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Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman - Volume 1


TITLE: MARY HARTMAN, MARY HARTMAN - VOLUME 1


Info:

DVD Release Date: March 27, 2007 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
B&W / 1976
MSRP: $29.95
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 25
Running Time: 564
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; Closed Captioned
Special Features: None


Introduction:

From 1976 to 1977, Norman Lear's hit soap parody, MARY HARTMAN, MARY HARTMAN entertained audiences with wacky plotlines, ranging from a waxy yellow build up to such serious subjects as impotence, sexual perversion and more. The first-run syndicated series starred Louise Lasser as the naive Mary Hartman, a housewife who's daily struggles include her husband Tom's (Greg Mullavey) impotence, her daughter's involvement as a witness in a mass murder and a strange waxy yellow build up on her floor. Also starring in the series were Mary Kay Place as Loretta, the country-crooning best friend and neighbor of Mary, her much older husband Charlie (Graham Jarvis), Mary's mother Mrs. Shumway (Dody Goodman) and Mary's sister (Debralee Scott).

And now we can own the first 25 episodes of this comedy soap opera on DVD from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment!


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Let me preface this by saying that each and every episode is totally memorable, but I chose the episodes that are just REALLY that good. I know I jump around a bit but I hope it makes sense!

Some of the more memorable episodes include Episode 1, in which the Fernwood flasher, mass murders, goats, chickens and a waxy yellow buildup are just a normal part of the day for housewife Mary Hartman. Episode 6 in which Mary checks out some books on impotence and a social worker takes on Grandpa's case. Episode 9 in which Loretta cuts her long awaited record. Episode 13 in which Mary must face the mass murderer. Episode 18 is the one in which Mary is rescued from the mass murderer. Episode 19 is the one in which Mary tells Tom she knows about Mae. Episode 22 is the one in which Charlie and Loretta take to the road. Episode 23 is the one in which Grandpa has his day in court. Episode 24 is the one in which tragedy strikes Charlie and Loretta in the form of a bus full of nuns. Finally, Episode 25 is the one in which Charlie and Loretta are in for some catastrophic news while Tom visits Mae with something important to tell her.

Memorable guest stars this season include Ed Begley, Jr., Archie Hahn, Ron Feinberg and more!


Packaging:

The set is your typical DVD release...a thin cardboard box with two slim snap cases inside. The main cover art is yellow and features a drawing of Louise Lasser as Mary Hartman, with her famous question "do my floors have a waxy yellow buildup?" The snap cases are feature the exact same design as the main art but case one is blue and case two is pink.

Case 1 holds Discs 1 and 2 while Case 2 holds Disc 3. The discs themselves are various colors, such as pink, blue and yellow. Disc 1 contains episodes 1-9. Disc 2 contains episodes 10-18 and Disc 3 contains episodes 19-25.


Menu Design and Navigation:

The menu is typical Sony. Very basic and generic, this is a shame. The same picture of Louise Lasser as Mary is used and a generic background is used. There is a "Play All Episodes" option available as well as an "Episode Selections" option. "Episode Selections" takes you to a sub-menu where it lists the episodes.


Video and Audio Quality:

I have to admit, Sony did a great job restoring these episodes. They are picture perfect. The color is fantastic and vibrant and the sound is really good. I was very impressed. Keep in mind now, the show is 31 years old! There are chapter skips on each episode, which is always handy. As for the episodes, keep in mind, in 1976 and 1977 this show was in syndication, which means it LIKELY did not run the full 25 minutes shows in the 1970s ran. Each episode clocks in around 22:30 in length, which is typical for first-run syndication. I hope that someone out there who is familiar with the original episodes can shed some light on this so we can say for sure if it is edited or not. This show was not on network television, and shows on network TV in 1976-77 were around 25 minutes...so 22:30 might be right.

DISC 1
1- Episode 1 (22:39)
2- Episode 2 (22:43)
3- Episode 3 (22:57)
4- Episode 4 (22:42)
5- Episode 5 (22:09)
6- Episode 6 (22:31)
7- Episode 7 (22:38)
8- Episode 8 (22:37)
9- Episode 9 (22:26)

DISC 2
10- Episode 10 (22:35)
11- Episode 11 (22:42)
12- Episode 12 (22:25)
13- Episode 13 (22:33)
14- Episode 14 (22:33)
15- Episode 15 (22:35)
16- Episode 16 (22:35)
17- Episode 17 (22:37)
18- Episode 18 (22:36)

DISC 3
19- Episode 19 (22:35)
20- Episode 20 (22:40)
21- Episode 21 (22:36)
22- Episode 22 (22:36)
23- Episode 23 (22:24)
24- Episode 24 (22:41)
25- Episode 25 (22:40)


Special Features:

There weren't any on this set, which is a true disgrace! A typical Sony set, really.


Final Comments:

I do have some complaints. First, it is an indignity there are not any special features! Second, I think Sony can try to do a better job with their menus. They come across as cheap and generic. They are easy to use but just are not very pleasing to the eyes. With that said, I for one am THRILLED that "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman" is on DVD! I really hope we get all of the episodes on DVD (only 300 more to go, apparently, ha!), as I have only seen a handful until now. The show just gets better and better as it goes along and the cast is right on the money. It is a shame Lasser left in 1977 (although it continued as "Forever Fernwood") because I think it probably could of run a long time.


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

Video Quality: 5/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 3/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by TVJunkie101 (Shawn Eaton) on 03/21/07

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

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000MEYKA0/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

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

http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=196809


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