LEAVE IT TO STU'S SHOW! @ 17 July 2010 02:05 PM
The big news this year isn't the "latest thing" in Hollywood, it's one of the greatest things in classic TV: Leave it to Beaver.
The long awaited for complete series is finally on DVD. Only two seasons had been released for many years, but now Shout! Factory is issuing Season Three through Six individually, with One and Two to follow, as well as the new complete series deluxe boxed set.
The Complete Series box contains an bonus disc with the unaired pilot (which did not feature Tony Dow or Hugh Beaumont and included a young Harry Shearer), a public service film, promos, a vintage board game and two new documentaries: one feature length that focuses on the principals and the show's history and another at featurette length about the supporting cast, particularly Eddie and Lumpy.
The feature video is documentary-style, fairly straightforward and benefits greatly from the presence of Barbara Billingsley, Jerry Mathers and Tony Dow, the latter two being involved behind the scenes as well (Mathers' brother Jimmy directed).
The second video, produced and directed by Shostak, takes a more whimsical approach. What fan of "Leave it to Beaver" wouldn't want to see Ken "Eddie" Osmond and Frank "Lumpy" Bank give each other "the business?" If they just talked "straight" through, it would not have been as true to the two characters and the actors who, as evidenced on the "Stu's Show" interviews included on the individual discs.
The clips in this segment are exactly the best clips to showcase Eddie and Lumpy. To someone who loves the show, like I do, as soon as each clip came on I laughed, "Oh! I love that episode!" It struck just the right chords.
[Perhaps no other single broadcast has been able to contribute more material to a classic TV series DVD collection than Stu's Show on shokus internet radio. You can also hear Alan Young and Connie Hines, the latter in her last interview in the bonus features of Mister Ed (Young on Season One; Young and Hines on Season Two).]
"Leave it to Beaver" is a landmark show in pop culture history, not because it broke new ground or was particularly innovative, but because it honed in on the life of kids, their relationships with adults and the odd moments of life that still and will always resound, regardless of changing styles and technical inroads.
If you remember it, revisit it afresh. If you have kids, by all means make it part of their lives too. If you don't have kids, it will strike a chord with the kid inside. There's something special about it.
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