Archive for the ‘Books and DVDs’ Category

Stephen Sondheim’s “Evening Primrose” comes to DVD

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

New from The Archive of American Television Presents DVD Series:

EVENING PRIMROSE – Digitally Restored & Re-Mastered

Starring Anthony Perkins and Charmian Carr

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim • Teleplay by James Goldman
Directed by Paul Bogart

This long-lost treasure is now available on DVD (through the Archive of American Television Presents series) for the first time ever – impeccably restored and re-mastered from a pristine kinescope print. Created especially for television, Evening Primrose aired only once on ABC Stage 67. Starring Anthony Perkins and Charmian Carr, the production featured a teleplay adapted by James Goldman (from a short story by John Collier) and a score that included some of Stephen Sondheim’s most hauntingly beautiful songs – among them “If You Can Find Me, I’m Here” and “Take Me to the World”.


• Newly recorded video interview with director Paul Bogart

• Newly recorded audio interview with Charmian Carr

• Paul Bogart’s full-color test footage with Anthony Perkins

• 28-page booklet with contributions by Stephen Sondheim and Jane Klain of the Paley Center for Media

Available from Amazon.

Reviews and Press:

NPR: ‘Primrose”: 44 Years Later, Still Sharp as Thumbtacks by David Bianculli

New York Times: ’60s Sondheim TV Show is now on (Legal) DVD by Erik Piepenburg

Huffington Post: DVD Review

“The Pacific” Is Released on DVD and Blu-ray

Monday, November 1st, 2010

WWII miniseries The Pacific comes out on DVD and Blu-ray tomorrow.  The Pacific received the most nominations (24) and wins (8) for any program at this year’s Emmy Awards.  Its eight wins included: Outstanding Miniseries; Outstanding Art Direction for a Miniseries or Movie; Outstanding Casting for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special; Outstanding Makeup for a Series, Miniseries, Movie or a Special (Non-Prosthetic); Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup for a Series, Miniseries, Movie or a Special; Outstanding Sound Editing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special; Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Miniseries or a Movie; and Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special.

Best Director nominee Timothy Van Patten discusses working on The Pacific in his Archive of American Television interview, excerpt below.  See Van Patten’s entire interview here.

"T.A.M.I. Show" on DVD– Archive Interviewee Steve Binder Describes the Landmark Concert

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

1964’s historic two-day rock/r&b concert, the T.A.M.I. Show, comes out on DVD today. Although the acronym T.A.M.I. was used inconsistently, it stood for either Teen Age Music International or Teenage Awards Music International– with free tickets to the concert distributed to high school students. The concert, which took place at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, featured James Brown, the Supremes, and the Rolling Stones. Among the go-go dancers seen were a young Toni Basil and Teri Garr.

Steve Binder directed the concert and filmed it using “Electronivision,” described by Wikipedia as “one of the first high-definition video camera [systems] that captured somewhere between 1000-1100 lines at 25fps.” Herein lies the T.A.M.I. Show’s connection to TV– it was filmed with television cameras and crews (from The Steve Allen Show) and transferred to film for posterity. The concert has been shown on Canadian and American television in the years since, but has never had a fully authorized release on home video. It’s now-authorized edition is released restored and digitally remastered for DVD.

Watch Archive interviewee Steve Binder discuss the technical know-how behind the T.A.M.I. Show and the experience of filming the concert in chapter two of his Archive of American Television Interview.

"Chicago Television"– New Book from the Museum of Broadcast Communications

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

The Chicago-based Museum of Broadcast Communications recently released Chicago Television, a survey of the city’s first fifty years of TV broadcasting. Chicago TV stations WBKB (now WBBM-TV), WENR (now WLS-TV), WGN, and WNBQ (now WMAQ-TV) began commercial broadcasting in the 1940s, launching Chicago as one of the first centers of TV production in the US. The broadcasting style in the early years, particularly at WNBQ, established the “Chicago School of Television,” which compensated for a lack of resources with creativity. MBC’s Encyclopedia of Television describes the “Chicago School” as “an almost totally scriptless-improvisational approach reliant on interpretive camera work and creative use of scenery, costumes, props, and lighting.” In later days, Chicago made it’s mark nationally with such shows as At the Movies (which began locally as Opening Soon… at a Theater Near You at WTTW in 1975) and The Oprah Winfrey Show (nationally syndicated since 1986).

With the release of Chicago Television, featuring over 200 photographs of TV in the Midwest metropolis, visit as well the Archive’s pages on some of the shows that have defined the city’s TV programming:

Kukla, Fran & Ollie (1947 WBKB; 1948-57, NBC, ABC)

Garroway at Large (1949-54, NBC)

Studs’ Place (1949-1952, NBC, ABC)

Siskel & Ebert & the Movies (1980s-90s, syndicated)

The Archive of American Television Presents: "Orson Welles King Lear" Debuts on DVD

Monday, February 8th, 2010

The Archive of American Television Presents: King Lear features a “live” TV production of Orson Welles in the title role, in a 1953 Omnibus production directed by Peter Brook. In reviewing the show Variety raved: “Welles scored a notable triumph [and] on an equal level of attainment was Peter Brook’s highly imaginative and fluid staging of the production.”

