DVD Release Date: February 17, 2009 (CBS DVD)
Number of Discs: 5
Number of Episodes: 34
Running Time: 868 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; Closed-captioned
Special Features: Original sponsor openings/closings; The Legend of the Beverly Hillbillies; Photo Gallery
CBS DVD strikes oil with The Official Third Season of The Beverly Hillbillies! Jed, Jethro, Elly May, and Granny have come back for more adventures of everybody’s favorite hillbillies living the good life in Beverly Hills while avoiding the luxuries and pleasures associated with the big city. The five disc DVD set contains all 34 episodes from the third season as well as a few nice bonus features.
The Beverly Hillbillies has seen many DVD releases in the past, but this is one of the very few “official” releases of the series, rather than the public domain sets put out by other companies. This set has even more to offer, however. All of the episodes of the series released on public domain DVD have been from the first two seasons, thus this set is the first authorized set to be released that only contains episodes that have not already been released on DVD! Well how ‘bout that? As Jethro would say, “hot dog!”
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
The third season begins with Mr. Drysdale buying the Clampetts a movie studio (with their money, of course) in “Jed Becomes a Movie Mogul.” They decide that the backlot of the studio would make a perfect home in “Clampett City,” but while there, they encounter a monster! Jed receives an honorary doctorate in “Dr. Jed Clampett,” but how will Granny react after she has been practicing medicine her entire life and does NOT have a doctorate?
Granny is determined to get Jed married off in “The Widow Poke Arrives.” In “The Boarder,” Granny turns the mansion into a boarding house, yet somehow the Drysdale’s new butler arrives in the boarding house and is found to be nothing more than a chicken thief! In “Start the New Year Right,” the hillbillies cause Mrs. Drysdale to be put into a hospital for psychiatric reasons, but Jed and Jethro are concerned when they keep finding that the hospital is mysteriously throwing her out the window!
Bernie Koppell guest stars in “The Movie Starlet.” Granny gets a little romance (thanks to some force by Mr. Drysdale) in “Granny’s Romance.” Don Rickles guest stars in “Jed’s Temptation.” In “”Double Naught Jethro,” Jethro finally realizes that the whole brain surgeon thing just isn’t going to work out and decides to instead become a spy--look out Maxwell Smart!
The Clampett’s decide that they want to see their millions of dollars, but Mr. Drysdale can’t present it in “Clampett’s Millions.” Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs cure Granny of some homesickness in “Flatt, Clampett, and Scruggs.” Are Jethro and Elly May going bohemian? Not if Granny can help it in “Cool School is Out.”
Jed is moving on up--to bank vice-president--in “The Big Bank Battle.” Mr. Brewster makes a return (with his new bride) in “The Brewsters Return.” Granny is ready to leave Beverly Hills (for the millionth time) in “Jed, the Bachelor.” The season ends with “The Art Center,” where Clampett artwork becomes a fashion statement in Beverly Hills.
The only thing that I don’t really like about this set is the packaging--it is so bland and uninspiring! One thing that the set could definitely use to make it look more “official” would be the actual series logo, but that is nowhere to be found on the packaging. Instead, the series title is just written in a standard font, with a cast photo below inside of a frame. Of course, this comes in a standard DVD case that holds five discs, four of which are on panels located inside the case and the fifth on the inside on the back of the case. Complete episode descriptions and original airdates are provided inside the case. Each disc contains seven episodes, except Disc 5 which contains six episodes and the special features.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus are basically like any other CBS DVD product, with the main menu having the theme song playing with a cast photo, and options of Play All and Episodes. Disc 5 also has a Special Features option. On the Episodes menu, you get a listing of episodes, where you can choose watch the episode with the original sponsor opening/closing or without. Chapters are placed at all of the appropriate places.
Video and Audio Quality:
It is so nice to see a release of this series that is crisp, clean, and clear! I am so used to all of those bad public domain sets that we have seen all through the years that this seems to be a stark contrast. Of course, everything isn’t perfect. You’ll still find a few scratches here and there as well as some grain issues, but by and large, this is a great set. The only areas where you’ll find problems are on the original opening and closing credits, but it isn’t that big of a deal, as those weren’t even intended to be preserved. The audio is generally fine, though a bit muffled and low at times, but again, that is to be expected. Each episode is closed-captioned.
