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Make Room for Daddy - The Complete Fifth Season



DVD Release Date: September 28, 2004 (Questar Entertainment)
b/w, approx. 780 minutes
MSRP: $34.99
Number of Discs: 6
Number of Episodes: 35 (including the two ‘bonus’ episodes)
Language and Subtitles: English
Special Features: “Danny’s Proposal” episode from season 4, “Danny Meets Andy Griffith” episode from season 7, Performance Footage of Thomas on a Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis Telethon, Danny Thomas’ Answered Prayer: The Story of St. Jude


If you are interested in some of the most classic sitcoms of all time, then you need to make room in your DVD collection for The Complete Fifth Season of Make Room for Daddy, available on DVD from Questar! This six disc set contains all 33 episodes of the fifth season, as well as many excellent special features which are great additions to the set.

Make Room for Daddy (well technically it was called The Danny Thomas Show in the fifth season, although that is not reflected on this set), although it is in my opinion one of the greatest of the very early sitcoms, is likely not very well known among some of today's younger classic television fans. The sitcom ran from 1953 until 1965, starting out on ABC and ending up on CBS. The fifth season was the season that the show moved from ABC to CBS, and one of the big changes in this season was Danny’s new wife, Kathy (played by Marjorie Lord). Danny Thomas (who was, of course, the star of the show) played Danny Williams on the show, and Danny was the father and husband of the hectic household, not to mention his show business career.

Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Unlike many shows from this era, the show was not driven by guest stars or anything like that. There were, of course, some guest stars on the show worth mentioning, such as Morey Amsterdam, Jack Benny, Dinah Shore, and Bob Hope, but most of the episodes are driven by good script writing and plots. There certainly aren’t any “memorable episodes” that most people would be able to recognize, but there are some episodes in the set that I enjoyed. There was one good episode where Rusty (Danny’s son) got a job, one where Danny tries to teach Rusty how honesty is the best policy, as well as the ‘bonus’ episodes which are definitely worth watching.


The packaging of this set, while somewhat simple, is actually very convenient. The cases discs are arranged like a book, and it is very easy to flip through and get out just the disc that you want to get. There is one thing that I didn’t like about the set though, there is nothing included with the packaging that explains which episodes are on which disc! You have to assume that all of the episodes are in order (which they are) and that there are six on each disc, but there is no reference sheet which tells you where to go for a given episode or what the episodes are about. It is a somewhat standard practice for TV on DVD products to include such lists, and it seems rather odd that Questar chose not to include one. At least Disc Six does clearly indicate that the Special Features are located on that particular disc, so you don’t have to go through every single disc to figure out where the special features are located.

Menu Design and Navigation:

From the menu screen, you can select which episode you want to watch. There are six episodes on each disc, except for Disc Six, which contains five episodes as well as the special features. Also from the menu, there is a “Play All” option. On the menu screen, the theme music plays in the background, and there are video clips from the episodes contained on that particular disc. The design of the menus honestly looked a bit low budget, but still, they were very clean, neat, and simple to navigate.

There is one thing that I noticed almost immediately, and it is something that will very likely irk many fans of classic television, is that the opening credits to each episode are missing! I believe, however, that Questar has attempted to make up for this by the fact that as soon as you insert the DVD into the DVD player, the opening credits play, followed by some a few clips from the show. After this is finished playing (and you can, of course, skip past it), an episode selection menu pops up. Still though, it would have been nice to have opening credits on each individual episode, it just seems so awkward that they are not there as soon as the episode is selected. The closing credits, on the other hand, seem to be fully intact with no problems whatsoever.

Video and Audio Quality:

This set also makes it clear that it is an “authorized” set, which means that the release was authorized by the family of Danny Thomas (which owns the program). That often makes a huge difference in terms of quality. The video quality of this set is fairly decent and appears to have been cleaned up somewhat. I have seen public domain copies of the program that are very rough and almost un-watch able, but such problems are not found on this set. It is likely that the set could have been cleaned up a little bit more (when comparing it to reruns of programs such as I Love Lucy), but the video quality is good enough as it is. There are no major audio issues either with this set. Of course, with the program being from the 1950s, the audio is obviously mono, but it is very clear and sounds about how I would expect for audio to sound on a program that is nearly fifty years old. There is bad news; however, for those that depend upon closed captioning, closed captioning is NOT included on this set.

Although I can not say for certain, some episodes on this set seem like they may be “edited” versions. I say that because many episodes are 21 minutes (which includes the show itself and the closing credits). Of course, there are other factors that need to be taken into consideration, and it may be possible that the show is not edited, but some episodes did seem as if they were “missing” something. I hope that my theory is wrong, but even if it isn’t, I still wouldn’t recommend passing on this set.

Special Features:

The special features on the set are fairly decent, although two of the special features are just episodes of the show that were not actually in the fifth season (but very good episodes to include anyway). One of the extra episodes was the fourth season episode where Danny proposed to Kathy. Although I would technically consider this a “special feature,” it is actually (unlike the other special features which are all included on Disc Six) included at the beginning of Disc One, which is probably a good idea for continuity sake.

The other bonus episode that was included was a seventh season episode titled “Danny Meets Andy Griffith” where Danny was going through a town called Mayberry and ran across a sheriff named ‘Andy,’ played by Andy Griffith. There is no need to say more about what that episode ended up leading to. There is a 30 second introduction before the episode that talks about the episode.

There is also a rare performance of Danny Thomas at a Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis Telethon. This is about 11 minutes long, and Danny Thomas gives a stand-up performance in this. Fans of Danny Thomas (or just fans in general of classic TV) will likely enjoy seeing this performance.

Finally, there is a two minute feature titled “Danny Thomas’ Answered Prayer: The Story of St. Jude.” You’ve probably seen the numerous St. Jude infomercials (hosted by Danny’s daughter, Marlo Thomas), and this feature talks about why St. Jude’s hospital was created, mainly because Danny liked children. St. Jude’s hospital is still in existence to this day, and is one of the leading children’s health research and care institutes in the United States, if not the world. This was one of Danny Thomas’ main contributions in his life time (besides his entertainment contributions).

Final Comments:

Overall, I think it can be said that this set is a great set. There are a few issues with the set (as described above), but that should not prevent you from buying the set, especially if you are a fan of the show or just a fan of classic television in general. I’ll probably get a lot of people to dispute this, but if you enjoy other shows from the same era in television (such as I Love Lucy), you will probably like this show as much, if not more than those shows. The comedy is something that has to be watched in order to appreciate. The only question I have is where are the first four seasons? Hopefully, those (as well as later seasons) will be released in the future.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 4.5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 5/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 10/04/04

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