Here’s a preview:

The Best Sitcom Episode of All-Time

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

The credo of a clown— ‘A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants’
— Chuckles the Clown

Voted at one time the #1 best TV episode by TV Guide* and also the #1 ranked sitcom episode in TV Land To Go: The Big Book of TV Lists, TV Lore, and TV Bests, the classic Mary Tyler Moore Show episode “Chuckles Bites the Dust” makes its DVD debut today (with The Mary Tyler Moore Show: The Complete Sixth Season).

The October 25, 1975 episode was in the black comedy vein, as the WJM newsroom finds it hard not find amusement in the unfortunate death of kiddie-show host “Chuckles the Clown,” who, dressed like ‘Peter Peanut’ in a parade, was “shelled” by a rogue elephant. The one holdout among the bemused staffers is Mary Richards, that is, until the most inopportune time to get the giggles…

The Archive of American Television has interviewed the co-creators of The Mary Tyler Moore ShowJames L. Brooks and Allan Burns— as well as several of the main cast members, including Mary Tyler Moore and Edward Asner, who fondly recall this classic TV episode, newly posted on the Archive’s “Chuckles Bites the Dust” show page.

* In a more recent polling, TV Guide listed “Chuckles” as the #3 TV episode (following Seinfeld’s “The Contest” and The Sopranos‘ “College”)

"Daniel Boone"– Fess Parker’s Picks Out on DVD Today

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Daniel Boone is getting a special release today: Fess Parker’s favorites, featuring eight series episodes. Following Fess Parker’s success as “Davy Crockett” on ABC’s Disneyland, he starred as Daniel Boone, which ran from 1964-70 on Thursdays on NBC at 7:30-8:30 PM for its entire run. Trivia: Did you watch Daniel Boone? What four series had Daniel Boone as a lead-in during its run? (answer below).

Click on the Archive’s Daniel Boone page to hear executive William Self and star Fess Parker describe how Disney’s objection to Parker continuing Davy Crockett with another company led to the “creation” of Daniel Boone.

Answer to trivia above: The four series that followed Daniel Boone (at 8:30 PM) during its run were Dr. Kildare [1964-65 season], Laredo [1965-66 season], Star Trek [1966-67 season], and Ironside [1967-70 seasons].

"Wagon Train" Season One now out on DVD– Classic Western Series

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Wagon Train was the #2 series from 1958-61 (behind Gunsmoke each of these seasons), and featured an array of Hollywood guest stars. In season one alone, Ernest Borgnine, Linda Darnell, Ricardo Montalban, Agnes Moorehead, and Cesar Romero were among the guest stars. The series, starring Ward Bond as Wagonmaster from 1957-61 and Christopher Hale from 1961-65, was one of the five nominees in the one year (1958-59) that the Emmys gave an Award for Best Western Series.

The Archive’s Wagon Train page features stories from actors Leonard Nimoy (who appeared on the season 3 episode “The Estaban Zamora Story”) and Ann B. Davis (who appeared on season 3 episode “The Countess Baranof Story”).

Take a look at the Archive’s other TV westerns pages at this link.

The Barbara Stanwyck Show Now on DVD

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

“She had grit, sex appeal and vulnerability, in spades. No one played a saucy dame better.”

-People Magazine


3-DVD Set Includes 15 Memorable Dramas Featuring All-Star Ensemble Casts that Include Stanwyck as well as Guest Stars Ralph Bellamy, Milton Berle, Julie London, Lee Marvin, Vic Morrow, Michael Rennie, Robert Strauss, Anna May Wong and More

Buy Now: The Barbara Stanwyck Show, Vol. 1

E1 Entertainment and the Academy of Television Arts & Science’s Archive of American Television proudly debut THE BARBARA STANWYCK SHOW: VOLUME 1, the latest release under The Archive of American Television Presents banner, a partnership with the collaborative mission to present culturally and historically significant productions from the Golden Age of Television on DVD. Originally broadcast from 1960-61 on NBC, the star-studded anthology series was hosted by and featured the multi-talented actress Barbara Stanwyck, the American Film Institute’s “11th Greatest Female Star of All Time,” alongside a rotating roster of talented actors in each week’s installment. The 3-DVD set, THE BARBARA STANWYCK SHOW: VOLUME 1 features 15 of the series’ most memorable half-hour dramas – all which have not been seen since their original broadcast nearly fifty years ago – including “The Key to the Killer” with Vic Morrow, “The Miraculous Journey of Tadpole Chan” with Ralph Bellamy, “Night Visitor” with Julie London, “Size 10” with Robert Strauss, “Dragon by the Tail” with Anna May Wong, “Dear Charlie” with Milton Berle, “The Sisters” with Michael Rennie and “Confession” with Lee Marvin. A must-own for aficionados of classic film and television.

