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Mister Peepers - 4-Disc Set


TITLE: MISTER PEEPERS - 4-DISC SET


Info:

DVD Release Date: November 1, 2005 (S'more Entertainment, Inc.)
Black & White
MSRP: $39.99
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 26 + Pilot Episode
Running time: Approx. 11 hours, 51 minutes
Audio Tracks: English Mono
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; none; none
Special Features Include:
Pilot Episode
Dom DeLuise Interview About Wally Cox
Laugh-In clip featuring Wally Cox in "The Farkel Family Reunion"
Mister Peepers' Family Tree: trace all the stars that appeared in this classic series
Mister Peepers Trivia
Photo Gallery
Wally Cox Bio


Introduction:

Journey back to Jefferson Junior High with Mr. Peepers (Wally Cox) that shy, quiet, slow-moving science teacher whose efforts to do the right thing always seemed to backfire. Robinson Peepers' antics with his best friend and fellow teacher, Harvey Weskit (Tony Randall) and the school nurse, Nancy Remington (Patricia Benoit) made this classic 50s TV series a hit with the nation. One of the reasons we loved him was that although Mr. Peepers appeared laughable, easily bullied, baffled and befuddled by the other teachers and life in general, he quietly displayed the strength and conviction that ensured his life was fulfilled and that at the end of every episode he prevailed. An every-day hero in a crazy world, he displayed the virtues of putting the interests of others before his own, genuinely caring about his students and those around him, including his sister (Jenny Egan) and mother (Ruth McDevitt). In Mister Peepers, good guys finish first; in the last season of the show, he even marries Nurse Remington, the girl of his dreams. Your favorite episodes of this Emmy Award winning series, from 1952 to 1953, are compiled in this classic collection. Created in conjunction with the UCLA Film & Television Archives.

Mister Peepers aired on NBC from July 1952 until June 1955. The show was nominated for 8 Emmy Awards and won a Peabody Award in 1953. There were apparently 127 episodes produced. 102 of them still exist in the UCLA Film and Televison Archives collection. Other stars included Norma Crane, David Tyrell, Joseph Foley, Marion Lorne (Aunt Clara on "Bewitched), Gage Clark, Ernest Treux, Georgann Johnson, Arthur O'Connell, Sylivia Field, Jack Warden, and Reta Shaw.


Episodes Included:

This 4-disc set includes the first 26 episodes of the series plus the pilot episode.

The pilot episode included Walter Matthau as the coach. He's not listed in the ending credits. David Tyrell would play Charlie Burr starting with the first episode of the series.

Here is a list of the episodes included:

05/15/1952 (Pilot episode), 07/03/52, 07/10/32, 07/31/52, 08/07/52, 08/14/52, 08/21/52, 08/28/52, 09/11/52, 09/18/52, 10/26/52, 11/02/52, 11/09/52, 11/16,52, 11/30/52, 12/07/52, 12/14/52, 12/21/52, 12/28/52, 01/04/53, 01/11/53, 01/25/53, 02/01/53, 02/08/53, 02/15/53, 02/22/53, 03/11/53


Packaging:

The DVD cover art features a black & white photo of Wally Cox holding up his index finger. It has a lime green background with Mister Peepers written in pink. It's in plastic snapcase that you often see with movie dvds. The back of the case lists a summary of the show and the bonus features. When you open up the case, there are over-lapping disc holders on each side. The discs have Mister Peepers written on them and come in different colors. Disc 1 is lime green, disc 2 is orange, disc 3, is light blue, and disc 4 is pink. There's a little piece of foam that keeps the discs from popping out. I thought that was a nice touch as sometimes discs on dvd sets fall out easily and are scratched. It would have been nice for them to include a little sheet with the episode titles listed, original airdates, guest stars, and summaries.


Menu Design and Navigation:

The main menu has a similar look as the cover art with a colorized photo of Wally Cox on the right hand side of the screen. It has a lime green background with Mister Peepers written in pink. There is a tv box with various black and white clips of the show playing. There are other tinted tv boxes with clips playing that fall down on the screen. The Mister Peepers ending theme music can be heard in the background. The other main menus have the same photo of Wally Cox with different backgrounds and color themes. Each disc has a Play All, Episodes, and Extras option at the bottom. The Episodes sub-menu has some background music, and it lists the episodes by their original airdates on a blackboard. These are pretty nice looking menus with even some animation tossed in such as some paper flying airplanes. The Extras sub-menu features some snazzy background music and lists them on a blackboard. There are no scene selection menus or chapter stops within the episodes.


