Saturday, December 22, 2012

Digital Digest: More on Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction Releases From MPI; An American Christmas Carol DVD Review

Happy holidays, and welcome to our first Digital Digest of the winter season! We've got a VERY slow news week this week, but we're here regardless with a special Christmas edition. This week, we've got a review of An American Christmas Carol. Let's get those reindeer going!

DIGITAL NEWS

Last month, we told you about a pair of Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction releases that appeared on a recent MPI insert, but we had confusion about what these were all about, particularly the Petticoat Junction release. This week, TVShowsOnDVD.com got a little more information about the Petticoat Junction release, but there still isn't a whole lot of clarity about what this release will actually be, or if it will actually contain any episodes. We'll let you know more once we know more, of course.

Shout! Factory will be finishing up the '80s detective series Simon & Simon in January with their release of Simon & Simon - The Final Season. The three disc set is scheduled to be released on January 15 as a Shout! Select title, and will cost $24.99.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (December 25) is Christmas, and the studios are taking a break from releases. So, for perhaps the first time in years, we have no releases to discuss for next week.

BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

An American Christmas Carol

DVD Review: An American Christmas Carol (Shout! Factory, $29.99)
by Todd

In this unique retelling of Charles Dickens' beloved A Christmas Carol, Henry Winkler is Benedict Slade, a heartless finance company president in Depression-era New England. He shatters the Christmas hopes of his debtors by mercilessly repossessing their most prized goods - and then fires his faithful assistant, Thatcher, on Christmas Eve.

Alone in in his apartment, the selfish Slade is visited by three ghosts - Christmas Past, Present and Future - who take him on a late-night journey and reveal the bitter truths of his life to teach him the true meaning of Christmas. This wonderful tale of a 20th-century Scrooge is a moving and heartfelt adaptation that brings new life to a treasured holiday classic.

An American Christmas Carol is a made-for-television film. It aired on ABC on December 16, 1979. Eric Till directed the film. It was written by Jerome Coopersmith. The screenplay was inspired by Charles Dickens' 1843 classic novella A Christmas Carol. The film stars Henry Winkler as Benedict Slade, David Wayne as Merrivale, Chris Wiggins as Mr. Brewster, R.H. Thomson as Thatcher, Kenneth Pogue as Jack Latham, Gerard Parkes as Jessup, Susan Hogan as Helen Brewster, and Dorian Harewood as Matt Reeves. Hagood Hardy provided the music.

The packaging is a clear plastic Viva case. Henry Winkler and Derrick Jones (Harry Barnes) are pictured on the cover art. It has a lighted Christmas tree in the background. On the back of the case, there are three circular snapshots from the movie: Helen Brewster and a younger Benedict Slade, the orphan Harry Barnes, and the older Benedict Slade. A synopsis of the movie, the production credits and the DVD specs are provided. Henry Winkler is featured on the spine of the case. Opening up the case, there are three additional snapshots from the movie of Henry Winkler with Derrick Jones, Dorian Harewood and Susan Hogan. Various pine cones and holiday ornaments are used as a border around the photos. It's a very nice and festive design. The disc has the movie title in white text and a shot of the city street, with snow in the background.

There's only a single menu screen. It has a cropped version of the cover art. There's some animated snow falling in the background. An instrumental version of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" is played in the background before looping after about 35 seconds. There are options for Play Movie and the Interview with Henry Winkler in a red bar. The option you highlight is yellow that turns light blue upon your selection. Chapter stops are placed at the appropriate places where the commercial breaks were originally placed.

According to the packaging, the picture has been newly remastered. Image Entertainment previously released the movie on DVD in 1999. This new Shout! Factory DVD offers improved video and audio quality. They've also released it on Blu-ray. It's a very nice transfer, with only occasional dirt or digital artifacts. The movie is presented in its original 4x3 (1:33) format. It has a running time of 96 minutes. The audio is a Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono track. It's not spectacular, but it gets the job done. There is no closed captioning option for this release.

