THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES:
…You're all invited back
next week to this locality
More than forty years after they debuted on television, THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES remains one of the most consistently funny, innocent and delightful television sitcoms ever produced- and a personal favorite. Sure, there are those who will find the unsophisticated humor of THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES to be corny by today’s standards. This reviewer, however, finds the unsophisticated humor of this good-natured show to be its most appealing attribute and something that keeps him coming back to watch this classic sitcom time and again. Created by Paul Henning, THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES was one of the biggest hits of the 1960s, shooting to the number one in the ratings during its freshman season on the air, remaining at the top of the heap for nine seasons on CBS, that is, until the network did a wholesale cancellation of all of its rurally themed sitcoms.
For anyone not familiar with THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES, the basic premise of the show finds a simple Ozark denizen named Jed Clampett (Buddy Ebsen) sudden wealthy when oil is discovered on his swamp property. On the advice of his kinfolk, Jed moves away from the Ozarks to the sunny climes of California- Beverly Hills more specifically, where his banker sets him up in a luxurious Mansion. Transplanted along with Jed to this new location and new surroundings are Jed’s Mother-in-Law Daisy Mae Moses AKA Granny (Irene Ryan), his daughter Elly May Clampett (Donna Douglas) and his nephew Jethro Bodine (Max Baer Jr.). Assisting the Clampetts in their transition from a one-room shack in the middle of no place to living in a stately Mansion in Beverly Hills are (the money obsessed) Bank President Milburn Drysdale (Raymond Bailey) and Drysdale’s faithful secretary Jane Hathaway (Nancy Kulp). THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES season one/two cast members also include Harriet E. MacGibbon as the bank president’s snooty wife Margaret Drysdale and Bea Benaderet as Jed’s Cousin Pearl Bodine.
THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES: ULTIMATE COLLECTION VOLUME 2 ($35) comes to DVD in a four-disc set that features 27 episodes that were aired during the series first and second seasons. The featured episodes are as follows: Jed Pays His Income Tax, The Clampetts And The Dodgers, Duke Becomes A Father, The Clampetts Entertain, The Clampetts In Court, The Clampetts Get Psychoanalyzed, The Psychiatrist Gets Clampetted, Elly Becomes A Secretary, Jethro's Friend, Jed Gets The Misery, Hair-Raising Holiday, Granny's Garden, Elly Starts To School, The Clampett Look, Jethro's First Love, Chickadee Returns, The Clampetts Are Overdrawn, The Clampetts Go Hollywood, Turkey Day, The Garden Party, Elly Needs A Maw, The Clampetts Get Culture, A Man For Elly, The Giant Jackrabbit, The Girl From Home, Lafe Lingers On and The Race For Queen.
MPI Home Video has made all of the episodes that comprise THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES: ULTIMATE COLLECTION VOLUME 2 available on DVD in their proper full screen aspect ratios. Like the first set, the black and white episodes contained here really look quite nice on DVD and are certain to leave any fan of THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES quite pleased. Authorized by the estate of series creator Paul Henning, the episodes in this collection have been given solid transfers from good quality film elements, which again, most likely from the Henning’s personal archive. Image sharpness and detail is just what one might expect from an early 1960’s era sitcom, although there are moments that appear a bit softer than others. Blacks are deep and the whites are fairly crisp and stable. Contrast and grayscale are good, although there some places where the whites threaten to become blown out. The film elements are in relatively good shape and have held up well, with genrally modest blemishes and minor scratches appearing, although some episodes are more heavily marked then others. Film grain is noticeable much of the time, but is never excessive or bothersome. Digital compression artifacts are never an issue.
All of the episodes that comprise THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES: ULTIMATE COLLECTION VOLUME 2 come with Dolby Digital monaural soundtracks. The majority of the background hiss and other audible imperfections have been cleaned up in the mastering process, leaving the soundtracks with a fairly pleasant sonic quality. Some mild aberrations crop up here and there, but the sound quality is pretty solid for a sitcom that debuted in 1962. Dialogue is clean sounding and easy to understand. Fidelity has the expected limitations of a sitcom of this vintage, but the theme song and background 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 some nice extras. Steve Cox, author of The Beverly Hillbillies book provides a running audio commentary for The Giant Jackrabbit. Extras also include Vintage Interviews with Irene Ryan and Paul Henning, a recent interview with Max Baer Jr., an excerpt of an episode dubbed in Japanese, and more than twenty-five minutes of Original Cast Commercials for Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, and Croutettes, plus Winston Cigarettes.
THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES remains a personal favorite amongst vintage sitcoms and I am delighted that MPI has brought this second volume of episodes to DVD. Hopefully, Paramount will follow suit and bring the remaining episodes of THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES to DVD with the same consideration that MPI has shown towards this classic sitcom. THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES: ULTIMATE COLLECTION VOLUME 2 is a delightful DVD release that comes highly recommended.
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