Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Series

( 4 )

Overview

Back in 2005, Universal began issuing Leave It To Beaver on DVD with the first two seasons, a bit less than a year apart -- the Season One set came in both a basic DVD edition and a deluxe package, the main feature of which was an authentic 1950s-style school lunchbox outer container. And then there was nothing -- from 2006 until the early summer of 2010, no further episodes were seen on DVD. It seems as though Universal did a major re-thinking of their DVD strategy, at least where vintage programs were ...
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More About This Product

Overview

Back in 2005, Universal began issuing Leave It To Beaver on DVD with the first two seasons, a bit less than a year apart -- the Season One set came in both a basic DVD edition and a deluxe package, the main feature of which was an authentic 1950s-style school lunchbox outer container. And then there was nothing -- from 2006 until the early summer of 2010, no further episodes were seen on DVD. It seems as though Universal did a major re-thinking of their DVD strategy, at least where vintage programs were concerned, and started licensing them to specialists in the field, Timeless Video getting the westerns and police shows while Shout Factory has gotten the rights to more mainstream comedies. And this 37 disc set of the complete six-season run of Leave It To Beaver is a mother-lode, 234 half-hour episodes plus bonus features, comprising more than 6090 minutes (that's 101 hours) of programming. By most reckonings, a list price of $200 is pretty hefty, even for the complete run of a classic 1950s series, but this reviewer jumped on it, owing to the overall quality of the show, which seldom ever faltered (though it it can be argued that Leave It To Beaver "jumped the shark" with the 1962 episode Three Boys And A Burro -- oh, sure, Ward and June Cleaver, upstanding citizens of Mayfield's suburbs, or any other parents in that area, are going to say yes to their boys buying a piece of live-stock, a burro no less . . . .). And the quality does hold up, for the most part -- fortunately, as series star Jerry Mathers matured and gradually grew out of the role, and the makers ran out of new situations for his character, the writers and producers were able to devise more stories dealing with older brother Wally (Tony Dow), and these, plus the work of the supporting cast, carried the series for probably at least a year of strong programs past the point where it, otherwise, would have started to fade. The quality of the transfers on the first two seasons in this set is identical to the those on the old Universal disc editions -- all shows are, of course, full-screen (1.33-to-1) and in black-and-white; the first season episodes look superb, the second season less so, with a surprising amount of grain in some of the sequences, but this isn't sufficient to put off viewers. And the sound is strong throughout, the chaptering more than adequate, and the menus easy to access and maneuver around. As to seasons three, four, five, and six, which are new to DVD, the transfers are excellent, with none of the grain that seems to be unique to some of season two's shows. For the purposes of this set, the bonus features that appeared on the free-standing first-season set (principally the pilot, It's A Small World)) have mostly all been shifted to a disc in the last set. The inclusion of previously made features focusing on the series and its evolution and production makes this set a vital resource for fans -- even this longtime viewer, who knew a fair amount about the show, found new information in the featurette Forever the Beaver: The Cleavers Look Back, and enough new information so that it was a necessary pleasure to go back it more than once -- the stories about interactions with Robert Mitchum and Steve McQueen on the Universal lots were just two of many highlights. The audio bonuses, which are culled from radio appearances by the cast, are also very funny to hear, filled with good humor and a generous spirit on the part of all concerned. In short -- and with this series, it's appropriate -- the reunion and retrospectives are like walking in on a series of joyous family gatherings. The set is formatted as a series of slim multi-disc jewel cases in a larger slipcase, which makes this a fairly compact affair but simple to open and play. Each set comes with an insert providing a "map" to the episodes. Each disc opens automatically to a simple, easy to use menu offering individual episode access. And the audio bonus features are simple to activate or shut down during viewing. As to the viewing experience itself, the array of the complete series in one place bears out what a lot of serious fans always knew about Leave It To Beaver -- beyond its other virtues, in terms of comedy and entertainment, the program was virtually a mirror of how white, middle-class America (which, like it or not, and for better or worse, was what defined America in those days) saw itself, and wanted to see itself. The creator/producers, Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher, who also wrote a good many of the early scripts and supervised the writing for the full run of the show, managed to tap into several rich veins of material, all rooted in reality. Watching the show from beginning to end, which is a herculean task best pursued over a period of many months, one absorbs some of the best writing about childhood foibles and anxieties ever set down in an entertainment context. And thanks to the fact that the series always made a good effort to stay in contact with the environment and social world it sought to portray, one sees a surprisingly realistic reflection of how childhood and teen-age life changed between 1957 and 1963. (Indeed, one suspects there may be a doctoral dissertation to be mined out of this series, for someone willing to do the excavation). In other words, its a series that can be enjoyed on a multitude of levels, by those who remember it and those who lived it, or viewers who didn't arive until long after it left production.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Forever the beaver: the Cleavers look back; Ken and Frank remember; The drum major of the toy parade; The original pilot episode; Audio interviews
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/29/2010
  • UPC: 826663118353
  • Rating:

