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Gidget - The Complete Series



DVD Release Date: March 21, 2006 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
Color / 1965-66
MSRP: $39.95
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 32 (plus Original Pilot Episode)
Running time: Approx. 804 Minutes
Audio Tracks: English Dolby Digial Mono
Video: Full Frame 1.33:1
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; Closed Captioning
Special Features:
A Look Back at Gidget Featuring an Exclusive New Interview with Sally Field
Original Pilot Episode


Catch a wave with America's favorite southern California beach teen in Gidget: The Complete Series. Join two-time Academy Award winner Sally Field (1979, Actress in a Leading Role, Norma Rae) (1984, Actress in a Leading Role, Places in the Heart) as perky 15-year-old Frances Elizabeth Lawrence (better known to her family and friends as Gidget), Don Porter as her ever-loving father, Russ, and a host of such soon-to-be-famous faces as Richard Dreyfuss, Barbara Hershey, Bonnie Franklin, Harvey Korman, and Henry Jaglom, for 32 winning episodes of fun-in-the-sun comedy, romance and adventure!

Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Gidget was based on the 1957 Frederick Kohner novel, "Gidget, The Little Girl With the Big Ideas," and a 1959 film starring Sandra Dee, "Gidget" (slang for girl-midget). It debuted on September 15, 1965 on ABC. The series lasted for only one season and 32 episodes. The show had only marginal ratings during the original run, but it became a top 10 hit when it was rerun in the summer. Unfortunately, it was too late, as the show had already been cancelled, and Sally Field would soon accept a role on The Flying Nun. Despite it's short run, the series continues to have a cult following. The cast included: Sally Field as Frances "Gidget" Lawrence; Don Porter as Professor Russ Lawrence; Betty Conner as Anne Cooper; Peter Deuel as John Cooper Lynette Winter as Larue; Mike Nader as Peter Stone ("Siddo"); and Steven Miles as Jeff Matthews ("Moondoggie").

There were a number of memorable episodes. Anne reads Gidget's diary and assumes her sisters' highly imaginative entries are true in "Dear Diary...Et Al." Gidget becomes concerned when her father begins dating a woman she suspects is a gold-digger in "Daddy Come Home." An isolated beach cove becomes the object of a battle between the boys, Gidget and her girlfriends in "The War Between Men, Women and Gidget." Gidget unintentionally makes a date to go to the dance with both of the Cook brothers in "Too Many Cooks." When accidents begin to happen, Gidget believes a fortune-telling gypsy has put a curse on her in "Like Voodoo." When Jeff suddenly invites Gidget to meet his parents, she mistakenly believes he's going to propose in "In and Out With the In-Laws." Russ thinks Gidget's been kidnapped when she takes off in the middle of the night to help a friend buy a car in "Take a Lesson." To comfort her young friend over the death of his pet alligator, Gidget preserves the remains in her family freezer in "Don't Defrost the Alligator."

Many notable guest stars made appearances. Martin Milner ("Adam-12") played Kahuna in "The Big Kahuna." Harvey Korman ("The Carol Burnett Show") guest starred as Joe Henley in "Daddy Come Home." Dick Gautier appeared as Mark Hillman in "Gidget Gadget." Noam Pitlik ("Sanford and Son" and "The Bob Newhart Show") played Donald Hardy in "Gidget is a Proper Noun." Judy Carne ("Laugh-In") guest starred as Pat Taylor in "Is It Love or Symbiosis." Henry Jaglom appeared as Billy Ray Soumes and Dick Wilson was Mr. Lefferts in "All the Best Diseases Are Taken." Bonnie Franklin ("One Day at a Time") played Janie in "Chivalry Isn't Dead" and Jean in "Too Many Cooks." Barbara Hershey ("Beaches) was Ellen in "Chivalry Isn't Dead," "Love and the Single Gidget," and "Ask Helpful Hannah." Mako guest starred as Casey in "The War Between Men, Women and Gidget." Walter Koenig ("Star Trek") played Gunnar in "Gidget's Foreign Policy." Daniel J. Travanti ("Hill Street Blues") guest starred as Tom Brighton in "Now There's a Face." Richard Dreyfuss ("Jaws", "Close Encounters of the Third Kind") played Durf the Drag in "Ego-A-Go-Go." Ron Rifkin ("Alias") guest starred as Mel in "Love and the Single Gidget." Paul Lynde ("Bewitched") appeared as Herman Marshall in "Take a Lesson."


