DVD Release Date: July 8, 2008 (Shout! Factory)
B&W and Color/1953-1966
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 24
Running Time: 7 hours
Runtime of Special Features: N/A
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; Closed-captioned
Special Features: Performances by Ricky and Dave; Radio Episodes; Trivia Quiz
America’s first family of television, the Nelson family, is back for more family fun on DVD! The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet: Best of Ricky and Dave brings you 24 more episodes of the classic sitcom to DVD on a four disc set. The set contains 24 episodes, picked from the entire 14 season range of the series that contain the best moments of the two sons on the TV series, allowing fans to watch them grow up--and that they do over fourteen years! The collection contains primarily episodes that focus on the musical talents of the kids, but doesn’t limit itself to just those episodes.
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
It is time for David to get his own key to the house in “A Door Key for David.” In “Father Son Tournament,” Ozzie has to pick which son he wants to be with him in a tournament--and which one to NOT pick. It’s a father vs. son race (with a Model T and a hot rod) in “Road Race.”
In “Who Is Betty?,” Ricky’s school is having a dance where the girls ask the boys, but Ricky doesn’t know if he has a date with three girls or just one. David finds that one of his former classmates is now a beautiful elementary school teacher in “Dave and the School Teacher.” Rick’s girlfriend decides to knit a sweater for him in “ A Sweater for Rick,” but will she have time to spend time with him while she is busy knitting?
Rick turns 21 in “Rick’s 21st Birthday,” and the anticipation to open an envelope is killing him. Rick’s professor asks him to grade a test--one that he knows he failed--in “Rick Grades a Test.” Somebody has a crush on Dave, and she happens to be a young teenager, in “David and the Teenager.”
In “Dave and the Fraternity Lease,” Rick has to turn to his brother, the attorney (oh, how kids grow up...) to save his fraternity house. Everybody finds out that honesty is the best policy in “The Tangled Web.” Ozzie becomes a babysitter in “Ozzie the Babysitter,” but will everything work out just fine?
The cover art for the set has a family picture of the Nelsons, which is fine, but doesn’t really seem to indicate that this set is more about Ricky and Dave. In fact, aside from the title itself, very little about the packaging indicates that this is a set about Ricky and Dave. Inside the box, there are two slim cases, each holding two discs. On the back of each slim case, there is a listing of all of the episodes on the discs inside, along with the season and original airdate. Each disc has a picture of one of the family members--not just Ricky and Dave. Each disc contains six episodes, as well as one radio episode per disc. The set does contain a booklet that gives complete descriptions of every episode, which is always nice to have.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus on the set are very nice, with the main menu showing a brief video (containing the opening credits), then giving you options of Play All, Episodes, and Special Features. Episodes will take you to a menu that lists all of the episodes, and once you select the episode, it plays right away, without any scene selection menus. There are, however, chapters within each episode. Special Features does exactly what it should do--takes you to a menu that lists all of the special features for that disc.
Video and Audio Quality:
This is a very old show. With that being said, viewers shouldn’t expect excellent quality video. Even so, I was a little disappointed with the quality of the episodes. First, it is important to note that most (though not all) of the episodes are syndicated versions--yes, 22 minutes, complete with an authentic “Copyright 1985” notice at the end of each episode. I can’t understand why some were edited and others were unedited. It is pretty frustrating when that happens. Second, the video quality just looks completely grainy and looks as if little to no effort was made to restore the episodes. The video quality is particularly of a problem on the two season 14 episodes (the color ones), as the colors look incredibly faded and dull (although in all fairness, this was the very beginning of the color era). The audio isn’t that impressive either, as it sounds very dull and the audio levels vary from episode to episode. Still, all episodes are viewable, even if the quality is only what I would describe as a notch above mediocre.
Runtimes are as follows:
“A Door Key for David” (22:12)
“Ricky’s Lost Letter” (25:13)
“Father Son Tournament” (22:06)
“The Man Without a Family” (22:29)
“Road Race” (21:58)
“The Picture In Rick’s Notebook” (25:11)
“Who Is Betty?” (25:14)
“Rick Gets Even” (22:23)
“Dave and the Schoolteacher” (25:29)
“A Sweater for Rick” (22:33)
“Dave’s Golf Story” (25:29)
“Rick’s Broken Arm” (24:46)
“Selling Rick’s Drums” (25:05)
“Rick’s 21st Birthday” (25:31)
“Rick Grades a Test” (22:12)
“Rick and the Maid of Honor” (22:50)
“Ricky, the Host” (22:19)
“David and the Teenager” (22:21)
“Dave and the Fraternity Leader” (22:24)
“Ozzie, Joe, and the Fashion Models” (22:23)
“Rick’s Wedding Ring” (25:36)
“Blue Moose” (22:24)
“The Tangled Web” (22:19)
“Ozzie the Babysitter” (22:18)
The “biggest” special feature for this set, as advertised on the packaging, is almost a joke. The set advertises 12 performances from Ricky and Dave. But what it fails to mention is that these performances are contained within the episodes. So you can either watch the episodes and see the performances there, or go to the special features and watch individual performances clipped from the episodes. It is much easier to just watch the episodes and skip this so-called “special feature.”
There are a few other worthy special features, though, starting with the radio episodes. Before this became a TV series, it was a radio series, and four episodes of that radio series are contained within this set, including “David Sells Ozzie’s Suit” (28:35), “David Fights” (29:05), “Apartment Building Next Door” (26:14), and “Jury Duty” (25:00). Also, there is a Trivia Quiz on Disc 4, where if you answer all 10 questions correctly, you can get to a bonus radio episode. Unfortunately, not being an expert on the show, I couldn’t successfully answer all of the questions, but I am an expert on how to cheat by using a computer to get to these “bonus” things, and discovered that the bonus radio episodes is entitled “A New Dress.”
I’ve never truly watched this series before (I’ve seen parts of episodes, but that is about it), but I have to say, it is a decent show to watch. I think fans of TRUE classic TV would appreciate it a lot more than I did, but even I thought it was a pretty enjoyable and innocent show to watch. It is also amazing to see how much the characters age in the series, even Ozzie and Harriet themselves. They REALLY looked old by season 14.
I just don’t understand why the set has to contain the edited episodes. The video and audio quality doesn’t bother me quite as much (as this is an older series, and there are far too many episodes of the series to reasonably expect all to be “restored”) as the editing. It would be nice to see Shout! Factory attempt to release this show in season sets, but I suppose with 14 seasons, each containing MANY episodes, that is a lot to ask. But for now, fans can enjoy this and any other compilations of America’s favorite family.