Only a single bonus feature is included, but it's a pretty good one. There's a new interview with Henry Winkler that runs 8 minutes, 40 seconds. He talks about what attracted him to the film. He was very concerned about accepting the role. They show some still shots of the prosthetic makeup design, which was designed by Greg Cannom. It was a lengthy process to put it on and later remove it. He also discusses the process of playing the older Slade. Overall, he seems very proud of the movie and its legacy.

There have been many film and television adaptations of A Christmas Carol over the years, but this Americanized version has always been one of my favorites. This 1979 made-for-TV film doesn't seem to get the same amount of attention or critical acclaim as some of the others. It's just a very well-made and enjoyable movie. There seems to have been less and less television airings of it over the years, but it has continued to live on and be popular on DVD.

Henry Winkler gives an excellent performance as Benedict Slade. This was filmed during a break of Happy Days in March-May 1979. He was concerned that he was be forever typecast as Fonzie, so he accepted this role. He proved here that he's a very versatile and gifted actor. The movie didn't have a huge budget since it was made for television, but it had excellent production values. It was filmed in Ontario, Canada. I thought the costumes and sets looked very authentic for the Depression era and other periods depicted in the movie. The prosthetic makeup design for Henry Winkler, which was done by future Academy Award winner Greg Cannom, was very good. The supporting cast featured many local Canadian actors and really didn't have any big name stars, but they all gave solid performances. Since this movie is seldom shown on television these days, it's definitely worth picking up on DVD or Blu-ray. It's an underrated and overlooked classic that is perfect for the entire family.

(4/5 stars)

To purchase this DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Amazon.com

To purchase it on Blu-ray, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
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Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
An American Christmas Carol IMDB Page
An American Christmas Carol Wikipedia Page



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Who to Follow: Alec Baldwin Foundation (Twitter), "Supporting the arts and artists, amateur and professional."
Claim to Fame: The Twitter account is titled "Alec Baldwin Foundation," but this account doubles as Baldwin's personal account. Of course, Baldwin is currently in the final season of the NBC sitcom 30 Rock, but he is also well known to TV fans from his many appearances on Saturday Night Live (so many that he is practically a regular) as well as his role on Knots Landing in the mid-80s. And, of course, he is also able to claim dibs on the title of the most well-known Baldwin.
Why You Should Follow Him: Really, Alec Baldwin is one of the most interesting celebrities out there. He isn't the least controversial celebrity either. But whether he is getting kicked off of a airplane after refusing to give up his game of Words with Friends or preparing for another episode of Saturday Night Live where he'll get into character of Tony Bennett (by the way, a rerun of last week's episode where he did just that will repeat at 10:00pm ET on NBC tonight), there is no denying that this man is a here to entertain us (as long as you're not one of the many people he gets angry with). But if you can handle the controversy and his strong opinions on many issues, you'll find that Baldwin is just as funny (and, we'll admit, a bit short-tempered) on Twitter as he is in real-life and in his acting roles. And, by the way, the Alec Baldwin Foundation is, as indicated in Baldwin's Twitter tagline, an excellent foundation that supports the arts and artists, amateur and professional... including, perhaps, up-and-coming sitcom stars.
Pick of the Tweets: "You have to take nearly everything you read in entertainment media with a block of salt. The goal is to mock, rib, reduce..." (October 18, 2012)


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, July 7

Live in Front of a Studio Audience: All in the Family and Good Times - (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
“Live in Front of a Studio Audience: ‘All in the Family’ and ‘Good Times’,” the holiday-inspired live event that captivated audiences back in December, is set to rebroadcast on ABC, TUESDAY, JULY 7 (8:00-9:30 p.m. EDT). Produced by Sony Pictures Television, “Live in Front of a Studio Audience: ‘All in the Family’ and ‘Good Times’” recreates installments of Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin’s Emmy® Award-winning series “All in the Family” and groundbreaking sitcom “Good Times,” created by Mike Evans, Eric Monte and developed by Lear.

