TITLE: CLASSIC TV CHRISTMAS COLLECTION
Release Date: November 16, 2010 (Warner Archive - WBShop.com Exclusive)
B&W and Color/1964, 1970, 1977, 1979, 1986, 1988, 1996, 1997
Packaging: Keep case
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 10
Running Time: 341 minutes
Running Time of Features: N/A
Audio: English Dolby Digital Mono
Subtitles and Captioning: None
Special Features: None
Warner Archive brings us 10 classic Warner Bros. series on DVD with 10 classic Christmas episodes on a 4-disc set in Classic TV Christmas Collection - available exclusively on WBShop.com! These DVDs are made on demand on Warner made to order DVD (on DVD-R’s). So if it is your wish, it is their command! All 10 episodes are being released on DVD for the very first time, as none of these episodes have ever been released on DVD before. This set includes also the DVD debuts of Dr. Kildare, The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, Eight is Enough, Suddenly Susan, and Veronica’s Closet. We also get Welcome Back Kotter, Alice, CHiPs, Perfect Strangers and Mama’s Family on this set. So we get something for everyone here, whether it is comedy or drama!
This holiday, settle in front of the TV with the California Highway Patrol, a Mypos immigrant and other wacky friends and co-workers in this wonderful 4-disc collection of vintage TV series Christmas episodes. The yuletide season doesn’t mean less work for Dr. Kildare and Dr. Gillespie and for Jon and Ponch of CHiPs. A prized medallion is passed around as a gift in The Courtship of Eddie’s Father. Menorahs, mistletoes and Balky Claus – festive traditions of all kinds are celebrated on Welcome Back, Kotter and Perfect Strangers. The season is nearly ruined twice: on Eight Is Enough the Bradford family’s presents are stolen and Alice gets stuck in a Christmas blizzard. Mama’s Family debates the fate of Mama’s present, a goose. Keep it as a pet or eat it? The staffs from Veronica’s Closet and Suddenly Susan find Christmas with their co-workers to be the most challenging time of the year. So gather ’round and savor this classic compilation filled overflowing with holiday spirit!
All of the episodes are premiering on DVD for the first time, as mentioned above. These are all classic holiday episodes. The Courtship of Eddie’s Father episode is not a Christmas episode per se, but it deals with gift giving. Among the guest stars on these episodes you will see Rip Tom on Dr. Kildare, Jodie Foster on The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, and William Schallert in CHiPs. The episodes included are as follows with runtimes:
1. Dr. Kildare - “An Exchange of Gifts” (50:32) OAD: 12/24/64
Thinking he's about to die, a derelict alcoholic gives away his life’s hoardings.
2. The Courtship of Eddie's Father - “Gifts are for Giving” (25:11) OAD: 12/23/70
What goes around comes around when Norman’s prized medallion circulates among the cast. Although not a Christmas episode per se, this story, originally aired two days before the holiday warmly illustrates the pure joy of giving.
3. Welcome Back, Kotter - “A Sweathog Christmas Special” (25:09) OAD: 12/15/77
Mix merriment, mistletoe and menorahs and whip up a Christmas party with the Sweathogs.
4. Eight is Enough - “Yes Nicholas, There is a Santa Claus - Part 1” (47:13) OAD: 12/14/77 / “Yes Nicholas, There is a Santa Claus - Part 2” (47:34) OAD: 12/14/77
The Bradford’s Christmas is put on hold when all the family’s presents are stolen.
5. Alice - “A Semi-Merry Christmas” (24:44) OAD: 12/18/77
Alice, Tommy, Flo, Vera, and Mel spend Christmas together snowbound in a semi trailer.
6. CHiPs - “Christmas Watch” (48:21) OAD: 12/15/79
Christmas season doesn’t mean time off for Jon and Ponch when thieves steal a 500 year-old bell from a community church.
7. Perfect Strangers - “The Gift of the Mypiot” (21:45) OAD: 12/16/88
Balki ruins Larry's holiday mood by inviting his lonely boss, Mr. Gorpley, to their Christmas Eve party.
8. Mama's Family - “Mama Gets Goosed” (21:22) OAD: 12/20/86
Mama frets about cooking a live goose for Christmas dinner.
9. Suddenly Susan - “The Walk Out” (22:18) OAD: 12/19/96
When Jack doesn’t hand out Christmas bonuses, the staff goes on strike.
10. Veronica's Closet - “Veronica's Christmas Song” (22:16) OAD: 12/18/97
Veronica and Olive audition to sing at a Christmas concert at Lincoln Center.