Each episode generally seems to be unedited, and in fact, this set doesn’t even have the standard CBS DVD music disclaimer. It seems so unusual to not see that these days! Runtimes are as follows (these are runtimes without the original sponsorship elements):
Jed Becomes a Movie Mogul (25:41)
Clampett City (25:24)
Clampett City General Store (25:22)
Hedda Hopper’s Hollywood (25:21)
Dr. Jed Clampett (25:39)
Back to Marineland (25:40)
Jed, the Heartbreaker (25:30)
Teenage Idol (25:37)
The Widow Poke Arrives (25:25)
The Ballet (25:45)
The Boarder (25:39)
The Boarder Stays (25:47)
Start the New Year Right (25:41)
Clampett General Hospital (25:30
The Movie Starlet (25:51)
Elly in the Movies (25:35)
Dash Riprock, You Cad (25:45)
Clampett A-Go-Go (25:36)
Granny’s Romance (25:36)
Jed’s Temptation (25:29)
Double Naught Jethro (25:17)
Clampett’s Millions (25:37)
Drysdale’s Dog Days (25:26)
Brewster’s Honeymoon (25:42)
Flatt, Clampett and Scruggs (25:23)
Jed and the Countess (25:28)
Big Daddy, Jed (25:26)
Cool School is Out (25:26)
The Big Bank Battle (25:25)
The Clampetts vs. Automation (25:29)
The Brewsters Return (25:30)
Luke’s Boy (25:31)
Jed, the Bachelor (25:34)
The Art Center (25:26)
Once again, the DVD set gives you an option: you can watch the episodes with the sponsor opening and closing credits or without the sponsor opening and closing credits. It is really nice to see that they included these sponsor credits, and also give an option to just watch it the “normal” way as we are used to seeing it on TV. Personally, I prefer to watch the episodes with the original credits intact. When you watch an episode like this, you will get a brief disclaimer before each episode, as well as a warning against smoking on the episodes sponsored by Winston. As the opening credits and taglines proudly promote, “Winston tastes good, like a cigarette should,” but back in the 1960s, they didn’t dare warn you that smoking Winston cigarettes would probably kill you before you could see these episodes make it onto DVD. Of course, half of the episodes are sponsored by Kellogg’s, and as far as I know, Corn Flakes are still good for you. In any event, it is very nice to have these original elements intact. One thing that I did notice that was missing from most episodes in this set, however, is the closing tags featuring the cast members using the products of the sponsor. I’m assuming that they probably originally had these, as they were definitely included in the season two release and a few spotty episodes on this set, but they are by and large not found on this set. In any event, they aren’t an integral part of the episode.
On Disc 5, we have the other bonus features, one of which I believe fans will thoroughly enjoy. It is a “mock documentary” called The Legend of the Beverly Hillbillies (46:11). This is one of those “where are they now” type of deals, except rather than talking about where the cast is now they talk about where the characters are now. Whatever happened to Jed? Jethro? Elly May? We find out what happened to them 30 years later in this special! We also get to talk to some of the friends of the Clampett family, and we learn that they’ve got friends in high places, such as Reba McEntire, Ray Charles, Oliver and Lisa Douglas (with Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor reprising their roles), and more. This originally aired on CBS back in 1993 (around the time of the feature film release) and is hosted by country music singer Mac Davis.
Finally, we have a photo gallery (1:50). It isn’t much to get excited over, unless you really like photographs. They are nice photographs, mostly just cast photos, but I’m more of a “video” type of person. The theme song loops in the background while the photos are displayed.
You’ll notice on the back of the set that it lists Paul Brownstein as the executive producer of this DVD set. When you see that name, you KNOW you are getting quality, and this set doesn’t disappoint. Well, it does disappoint on the fact that there are so few bonus features, but my suspicion is that has to do with the fact that they could only squeeze so much in to a five disc set. Besides that, the set meets very high quality standards, and the bonus features that are included are very good.
It is also nice that this set doesn’t suffer from the standard CBS DVD problems that we talk about so often here in our reviews. Who would have ever imagined a CBS DVD product without a music disclaimer? It almost seems unreal. And the episodes are unedited, except for perhaps the sponsor tags (and I don’t even know for certain that those are missing, but even if they are, that isn’t exactly an integral part of the show). I only hope that the remaining seasons will receive nice releases as well, and also that CBS DVD will eventually release the first season. This DVD set is a set that any classic TV fan must own!