TITLE: MY FAVORITE MARTIAN - SEASON THREE (MPI HOME VIDEO)
DVD Release Date: October 30, 2012 (MPI Home Video)
Packaging: Viva case
Number of Discs: 5
Number of Episodes: 32
Running Time: approx. 900 minutes (15 hours)
Running Time of Features: approx. 100 minutes
Audio: English Mono 2.0
Subtitles: English Subtitles
* Behind-the-Scenes Home Movies
* Original Sponsor Bumpers & Cast Commercials
* Spaceship Miniature Test Footage
* Animation & Effects
* Let's Talk to Lucy - Lucille Ball Radio Interviews with Bill Bixby and Ray Walston
* Lost TV Show Pilot: The Man in the Square Suit (starring Paul Dooley)
* Photo Gallery
My Favorite Martian marked the beginning of television's fascination with fantasy-themed comedy series, originally airing on CBS-TV from 1963 to 1966. Debuting in the top ten upon its premiere season, My Favorite Martian stars Bill Bixby (The Courtship of Eddie's Father, The Incredible Hulk) as newspaper reporter Tim O'Hara and Ray Walston (Picket Fences) as the Martian whom Tim discovers and passes off as his Uncle Martin. Pamela Britton plays their snoopy landlady, Lorelei Brown.
The hit series switched to color in its third and final season, presented here on DVD in the U.S. for the first time. These 32 complete, digitally-remastered episodes include guest appearances by other classic TV actors such as Gavin MacLeod (The Mary Tyler Moore Show), Jamie Farr (M*A*S*H), Allan Melvin (The Phil Silvers Show), Stafford Repp (Batman), Shelley Morrison (The Flying Nun), Michael Constantine (Room 222), Leon Askin (Hogan's Heroes) and others.
Season three began with a two-part western episode that aired on September 12 and September 19, 1965. In "Go West, Young Martian (Part 1)," a time machine plummets Tim and Martin back to the Gold Rush Days. Tim and Martin search for their time machine in "Go West, Young Martian (Part 2)." Tim and Martin return, via time machine, to early Hollywood - where Martin once starred as a sheik in "Martin of the Movies." Uncle Martin takes a photo of Tim with his future telling camera in "Keep Me from the Church on Time." Martin's latest machine effects a mind swap with Mrs. Brown in "I'd Rather Fight Than Switch." Tim's I.Q. soars when he downs Martin's brain-power pills in "Tim, The Mastermind." A mineral deficiency gives Martin the Midas touch - everything he touches turns to gold in "Martin Goldfinger."
Uncle Martin, packed in a tiny bottle, is bound for the Middle East in "Bottled Martin." Martin's benevolence-inducing light has an unusual effect on Brennan in "Hate Me a Little." Martin accidentally pulls an alien spaceship out of the sky in "Girl in the Flying Machine." The time machine brings, Tim, Martin and Mrs. Brown face to face with Jesse and Frank James in "The Time Machine Is Waking Up That Old Gang of Mine." Disguised as a 70-year-old Martin becomes a night watchman in "Avenue C Mob." Double trouble - Martin's duplicating machine creates two Tims in "Tim and Tim Again." A Martian pill turns Mrs. Brown into a crusading crime-fighter in "Lorelei Brown vs. Everybody."
Tim is arrested for theft when he's forced to help two jewel robbers in "The O'Hara Caper." Rumors spread that Martin is working on a secret government project in "Who's Got a Secret." The unexplained prescence of "Uncle" Martin jeopardizes Tim's claim to an inheritance in "Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow." An invisible Martin is photgraphed capturing an escaped criminal in "Martin's Revoltin' Development." A short circuit in Martin's transmitter puts him and Tim on nationwide TV in "TV or Not TV." Martin helps Mrs. Brown's brother build a robot that does household chores in "Man from Uncle Martin." In a department store, Martin is frozen into a mannequinlike pose in "Martin, The Mannequin."
Tim is kidnapped by sinister CRUSH agent Butterball in "Butterball." A gypsy curse causes Mrs. Brown to drop anything she picks up in "When a Martian Makes His Violin Cry." Trouble begins when Martin's Martian nephew lands on Earth - and tells everyone where he's from in "When You Get Back Home to Mars, Are You Going to Get It." Martin turns himself into a liquid - and is lapped up by Tim's dog in "Doggone Martin." Trouble begins when Tim contracts a Martian virus in "Virus M for Martin." Martin's personality alternator turns Mrs. Brown into a thief in "Our Notorious Landlady." Martin summons Leonardo da Vinci for help in fixing his spaceship in "Martin Meets His Match."