  • Source: Shout Factory
  • Presentation: Full Frame
  • Language: English
  • Time: 101:30:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 4,884

Menu

Disc #1 -- Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Series
   Play
   Episodes
      Beaver Gets Spelled
      Captain Jack
      The Black Eye
      The Haircut
      New Nighbors
      Brotherly Love
      Water, Anyone?
   Bonus Features
      Play
Disc #2 -- Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Series
   Play
   Episodes
      Beaver's Crush
      The Clubhouse
      Wally's Girl Trouble
      Beaver's Short Pants
      The Perfume Salesman
      Voodoo Magic
Disc #3 -- Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Series
   Play
   Episodes
      Part Time Genius
      Party Invitation
      Lumpy Rutherford
      The Paper Route
      Child Care
      The Bank Account
      Lonesome Beaver
Disc #4 -- Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Series
   Play
   Episodes
      Cleaning Up Beaver
      The Perfect Father
      Beaver and Poncho
      The State Vs Beaver
      The Broken Window
      Train Trip
Disc #5 -- Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Series
   Play
   Episodes
      My Brother's Girl
      Next Door Indians
      Tenting Tonight
      Music Lesson
      New Doctor
      Beaver's Old Friend
      Wally's Job
Disc #6 -- Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Series
   Play
   Episodes
      Beaver's Bad Day
      Boarding School
      Beaver and Henry
      Beaver Runs Away
      Beaver's Guest
      Cat Out of the Bag
Disc #7 -- Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Series
   Play
   Episodes
      Beaver's Poem
      Eddie's Girl
      Ward's Problem
      Beaver and Chuey
      The Lost Watch
      Her Idol
      Beaver's Ring
   Bonus Feature
      Play
Disc #8 -- Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Series
   Play
   Episodes
      The Shave
      The Pipe
      Wally's New Suit
      School Play
      The Visitng Aunts
      Happy Weekend
Disc #9 -- Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Series
   Play
   Episodes
      Wally's Present
      The Grass is Always Greener
      The Boat Builders
      Beaver Plays Hooky
      The Garage Painters
      Wally's Pug Nose
      Beaver's Pigeons
Disc #10 -- Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Series
   Play
   Episodes
      The Tooth
      Beaver Gets Adopted
      The Haunted House
      The Bus Ride
      Beaver and Gilbert
      Price of Fame
Disc #11 -- Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Series
   Play
   Episodes
      A Horse Named Nick
      Beaver's Hero
      Beaver Says Good-bye
      Beaver's Newspaper
      Beaver's Sweater
      Friendship
      Dance Contest
Disc #12 -- Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Series
   Play
   Episodes
      Wally's Haircomb
      The Cookie Fund
      Forgotten Party
      Beaver the Athlete
      Found Money
      Most Interesting Character
Disc #13 -- Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Series
   Play
   Episodes
      Blind Date Committee
      Beaver Takes a Bath
      School Bus
      Beaver's Prize
      Baby Picture
      Beaver Takes a Walk
      Borrowed Boat
   Bonus Episode
      Play
Disc #14 -- Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Series
   Play
   Episodes
      Beaver's Tree
      Teacher Comes to Dinner
      Beaver's Fortune
      Beaver Makes a Loan
      Beaver the Magician
      June's Birthday
Disc #15 -- Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Series
   Play
   Episodes
      Tire Trouble
      Larry Hides Out
      Pet Fair
      Wally's Test
      Beaver's Library Book
      Wally's Election
      Beaver and Andy
Disc #16 -- Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Series
   Play
   Episodes
      Beaver's Dance
      Larry's Club
      School Sweater
      The Hypnotist
      Wally and Alma
      Beaver's Bike
Disc #17 -- Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Series
   Play
   Episodes
      Wally's Orchid
      Ward's Baseball
      Beaver's Monkey
      Mother's Day Composition
      Beaver and Violet
      The Spot Removers
Disc #18 -- Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Series
   Play
   Episodes
      Beaver, the Model
      Wally, the Businessman
      Beaver and Ivanhoe
      Wally's Play
      The Last Day of School
      Beaver's Team
Disc #19 -- Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Series
   Play
   Episodes
      Beaver Won't Eat
      Beaver's House Guest
      Beaver Becomes a Hero
      Wally, the Lifeguard
      Beaver's Freckles
      Beaver's Big Contest
      Miss Landers' FiancĂ©
   Bonus Feature
      Play
Disc #20 -- Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Series
   Play