The packaging has a nice beach theme, with 60's-esque pastel colors used throughout the set. The outer DVD box features a photo of Gidget talking on the phone, and Russ eating an apple and reading a book called "Psychology: The American Teenage Girl." A guy surfing in the ocean is seen behind them, and there are palm trees and rainbow colors on the left side. Up at the top in the center, there is the Gidget logo. On the back of the box, they give a summary of the set and list the DVD specs and special features. There is one large circular photo of Gidget wearing a red hat and four smaller photos of various cast members. Two slim cases slide out from the right of the box. Each slim case holds two discs. Slim case #1 features a head shot of Sally Field in the center. Slim case #2 has a photo of Don Porter. The ocean can be seen in the background of both of them. On the back of the slim cases, they list the episode titles and short summaries. There is a beach and ocean background. It would have been nice if they listed the original airdates and notable guest stars, also. Inside the cases, there is a blue-tinted photo of Gidget and Siddo in a skiff. Each disc features a cute publicity photo of Sally Field. Disc 1 has Episodes 1-9, Disc 2 has Episodes 10-18, Disc 3 has Episodes 19-27, and Disc wraps up the set with Episodes 28-32 and the special features. I think they could have spread out the episodes a bit more evenly, with 8 episodes per disc.

Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus are very simple and easy to navigate. They feature the same bright pastel colors as the rest of the set, with various beach items like a surfboard. Sally Field and Don Porter are featured on all discs. Disc 1 has the same photo as the cover art, Disc 2 has Sally in a red hat and Don in a smaller photo, Disc 3 is the same photo as Disc 1, and Disc 4 has a photo of Sally with her hand on her chin and a smaller photo of Don. There are options for "Play All Episodes" and "Episode Selections". When you choose Episode Selections, it takes to a separate sub-menu. They feature a rainbow background and palm trees. There is a circular still image from each episode. When you highlight an episode, it tints the photo red. When you make your episode selection, it tints it yellow. A "Special Features" option is given on the fourth disc. It would have great to hear the theme song in the background or some of the incidental music cues on the menus. There are chapter stops within the episodes but no separate menus for scene selections.

Video and Audio Quality:

These episodes have digitally remastered audio and high definition video. Overall, I think the quality is excellent. I remember watching Gidget on TV Land in 2002-03, and the prints on the DVD sets look much cleaner and better. It is hard to believe the show is now over 40-years-old. The colors may look a bit faded, but the colors still look bright and the picture is crisp. 1965 was around the time most sitcoms were first being broadcast in color, so it is really not the color we would be accustomed to in the future. The show was shot on film, but there is very little dust, debris, and grain on these episodes. Sony did a good job cleaning them up, as I'm sure the original source material has deteriorated over the years. The many outdoor and beach scenes look great and have bright colors. All episodes appear to be unedited, running 24-25 minutes in length. For the closing logo enthusiasts, nothing special here. They just have the Sony Pictures Television logo.

The audio is your typical 1960's Dolby Digital mono track. No major problems were noticed. The volume is at a good level, and the dialogue is easy to understand. I wouldn't be surprised if they had to loop some of the outdoor scenes originally. Dave Grusin's incidental music cues were cool and added a lot to the show. Closed captioning is available on all of the episodes.