A mosquito bite causes Martin to act like a race horse in "Horse & Buggy Martin." A beam from Martin's regenerator gives Mrs. Brown power to foresee the future in "Stop the Presses, I Want to Get Off." Martin's molecular reassembler turns a squirrel into a human in "My Nut Cup Runneth Over." Tim tampers with history when he goes back in time - and talks the Indians out of selling Manhattan in "Pay the Man the $24." Episode summaries courtesy of the Umbrella Entertainment Season 3 release.
All of the episodes appear to be unedited, with running times of over 25 minutes. Rhino used some time-compressed episodes for their season two release, but everything here is at the normal speed. Here are the runtimes:
1. Go West, Young Martin, Go West (Part 1) (09/12/65) (25:12)
2. Go West, Young Martin, Go West (Part 2) (09/19/65) (25:14)
3. Martin of the Movies (09/26/65) (25:13)
4. Keep Me from the Church on Time (10/03/65) (25:15)
5. I'd Rather Fight Than Switch (10/10/65) (25:11)
6. Tim, The Mastermind (10/17/65) (25:09)
7. Martin Goldfinger (10/24/65) (25:10)
8. Bottled Martin (10/31/65) (25:08)
9. Hate Me a Little (11/07/65) (25:11)
10. The Girl in the Flying Machine (11/14/65) (25:13)
11. That Time Machine Is Waking Up That Old Gang of Mine (11/21/65) (25:10)
12. Avenue C Mob (11/28/65) (25:11)
13. Tim and Tim Again (12/05/65) (25:04)
14. Lorelei Brown vs. Everybody (12/12/65) (25:09)
15. O'Hara Caper (12/19/65) (25:12)
16. Who's Got a Secret (12/26/65) (25:10)
17. Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow (01/02/66) (25:12)
18. Martin's Revoltin' Development (01/16/66) (25:08)
19. TV or Not TV (01/23/66) (25:06)
20. Man from Uncle Martin (01/30/66) (25:09)
21. Martin, The Mannequin (01/30/66) (25:10)
22. Butterball (02/13/66) (25:08)
23. When a Martian Makes His Violin Cry (02/20/66) (25:11)
24. When You Get Back Home to Mars, Are You Going to Get It (02/27/66) (25:10)
25. Dog-Gone Martian (03/06/66) (25:09)
26. Virus M for Martin (03/13/66) (25:07)
27. Our Notorious Landlady (03/20/66) (25:10)
28. Martin Meets His Match (03/27/66) (25:08)
29. Horse & Buggy Martin (04/03/66) (25:09)
30. Stop the Presses, I Want to Get Off (04/17/66) (25:11)
31. My Nut Cup Runneth Over (04/24/66) (25:05)
32. Pay the Man the $24 (05/01/66) (25:11)
All 32 episodes from the third and final season (1965-66) are included. The packaging is a clear plastic Viva case. Ray Walston is pictured as Uncle Martin (with retractable antennae) on the cover. There's a orange/red Mars background. The show logo and the spaceship are featured. It's noted in a bubble that this season is in color. On the back of the case, there is a photo of Bixby, Walston and Britton. A second photo features Walston and Bixby. A synopsis of the season, a listing of the special features, nd the DVD specs are provided. Opening up the case, there are two circular headshot photos of Bixby and Walston. The episode titles are listed by disc number with the original airdates. It would have been helpful if they included episode summaries or a separate episode guide booklet. An insert is included inside the case that promotes some of MPI's other DVD releases. The discs have the same photo of Walston as the cover art. They have a red and green background, with the show logo and episode numbers by disc printed on them. Disc 1 contains episodes 1-7. Disc 2 has episodes 8-14. Disc 3 contains episodes 15-21. Disc 4 has episodes 22-28. Disc 5 rounds out the set with episodes 29-32 and the special features.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus are bright and easy to navigate. They have the same photo of Walston that is used throughout the packaging. The menu has the same orange/red background. The closing credits theme plays in the background before looping after about 35 seconds. A Play All and English Subtitles option is available on each disc. There is a simple vertical white text listing of the episodes. There's a small white circle next to the episode you highlight that turns grey upon your selection. The special features menu on Disc 5 features a color photo of Walston and Bixby in suits. When you first insert Disc 1, there are trailers (9:33) for some other MPI DVD releases, including The Donna Reed Show - Seasons 1,4, Here's Lucy - Seasons 1-6 and The Lucille Ball Specials, The Doris Day Show - easons 1-5, The Mothers-in-Law - The Complete Series, and The Color Honeymooners - DVD Collections 1-4. There are no separate scene selection menus. Chapters are placed at the appropriate places, including at the start and end of the the opening credits and at the beginning of the closing credits.