All-star cast members taking on the famed “All in the Family” roles include Woody Harrelson, Marisa Tomei, Ellie Kemper and Ike Barinholtz reprising their iconic roles as Archie and Edith Bunker, Gloria Stivic and Meathead, along with Kevin Bacon as Pinkie Peterson, Jesse Eisenberg as David Brewster and Justina Machado as Teresa Bettencourt.

A lineup of all-star talent tackling “Good Times” roles include Viola Davis and Andre Braugher as Florida Evans and James Evans, Jay Pharoah as J.J Evans, Asante Blackk as Michael Evans, Corinne Foxx as Thelma Evans and Tiffany Haddish as Willona Woods. Jharrel Jerome also stars as Jimmy Pearson, while ABC’s Anthony Anderson and the legendary Patti LaBelle join forces for a show-stopping musical performance.

black-ish - "Boss Daddy" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Dre’s torn at the office between looking out for Junior as his dad or letting him make his own mistakes. Meanwhile, Jack loses a friendship after trying to look cool in front of the basketball team.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of July 6)

Tuesday, July 7

  • Anthony Anderson (black-ish/Guys with Kids/All About the Andersons) - Anthony guest hosts Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • D.L. Hughley (The Hughleys) - Catch D.L. on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Demi Lovato (Sonny with a Chance) - Demi appears on a repeat of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Patton Oswalt (A.P. Bio/The Goldbergs/The King of Queens) - Patton is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Ray Romano (Everybody Loves Raymond) - Ray appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Lauren Ash (Superstore/Super Fun Night) - Lauren is a guest on a repeat of A Little Late with Lilly Singh at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Ben Feldman (Superstore/A to Z/Living with Fran) - Ben appears on a repeat of A Little Late with Lilly Singh at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Rob Lowe (The Grinder/Parks and Recreation) - Rob is a guest on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Yvette Nicole Brown (The Mayor/The Odd Couple/Community) - Yvette chats with the ladies of The View on a repeat on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Denise Richards (Blue Mountain State) - Denise appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Jada Pinkett Smith (A Different World) - Jada is a guest on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Ron Funches (Final Space/Powerless/Undateable) - Ron appears on a repeat of The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Sherri Shepherd (Mr. Iglesias/Trial & Error/Sherri/Less Than Perfect) - Sherri is a guest on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Kym Whitley (Young & Hungry/Animal Practice/Sparks) - Kym will be on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Paul Reiser (The Kominsky Method/Mad About You/Red Oaks/My Two Dads) - Paul appears on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jim Carrey (Kidding/The Duck Factory) - Jim talks about Memoirs and Misinformation on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Tom Hanks (Bosom Buddies) - Tom is a guest on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am and in the 10am hour.
  • Kristen Bell (The Good Place) - Kristen talks about The World Needs More Purple People on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (April/May/June/July)

Step by Step - The Complete Seventh and Final Season The Good Place - The Final (Fourth) Season Head of the Class - The Complete First Season Modern Family - The Eleventh and Final Season Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Seven

04/07 - Cheers - The Complete Series (2020 Release)
04/14 - Police Squad! - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
04/14 - The Righteous Gemstones - The Complete First Season
04/21 - Step by Step - The Complete Seventh and Final Season (WBShop.com)
05/05 - Kidding - Season 2
05/19 - The Good Place - The Final (Fourth) Season
05/19 - The Good Place - The Complete Series - Collector's Edition (Blu-ray)
05/26 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Sixth and Final Season
05/26 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Series
06/02 - Work in Progress - Season 1
06/09 - Head of the Class - The Complete First Season (WBShop.com)
06/09 - How to Be a Gentleman - The Complete Series
06/09 - Letterkenny - Seasons 3 & 4
06/09 - Modern Family - The Eleventh and Final Season
06/09 - No Activity - Season 1
06/09 - Superior Donuts - Season Two
06/23 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 10th Season
06/23 - Fresh Off the Boat - The Complete Sixth and Final Season
06/23 - Last Man Standing - The Complete Seventh Season
06/23 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-Third Season (Blu-ray)
06/30 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Seven
07/07 - Will & Grace - The Revival - Season Three - The Farewell Season
07/21 - Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Tenth Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

