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Love, American Style - Season One, Volume One


TITLE: LOVE, AMERICAN STYLE - SEASON ONE, VOLUME ONE


Info:

DVD Release Date: November 20, 2007 (CBS DVD/Paramount Home Entertainment)
Color/1969
MSRP: $36.99
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 12
Running Time: Approx. 10 hours, 19 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; Closed Captioned
Special Features: None


Introduction:

The comedy classic of the swingin' '70s is back! Love, American Style is the original hit comedy showcase, each episode featuring different short stories about love, sex and romance, with an all-star cast of incredible guest stars. The groundbreaking series is packed with hilarious tales of dating and mating, love and marriage, fidelity and naughtiness, all told with a wild sense of innovative style and hip, swingin' 70's flair! This Season One, Volume One collection boasts an unprecedented lineup of celebrity guest stars in 12 episodes on 3 discs who will keep you roaring with laughter from start to finish.


Show History / Notable Guest Stars:

Love, American Style was an hour-long television anthology which originally aired between September 1969 and January 1974. For the 1971 and 1972 seasons it was a part of an ABC Friday prime-time lineup that also included The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family, Room 222, and The Odd Couple. Each week, the show featured different stories of romance, usually with a comedic spin. All episodes were unrelated, featuring different characters, stories and locations. The show often featured the same actors playing different characters in many episodes. Each episode generally featured three or four segments. There were 10-20 second drop-in silent movie style "joke clips" or "blackouts" between the featured vignettes. In addition a large and ornate brass bed was a recurring prop in many episodes. Charles Fox's delicate yet hip music score, featuring flutes, harp, and flugelhorn set to a contemporary pop beat, provided the "love" ambiance which tied the stories together as a multifaceted romantic comedy each week. The reportory company and regular players in the first season were Mary Grover, Stuart Margolin, Buzz Cooper, Barbara Minkus, Bill Callaway, Lynne Marta and Tracy Reed. The first season of Love, American Style was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Television Show - Music/Comedy and an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series and won an Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Music, Lyrics and Special Material.

It is like a Who's Who of Hollywood appearing on the show. The cavalacade of guest stars in season one included Bill Bixby, Phyllis Diller, Tina Louise, Sid Caesar, Connie Stevens, Larry Storch, Robert Reed, Ozzie Nelson, Red Buttons, Lesley Ann Warren, Broderick Crawford, Flip Wilson, Harrison Ford and many, many more. The guest stars are conveniently listed inside the case:

Episode 1 - September 29, 1969
Love and a Couple of Couples - Yvonne Craig, Penny Fuller, David Ketchum
Love and the Hustler - Eddie Anderson, Gail Fisher, Mantan Moreland, Lee Weaver, Flip Wilson
Love and the Pill - Kene Holliday, David Ladd, Jane Wyatt

Episode 2 - October 6, 1969
Love and the Living Doll - Richard X. Slattery, Estelle Winwood, Marlyn Mason, Arte Johnson
Love and the Letter - Robert Clary, Margaret O'Brien, Reni Santoni
Love and the Joker - E.J. Peaker, Larry Storch
Love and the Unlikely Couple - Barbara Rhoades, Wes Stern

Episode 3 - October 13, 1969
Love and the Phone Booth - Pamela Austin, William Bramley, Dwayne Hickman
Love and the Doorknob - Kathleen Freeman, Paul Hartman, Gary Lockwood, Stafford Repp

Episode 4 - October 20, 1969
Love and the Legal Agreement - Bill Bixby, Denny Miller, Connie Stevens
Love and the Militan - Chelsea Brown, Stu Gilliam, Barry Nelson
Love and Who? - Maureen Arthur, Sid Caesar

Episode 5 - October 27, 1969
Love and the Modern Wife - Hal Baylor, Bob Crane, Pat Crowley, Allan Melvin, Angelique Pettyjohn, Elena Verdugo
Love and the Phonies - Richard Deacon, Phyllis Diller
Love and the Single Couple - Michael Anderson Jr., Diana Ewing, Marjorie Lord, Don Porter

Episode 11 - November 3, 1969
Love and the Dating Computer - Broderick Crawford, Jane Dulo, Melinda O. Fee, Dorothy Neumann
Love and the Busy Husband - Emmaline Henry, Dick Patterson, Peg Shirley, Dave Willock
Love and the Watchdog - Penny Fuller, Patsy Kelly, John Lawrence, Hal Smith

