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Leave it to Beaver - Season Four


TITLE: LEAVE IT TO BEAVER - SEASON FOUR


Info:

Release Date: September 14, 2010 (Shout! Factory)
Color / 1960 - 1961
MSRP: $39.99
Packaging: Viva pack
Number of Discs: 6
Number of Episodes: 39
Running Time: 1020 minutes
Running Time of Features: N/A
Audio: English mono
Subtitles and Captioning: Closed-captioned
Special Features: Audio Interview with Tony Dow from Shokus Internet Radio Stu’s Show


Introduction:

June, Ward, Wally, and of course, the Beaver, are back for another season of Leave it to Beaver, with Shout! Factory’s release of Season Four of Leave it to Beaver. All 39 episodes of the 1960-1961 season of the classic sitcom are presented in the six disc set, beautifully remastered and unedited. Ward and the Beaver are getting older, for sure, but they are still very much children who get in to trouble over the silliest things. But everything always works out with the cool temperament of parents Ward and June, in the fourth season of Leave it to Beaver!


Episodes:

Season four begins with Beaver having a slight eating disorder in “Beaver Won’t Eat,” but don’t worry, he just refuses to eat Brussels sprouts. Beaver thinks that it would be great for Ward and June to get a divorce when his newest friend has divorced parents in “Beaver’s Houseguest.” Wally has a job at the pool in “Wally, the Lifeguard,” but it isn’t as a lifeguard as he leads Beaver to believe. Beaver wants to remove his freckles in “Beaver’s Freckles.” Move over, Gary Coleman, because Beaver wants control of his own money too when Ward and June want to sell the sports car that he wins in “Beaver’s Big Contest.”

Beaver is worried that he is going to fail in “Beaver’s I.Q.,” but the results turn out to be more surprising than expected. Beaver loses little Chuckie in “Chuckie’s New Shoes.” In “Beaver and Kenneth,” Beaver has a new friend who keeps giving him gifts, but as it turns out, the gifts were obtained using a five finger discount! Beaver gets a five-day trial on an accordion in “Beaver’s Accordion,” but what’ll happen when he doesn’t send it back? John Hoyt (Gimme a Break!) guest stars.

Uncle Billy could be coming to town in “Uncle Billy,” but he might disappoint Beaver and Wally by not showing up. Edgar Buchanan guest stars. Wally is dating his teacher’s daughter in “Teacher’s Daughter,” but is suddenly worried that he may fail her class when he breaks up with her. Beaver thinks Ward can easily become a millionaire in “Ward’s Millions.” In “Beaver’s Secret Life,” Beaver has a secret diary, but his wild stories in it shock June and Ward read his fictional accounts that he writes. Beaver gets to spend the weekend with an old friend in “Beaver’s Old Buddy,” but they get tired of each other very quickly. Beaver gets his tonsils removed in “Beaver’s Tonsils.”

There is a contest scandal in “The Big Fish Count” when Eddie leaks the answer to a contest to Lumpy. Wally falls in love, and it is destroying his entire life in “Mother’s Helper.” Beaver is thrilled to be part of the drama club in “The Dramatic Club,” that is until he has to kiss a girl on stage. Eddie is spending the night with the Cleavers in “Eddie Spends the Night,” but don’t expect him to be in any form than what he is usually in.

Beaver raises his grade from a “D” to a “B” with a little help from Eddie Haskell in “Beaver’s Report Card,” but the improvement isn’t a result of extra studying. Beaver decides to make a funny face for the camera in “The School Picture.” Beaver becomes a true hustler when he marks up the price of a 50 cent rat that he sells to Violet Rutherford in “Beaver’s Rat.” Beaver has a little accident with a giant soup cup on a billboard in the episode “In The Soup.” Lee Meriwether guest stars in “Community Chest,” where Beaver loses money that June asked him to collect.

Beaver is elected junior fire chief of his class in “Junior Fire Chief,” but his ego gets the best of him almost immediately. Beaver and Gilbert start a lawn-mowing business in “Beaver Goes in Business,” but a slow start leads them to take more direct approach to attracting business. Beaver pushes a doll stroller down the street in “Beaver’s Doll Buggy,” which proves to be difficult on him in the end. With Ward away for a little while, Wally becomes the man of the house--and the person filling the role of Beaver’s father--in “Substitute Father.”

