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The Real McCoys - The Complete Season Four


TITLE: THE REAL MCCOYS - THE COMPLETE SEASON FOUR


Info:

Release Date: June 29, 2010 (Infinity Entertainment Group)
B&W/1960-1961
MSRP: $29.98
Packaging: Slimcases
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 39
Running Time: 897 minutes
Running Time of Features: N/A
Audio: English mono
Subtitles and Captioning: None
Special Features: None


Introduction:

I want you to meet the family, known as the Real McCoys! The Real McCoys, airing from 1957-1963, was one of television’s first rural sitcoms and helped pave the way for future rural sitcoms that became even bigger hits. In The Real McCoys, Walter Brennan stars as Grampa Amos, who picks his family up from the hills of West Virginia to move to the San Fernando Valley in California. But this is no fish-out-of-water/rags-to-riches story like the Clampett family on The Beverly Hillbillies. Here, the family life is very much down to earth, and despite their rural upbringing, seems to acclimate to their new environment rather well (and honestly, it isn’t a huge change for the family, as they are still running a farm in a rural area). Joining Grampa Amos is grandson Luke (Richard Crenna), Luke’s bride Kate (Lydia Reed), farm hand Pepino (Tony Martinez), and neighbor George MacMichael (Andy Clyde). The series aired for six seasons, most of them on ABC.


Episodes:

In the season opener, “Beware a Smart Woman,” Kate and Grampa try to make Luke feel smart after he enrolls in night school. Kate may become the breadwinner of the house in “Executive Wife,” and Luke and Grampa are hardly thrilled at that proposition. Grampa is upset when the family does his chores for him in “Smothered in Love,” so what can the family do to make him feel wanted again? It turns out that the McCoys are all in George’s will in “The Legacy,” well all of them but Amos, that is. Kate turns a traditional Japanese woman into an American woman in “A Bundle from Japan,” and it nearly destroys her engagement. The family takes in a city boy to do chores on the farm in “The City Boy.” Grampa makes a bad oil investment in “The Investors,” but can Las Vegas winnings get every penny back to him? In “The Good Neighbor Policy,” Grampa and George attempt to commit insurance fraud after an auto accident. One of the cows gets drafted in “You Can’t Beat the Army.” Luke and Grampa are arrested for promoting gambling at a PTA Charity drive in “The Bazaar.”

The Sunday school needs in a new teacher in “The New Sunday School Teacher,” but who would ever guess that new teacher would be Grampa Amos? Grampa agrees to pay for Pepino’s wedding in “Pepino’s Wedding,” but how will he react when he finds out she wants a big wedding? Hassie hopes to get into high society, but it could become more difficult with a cookout hosted by Grampa in “Sorority Girl.” The McCoys decide that their investments being held in a cookie jar should be placed in the bank in “Money in the Bank.” Grandma McCoy celebrates her 100th birthday in “Back to West Virginny.” Grampa tries to recapture his youth in “September Song.” Pepino’s cousin, a matador, comes to teach him the bull fighting business in “The Matador,” but is Pepino even cut out for that? George hires a housekeeper in “George’s Housekeeper,” but business quickly turns in to romance--and it may not be for the best.

Unfortunately, just about every single episode on the set appears to be the syndicated version of the series, and there are some very obvious edits that can be found within the episodes. There is one episode that managed to slip into the set that runs over 24 minutes; however, although my guess is that this episode is still edited (just not as badly). Considering that the series has not had much airplay on TV in recent years (aside from a brief stint on TNN over a decade ago), it is likely that these edited prints were the best quality masters available, and even these could stand some improvement. Runtimes are as follows:

Disc 1:
“Beware a Smart Woman” (22:33)
“Executive Wife” (22:33)
“Pepino McCoy” (22:33)
“Father and Son Day” (22:31)
“Farmer or Scientist” (22:32)
“The New Librarian” (22:35)
“Smothered in Love” (22:34)
“Baldy” (22:33)
“The Hermit” (22:33)
“The Legacy” (22:34)