07/07 - Dead to Me Picked Up for Final Season on Netflix; CBS All Access Orders Star Trek Animated Comedy
07/06 - ABC to Rebroadcast Live in Front of a Studio Audience: All in the Family and Good Times Episodes on Tuesday (July 7); Anthony Anderson and Billy Eichner to Guest Host ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live! This Week
07/05 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 6, 2020)
07/04 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Amazon Gets Streaming Rights to Mad Men; Too Close for Comfort on Pluto TV
07/03 - Fri-Yay: Streaming Services Remove Episodes of Sitcoms Due to Racial Jokes; The Kominsky Method Final Season Announced
07/02 - Netflix Renews Never Have I Ever for Season 2; Comedy Central Reviving Beavis and Butt-Head
07/01 - Remembering Comedy Legend Carl Reiner, MeTV and Decades to Air Tributes; HBO Orders Season 11 of Curb
06/30 - Decades 3rd Annual Rod, White & Blue: A Twilight Zone Celebration; Love in the Time of Corona Announces Cast
06/29 - BET Picks Up 2nd Season of Twenties; Vivica A. Fox Teams Up with Krista Allen, Jackée & More for More Wrong TV Movies
06/28 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of June 29, 2020)
06/27 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Sitcoms Present and Past Deal with Current Racial Issues; Binge Watch Past Favorites on Roku Channel
06/26 - Fri-Yay: Search Party Season 3 Thoughts; HBO Max Teams Up with Marlon Wayans
06/25 - CNN and HLN Announce Slate, with History of Sitcom; Lil Rel Set to Host NBC Game Show
06/24 - REELZ Announces New Specials on John Ritter, Bernie Mac, David Cassidy, Larry Hagman & More; Netflix Releases Unsolved Mysteries Trailer
06/23 - Fox Renews Animated Comedy for 2nd Season Before Series Premiere; Cobra Kai Moving to Netflix
06/22 - Antenna TV Summer 2020 Schedule; USA Network's Cannonball to Sneak Peek on NBC
06/21 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of June 22, 2020)
06/20 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Comedy Central Picks Up Daria Spinoff; Networks Finally Set Fall Lineup
06/19 - Fri-Yay: Expectations on 30 Rock Remote Special; ABC Schedules Sitcom United We Fall for Summer
06/18 - ABC Upfront 2020-21: Fall 2020 Schedule; Debra Messing Heads to the East Wing on Starz
06/17 - NBC Upfront 2020-21: Fall 2020 Schedule; 30 Rock Returns for Upfront Special on July 16
06/16 - NBC Cancels Indebted, Picks Up Manifest; ABC's For Life Gets 2nd Season, The Baker and The Beauty Doesn't
06/15 - truTV Announces Tacoma FD Return and More; NBC Brings Back Freshman Drama, Cancels Two Others
06/14 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of June 15, 2020)
06/13 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist Renewed for Season 2; Cops and Live PD Cancelled
06/12 - Fri-Yay: Rick and Morty Season 4; HBO Max Orders 2nd Season of Love Life
06/11 - Hulu Changes Premiere Dates of Two Series; ABC Encores Powerful Documentary Next Tuesday
06/10 - Lifetime Moves Variety's Power of Women Special to June 25; Remembering Mary Pat Gleason and Peggy Pope
06/09 - COZI TV's Leslie Jordan After Dark Week; TBS Slates Celeb Game Show with Mayim Bialik
06/08 - TBS Presents Tournament of Laughs; More on HBO's Perry Mason Launch
06/07 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of June 8, 2020)