Throughout her illustrious career, Barbara Stanwyck enraptured Hollywood, starring in nearly 100 films (including Double Indemnity and Sorry, Wrong Number) and capturing four Oscar® nominations. After conquering the silver screen, Barbara took on the world of television as star of “The Barbara Stanwyck Show” in 1960. Thirty-six half-hour episodes aired, in which she starred in all but four of the dramas and earned an Emmy® Award for “Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Series.” Stanwyck went on to earn two additional Emmys for her roles in “The Big Valley” and “The Thorn Birds.”

To this first volume of 15 dramas, E1 Entertainment adds the unaired pilot episode “Sponsor’s Theatre,” Barbara Stanwyck’s 1961 Emmy acceptance speech, and a 20-page booklet with written contributions by film historian Robert Osborne and the Archive of American Television.

About The Edelman Family Partnership

The Edelman Family Partnership is the copyright holder of “The Barbara Stanwyck Show” and through their worldwide distributor, SFM Entertainment LLC, has joined with E1 Entertainment to bring this Award-winning series to ‘Missy’s’ (Barbara Stanwyck’s family nickname) loyal fans and a new generation of viewers. The Edelman Family Partnership also holds copyrights for other iconic television series including “The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp”, “The Joey Bishop Show”, “Make Room for Daddy” and, is currently in production on a major motion picture version of the Barbara Stanwyck Emmy® Award-winning series – “The Big Valley”.

About “The Archive of American Television Presents”

“The Archive of American Television Presents” is a partnership between E1 Entertainment and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation. The collaborative mission is to present culturally and historically significant productions from the Golden Age of Television on DVD, restored and re-mastered from the best-quality sources. The Television Academy Foundation and its Archive of American Television does not own or represent any of the programs being released under this partnership.

About the Archive of American Television

Since 1997, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation’s Archive of American Television has produced hundreds of videotaped oral history interviews with broadcasting’s greatest pioneers and legends in all professions. These full life-histories – spanning influences, career highlights, professional philosophy and current projects – are the stories behind what we see on the screen. These unique videos are made available worldwide so that today’s and future generations can understand how electronic media presents and reflects world-changing events, pop culture origins, technological innovations and artistic mastery. For more information about the collection, visit

About E1 Entertainment U.S.

E1 Entertainment U.S. (formerly KOCH Vision) is the U.S. home video label of E1 Entertainment (AIM: ETO), a leading independent entertainment content owner that acquires film, television and music rights and exploits these rights in all media in more than 190 countries. Boasting a diverse library of feature films, television series, award-winning children’s programs, live music concerts and more, E1 Entertainment U.S. is the home of such notable properties as Soundstage, McLeod’s Daughters, Wire in the Blood, Popular Mechanics for Kids, Faerie Tale Theatre, The Best Years, Ballet Shoes starring Emma Watson and Nickelback Live at Sturgis. For more information on these and other releases from E1 Entertainment U.S., please visit


Street date: October 27, 2009 Genre: Classic TV

Rating: N/A SRP: $39.98

Running Time: 390 minutes Catalog #: E1E-DV-6693
Format: 3-DVD Set

"The Norman Lear Collection" Released on DVD

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

Comprising the first seasons of seven of Norman Lear’s classic TV series, plus such extras as the newly-discovered All in the Family pilot “Justice for All,” Sony releases “The Norman Lear Collection.” Among the “season ones” included in the set: All in the Family; Good Times; The Jeffersons; Maude; Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (first 25 episodes only); One Day at a Time; and Sanford & Son. There are over six hours of bonus materials, including featurettes on all the shows.

“I was a part of a giant collaboration. That’s the best thing I do, collaborate….” says the now 86-year-old Lear on the brief introduction to the set (“Don’t Miss This”). In the first All in the Family featurette (“Those Were the Days: The Birth of All in the Family” [TRT 27:00]) Lear discuses how he and his father were the models for Archie and Mike and outlines the making of the pilot including the casting and characterizations of the leads. In the second All in the Family featurette (“The Television Revolution Begins: All in the Family Is on the Air” [TRT 30:40]) Lear talks about how the network wanted to air the second filmed show first (worried that the pilot script was too inflammatory), plus, in new and vintage interviews, we hear from from Lear, Carroll O’Connor, and the rest of the cast on the acceptance and popularity of the show, its characters and themes. Each of the series on the set have corresponding featurettes that similarly discuss their approach to social themes— a hallmark of all of Lear’s shows.

The best part about the set is to compare the two pilots and the premiere episode of All in the Family— all of which used the same script, with some changes. The most significant difference was the re-casting of Mike and Gloria, until Rob Reiner and Sally Struthers got the parts for the series premiere. PHOTO: Norman Lear (at the DVD launch party held at the Paley Center for Media) speaks to Dan Wingate, Technical Specialist at Sony Pictures Entertainment, who uncovered the lost original pilot to All in the Family.

Watch the trailer for the DVD here.

Norman Lear discusses his thoughts on what constitutes the best of television, in his Archive of American Television interview:

Click her to watch the Archive’s entire interview with Norman Lear.