The episodes are presented in their original broadcast order. Here is the breakdown by disc and the running times:

Disc 1
1. Dear Diary...Et Al (25:38)
2. In God, and Nobody Else, We Trust (25:13)
3. The Great Kahuna (25:15)
4. Daddy Come Home (25:13)
5. Gidget Gadget (25:07)
6. A Hearse, A Hearse, My Kingdom for a Hearse (25:16)
7. Gidget is a Proper Noun (25:18)
8. Image Scrimmage (25:14)
9. Is It Love or Symbiosis (25:07)

Disc 2
10. All the Best Diseases Are Taken (25:17)
11. My Ever Faithful - Friend (25:15)
12. Chivalry Isn't Dead (25:15)
13. The War Between Men, Women and Gidget (25:26)
14. Gidget's Foreign Policy (25:11)
15. Now There's a Face (25:06)
16. Too Many Cooks (25:15)
17. I Love You, I Love You, I Love You, I Think (25:09)
18. Like Voodoo (25:13)

Disc 3
19. Gidget's Career (24:23)
20. Ego a Go-Go (25:13)
21. In and Out With the In-Laws (25:01)
22. We Got Each Other (25:11)
23. Operation Shaggy Dog (25:14)
24. Ringa-Ding-Dingbat (25:13)
25. Love and the Single Gidget (25:16)
26. Take a Lesson (24:16)
27. Independence - Gidget Style (25:12)

Disc 4
28. One More for the Road (25:14)
29. Ask Helpful Hannah (25:13)
30. A Hard Night's Night (25:14)
31. I Have This Friend Who... (25:13)
32. Don't Defrost the Alligator (25:05)

Special Features:

It's nice to see Sony including more special features on their DVD sets in recent months. The extras are found on the fourth disc.

A Look Back at Gidget - This is an all-new interview with Sally Field. She looks great at almost 60. She discusses how she got her first Hollywood job on Gidget. She grew up in a working class, showbusiness family. They show a brief black & white clip of her Gidget Screen Test that has a timestamp on it. She talks a bit about her fellow cast members including Don Porter, Lynette Winters, and Peter Duel. Other topics covered include how she stumbled over some words, how they shot the show, her common quotes, and her hair and dress style on the show. She is asked whether she consider herself a role model and if she was Gidget. Finally, she talks about the show's cancellation. Her experiences on the series seemed largely positive, and it seems like she has nothing bad to say about it. The interview runs 16:38.

Original Pilot Episode - This has the same cast members and general storyline. There are a few additional/extended scenes. It runs about five minutes more than the pilot that aired on ABC (30:23 vs. 25:38). An alternate version of the theme song by The Four Freshmen is heard. Johnny Tillotson sung the theme song in the series.

Wait just a dingy minute... if they had Sally Field available to do an interview, how much more work would it have been for them to have her record commentaries on her top 2-3 favorite episodes? I'm sure fans of Sally and the show would have loved to hear her comments.

Finally, there are some previews for some other Sony TV DVD releases. Bewitched TV (1:01), I Dream of Jeannie (:54), and The Partridge Family (1:05) are included. It seemed like a lost opportunity for them to promote The Flying Nun First Season DVD release.

Final Comments:

Gidget is one of those series that is perfect for a DVD release. Although it ran for only 32 episodes, it still has a cult following and airs around the world. Gidget was a better series than The Flying Nun, in my opinion, and it seemed like Sally Field enjoyed her time more on the first series. You would have thought Gidget would have had more success, but ABC didn't really give it a chance. By the time it got good ratings in the summer, it had already been cancelled. Sally was so cute and had so much personality. It would have been easy to see that she would become a big star. Sally and Don Porter had great chemistry. He was like a father figure to her. I think Don Porter is often overlooked when you see lists of TV's Top Dads.

Sony did a nice job with the set. The episodes look better than expected, and they all seem to be unedited. It was interesting to hear Sally Field's comments in the interview, and most people will probably be viewing the original pilot episode for the first time. If you are a Sally Field fan, be sure to check out The Flying Nun - The Complete First Season, which is being released on the same day. As Gidget would often say, toodles!

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

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

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 03/16/06

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