Disc 2:
“A Bundle from Japan” (22:32)
“The Horse Expert” (22:33)
“The City Boy” (22:34)
“The Investors” (22:34)
“If You Can’t Lick ‘Em” (22:34)
“The Rival” (22:33)
“The Good Neighbor Policy” (22:33)
“You Can’t Beat the Army” (22:36)
“The Bazaar” (22:33)
“The Swedish Girl” (22:33)

Disc 3:
“The New Sunday School Teacher” (22:33)
“Baseball vs. Love” (22:35)
“Theatre in the Barn” (22:35)
“George Retires” (22:33)
“Pepino’s Wedding” (22:35)
“Sorority Girl” (22:35)
“Kate Comes Home” (22:32)
“Money in the Bank” (22:32)
“A Man of Indulgence” (22:35)
“Back to West Virginny” (22:36)

Disc 4:
“Fly Away Home” (22:37)
“September Song” (24:13)
“Kate’s Competition” (22:33)
“Lost and Found” (22:35)
“First Love” (22:36)
“Hassie’s European Trip” (22:32)
“How to Win Friends” (22:33)
“The Matador” (22:28)
“George’s Housekeeper” (22:35)


Packaging:

The set has a pretty standard package design with two double slimcases. The cover art has a black and white family snapshot in front of the red barn, and the back of the box has basic information about the series. Inside, the two slimcases have the same artwork as the cover on the front of each slimcase, and a listing of all of the episodes (along with original airdates and brief episode descriptions) on the back. Each disc has a photograph of the red barn (again), and Disc 1 contains episodes 1-10, Disc 2 contains episodes 11-20, Disc 3 contains episodes 21-30, and Disc 4 contains 31-39.


Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus on the set are incredibly basic, with the main menu having a black and white snapshot of the family in front of a barn, and options of Play All and Episodes. Selecting Episodes will take you to a very basic list of all of the episodes on the particular disc, with the same drawing of the barn in the background. There is no audio on any of the menus. Fortunately, chapters are placed appropriately throughout each of the episodes.


Video and Audio Quality:

Older series that are well-preserved can look and sound great on DVD, but this series hasn’t been preserved very well. As previously mentioned, the set does use syndicated prints, which were probably in better shape than the masters would be without some substantial restoration work, but the quality still has some issues. The episodes all have some issues relating to the videotape that the episodes were transferred to for syndication, in addition to image quality issues from the master elements, such as grain and a not-so-sharp picture on just about all of the episodes. The audio on the set isn’t very good at all, although everything on the set can be heard. The big problem is that there are a lot of cracks and pops to be heard throughout the audio track, and a lot of background hissing that is hard to ignore. Don’t look for any closed-captioning or subtitles on this set, either, because it doesn’t have any, at all.


Special Features:

There are no special features at all on this set. It would have been nice to have had something along the lines of cast commercials or something on the set. Infinity has included these (and in some cases, entire episodes with original commercials intact) on some of the Route 66 releases that they have put out, and it would have been nice to have seen the same thing here.


Final Comments:

All in all, this is kind of a disappointing barebones set, but it does include every episode of the fourth season, even if they are edited and of less than stellar video and audio quality. And the episodes themselves are actually pretty good. This was my first time truly watching the series (I always ignored it in syndication), but it is very similar to other rural comedies airing in the same era, reminding me a lot of something along the lines of Petticoat Junction. The series is enjoyable but INCREDIBLY dated on many ideas, particularly regarding the role of women, minorities, education, and other ideas. Everything screams 50s about the series in those regards, but that doesn’t necessarily take away from the enjoyment of the series. I probably wouldn’t bother purchasing this at the full MSRP, but given a nice discount, the set provides hours of entertainment and a fun series overall to watch. I can’t wait to meet the family even more with future sets (information on the packaging seems to indicate that the remaining two seasons are forthcoming), it is just too bad that these edited episodes are probably going to be the only option.


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

Video Quality: 3/5
Audio Quality: 3/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4/5
Overall Score: 2.5/5

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 10/02/10

To purchase the DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B003M3A82M/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

Questions or comments about this set? Post on our message board:

http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=273912


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