Episode 7 - November 10, 1969
Love and Take Me Along - Diana Ewing, Ozzie Nelson, Harriet Nelson, Vito Scotti
Love and the Advice-Givers - Tina Louise, Aldo Ray, Les Crane, Avery Schreiber
Love and the Geisha - Carolyn Jones, Red Buttons, Nobu McCarthy

Episode 13 - November 17, 1969
Love and the Burglar - Noel Harrison, Judy Crane
Love and the Roommate - John Beck, Ted Bessell, Anjanette Comer, Sharon Harvey, Louise Lawson, Diane McBain
Love and the Wild Party - Peter Palmer, Noam Pitlik, Robert Reed, Sue Taylor, Francine York

Episode 14 - November 24, 1969
Love and the Big Leap - Rich Little, Jessica Walter, Dennis Day
Love and the Good Deal - Schuyler Aubrey, Frank Campanella, Phillip Clark, Hans Conreid, Norman Fell, Felix Locher, Jane Wyatt
Love and the Former Marriage - Carl Betz, Harrison Ford, Elliott Reid, Jenny Sullivan, Dana Wynter

Episode 6 - December 1, 1969
Love and Mother - Morey Amsterdam, Christopher Connelly, Shelley Fabares, Kay Medford, Tom Smothers
Love and the Dummies - Scatman Crothers, Jack Garner, Shari Lewis, Cliff Norton, George O'Hanlon
Love and the Athlete - Marty Allen, Pamela Curran, Eddie Mayehoff
Love and the Shower - Carl Ballantine, Joe Flynn, Reva Rose

Episode 9 - December 8, 1969
Love and the Mountain Cabin - Andy Devine, Peter Marshall, Leslie Parrish
Love and the Divorce Sale - Jackie Joseph, Terry Messina, Andrew Prine, Lesley Warren, Jesse White, Jason Wingreen
Love and the Comedy Team - Jack Carter, Ruta Lee, Regis Philbin

Episode 17 - December 22, 1969
Love and the Positive Man - Hamilton, Sandra Gould, Michael Lane, Marianne McAndrew, Iris Rainer, Ann Rutherford
Love and the Other Love - Edward Andrews, Rosemary DeCamp, David Hedison
Love and the Bachelor - Ann Sothern, Brandon de Wilde, Brenda Benet


Packaging:

This three-disc set includes the first 12 uprorarious hour-long episodes (37 segments) from the first season (1969-70). These episodes aired from September-December 1969. The packaging is an Amaray movie-style snap case with clear, plastic edges. The red, white and blue Love, American Stlye logo is featured on the cover. Fireworks are around the logo. On the back of the case, there are various props like a lava lamp, martini glass, feather boa, pink bra and an ornate brass bed. Part of a woman in red lingerie and her legs are shown. There's even shag carpeting! A synopsis of the set and the DVD specs are listed. Inside the case, the episode numbers, original air dates, vignettes, and guest stars are listed for episode by disc. It's a nice touch that they list the guest stars for each vignette. That makes it very handy to look for a guest star in a specific episode. It would have been nice to see them list some short summaries, but there wouldn't have been a lot of space for it. They could have included a booklet with the episode summaries and additional information. There is a black sticker bar that blocks some information inside the case. There is a white plastic holder that holds discs 1-2 back-to-back. There is an embedded holder that holds disc 3. The disc numbers are listed in light blue text. The vignettes are listed in pink text. The guest stars are in black text. The discs are silver and have the show logo on them. Some color on the discs would have been better. Disc 1 has episodes 1, 2, 3 and 4. Disc 2 holds episodes 5, 11, 7 and 13. Disc 3 rounds out the set with episodes 14, 6, 9 and 17.


Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus are very simple and easy to navigate. The main menus feature a static image of the red, white and blue Love, American Style logo (although the stars are blue). Fireworks surround the logo like the cover art. The disc number is listed near the top. Episodes titles are listed vertically in white text. There are two gold stars on either side of the episode that you highlight that turn white upon selection. It would have been great to hear the opening or instrumental ending theme on the menus. When you select an episode, it takes you to a sub-menu where you can play each individual vignette or the episode in its entirety. These sub-menus feature the show logo and list the original airdate for the episode. Chapter stops are available after the opening theme song and in their usual spots. There is a set of previews that you can play or bypass when the first disc starts.