Video and Audio Quality:
My Favorite Martian moved from Desilu to MGM for the third and final season. They began broadcasting the episodes in color this season.
According to the packaging, the episodes have been digitally remastered. These episodes are almost forty-years-old, so they do show some age. They do contain some occasional dirt, debris, specks, and other digital artifacts. This was the early days of color, so they used a lot of greens. Blues apparently didn't show up as nicely in this type of film. They are all certainly watchable and in better condition than the prints shown in syndication over the years. The Umbrella Entertainment Season 3 release contained a couple episodes that had noticeably poorer quality. The fourth episode of the season, "Keep Me From the Church on Time," (with guest star Yvonne Craig) was from a 16mm print. Another episode, "The Girl in the Flying Machine," had a much darker picture quality than the rest of the episodes. Both of these episodes look much better and cleaner on the MPI release. "Keep Me From the Church on Time" is from the 35mm master negative. Overall, I think the episodes look much nicer and cleaner. They either used better remastering or used different prints when possible. There are no closing logos included on any of the episodes. There are also no sponsor products in the closing credits, although there is a separate special feature that includes some of them. At least one of the episodes has the sponsor product covered up a blue box.
The audio is a Dolby 2.0 Mono track. The volume level is at a good level. There is some occasional low static in the episodes. I didn't hear any major problems with the audio. It's not spectacular, but it gets the job done for a sitcom from the 1960s. I loved George Greeley's score for the series. You can turn on/off English subtitles on each disc.
The special features include behind-the-scenes home movies, original sponsor bumpers and cast commercials, spaceship miniature test footage, animation and effects sequences, a radio interview with Bill Bixby and Ray Walston by Lucille Ball, The Man in the Square Suit lost pilot, and a photo gallery. It should be noted that all of the special features on this release are unique to this set. Only some of the home movies from the Austrialian release have been carried over to this set, with some new narration.
All of the special features can be found on Disc 5. Here is a breakdown:
Behind the Scenes Home Movies (13:26) - Peter Greenwood, the licensing manager and archivist for My Favorite Martian, narrates these home movies. The video quality on these is a little rough at times, but they are fun to see. Many of these home movies from Pamela Britton were previously part of the special features on the Season 3 Australian release. There is some new interesting footage from Ray Walston's home movies, including Al Lewis from The Munsters in his full Grandpa Munster makeup in color. There's also behind-the-scenes footage of Walston and Bixby from the "Time Out for Martin" episode from season two. Mr. Greenwood provides a lot of interesting behind-the-scenes details and trivia on the filming of the episodes.
Cast Commercials & Bumpers (7:09) - They begin with a black and white cast commercial for Kellogg's that has no audio. Peter Greenwood provides some details of this commercial and the spots in general. Next is a brief clip of Bill Bixby eating Kellogg's. He could really sell the product with his facial expression. They would put the Kellogg's cereal products embedded in the closing credits. These have been removed for the DVD and syndication, so they are a treat to see. The next commercial is for Rice Krispies with the trio of characters. It's followed by a Rice Krispies spot with Walston, Bixby and a stunning blonde model. This one has the original audio. Another spot briefly features Walston eating Rice Krispies. Bixby and J. Pat O'Malley are featured in the next commercial for Rice Krispies from the first season. Bixby, Walston and Pamela Britton are featured in the next one for Kellogg's. The final montage is from some embedded products in the closing credits for the third season in color.
