Bonanza: the Official First Season, Vol. 1

( 1 )

Overview

Up until September of 2009, the only authorized DVD edition of Bonanza was a double-disc set with a selection of episodes from Artisan Entertainment, and that was out-of-print as of 2006. The only other versions have been cheap public domain editions containing bad copies of various episodes that have fallen out-of-copyright. This four-disc set, containing the first half of the series' 1959-1960 opening season, changes all of that -- fortunately for fans of the series, there seem to be not only perfect copies of ...
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DVD (Pan & Scan)
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More About This Product

Overview

Up until September of 2009, the only authorized DVD edition of Bonanza was a double-disc set with a selection of episodes from Artisan Entertainment, and that was out-of-print as of 2006. The only other versions have been cheap public domain editions containing bad copies of various episodes that have fallen out-of-copyright. This four-disc set, containing the first half of the series' 1959-1960 opening season, changes all of that -- fortunately for fans of the series, there seem to be not only perfect copies of the first-season shows, but copies with the original network intros, "bumpers," and outros. The option of seeing those particular shows is one of the highlights of this DVD set, which offers about the best-looking account of the series that this reviewer -- a longtime fan -- has ever seen. Bonanza was the first television western series shot in color, and it was a major undertaking for NBC -- which was tied corporately to RCA, which was not only marketing color television sets but also owned the patent on the color television system adopted by the FCC -- even if most viewers in 1959 couldn't avail themselves of Bert Glennon's cinematography on the premiere episode, or the rest of the season that followed; it would be a decade after Bonanza premiered before this reviewer's family got their first color television set. The full-screen (1.33-to-1) transfers look fine and the sound is mastered at a healthy volume, and the chaptering follows the credit and commercial break-points. Each disc here comes with bonus features, in the form of stills from relevant episodes and events, and short interviews (dating from 2002) with series creator/producer David Dortort, devoted to such matters as Michael Landon's and Dan Blocker's recruitment into the series, and the creation of the map of the Ponderosa ranch. Those are interesting, and the Blocker segment is highly informative as well, but the best bonus feature -- apart from the long-lost "song outro" from the debut episode (in which the Cartwrights leave Virginia City singing the Bonanza theme song -- the only time it was ever heard that way) -- is an episode of Fireside Theatre entitled Man Of The Comstock from 1953; written by Dortort, the latter half-hour black-and-white show, starring Bruce Bennett and Andrea King, was the beginning of the inspiration behind Bonanza. All of these extras, as well as the presentation of the shows, makes it a must-own for fans of the series, no matter how many times they may have seen the episodes involved.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Archival interviews with creator-producer David Dortort; Galleries of extensive episodic and rare behind-the-scenes photographs; Original NBC network peacock logo, bumpers and Lorne Greene RCA promo on "A Rose for Lotta"; 1953 Fireside Theater episode: "Man of the Comstock" - David Dortort's "Genesis of Bananza"; Original Episodic promos on selected episodes; Credit drawings: Joseph Messerli's early concepts
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/15/2009
  • UPC: 097361424842
  • Rating:

  • Source: Paramount
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Pan & Scan
  • Time: 13:12:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 22,994

Menu

Disc #1 -- Bonanza: The Official First Season, Vol. 1
   A Rose for Lotta (Pilot)
      Play Episode
      Play Episode with Original NBC Network Logo, Bumpers & RCA Promo
      Photo Gallery
   Death Sun Mountain
      Play Episode
      Photo Gallery
   The Newcomers
      Play Episode
      Photo Gallery
   The Paiute War
      Play Episode
      Episodic Promo
      Photo Gallery
   Special Features
      Fireside Theatre: "Man of the Comstock" Original Airdate: November 3, 1953
      Archival Footage (2002): David Dortort Stories: The Ponderosa Map Story
      Rare Alternate Pilot Ending Featuring the "Singing Cartwrights"
      Photo Galleries
         NBC Headquarters
         Clarence "Fat" Jones Stables
         Publicity Stills
Disc #2 -- Bonanza: The Official First Season, Vol. 1
   Enter Mark Twain
      Play Episode
      Photo Gallery
   The Julia Bulette Story
      Play Episode
      Episodic Promo
      Photo Gallery
   The Saga of Annie O'Toole
      Play Episode
      Photo Gallery
   The Philip Diedsheimer Story
      Play Episode
      Photo Gallery
   Special Feature
      Photo Gallery: Bonanza World Premiere - Reno, Nevada August 22-23, 1959
Disc #3 -- Bonanza: The Official First Season, Vol. 1
   Mr. Henry Comstock
      Play Episode
      Photo Galleries
         Episode Stills
         Lost Sequences
   The Magnificent Adah
      Play Episode
      Photo Gallery
   The Truckee Strip
      Play Episode
      Photo Gallery
   The Hanging Posse
   Special Features
      Archival Footage (2002): David Dortort Stories: Remembering Michael Landon
      Photo Gallery: Lake Tahoe Location - June 1959
      Credit Drawings: Joe Messerli's Early Concepts
Disc #4 -- Bonanza: The Official First Season, Vol. 1
   Vendetta
   The Sisters
      Play Episode
      Episodic Promo
      Photo Gallery
   The Last Hunt
      Play Episode
      Photo Gallery
   El Toro Grande
   Special Feature
      Archival Footage (2002): David Dortort Stories: Remembering Dan Blocker
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    Posted December 25, 2009

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