TITLE: MY THREE SONS - THE SECOND SEASON, VOLUME ONE
DVD Release Date: February 23, 2010 (CBS DVD)
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 18
Running Time: 461 minutes
Runtime of Special Features: approx. 1 minute
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; Closed-captioned
Special Features: Original Opening and Closing Spots
Get ready for more brotherly love (along with dad and grandpa) in Volume 1 of The Second Season of My Three Sons! The long running series is back for 18 more episodes on a three disc set. My Three Sons, for those unfamiliar with the series, is the series about widower Steve Douglas (Fred MacMurray) trying to raise his three sons, Mike (Tim Considine), Robbie (Don Grady), and Chip (Stanley Livingston) with the help of their grandfather, Bub (William Frawley). The series was a deviation from the standard family sitcom where both a mother and father ruled the household, with this house being a house of nothing but guys. The series was one of the longest running family sitcoms ever (running for 12 years, beginning in 1960 on ABC and ending in 1972 on CBS). Although the series underwent a number of changes over the years, with changing sons and changing grandfather figures, the premise always was the same--a father trying to raise his three sons the best that he possibly could.
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
Steve may be a father with three sons, but family dog Tramp has just become the father to six puppies in “Birds and Bees,” and it is time to teach Chip the facts of life. A neighborly war may be on the verge of breaking out in “Instant Hate.” The boys try to make Tramp into a wonder dog in “Tramp – The Hero,” but does he have what it takes? Steve has mysteriously learned Spanish in “A Lesson in Any Language,” and it leads to more chaos than you’d think. In “Chip’s Composition,” Chip has to write an essay about what his mother means to him, and what better mother to use than Bub?
Steve and Bub are out of town, which leaves the eldest son in charge in “Mike in Charge.” In “Bub Goes to School,” Bub goes back to school and even finds a perfect girlfriend in the class, but a good relationship has to start with the truth. Chip decides to run away and move to (of all places) India in “Chip Leaves Home,” but will he really make it that far? Irene Ryan and Ed Begley play a couple that engages in some matchmaking for Steve in “Romance of Silver Pines.” Four stewardesses move in next door in “The Girls Next Door,” and you’d better bet that it distracts Steve--but not too much, because this is a family series in the early 60s.
The packaging is, to put it bluntly, plain and boring. Like virtually all CBS DVD releases, it uses the standard DVD case with the tray inside. The cover art has a color photo of Fred MacMurray with the series logo (and the feet) above his head with a green background. On the back, there is a cast snapshot, along with four black and white screenshots from the episodes. Inside the case, you’ll find the three discs, none of which have any artwork aside from the series logo on a gray background. There are episode descriptions and airdates inside the case. Each disc contains six episodes, and Disc 3 also contains the (very minor) special features.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The main menu on each disc begins with the same basic animated sequence that we see at the beginning of each episode--with a nasty catch. Instead of hearing that familiar theme song, we hear the generic musical cues that were substituted into the episodes (see the Video and Audio Quality section for more details on that mini-catastrophe). You then get a menu where this music cue just loops, with a TV set on the left side of the screen (with rotating pictures from the series) and a listing of all of the episodes on the right side of the screen, along with a Play All option. Additionally, there is a Special Features option on Disc 3. Chapters are placed throughout each episode, but there is not a chapter immediately after the opening credits. This would be beneficial to have in each episode.
Video and Audio Quality:
It seems that there are rarely any major issues with video and audio quality on older black and white CBS DVD releases. Newer programs, oddly enough, are a different story, but the old black and white film series always look great on DVD, and this is no exception. There is minimal grain and debris, but otherwise, the episodes look great. The audio is presented in mono, and although there don’t seem to be any major problems, it is somewhat low. The episodes are all closed-captioned.
It seems that once again, there have been some musical changes in the set, primarily with the transitional music played in the episodes. It seems almost unbelievable that a series would ever have any viable reason for changing this type of music. I’m assuming that DeVol was the composer for all of the original music (as he composed the theme song), and perhaps there were some royalty issues with that, but I seriously doubt that they would have broke the budget for CBS DVD to clear even if that was the issue at stake. The good news, though, is that for the viewers that are less familiar with the series, the changes won’t seem too obvious. More diehard fans (the people more likely to buy the set), however, will notice a difference. With as many changes as they made, it almost seems like it would have cost them less to leave the cues intact and just pay any royalties, if that is even the case. It appears that aside from the musical cue alterations, the episodes are largely unedited, running around 26 minutes each. Exact runtimes are as follows:
“Birds and Bees” (25:36)
“Instant Hate” (25:38)
“The Crush” (25:40)
“Tramp – The Hero” (25:41)
“A Perfect Memory” (25:39)
“Bub’s Lodge” (25:38)
“A Lesson in Any Language” (25:40)
“The Ugly Duckling” (25:41)
“Chip’s Competition” (25:39)
“Mike in Charge” (25:40)
“Bub Goes to School” (25:43)
“Robbie’s Band” (25:38)
“Damon and Pythias” (25:40)
“Chip Leaves Home” (25:38)
“Romance of Silver Pines” (25:37)
“Blind Date” (25:43)
“Second Time Around” (25:41)
“The Girls Next Door” (25:39)
There is one special feature this time, but it is incredibly minor. Still, it is nice to have something, for a change. On Disc 3, the original opening credits (00:41) are presented, with the sponsor information intact, complete with Fred MacMurray’s introduction of “Hi, welcome to our show for Chevrolet” and the Chevrolet logo at the end of the opening credits. Also, they have included the closing sponsor spot from the episodes (00:14), which has the whole family thanking viewers for tuning in. I don’t know if these were the same for each and every episode, but it is my assumption that they were. It is very nice to see these included in the special features, although it would have been nicer to have included them on the actual episodes. It would still be nice to see some cast interviews on the next set, though.
You can count me among the many fans of the series who finds it ridiculous that this series is continuing to be released in half seasons. There are some situations where half seasons make sense, such as an hour-long series with 40 episodes or so per season, but this is just a sitcom with 36 episodes per season. Additionally, CBS DVD has released other sitcoms with just as many episodes (The Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction, for example) as ONE release per season. So why does this one need two? What makes matters even worse is that this series ran for twelve years. Will CBS DVD really be releasing 24 sets of this series? Are there enough dedicated fans to invest in 24 separate sets of this series, which I will add, are at the same manufacturers suggested retail price as a single season of a typical series? Only time will tell.
Otherwise, this set isn’t bad. Most of these episodes are still new to me, as I (like most people) have only seen the much more widely syndicated color episodes of the series. Considering how it is becoming increasingly difficult to find shows as old as this one on TV, combined with the fact that this season almost never airs in syndication, this set is definitely worth picking up if you love the series or vintage family sitcoms in general. While I personally think I like the later episodes more myself, these are fun and entertaining to watch as well.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 1/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4/5
-- Reviewed by skees53 on 02/09/10
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