DVD Release Date: September 27, 2005 (MPI Home Video)
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 26
Running Time: 765 minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: 100 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English
Special Features: Extended Unaired Pilot with
Introduction from Linda Kaye Henning; Paul Henning &
The Hillbillies documentary; Original Cast Sponsor
Commercials; CBS Network Promo; Variety Show
Appearances from Irene Ryan and Buddy Ebsen
Weeeeeell doggies! The Beverly Hillbillies is on
DVD--again. One huge difference this time though. This
is the first time that AUTHORIZED release of the show
has been put out. Yes, there are many public domain
DVDs of the show out there from many different
companies, but forget those! MPI has put together an
excellent (and I'll say it again, AUTHORIZED)
collection of 26 of the first 27 episodes of one of
the funniest sitcoms of all time, complete with
special features including the original unaired pilot
episode, interviews, and more!
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
What better way to start out Volume 1 of a television
series than to include the first episode of the
series? Sounds good enough, right? Wrong! This set
demonstrates that just including the first episode
isn't exactly enough. Instead, what we get is the full
32 minute version of it! Think about it--that is about
10 minutes longer than the version aired in
syndication. Admittedly, most of the unaired portion
of this episode, the last 5 minutes, is just Raymond
Bailey talking about the series, and talking about the
upcoming episodes of the series, but still, this is
very interesting footage to see. You'll even notice a
different title and theme song on this episode. It is
called "The Hillbillies of Beverly Hills."
In "Getting Settled," the Clampetts get to meet Miss
Hathaway, who mistakenly believes that the Clampetts
are the hired help! In "Jed Buys Stock," Jed listens
to Mr. Drysdale's suggestion to get some stock…
although Jed thinks he means LIVEstock. The Clampetts
decide that they should get out and know their
neighbors (on Halloween) in "Trick or Treat." The
Clampetts decide to start a duel with the Drysdales
after Sonny jilts Elly in "The Great Feud." Mr.
Drysdale wants Pearl—but not for the reason Jed
believes—in "Jed Saves the Drysdales' Marriage." Jed
becomes the vice-president of the bank, conveniently
just in time for a bank skeet shooting contest, in
"Jed Becomes a Banker."
Since this is not a "season" set, it is probably
helpful to know exactly which episodes are on this
set. They include: "The Clampetts Strike Oil,"
"Getting Settled," "Meanwhile Back at the Cabin," "The
Clampetts Meet Mrs. Drysdale," "Jed Buys Stock,"
"Trick or Treat," "The Servants," "Jethro Goes to
School," "Elly's First Date," "Pygmalion and Elly,"
"Elly Races Jethrine," "The Great Feud," "No Place
Like Home," "Jed Rescues Pearl," "Back to Californy,"
"Jed's Dilemma," "Jed Saves the Drysdales' Marriage,"
"Elly's Animals," "Jed Throws a Wingding," "Jed Plays
Solomon," "Duke Steals a Wife," "Jed Buys The
Freeway," "Jed Becomes a Banker," "The Family Tree,"
"Jed Cuts the Family Tree," and "Granny's Spring
Tonic." Basically that is 26 of the first 27 episodes,
with the Christmas episode "Home for Christmas"
missing, but don't worry, that is coming soon on a
The packaging is definitely acceptable, but it could
definitely stand to be a little bit better. Basically
what we have here is a thick Amaray case--much like
the one used for the DVD releases of ALF and Petticoat
Junction. Inside the case, there are two "pages" (I'm
not sure exactly how to describe these, pages seems
most appropriate because they are much like pages in a
book) that hold the DVDs, with DVDs on both sides of
each "page." Inside the case, there is a pamphlet that
lists the episodes contained on each disc and original
air dates. When MPI released The Doris Day Show, they
included episode descriptions as well, but there are
none in this set. They would have been nice to have.
There is also a catalog for other MPI products, if
that interests you.
The artwork contained in the set is about what you'd
come to expect for a Beverly Hillbillies set, with the
Clampett clan inside their truck gracing the cover and
a publicity photo that contains the family (including
Aunt Pearl) on the episode booklet. The disc art has
Jethro on Disc 1 and the first 7 episodes, Jed and
Granny on Disc 2 and the next 7 episodes, Elly and
Granny on Disc 3 with 7 more episodes, and Jed on Disc
4 with the final 5 episodes.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus are pretty nice on the set. Basically, when
you load the disc into the DVD player, the closing
music plays with several scenes from the show. This
lasts 12 seconds, but you can just hit the Menu button
to skip past this. Then, the main menu comes up. What
you see on the Main Menu is the Clampett Mansion and
options for Play, Episodes, Subtitles, and (on Disc 4)
Bonus Features. Also, on the main menu, the opening
music plays, with a film strip going across the screen
with various scenes from the show. I think the menus
were very nicely done. The Episode menu is very
simple, with a picture of the Clampetts standing in
front of the cement pond and screenshots from each
episode on the menu.
This set lacks scene selection and chapters. One thing
that is a little bit annoying is the fact that if you
select an episode from Episode Selection, once the
episode finish playing, the next episode on the disc
will play. It would be nice if it just went back to
the main menu after the episode plays.