Video and Audio Quality:

These episodes were transferred to dvd from 16mm kinescopes with the help of the UCLA Film and Television Archive. The show was produced live, so this is the only way it survived. I've read on other sites that people thought these episodes were long lost or destroyed. The video quality obviously can't be compared to other 1950's sitcoms like I Love Lucy or Leave it to Beaver which were filmed in a different format. Desi Arnaz was way ahead of his time with having I Love Lucy put on film. The episodes on this set really look as good as can be expected considering their age and the fact they are from kinescopes. There is a lot of grain, scratches, film specks, and other techincal glitches. The episodes are certainly watchable though, and I think it's amazing so many were able to survive. There is a lot of buzz and crackle in the audio, and it fades in and out a few times. The volume was at a good level on the pilot episode, but it was much lower in the other two episodes I watched. All of the episodes run around 24-25 minutes in length. The UCLA Film and Televison Archive logo is flashed a few times in the lower right hand corner. The pilot episode didn't have any studio audience laughter, but the other two episodes I watched did. The first episode even had an old Sponsored by Ford screen followed by an old NBC logo with chimes that said "This Program was Reproduced By the Kinephoto Process." There is nothing on the packaging to indicate there is closed-captioning.


Special Features:

There are a few, short special features that were interesting to watch. Here is a breakdown:

Disc 1 - Pilot episode (34:37) - This included Walter Matthau in an uncredited role as the coach. Several of the scenes from this episode were re-worked for the 2nd episode.

Disc 1 - Dom DeLuise Remembers Wally Cox (2:48) - He talks about Wally Cox's friendship with Marlon Brando whom he was also friends with.

Disc 2 - Wally Cox Bio (5:22) - This shows various clips from the Mister Peepers episodes with a narrator giving facts about Wally Cox's life. He was an actor, singer, and author. It details his many roles from The Adventures of Hiram Holiday to the voice of Underdog for 120 episodes to his time on Hollywood Squares from 1966-1973. This gives some good background information on him. It would have been nice to see some other photos or video clips from some of his other roles included.

Disc 2 - Farkel Family Reunion on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In (2:15) - A funny clip that includes Wally Cox.

Disc 3 - The Misters Peepers Family Tree - Shows you where an actor went after Jefferson Junion High. There are text bios for Wally Cox, Walter Matthau, Tony Randall, Jack Warden, and Marion Lorne.

Disc 4 - Photo Gallery (2:34) - Various still images from the dvd are shown in a tv set while background music is played.

Disc 4 - Trivia Quiz - An interactive section that gives you 6 multiple choice questions written on a blackboard. If you answer 5 correctly, it takes you to expert mode where the questions are even more difficult. You'd have to be a real Mister Peepers fanatic to answer some of these!


Final Comments:

Jeepers, creepers... where have you been Mister Peepers? One of the truly lost sitcoms from the 1950's is now available on DVD. I'm not sure if this series was ever shown in syndication. The only people who may truly remember it are those that watched it live over 50 years ago. This series really had quite a few recognizable names. If it was shot on film like I Love Lucy or Leave it to Beaver, I'm sure it would be much better known. The video quality of the episodes is not the best due to the source material, but it is great to see them made available. The company that released this set, S'more Entertainment, will have some other rare sitcoms available like Lotsa Luck (Dom DeLuise) and Good Morning, World (Goldie Hawn) in upcoming months. Hopefully we will see s'more Mister Peepers volumes released in the future.

UPDATE: Our good friend Arny Schorr of S'more Entertainment asked us to let you all know that if you purchased DVD sets of classic sitcoms Mister Peepers and Lotsa Luck and had some problems, replacement discs are available now for free. For Lotsa Luck, an incorrect pilot episode was placed on original sets. It was given that way to them by the distributor. When the problem was identified, they went to work and discovered the correct pilot episode. They subsequently remastered Disc One to include the right pilot. There are a number of people who've contacted them for a replacement disc but in the interest of making sure no consumer is offended we are spreading the news that buyers of this set can get a replacement disc, for free!They are also replacing discs for Mister Peepers where Sony, on the initial manufacturing run, placed two of the same discs onto each box set. To learn how you can get replacement discs of each, click here. And don't forget to visit the S'more website for information on their classic TV series on DVD.


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

Video Quality: 3/5
Audio Quality: 3/5
Special Features: 2.5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4/5
Overall: 3/5

--Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 10/30/05 (updated on 05/05/06)

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

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000BNMX0G/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20


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