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As someone who grew up watching THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES and PETTICOAT JUNCTION, I a delighted that at lease some of the episodes from these classic sitcoms are finding their way to DVD in quality presentations.  Created by Paul Henning, THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES and its follow-up PETTICOAT JUNCTION are fine examples of simpler times, when sitcoms could be consistently funny, without ever resorting to crude humor. THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES ran for nine seasons and play on its fish out of water premise without ever becoming stale.  As for PETTICOAT JUNCTION, it ran for seven seasons and featured the same kind of good-natured, down home charm that made its predecessor a winner.

THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES & PETTICOAT JUNCTION ULTIMATE CHRISTMAS COLLECTION ($15) offer a collection of three holiday themed episodes from the two series.  Home For Christmas comes from the first season of THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES and finds Jed Clampett (Buddy Ebsen), Granny (Irene Ryan), Elly May (Donna Douglas) and Jethro (Max Baer Jr.) heading back to the Ozarks to spend Christmas with Jethro’s mother Pearl Bodine (Bea Benaderet).  Christmas At The Clampetts is from season two and features Bank President Milburn Drysdale (Raymond Bailey) showering the Clampett Clan in elaborate gifts in a ploy to keep the family in Beverly Hills and the Clampett money in his bank.  Cannonball Christmas is from the first season of PETTICOAT JUNCTION and finds Shady Rest proprietor Kate Bradley (Bea Benaderet), plus daughters Billie Jo (Jeannine Riley), Bobbie Jo (Pat Woodell) and Betty Jo (Linda Kaye Henning), as well as Uncle Joe (Edgar Buchanan) and Sam Drucker (Frank Cady) trying to keep the Cannonball Express out of the hands of a Scrooge-like railroad executive (Charles Lane) on Christmas Eve.

MPI Home Video has made the three episodes that comprise THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES & PETTICOAT JUNCTION ULTIMATE CHRISTMAS COLLECTION available on DVD in their proper full screen aspect ratios.  These black and white episodes really look quite nice on DVD and are certain to make any fan jolly during the holidays, or any other time of year.  Authorized by the estate of series creator Paul Henning, the episodes in this holiday collection have been given solid transfers from good quality film elements.  The image is rather sharp and nicely defined and the film elements are in good shape for a black and white series produced during the early to mid 1960s.  There are occasional scratches and mild blemishes on the film elements, but they are never bothersome.  Film grain is noticeable much of the time, but is never excessive. Digital compression artifacts are generally well concealed.

All three of the episodes that constitute THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES & PETTICOAT JUNCTION ULTIMATE CHRISTMAS COLLECTION feature Dolby Digital monaural soundtracks. Most traces of background hiss and audible anomalies have been cleaned up in the mastering process, leaving a generally smooth sonic quality. Dialogue is clean and easy to understand. Fidelity has the expected limitations of a sitcom that is more than forty years old, but the music holds up well enough. No other language tracks have been included on the DVD, but English subtitles are provided.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard episode selection and set up features, as well as a few extras.  Linda Kaye Henning, daughter of both series creator Paul Henning is on hand to provide introductions to the episodes.  Several Original Sponsor Commercials with various cast members are also provided, as is brief Christmas Greeting From Frank Cady And Linda Kaye Henning.  Finally, the disc includes a really nice Christmas themed surprise fans for Paul Henning’s earlier television work, I venture to guess fans will love that surprise.

THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES & PETTICOAT JUNCTION ULTIMATE CHRISTMAS COLLECTION is a fun DVD release that is certain to please fans of both classic sitcoms.  MPI has done a very good job with this release by offering quality presentations and some thoughtful extra content.  Watching these holiday themed episodes left this reviewer with one wish for Santa- more episodes of THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES and PETTICOAT JUNCTION on DVD please!!!  Recommended.



The Beverly Hillbillies & Petticoat Junction Ultimate Christmas Collection



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2005 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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