Video and Audio Quality:
The video quality on this set is much, MUCH, better
than what you are going to get from the public domain
sets that are out there. There is some grain on the
picture, and some vertical lines on the screen on some
episodes, but considering the age of the show, these
issues aren't anything to seriously be worrying about.
To put it in simplest terms, the video quality is much
like you'd expect from a reputable TV station (i.e.
not one that airs public domain stuff) airing this in
The audio quality on the set is pretty good too, and
again, is better than what you get on public domain
DVD sets. You are getting a mono audio track (it's
1962, what do you expect?) that sounds about as good
as it was intended to. I noticed that one episode had
this slight buzzing noise in the background, but it
wasn't too serious of a problem. English subtitles are
available for every episode.
Naturally, this set presents the episodes (pretty
much) completely unedited, with each episode running
around 26:00. I say pretty much because the episodes
have sponsorship elements within the show (that are
not integral to the plot) removed from the episodes.
However, there is no need to really worry about
this--I believe that probably all of these can be
found within the set (see the next section for more
Lots and lots of them! One of the things that I really
love about this set is the fact that the original
sponsorships are included on every episode! The odd
numbered episodes are sponsored by Winston Cigarettes
(that is a sponsorship you wouldn't see on TV these
days) and the even numbered episodes are sponsored by
Kellogg's. A brief message from the sponsor (to the
tune of the theme song) airs after the opening credits
on each episode. There are even PSAs on the end of
many of the Winston sponsored episodes, which is
ironic considering the fact that these days, many PSAs
advocate not smoking. You'll find PSAs from The United
Way, Radio Free Europe, the National Safety Council
(seat belts save 5000 lives a year... that is a
statistic that has surely changed), and a Challenge to
Americans PSA (I have no clue what this one is all
about). Sponsorships within the episode, such as
characters eating Corn Flakes or smoking Winston
cigarettes, are not included in the context of the
episodes, but most (probably all, I can't confirm it
though) appear to be included on the set anyway, in a
25 minute feature that is contained on Disc 4.
Additionally, there is a 1 minute CBS promo for The
Beverly Hillbillies on Disc 4, but this is obviously a
promo for a later season, since it advertised that the
show is "now in color."
There are also interviews on the set... and not just 1
minute interviews or anything meaningless like that!
There is a whopping 63 minutes of interviews on this
set. The main one, "Paul Henning and the Hillbillies,"
focuses on Paul Henning's life and creating the
Beverly Hillbillies. In here, we see interviews from
Linda Kaye Henning, Max Baer, Dwayne Hickman, Gunilla
Hutton, Shirley Mitchell, Lori Saunder, Martin
Ranschoff (Filmways chairman), Ted Switzer (Filmways
publicist, Mark Tuttle, Charles Lane, and even archive
footage of Paul Henning. There is an additional
separate interview with just Max Baer where he talks
about his experience on the show, and how he has dealt
with life after the show. He even goes into detail on
Jethro's Casino, a Beverly Hillbillies themed casino
that Max Baer is planning to build on the former site
of a Walmart in Carson City, Nevada. These interviews
are all on Disc 4. Additionally, on Disc 1, there is
an introduction for the Pilot episode from Linda Kaye
Finally, we have two appearances from Irene Ryan and
Buddy Ebsen when they each appeared on the program The
Hollywood Palace (I'd never even heard of this show
until I saw this set). They are just brief clips with
them coming on stage, in character, and singing a song
about themselves basically. They are short (Irene Ryan
Sings at 5:50, Buddy Ebsen Sings at 3:18), but very
interesting. Again, these are on Disc 4.
I'm very satisfied with the special feature on the
set. Really, the only thing missing is audio
commentaries; commentaries from Max Baer Jr. would be
very nice to have on the episodes. Every other special
feature imaginable has been covered with this set.
This is an excellent set! It is probably one of the
best sets that I've had the privilege of reviewing.
Many elements of the show have been preserved in a way
that many other companies may have not preserved them,
the audio and video quality is pretty good, and the
special features in the set are very nice. My only
REAL complaint about this set is that it isn't the
ENTIRE first season; it only would have taken a few
more episodes for it to have all of the episodes.
Fortunately, though, this set is labeled as Volume 1,
which hopefully means that more episodes (I'm hoping
the entire series!) are on the way. The missing
Christmas episode will be on the way soon, and
hopefully whenever Volume 2 is released (assuming
there will be a Volume 2, I have no inside information
on this stuff), it will contain the rest of the first
season as well as the beginning of the second season.
But all in all, this set is nice and I'm looking
forward to more on the way.
One final note about this set: this set is being
released by MPI Home Video. If you are going to
purchase this set, MAKE SURE that you buy the release
by MPI Home Video (The Ultimate Collection Volume 1).
There are at least three other companies that I know
of that have Beverly Hillbillies Volume 1 releases on
the market, but those are NOT the real deal. What you
are getting there are barebones public domain releases
that aren't NEARLY as good as these, and they are not
even remotely similar to this set.