Saturday, February 07, 2009
Route 66 - Producer's Picks (Infinity, $19.98) gives viewers a chance to get their kicks on Route 66 with eleven of the best episodes of the 1960s anthology series. The two-disc DVD set features episodes from each of the four seasons of the drama that starred Martin Milner and George Maharis (later replaced with Glen Corbett) traveling the open road in a Corvette, trying to solve every type of problem that everybody faced in America.
There are many great episodes in this set. In "Play it Glissando," the guys have to protect a woman from her husband, a jazz musician. A gambler (Walter Matthau) may have the ability to save the town in "Eleven, the Hard Way" The son of Tod and Buz's employer of the week (played by Robert Redford) is accused of murder in "First Class Mouliak." Suzanne Phleshette (The Bob Newhart Show) guest stars in "The Strengthening Angels." The guys have to save a heroin addict (played by Robert Duvall) in "Birdcage on My Foot." Martin Sheen is the leader of a gang in "And the Cat Jumped Over the Moon."
Peter Graves guest stars in "You Never Had it So Good," where Buz may be able to get off the road with his new executive career. It is a reunion of horror movie stars in "Lizard's Leg and Owlet's Wing," where Lon Chaney, Jr., Boris Karloff, and Peter Lorne play themselves. Leslie Nielsen guest stars in "Poor Little Kangaroo Rat." Alan Alda (M*A*S*H) and Tom Bosley (Happy Days) guest star in "Soda Pop and Paper Flags," where a man may have brought a fatal disease to a small town. Tod and Linc are inadvertently holding stolen cash in "A Cage in Search of a Bird."
The packaging and menus on the set are very basic, and when I say very basic, I mean VERY basic. The case is just the standard Amaray style DVD case with discs on both sides inside the case and a very simple series logo on a black background as the artwork. Inside, there are two discs that have artwork similar to the cover art: a black background with the series logo on it. Disc 1 contains six episodes and Disc 2 contains 5 episodes. As far as the menus, there is just one main menu that lists all of the episodes on the disc in white text with a Route 66 road sign in the background. Underneath each episode is a listing of guest stars for that episode, and the theme song plays in the background. So obviously, they went very simple on this set.
This DVD set doesn't contain a laundry list of bonus features, but it includes on really nice bonus that you basically NEVER see on DVD sets--many of the original commercials are left intact! This isn't the case for every episode (some only have a few commercials left intact, and a few have none at all), but in any event, this is a very rare and nice thing to see on a DVD set! There is one particularly humorous commercial left intact on many episodes for Phillip's Milk of Magnesia (one of the original sponsors) that probably didn't seem quite so funny at the time about a little girl needing a laxative. Exact runtimes for each of the episodes are as follows:
Episode 14: Play it Glissando (55:01)
Episode 22: Eleven, the Hard Way (57:37)
Episode 35: First Class Mouliak (51:13)
Episode 5: The Strengthening Angels (57:37)
Episode 34: Birdcage on My Foot (51:39)
Episode 42: And the Cat Jumped Over the Moon (54:20)
Episode 50: You Never Had it So Good (53:22)
Episode 68: Lizard's Leg and Owlets Wing (52:53)
Episode 72: Poor Little Kangaroo Rat (49:04)
Episode 93: Soda Pop and Paper Flags (54:03)
Episode 103: A Cage in Search of a Bird (49:46)
The video and audio quality on the set is fascinating considering the age of the series and the fact that it is being released by an independent studio. The black and white pictures is clean and crisp with only a few minor issues here and there, and the audio, presented in mono, is pretty loud and clear. The only drawback is that the episodes contained on the set are neither closed-captioned nor subtitled. Oh well.
This is a great DVD set for fans of classic TV series to own, especially fans of anthology TV series. Seeing this series on DVD was my first experience with watching the series, and I have been thoroughly impressed with the series. There are a lot of great story lines and a lot of great guest stars in the episodes! This set is probably a good starting point for those that have never seen the series, and fans that enjoy this set would want to consider picking up the season sets that Infinity has been releasing as well. So where can you get your kicks? Why, on Route 66, of course!
Reviewed by skees53
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