The packaging of the set is very simple with a keep case. It’s good, too! The cover art has promotional photos of each series with the series name below that and the Classic TV Christmas Collection logo is on top. There is also a nice snowflake inside that logo. We get nice red, green and white coloring, as that fits the holiday theme. The back of the case has info on the set and all of the series and episode titles are listed by disc. When we open the case, we see no artwork on the panels at all. Also, there isn’t an episode booklet, but the show/episode titles are on the discs themselves. The discs are not overlapping and each disc has its own side. There is a plastic holder holding discs one and two, one on each side. The last two discs are on a second plastic holder. This is good and probably works the best. The disc art has a snowflake in the background, along with the Classic TV Christmas Collection logo. Each disc is numbered inside a green snowflake and we get show name/episode titles printed on each disc.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The main menu has a similar style as the cover art. We get the Classic TV Christmas Collection logo along with the same promotional photos from the cover art, but only of the shows featured on that disc. This makes sense and is nice and simple. We have the choice of Play All or choose an episode title right on the main menu. We get the show name, episode title and original airdate. The episodes have 3 chapter stops per episode for the sitcoms and 5 chapter stops per episode for the dramas.
Video and Audio Quality:
The video varies from episode to episode, but it is mainly great. We get 10 episodes on 4 discs, which seems like a lot, but this was done to give us high video quality as these are DVD-R’s and are cheaper. The dramas look a bit better than the comedies, I think. Maybe that is the case because they were filmed, while the comedies were taped? Eight is Enough and CHiPs look really good. Alice looks decent, but probably the worst on the set. Then again, Alice has never looked great in video quality anywhere. Suddenly Susan and Veronica’s Closet are the newest episodes on this set, but I think they don’t look as good as the other comedies, like Mama’s Family. The audio is in mono and I have no complaints here. The sound quality and volume is fine. I mentioned the chapter stops in the previous section. We have a chapter stop every 10 minutes rather than at the end of an act. I don’t like that. Couple of tidbits, the Eight is Enough two-hour episode is spilt into two-parts, the “To Be Continued...” tag is intact at the end of part one. All closing logos seem like they are there, however in part two of the Eight is Enough episode you can hear the Lorimar Telepictures sound at the end, but we can’t see the logo for some reason.
Finally, every episode on this set is unedited except for Perfect Strangers. That episode, as mentioned in the Episodes section, only runs 21:45 so it is clearly edited. I spoke to Warner Archive about that before I wrote this review and they were VERY helpful about it. They released the following statement to us:
“We thought we were releasing the Christmas DVD with the most complete original master of the Perfect Strangers episode “The Gift of the Mypiot,” but apparently we included the syndicated version that is approximately two minutes shorter. Currently, we are reviewing the many master tapes we have to see if we can find the complete episode, and if we do have it, we will replace the current episode with the more complete one. The good thing about manufacturing-on-demand is that we are able to make rolling changes to our line since we are not stuck with tens of thousands of copies in a warehouse. That said, we will keep you posted with details on if we locate the correct master, and how we are rolling it out. Also- we honestly appreciate when fans point these kinds of errors out, because we are committed to releasing the best quality products we can. Thanks!”
Our thanks to Warner Archive for checking and offering to replace the episode if/when they find the masters. If you are buying this set just for Perfect Strangers, don’t worry Perfect Strangers fans, they are looking for the unedited original ABC version episode. We’ll keep you posted on our message board, Twitter and Facebook as well. And we will also edit any new details right here on this review with an UPDATE title. All of the other episodes on this set are unedited, including Mama’s Family, as this is low because it was first-run syndicated show. Veronica’s Closet and Suddenly Susan are lower because they are newer and episodes began to go to 22 minutes by the mid-90s.
There are no special features on this set. I wasn’t expecting any on this either since it is a compilation of ten Christmas episodes. Maybe some original promos of these episodes would have been nice I guess?
This is a nice DVD to have because you can just pop in the DVD on your DVD player and have a marathon of Christmas episodes. Who needs a TV network marathon? I really recommend this set because it has episodes never released on DVD. So fans of these ten series will be pleased to hear that. Now this is a made to order on DVD-R, so it isn’t as good as a regular DVD. But some of the video quality on some episodes probably looks as good as on a regular DVD. Warner Archive did a great job with this set because of that. 4 discs may sound too much for just 10 episodes, but they really wanted to give us the best video possible on these episodes. So I commend them on that! I also praise them in the Perfect Strangers issue. Yes, they made a mistake of putting a syndicated episode of that series, but since this is a made to order DVD-R, they can easily replace it. So all is not lost, folks! Stay tuned for further updates on how you can replace that episode. But for now, enjoy these never before released classic Christmas episodes just in time for the holiday season! I hope Warner Archive starts (or continues for some) releasing all of these series on season sets as well. Ho, ho, ho! Merrrrrrrry Christmas, Mr. Gorpley!
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4/5
Overall Score: 4/5
-- Reviewed by Pavan on 11/24/10
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