Video and Audio Quality:

For a show that is nearly 40 years old, the episodes look pretty good. Love, American Style was shot on film and without a studio audience. The episodes are in their original 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio. The color is decent, although it looks a little faded and washed-out in some areas. Since the show was shot on film, there is some dust, dirt, debris and other digital artifacts in some episodes. In some scenes, the picture appears to be a little shaky and there is some graininess. I don't have any original episodes on tape other than the Happy Days pilot, so I don't have anything to compare them to. Overall, the episodes are very watchable and look as good as can be expected given their age and source material. Most of the episodes appear to be unedited. The running times are between 50-52 minutes in length. On the back of the packaging in very small text, it says "Some episode may be edited from their original network versions." For the closing logo enthusiasts, there is just the CBS Paramount Television logo. The Paramount red split box is nowhere to be seen.

The audio is your standard Engish Dolby Digital Mono track. There is little or no hiss in the episodes. The volume is at a good level and the dialogue is easy to understand. A laugh track is used in the episodes. There was some debate whether they would use the original theme song version by The Cowsills. After comparing the opening on the DVD with a clip of the opening from a season 3 episode, I am sure that the original Cowsills version is used on this release. It has a different melody than the other version, and it also has clapping at the beginning that isn't present in the seasons 2-5 version. The Cowsills performed the theme song for only the first season. After the first season, a more uptempo version by the "Charles Fox" or "Love American Style Singers" was used for seasons 2-5. In syndication, the season 1 episodes generally have the seasons 2-5 version instead of the original Cowsills version. I love Charles Fox's hip score that set the mood in the episodes. I have the Love, American Style LP that features some of the score and theme song, which he wrote. Closed captioning is available on all of the episodes.

Although the episodes are presented in their original broadcast order, they are numbered according to their production (the order in which they were made) number. Here is the episode breakdown by disc, including the running times:

Disc 1
---------
1. Love and a Couple of Couples/Love and the Hustler/Love and the Pill (09/29/69) (50:57)
2. Love and the Living Doll/Love and the Letter/Love and the Joker/Love and the Unlikely Couple (10/06/69) (50:57)
3. Love and the Phone Booth/Love and the Doorknob (10/13/69) (50:56)
4. Love and the Legal Agreement/Love and the Militant/Love and Who? (10/20/69) (50:56)

Disc 2
---------
5. Love and the Modern Wife/Love and the Phonies/Love and the Single Couple (10/27/69) (51:55)
11. Love and the Dating Computer/Love and the Busy Husband/Love and the Watchdog (11/03/69) (52:03)
7. Love and Take Me Along/Love and the Advice-Givers/Love and the Geisha (11/10/69) (51:54)
13. Love and the Burglar/Love and the Roommate/Love and the Wild Party (11/17/69) (51:57)

Disc 3
---------
14. Love and the Big Leap/Love and the Good Deal/Love and the Former Marriage (11/24/69) (51:42)
6. Love and Mother/Love and the Dummies/Love and the Athlete/Love and the Shower (12/01/69) (51:54)
9. Love and the Mountain Cabin/Love and the Divorce Sale/Love and the Comedy Team (12/08/69) (51:54)
17. Love and the Positive Man/Love and the Other Love/Love and the Bachelor (12/22/69) (51:54)


Special Features:

Unfortunately, there are no special features included. Since I'm not overly familiar with Love American Style, I would have liked to see a featurette on the history of the show. They could have highlighted some of the show's many guest stars over the years. Some original network or syndication promos would have been fun to see.


Final Comments:

Love, Love, Love. Love, American Style, Truer than the Red, White and Blue. Coming to a store near to you! Love, American Style has arrived on DVD for the first time ever. This innovative show paved the way for shows like Fantasy Island and The Love Boat. I haven't had the opportunity to view the series that often. It has rarely been seen regularly in national syndication in the last 10 years or so. The last time I remember seeing it was on Oxygen in 2002. It only lasted a few months. In syndication, the episodes are broken up into half-hour episodes but they are presented in their original one-hour format on this release.

CBS DVD/Paramount has done a pretty good job with this set. The video quality could be a bit better. The episodes would look better with some remastering. My only other minor complaint is that the numbering of the episodes is a bit confusing. They list the episodes in their original broadcast order, but they are numbered by the production number. Some people may think they are getting 17 episodes on this set because the last episode is number 17. Although there are only 12 episodes on this first volume, there is an amazing list of guest stars. Some of the highlights in season one include an early appearance by Harrison Ford and seeing a young Regis Philbin with black hair. Bill Bixby makes his first of four appearances. It would have been very easy for them to just use the seasons 2-5 opening theme that everyone is familiar with, but I'm glad that they decided to use the original version by The Cowsills that was only used for the first season. I'm anxiously awaiting the release of the rest of season one and the remaning four seasons. Love, American Style - that's a show for me and you!


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

Video Quality: 3.5/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 11/18/07

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

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000UX6TJ8/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

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

http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=213838


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