This is a massive collection of 300 “public domain” episodes from western television shows that were broadcast in the 1950s and 1960s that covers most of the bases . . . . kiddie westerns of the early 1950s with shows like “The Lone Ranger” and “The Roy Rogers Show,” adult westerns like “Bonanza,” “Wagon Train,” and “The Rifleman,” and even a few 20th century “contemporary” westerns like “Sky King,” “Stoney Burke” and “Wide Country.” Save for a single episode from “Sugarfoot,” you won’t find any of the Warner Brothers westerns in this collection as those shows are still under copyright and controlled by Warner, but there are still plenty of famous as well as obscure western shows included in this set . . . . anyone for “Brave Eagle?”
This collection is a combination of two of Mill Creek Entertainment’s previous TV western releases, Ultimate TV Westerns – 150 Episodes and Western TV Classics 150 Episodes so if you already own those collections, you can skip this set. Both of these sets have been reviewed by several Amazon customers and I recommend that you visit the links to get more details.
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First of all, if you are a TV Western fan, this is one heck of a set. There’s 300 episodes from a wide variety of Fifties and Sixties TV shows, and the picture and sound quality for the most part are not too bad.
Having said that, I recommend that anyone buying this set takes the time to check all 24 discs to see if they load properly or play properly in your DVD player. Since these are double-sided discs, that means checking 48 sides!
I’ve sent two sets of this title back to Amazon already. In the first set, the following discs would not load: 5 (B), 15 (B), 19 (B) & 20 (B). In the second set, the following discs would not load: 5 (B), 15 (A), 19 (B) & 20 (B). At that point, I gave up and did not check the rest of the discs in the second set. Both sets were returned and Amazon was professional about it.
So, if you are like me, and want to see all the 300 episodes that you paid for, check each disc in your DVD player when your set arrives. If you can get a set that is defect-free, then you have gotten yourself a real low-priced treasure trove of great TV viewing.
Without having seen every episode in this collection (it could take some months), I can already recommend it as a source of some real historical TV gems.
As mentioned elsewhere, it’s a treat to see The Cisco Kid episodes as they were originally filmed in color. And wait ’til you see my childhood favorite, The Roy Rogers Show. In one episode, a pre-Magnificent Seven Charles Bronson, billed as Charles Buchinsky, is seen as a boxer. In another, there is a young Denver Pyle, beardless and before he grew into the beloved, grizzled character actor we knew later. There are even some original commercials with Roy and Dale pushing sugar-laden sponsors such as Post Sugar Crisp, and recruiting some of their youngsters to somewhat awkwardly sing the Jello Instant Pudding song. It’s worth noting that the quality of the Rogers shows on this disc is significantly better than some I’ve seen released by other companies.
Overall, the production values and print quality in this collection vary significantly. The upside is that some are better than you might expect, given their age. Besides, as Gabby Hayes might have put it, who in tarnation would expect digitally-restored perfection in this sort of collection, anyway?
Thanks to Mill Creek Entertainment for providing this paydirt. Now we can sit back and enjoy sifting through it for our personal treasures. Highly recommended.