   Episodes
      Eddie's Double-Cross
      Beaver's I.Q.
      Wally's Glamour Girl
      Chukie's New Shoes
      Beaver and Kenneth
      Beaver's Accordion
Disc #21 -- Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Series
   Play
   Episodes
      Uncle Billy
      Teacher's Daughter
      Ward's Millions
      Beaver's Secret Life
      Wally's Track Meet
      Beaver's Old Buddy
      Beaver's Tonsils
Disc #22 -- Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Series
   Play
   Episodes
      The Big Fish Count
      Beaver's Poster
      Mother's Helper
      The Dramatic Club
      Wally and Dudley
      Eddie Spends the Night
Disc #23 -- Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Series
   Play
   Episodes
      Beaver's Report Card
      Mistaken Identity
      Wally's Dream Girl
      The School Picture
      Beaver's Rat
      In the Soup
      p
Disc #24 -- Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Series
   Play
   Episodes
      Junior Fire Chief
      Beaver's Frogs
      Beaver Goes in Business
      Kite Day
      Beaver's Doll Buggy
      Substitute Father
Disc #25 -- Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Series
   Play
   Episodes
      Wally Goes Steady
      No Time For Babysitters
      Wally's Car
      Beaver's Birthday
      Beaver's Cat Problem
      Wally's Weekend Job
      Beaver Takes a Drive
   Bonus Feature
      Play
Disc #26 -- Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Series
   Play
   Episodes
      Wally's Big Date
      Beaver's Ice Skates
      Weekend Invitation
      Beaver's English Test
      Wally's Chauffeur
      Beaver's First Date
Disc #27 -- Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Series
   Play
   Episodes
      Ward's Golf Clubs
      Farewell to Penny
      Beaver, the Bunny
      Beaver's Electric Trains
      Beaver's Long Night
      Beaver's Jacket
      Nobody Loves Me
Disc #28 -- Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Series
   Play
   Episodes
      Beaver's Fear
      Three boys and the a Burro
      Eddie Quits School
      Wally Stays at Lumpy's
      Beaver's Laundry
      Lumpy's Car Trouble
Disc #29 -- Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Series
   Play
   Episodes
      Beaver the Babysitter
      The Younger Brother
      Beaver's Typewriter
      The Merchant Marine
      Brother Versus Brother
      The Yard Birds
      Tennis, Anyone?
Disc #30 -- Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Series
   Play
   Episodes
      One of the Boys
      Sweatshirt Monsters
      A Night in the Woods
      Long Distance Call
      Stocks and Bonds
      Un-Togetherness
Disc #31 -- Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Series
   Play
   Episodes
      Wally's Dinner Date
      Beaver's Football Award
      Wally's License
      The Late Edition
      Double Date
      Eddie, the Businessman
      Tell it to Ella
   Bonus Feature
      Play
Disc #32 -- Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Series
   Play
   Episodes
      Bachelor at Large
      Beaver Joins a Record Club
      Wally's Car Accident
      Beaver, the Sheep Dog
      Beaver, the Hero
      Beaver's Autobiography
Disc #33 -- Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Series
   Play
   Episodes
      The Party Spoiler
      The Mustache
      Wally Buys a Car
      The Parking Attendants
      More Blessed to Give
      Beaver's Autobiography
      Beaver's Good Deed
      The Credit Card
Disc #34 -- Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Series
   Play
   Episodes
      Beaver the Caddy
      Beaver on TV
      Box Office Attraction
      Lumpy's Scholarship
      The Silent Treatment
      Uncle Billy's Visit
Disc #35 -- Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Series
   Play
   Episodes
      Beaver's Prep School
      Wally and the Fraternity
      Eddie's Sweater
      The Book Report
      The Poor Loser
      Don Juan Beaver
      Summer in Alaska
Disc #36 -- Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Series
   Play
   Episodes
      Beaver's Graduation
      Wally's Practical Joke
      The All-Night Party
      Beaver Sees America
      The Clothing Drive
      Family Scrapbook
Disc #37 -- Leave It to Beaver: The Complete Series
   Original Pilot - "It's a Small World"
   "Leave it to Beaver" - U.S. Treasurey Film
   Featurettes
      Forever the Beaver: The Cleaver Look Back
      Ken Osmond & Frank Bank Remember
      The Drum Major of the Toy Parade: A Conversation With Dave Kahn
      Play All
   Original Promos
   Also From Shout! Factory
      Father Know Best
      Hiya, Kids!! A 50's Saturday Morning
      McHale's Navy
      The Patty Duke Show
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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