Spaceship Miniature (8:28) - This black and white test footage is from March 20, 1964, that was shot for the episode "Unidentified Flying Uncle Martin" in the first season. Mr. Greenwood provides some interesting details on the three miniatures that were produced for the show. They did some impressive work here with the model on a fishing pole. It was simple, yet effective for the time. There's also a stock footage reel of the spaceship.
Animation & Effects (4:44) - This montage has a nice music cue by George Greeley over it. Various animation and effects shots are shown. There's some sequences of the time travel transition smoke.
Let's Talk to Lucy - Bill Bixby (27:22) - These Lucille Ball interviews are a staple of MPI Home Video releases. Lucille Ball interviewed Bill Bixby for her "Let's Talk to Lucy" radio program on July 7-9, 1965. This was recorded before the start of the third season. Bixby was playing golf in Palm Springs, CA. He talks about applying for Ball's acting workshop and his early acting days. Part 2 continued the next day on July 8, 1965. Bixby is very humble and asks why Ms. Ball called him a star the day before. He talks about the advice that he gives to people who write him. He then discusses about filming the show in the single-camera format. The final part of the interview aired on July 9, 1965. Ball asks him why he wants to get married and the type of house he wants. She questions him about his acting aspirations. Finally, she asks him about his parents and growing up in the San Francisco area.
Let's Talk to Lucy - Ray Walston (19:15) - Lucille Ball interviewed Ray Walston for her "Let's Talk to Lucy" radio program on December 21-22, 1964. This was recorded during the second season. Ball asks him if there's life on Mars. She asks him about his marriage and daughter. Walston talks about his early days in New Orleans and his work as a newspaper printer. In Part 2, he talks about his early theater work and acting career. The second part is a little too much of her talking and limiting his time to answer questions.
TV Pilot: The Man in the Square Suit (25:07) - This was a pilot episode that was produced by Jack Chertok, who also produced My Favorite Martian. It was about a TV writer (Paul Dooley) who reluctantly agrees to produce a rock-and-roll show for teenagers. Jan Shutan played his wife, Mariyln Johnson. Diane Sherry appeared as his daughter, Marilyn Johnson. The show's guest stars included Michael Blodgett, Astrid Warner, Alan Reed (voice of Fred Flintstone), Herb Ellis, David Bond, and Jon Silo. The original title for the pilot was "Who is Benny Goodman." It was also known as "Rambling Wreck from Discotheque." It was produced for CBS, but it aired only once on ABC on April 22, 1966 at 8:30pm. The lost pilot was fun to see. I can't believe how young Paul Dooley looks in this. It would have been interesting to see this as a series. Jan Shutan looked a lot like Elizabeth Montgomery.
Photo Gallery - A nice mix of around 50 color and black and white publicity and behind-the-scenes photos from all three seasons of the show.
It's been a very long road for the third season of the series to be released in the U.S.. Rhino had plans on releasing it in 2005. They had posted the artwork for it, but the set never materialized. It was reported in early 2010 that MPI was planning a summer 2010 release. Unfortunately, it was delayed until this year. Although the third season was released as an import from Australia's Umbrella Entertinment in 2008, this is the first time it's widely available and sold in stores here. With better quality remastered and sourced episodes and many new special features, I think it has been worth the long wait.
MPI has done a very nice job with this release. I think it would have been easy to carry over many of the special features from the Australian Season 3 DVD release, but they really made this set unique and improved on it in several ways. The biggest difference to me is the video quality. The MPI release has better remastering, or they were able to locate better prints in recent years. Special features were included on both releases. Umbrella Entertainment's special features were interesting from a technical standpoint of how they made the episodes. MPI's special features are a little more light and fun, with the cast commercials and vintage radio interviews. There are also a few fun featurettes on the animation and effects. I would have liked to see more of the home movies. It would also been nice if they included some audio commentaries from the production people. If you already own the Australian release, you will probably want to keep it since it contains many special features unique to that set. If you're a new or casual fan, I would recommend the MPI release because it has everything you need at a reasonable price.
Since MPI has done a fine job with this release, it would be great to see them go back and re-release the first two seasons of the show. Rhino's releases are long out of print and sell for quite a bit ($50-60 used) on the secondary market. It would be wonderful if fans could buy new releases at affordable prices, with better quality/remastered episodes (and with the four or five season two episodes at their proper speed and not time-compressed) and more special features included, such as the original unaired pilot.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 2.5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4/5
-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 11/26/12
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