multiple creases because of the cramped case. They could have used a little wider case. The discs have the same photo of the Beaver and Wally that is used throughout the set and the show title. They could have used some different photos for a little variety. Each disc holds 6-7 episodes. Disc 1 contains episodes 79-85, Disc 2 contains episodes 86-91, Disc 3 contains episodes 92-98, Disc 4 contains episodes 99-104, Disc 5 contains episodes 105-111, and finally, Disc 6 contains episodes 112-117.


Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus are simple and easy to navigate. It opens with the instrumental theme and the announcer from the opening intro credits enthusiastically saying "Leave it to Beaver". A shot of the house (the new one that they moved into for season 3) and the title logo is shown before transitioning to the main menu that has Leave it to Beaver written in the show font in the sidewalk cement background. After about 30 seconds the theme ends a bit abruptly, and it loops. I'm not sure why they just didn't use the full theme, but it's not too big of a deal. There are options for Play, Episodes, and Bonus Feature (only on Disc 1) written on the cement background. Three photos of Beaver and Wally fishing, Beaver on his bed with Larry eating an apple, and Ward, June and the Beaver in the hallway are on the right side of the screen. When you select Episodes, it takes you to a sub-menu where the episode titles are listed vertically on the sidewalk cement background with a fire hydrant, drawing of a girl or a manhole (it varies by disc) on the right side of the screen. You can also hear the instrumental theme on this menu. The episode you select is highlighted in white and turns light gray upon your selection. A Play All option is also available on this menu. When you first insert Disc 1, you can view the Shout! Factory Trailer Collection (3:35) for some of their other TV DVD releases or skip that to go the main menu. Chapters are placed appropriately throughout each episode.


Video and Audio Quality:

According to the packaging, these episodes were completely restored and remastered from brand-new high-definition transfers of the original film elements. Universal's Season 1 and 2 episodes generally looked pretty decent and watchable, but there's some noticeable improvement on Shout! Factory's Season 3 release. There is still some dust, dirt, debris and other digital artifacts, but it would be hard to imagine these episodes looking any better given their age of over 50 years. They've really cleaned them up for the best picture possible. Watch an episode on TV Land and compare it to the DVD and you'll immediately see the difference. The audio is a Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono track and is perfectly fine. I loved the instrumental background music that they used and thankfully all of the original music is included on this set. Closed-captioning is available on all of the episodes. The only closing logo is for Universal Television Distribution.


Special Features:

There is only one bonus feature, but it's a pretty good one. An audio interview with Jerry Mathers and Frank Bank from Shokus Interent Radio's "Stu's Show." This was originally recorded and broadcast on November 5, 2008. When you press play, you can hear the show in its entirety over four consecutive episodes on the disc, beginning with "Blind Date Committee." It's sort of like a commentary, but they won't be talking about anything that you are viewing on the screen.

The fun and entertaining interview, hosted by Shu Shostak, runs approximately 1 hour, 42 minutes (with no commercials). They cover a lot of different topics, with quite a bit of the program directly related to Leave it to Beaver. Some of the topics that they discuss in the first segment are Jerry's book, the friendships between the cast and crew, the death of Hugh Beaumont and his memorial, the role of Hugh and Barbara as teachers, the characters, The New Leave it Beaver TV movie and series, Jerry's life story, and Jerry and Frank's fathers and their upbringings. The next segment deals with Richard Correll, Jerry's modeling career, Jerry and Frank's early TV career, Jerry's Ozzie and Harriet appearance, Jerry working with Bob Hope, Jerry and Frank's meeting with Alfred Hitchcock, the "It's a Small World" pilot episode and the casting process and how the role of Wally eventually went to Tony Dow. Then they talk about the early years of the show, Jerry's dyslexia, their studies, why June wore pearls and high heels, the shooting process, why the sidewalks were always wet, the sponsorships, the move from CBS to ABC, shooting commercials, going to a certain place for lunch, and their favorite episodes. For about the last 10 minutes or so, they take some listener calls and they talk about Jerry's favorite TV shows, the show creators Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher, the end of the series and a few other bits of trivia.

New and old fans of the show will be sure to learn some new interesting facts out of this interview. Jerry and Frank both have some good stories to share about their TV careers and time on Leave it to Beaver. Both of them have written books, so you might look for those for more information on their lives. For many more audio interviews with classic TV stars and other people in the industry, you can visit Shokus Internet Radio. Tony Dow, Ken Osmond, Frank Bank and Shout! Factory DVD Producer Brian Ward will be on Stu's Show on Shokus Internet Radio on Wednesday, June 23 from 7-9pm ET/4-6pm PT to share their memories of the show and discuss the upcoming June 29 DVD release of Leave it to Beaver - The Complete Series.

If you want more special features, they will be on The Complete series set. They include the following: "It's a Small World" pilot episode (it was also included on Universal's Season 1 release), Forever the Beaver: The Cleavers Look Back featurette, Ken Osmond and Frank Bank Remember featurette, The Drum Major of the Toy Parade featurette, Six episodes of Shokus Interernet Radio's Stu's Show with the cast, Special Film for the U.S. Treasury featuring the Cleavers and Original Network Promos. The bonus disc won't be sold separately, so buying the complete series boxed set will be the only way to get them.


Final Comments:

Leave it to Beaver is finally back on DVD! It has been over 4 years since Universal released the second season. Things looked so promising at the time. The first two seasons were released within a 5-6 month period. Then Universal gave the Beaver the business and the seasons stopped. Months turned into years. In early 2010, Shout! Factory had announced they acquired the licensing for the show and would be releasing the remaining series a complete boxed sets. Leave it to Beaver fans from around the world celebrated the news.

Season three was a strong one in the run of the series. The boys were getting older and getting into more mischief. Their friends like Larry, Whitey, Richard, Gilbert, Eddie and Lumpy became even more involved. It's such a great family show that still holds up today. This set is a very good one and priced affordably for the number of episodes (39) that are included. It's a joy to watch these episodes unedited for the first time. TV Land edits 3-4 minutes out of each episode, so there are many scenes that I've never seen before. The video quality on these DVDs is also a noticeable improvement over what you see in syndication and on Universal's Season 1-2 releases.

For the ultimate Leave it to Beaver fan, Shout! Factory will be releasing the Complete Series on June 29. The monster 37-disc set will contain all 234 episodes from the 6 seasons. It will also have some extensive bonus features that will be exclusive to that release. Look for our review for that boxed set soon. If you prefer to buy individual seasons, Season Four, with the classic "In the Soup" episode, will be released on September 14. Gee Wally, that's swell!


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

Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 1.5/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 06/20/10

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

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B001992NZG/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

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

http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=268561


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