All of the episodes on the set appear to be unedited, running at around 25 to 26 minutes per episode. Runtimes are as follows:

Disc 1:
“Beaver Won’t Eat” (25:13)
“Beaver’s House Guest” (25:03)
“Beaver Becomes a Hero” (25:49)
“Wally, the Lifeguard” (25:50)
“Beaver’s Freckles” (25:49)
“Beaver’s Big Contest” (25:51)
“Miss Landers’ Fiancé” (25:51)

Disc 2:
“Eddie’s Double-Cross” (25:33)
“Beaver’s I.Q.” (25:55)
“Wally’s Glamour Girl” (25:53)
“Chuckie’s New Shoes” (25:30)
“Beaver and Kenneth” (25:38)
“Beaver’s Accordion” (25:51)

Disc 3:
“Uncle Billy” (25:55)
“Teacher’s Daughter” (25:52)
“Ward’s Millions” (25:52)
“Beaver’s Secret Life” (25:55)
“Wally’s Track Meet” (25:43)
“Beaver’s Old Buddy” (25:54)
“Beaver’s Tonsils” (25:51)

Disc 4:
“The Big Fish Count” (25:52)
“Beaver’s Poster” (25:52)
“Mother’s Helper” (25:51)
“The Dramatic Club” (25:52)
“Wally and Dudley” (25:50)
“Eddie Spends the Night” (25:53)

Disc 5:
“Beaver’s Report Card” (25:52)
“Mistaken Identity” (25:51)
“Wally’s Dream Girl” (25:51)
“The School Picture” (25:53)
“Beaver’s Rat” (25:52)
“In the Soup” (25:32)
“Community Chest” (25:48)

Disc 6:
“Junior Fire Chief” (25:47)
“Beaver’s Frogs” (25:52)
“Beaver Goes In Business” (25:55)
“Kite Day” (25:51)
“Beaver’s Doll Buggy” (25:52)
“Substitute Father” (25:52)


Packaging:

This set was produced at the same time as Season Three, so as one would expect, the packaging style is basically identical to that set (and presumably, the final two seasons will be the same). Basically, the set comes in a standard Viva pack containing six discs. This set has an overall green color scheme with a black and white image of Beaver holding a football on the front of the package. The back of the package has a few black and white snapshots and some very basic information about the series. It appears that Shout! Factory did not include an outer sleeve for the series this time as they did with Season Three. Inside, the six discs all have the same artwork (the same picture of Beaver seen on the cover), with Disc 1 containing episodes 1-7, Disc 2 containing episodes 8-13, Disc 3 containing episodes 14-20, Disc 4 containing episodes 21-26, Disc 5 containing episodes 27-33, and Disc 6 containing episodes 34-39.


Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus on the set are exactly the same as they were on the season 3 set (as well as Shout!’s release of the first two seasons in the Complete Series set), with the main menu containing the animated transition from the Cleaver house to the sidewalk at the beginning while the theme song plays in the background. The main menu has a few episode snapshots along with options of Play, Episodes, and Bonus Feature (Disc 1 only) written in “chalk” on the sidewalk. Selecting Episodes takes you “down the sidewalk” to a listing of all of the episodes on the disc. Once you select an episode, it plays immediately. Chapters are placed throughout each episode.


Video and Audio Quality:

I’ve had to deal with poor video and audio quality on a lot of recent sets that I’ve reviewed, but this set goes a long way to prove that even if a series is fifty years old, it can look EXCELLENT on DVD. Aside from some typical grain here and there, these episodes on this set almost appear to be in true high-definition (even though they are not), and the upconverted picture on my DVD player really makes the episodes shine. This is really one series that would probably look nice on Blu-ray (though we probably won’t see that anytime soon, as it probably doesn’t have the sales numbers to support a DVD and Blu-ray release). Of course, the set is by no means perfect, but it is a whole lot better than we would come to expect for 1960. The audio, presented in mono, is generally very loud and clear, with no major issues. Each episode is closed-captioned for the hearing impaired.


Special Features:

The only special feature on this set is an episode of Stu’s Show from Shokus Internet Radio (1 hour, 36 minutes) with Tony Dow (and his wife Lauren Dow) as his guest. As has been the case with previous episodes of Stu’s Show on these Shout! Factory sets, this interview is very insightful and interesting to listen to! He talks about his work on the original series and The New Leave it to Beaver, as well as his current work in the world of art (who knew he was an artist?). Of course, if you are interested in more special features, then you’ll need to check out Leave it to Beaver - The Complete Series, which contains a bonus disc of special features.


Final Comments:

This is a great DVD set, but the best recommendation that I have is to pick up The Complete Series set. Actually, that is the set that I own, and I merely pulled out this season from that set for this review, even though it is exactly the same as the single season release that is available at retail right now. If you are on a tighter budget and/or you already own the previous sets (including the first two seasons that were released by Universal), then this set may be appropriate for you.

In any event, this season is yet another great season of the series (even though the reality is that the show didn’t really have any weak points in any of the six seasons that it ran), and fun to watch. This is a true classic that really does stand the test of time, and the quality of this set is beyond amazing. Join Beaver, Wally, Ward, and June for Leave it to Beaver on DVD today!


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

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

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 10/04/10

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http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00198X0YK/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

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

http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=273987


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