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Here Come the Brides - The Complete First Season



DVD Release Date: May 16, 2006 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
MSRP: $49.95
Number of Discs: 6
Number of Episodes: 26
Running time: approx. 1345 minutes
Language and Subtitles: English, closed captioning available
Special Features: None


Robert Brown, pop music superstar Bobby Sherman and David Soul (TV's "Starsky and Hutch") star in the classic television series Here Come the Brides, a delightful comedy that combines romance and adventure in the rugged landscape of the mid-nineteenth century Pacific Northwest.

The Bolt brothers own a mountain and logging camp in Seattle, and as the area's only employer the brothers borrow money and head east to bring back a shipload of lovely ladies to boost morale. But if any of the women leave Seattle within a year, the Bolts lose their mountain to the man that lent them the money!

Also starring legendary actress Joan Blondell (Grease, The Public Enemy), the complete first season of Here Come the Brides debuts on DVD!

Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Here Comes the Brides was loosely based on the true story of Seattle's Mercer Girls. Asa Mercer tried bring civilization to old Seattle by importing marriageable women from the war-ravaged East Coast of the United States. The show was set in the logging industry of post-Civil War (1870s) Seattle. The brothers Jason (Brown), Joshua (Soul), and Jeremy (Sherman) Bolt have a problem on their hands: the loggers who work for them threaten to strike over the lack of available women. So the brothers make a deal with mill owner Aaron Stempel (Mark Lenard); if Aaron foots the bill for ship's passage and a year's "upkeep" for 100 marriageable ladies from New Bedford, MA, then the Bolt brothers will make sure that all the "brides" stay in Seattle for a full year - or they lose Bridal Veil Mountain, which is their entire inheritance.

Here Comes the Brides premiered on ABC on September 25, 1968. A total of 52 one-hour episodes were produced over two seasons. In addition to Brown, Sherman, and Soul, the show also starred Joan Blondell as Lottie Hatfield, Bridget Hanley as Candy Pruitt, Mark Lenard as Aaron Stempel, Bo Svensen as Big Swede, Susan Tolsky as Biddie Cloom, Henry Beckman as Capt. Charley Clancey, Mitzi Hoag as Miss Essie Gillis, and Hoke Howell as Ben Jenkins. The theme song "Seattle" was composed by Jack Keller, Hugo Montenegro, and Ernie Sheldon. A group called The New Establishment would sing it for the show during some episodes of atleast the first season (and probably the second, but I've never seen any episodes). Perry Como and Bobby Sherman recorded their own versions that became big hits for them.

Memorable episodes included the pilot episode, "Here Come the Brides": The growing pioneer town of Seattle has everything - blue skies, tall pines, but no women. So to keep their loggers happy, the Bolt brothers find a solution. Everyone has a good laugh when a magician (Jack Albertson) boasts that he can stop the rain in "A Man and His Magic." A sentimental look back at the first crisis the new brides ever faced - the town has to build a dormitory for them - in one night in "After A Dream, Comes Mourning." In "Democracy Inaction," Nineteenth-Century women's lib hits Seattle when the town's government is organized and the men can only agree on one thing - women can't vote! A young Mormon man arrives to take four brides for marriage -- to himself in "One To A Customer." Joshua and one of the brides have to pretend that they're married so she can stay in Seattle in "Mr. & Mrs. J. Bolt."

There were quite a few notable guest stars in Season 1. Vic Tayback appeared in the pilot episode as one of the men. William Schallert played Reverend Gaddings in "The Man of the Family." Sheree North guest starred as Felicia Mack in "A Hard Card To Play." Daniel J. Travanti appeared as Will Sullivan in "A Jew Named Sullivan." Jack Albertson played a traveling salesman/magician, Merlin, in "A Man and His Magic." Edward Asner guest starred as Matt Balter in "The Firemaker." Susan Howard appeared as Jane in "Wives For Wakando." Barry Williams guest starred as Peter in "A Kiss Just For So." Lew Ayres played Matthew Muncey in "One Good Lie Deserves Another." Will Geer guest starred as Benjamin Pruitt in "A Dream That Glitters." Rosemary DeCamp appeared as Mrs. Fletcher in "The Crimpers." Henry Jones played Jebediah Thornley in "Mr. & Mrs. J. Bolt." Bruce Lee guest starred as Lin in "Marriage, Chinese Style."


All 26 one-hour episodes from the first season (1968-69) are included in this 6-disc set. The DVD cover art features a color cast photo of David Soul, Robert Brown, Bobby Sherman, Joan Blondell, and Bridget Hanley. The beautiful blue Seattle (?) sky and green hills can be seen in the background. A photo of Soul, Brown, and Sherman is featured on the back of the box. A summary of the set and the DVD specs are listed. There are 3 slim cases that slide out from the right of the main cardboard outer box. They feature various shots of the camp on the front, and the title Here Comes the Brides is in a large, gold font. On the back of the cases, the episode titles and short summaries are listed. I would have liked to see them list the original airdates and major guest stars as well. Inside the slim cases, there is a wood wall type background. There are 2 plastic disc holders in each slim case. The discs continue the wood wall theme, and they have the Here Come the Brides logo and an individual photo of one of the cast members in picture frames. Disc 1 has a photo of Robert Brown and has episodes 1-4. Disc 2 features Bobby Sherman and includes episodes 5-9. Disc 3 pictures David Soul and contains episodes 10-14. Disc 4 has a photo of Bridget Hanley and has episodes 15-18. Disc 5 features Mark Lenard and holds episodes 19-22. Disc 6 has a photo of Joan Blondell and rounds out the set with episodes 23-26.

Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus continue the old West theme and have brownish colors. They look stylish, and they are easy to navigate. The main menus feature various photos of the cast in picture frames. Disc 1 has a cast photo (the same one as the cover art), Disc 2 has Bobby Sherman, Disc 3 has David Soul, Disc 4 has Bridget Hanley, Disc 5 has Mark Lenard, and Disc 6 has Joan Blondell. The show logo is at the top in red, yellow, and blue. There are options for "Play All Episodes," "Episode Selection," and "Previews" (only on disc 1). When you go to "Episode Selection," it takes you to a separate menu. There is a still image from the episode in a picture frame on the wood wall. There are 2-3 episodes listed per screen. Well-placed chapter stops are available within the episodes, but there are no separate menus for scene selections.

Video and Audio Quality:

Here Come the Brides has been rarely shown in syndication over the last 20 years or so. It aired on CBN/Family Channel in the mid-1980s, but I don't have any episodes on tape to compare. The show was shot on film, so there is some dust, grain and debris. Sony has remastered the audio and video, so these episodes look as good as expected for being almost 40 years old now. Many of the scenes were shot outside, under the clear blue sky. I found the colors looked quite good and not very faded. Although the show was set in Seattle, I've read that parts of it atleast were shot at the Columbia/Warner Bros. Ranch in Burbank, California. The scenery is beautiful. The audio is a Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono track. I didn't notice any major problems with it, and the volume is at a good level and the dialogue is easy to hear. I thought that the music score added a lot to the enjoyment of this series, and it sounds great on the DVDs even if it is just in mono.

One important part of the show is missing from these DVDs. The vocal version of the theme song, "Seattle" which was performed by a group called The New Establishment, is not included on any of these episodes. All of these episodes have the original instrumental version of the theme. At some point in the first season, they started using the vocal theme. You can even see it listed in the closing credits for many of the episodes. The same opening credits (with a 1968 Screen Gems copyright on the title logo) are used on all the episodes on this set. From what I've read, Columbia/Screen Gems would sometimes use the same opening credits on all syndicated prints. They did this also with shows like The Flintstones, The Monkees, and The Partridge Family. So if you want to hear the vocal version of the theme by The New Establishment, you'll have to find one of those old Television's Greatest Hits TV Theme compilation CDs that were released awhile back. Other than the vocal theme song missing, the episodes do appear to be unedited, running over 51 minutes in length. There are no special closing logos. They just have the Sony Pictures Television logo. Closed captioning is available on all of the episodes.

Here is a breakdown of the episodes and their running times:

Disc 1
1. Here Come the Brides (51:50)
2. A Crying Need (51:51)
3. And Jason Makes Five (51:58)
4. The Man of the Family (51:56)

Disc 2
5. A Hard Card To Play (51:59)
6. Letter of the Law (51:54)
7. Lovers and Wanderers (51:56)
8. A Jew Named Sullivan (52:00)
9. The Stand Off (51:56)

Disc 3
10. A Man and His Magic (51:54)
11. A Christmas Place (51:54)
12. After A Dream, Comes Mourning (51:20)
13. The Log Jam (51:54)
14. The Firemaker (51:49)

Disc 4
15. Wives For Wakando (51:19)
16. A Kiss Just For So (51:52)
17. Democracy Inaction (51:34)
18. One Good Lie Deserves Another (51:54)

Disc 5
19. One To A Customer (51:20)
20. A Dream That Glitters (51:51)
21. The Crimpers (51:17)
22. Mr. & Mrs. J. Bolt (51:23)

Disc 6
23. A Man's Errand (51:32)
24. Loggerheads (51:42)
25. Marriage, Chinese Style (51:39)
26. The Deadly Trade (51:39)

Special Features:

Fans of the show will probably be very disappointed there are no special features included. Most of the principle actors are still living, so this was a lost opportunity to interview them while they are still with us. It would have been great to see new interviews, hear some audio commentaries, and view some bloopers/outtakes. Maybe we will see something for the second season. The unedited episodes are the most important thing, but special features would have added to the enjoyment of this set.

The bonus previews are for some other Sony TV DVD releases: I Dream of Jeannie, Gidget and The Flying Nun, Bewitched TV, and Ladies' Night TV.

Final Comments:

The bluest sky you've ever seen, in Seattle
And the hills the greenest green, in Seattle
Like a beautiful child
Growing up, free and wild
Full of hopes and full of fears
Full of laughter, full of tears
Full of dreams to last the years
In Seattle

Here Come the Brides had one of the most memorable theme songs in TV history. I didn't know a lot about this series before I got it for review, but I've heard "Seattle" many times and it really stands out. Unfortunately, that great vocal theme is nowhere to be found on this set. I don't know if it was licensing issues, but it was very disappointing to not hear it on any of the episodes. Maybe we will see it on a second season release.

Overall, I think fans will be pleased with this set. The lack of any special features is disappointing, but the episodes are very good quality and appear to be unedited. Sony definitely could do better for Season 2 by including the vocal theme and including some interviews or audio commentaries. This show may have run only 2 seasons, but it definitely has a cult following. There were many fan sites devoted to it a few years ago, and I know it still has a big group of fans. If you are a fan of period shows like The Wild Wild West, The Big Valley, and Little House on the Prairie - you will surely like Here Come the Brides. It was just a good family show that you could watch without any bad language and only some comical fistfights. I enjoyed my first opportunity watching some of the episodes. I'm not really sure it could be considered a sitcom, but it had a nice mix of comedy, action, adventure, and drama. Hopefully it won't be that long of a wait for fans to see the second season to complete the series on DVD.

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

Video Quality: 3.5/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 05/05/06

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