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Merry Sitcom! Christmas Classics from TV's Golden Age



DVD Release Date: November 3, 2009 (Shout! Factory)
B&W and Color / 1954, 1958, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1967
MSRP: $12.99
Number of Discs: 1
Number of Episodes: 7
Running Time: 170minutes
Runtime of Special Features: N/A
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; Closed-Captioned (not all episodes)
Special Features: None


'Tis the season for your favorite sitcom characters to celebrate Christmas! And why not have them celebrate together? That is exactly what we get in the Shout! Factory DVD release of Merry Sitcom!, a single disc release that contains Christmas episodes of seven different series from the 1950s and 1960s, including Father Knows Best, The Donna Reed Show, McHale's Navy, Bewitched, That Girl, The Flying Nun, and Window on Main Street! It's a classic holiday Christmas on one DVD!

Episode Summary:

Father Knows Best ("The Christmas Story") - Jim wants to teach the family the true meaning of Christmas by having them cut down their own Christmas tree in the woods, but when they become stranded, they learn more about the true meaning than they intended to learn.

The Donna Reed Show ("A Very Merry Christmas") - Donna has lost her Christmas spirit by seeing greed around her, but will viewing generosity first-hand help her regain it?

McHale's Navy ("The Day They Captured Santa") - It's just another day of being kidnapped by the Japanese (except in a Santa suit this time) when the crew runs into a Japanese ambush on Christmas Day while trying to play Santa.

Bewitched ("A Vision of Sugar Plums") - Samantha and Darrin take in an orphan for Christmas who doesn't believe in Santa Claus, but Samantha just so happens to know Santa Claus and may be able to use her witchcraft to make the kid a believer.

That Girl ("Christmas and the Hard Luck Kid") - Ann reminisces about a Christmas in the past where she spent her entire holiday with a young boy at a boarding school.

The Flying Nun ("Wailing in a Winter Wonderland") - An elderly nun wants a white Christmas and Sister Bertrille decides to deliver, but when Sister Bertrille accidentally causes Puerto Rico to appear to be having a Christmas snow, she may have caused a tourism economic crisis.

Window on Main Street ("Christmas Memory") - Cameron Brooks (Robert Young) remembers some of the Christmases from the past, and the memory of what he has lost is overwhelming and depressing for him. How will he be able to have a good Christmas?


The packaging is just a standard white DVD case, with ornaments on the front showing the titles of each of the series. On the back of the case, we have a listing of all of the shows on the DVD and the episode title, but inside the case, there is an insert with original airdates and episode descriptions as well. The disc itself is pretty plain, as it is just a green disc with a few ornaments on it. While the packaging is nothing fancy, one really shouldn't expect it to be fancy.

Menu Design and Navigation:

The main menu has a blue background with ornaments flying around with the title of each series on them. As it zooms in towards you, a video from the episode plays on screen. It isn't anything excessively fancy by any means. The main menu options are Play All, Shows, and Trailers. Shows just gives you a basic list of all of the episodes on the disc on one screen, with a blue background. There is also a Play All option on this menu. Once you select an episode, it plays immediately. Chapters are placed in all of the appropriate places. Trailers gives you, well, trailers for all of the shows on this DVD set, as well as other Shout! Factory and Sony DVD sets.

Video and Audio Quality:

On a DVD set like this, it is very difficult to judge the video and audio overall. Some of the shows look pretty good, such as McHale's Navy, Bewitched, That Girl, and The Flying Nun. Father Knows Best and The Donna Reed Show are a little iffy, with some grain issues and audio level issues. And the episode of Window on Main Street is probably the worst, although it isn't terrible, with the video appearing to be dated and unrestored. The bottom line is that everything on this DVD looks exactly as it does on the season sets that each series has been released on. It is also important to note that Bewitched is the black-and-white version of the episode, not the colorized version of the episode. Each episode is closed-captioned, which is a very positive thing.

As previously said, everything on this DVD looks exactly as it does on the season sets, which further means that the same prints were used. This is bad news for Father Knows Best, unfortunately. It means that the syndicated print of the episode is used on this DVD. However, everything else appears to be unedited on the DVD.

Runtimes are as follows:

Father Knows Best - "The Christmas Story" (22:35)
The Donna Reed Show - "A Very Merry Christmas" (25:51)
McHale's Navy - "The Day They Captured Santa" (25:32)
Bewitched - "A Vision of Sugar Plums" (25:30)
That Girl - "Christmas and the Hard Luck Kid" (25:18)
The Flying Nun - "Wailing in a Winter Wonderland" (25:52)
Window on Main Street - "Christmas Memory" (25:23)

Special Features:

There really aren't any special features on the DVD. The DVD producers like to consider the Window on Main Street episode as a bonus, but that is kind of questionable. It isn't a sitcom at all, but on the other hand, this set is just a hodgepodge of episodes anyway. Still, my guess is that this is probably the only way fans will ever be able to obtain that episode of the series.

Final Comments:

Every single episode on this DVD aside from the Window on Main Street episode has been released on a season set by either Shout! Factory, Sony, or Virgil. In fact, every episode on this DVD is from the first season of each series. So if you have a large DVD collection (as I do), then you likely already have nearly all of these episode on DVD anyway. But that isn't the point of this DVD at all, and the point is to put a bunch of Christmas classics together on one disc to watch all at once. So with that in mind, this is a good DVD to own to stick in the DVD player on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning and let the "Play All" feature take over while preparing Christmas dinner or just sipping on some eggnog. It is also a good DVD to use as a stocking stuffer. But if you just want to collect episodes of your favorite series, you may want to go for the season sets of each series on here.

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

Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 10/31/09

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