Before you buy this bargain DVD set, you have to understand what Public Domain means. It means even if you don”t buy this video set you can probably see every show on it for free on YouTube. Public Domain means there is no more interest in turning a profit for the original producers from the show in question. Copyrights have not been renewed. Anyone who wants to take a chance at making a buck by putting these films on home media can take a shot at it.
It also means that the source material is not all that good. Before shows were filmed and edited they were often performed live and a kinescope record was created. Look it up. What it means is that many of the shows look like they were filmed outside at night without lighting or competent sound recording.
Okay now you have had the warnings and bad news. The good news is that the 4 DVD set contains 49 old Christmas shows from early TV. And it sells for around 7 bucks. I work it out to be about 15 cents per show. Many single episode shows are included like “Captain Gallant and the Foreign Legion.” This series starred Buster Crabbe, Olympic swimmer and film and TV actor. This is the only known Xmas episode. There are numerous single episode TV shows in the set, which include Westerns, Comedy and Drama. There are crime shows with happy endings. There are musical shows featuring Liberace, and a G.E. Theater episode with the Xmas music of The Fred Waring Orchestra. Three Dragnet episodes with Jack Webb as Sgt. Joe Friday doing his best to get just the facts while finding a way to forgive the criminal.
There is also a Pirate Xmas show with The Adventures of Long John Silver and one episode of Paul Winchell’s Xmas show. Paul was a well-known ventriloquist of the era and Jerry Mahoney never said Ho, Ho, Ho without Paul nearby. Red Skelton, as Freddy the Freeloader, in a Classic O’Henry story with a surprise ending. Apparently even in Merry Olde England, Robin Hood celebrated with a Xmas dinner he shot himself. One of my all time favorite TV episodes is from The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (with Dave and Ricky) broadcast in 1964 that is a repeat of a superb 1956 show, and Ricky updates with a song at the end. This one features a harried Ozzie being asked by everyone he knows to chip in some time to help with local community Xmas projects. All Ozzie wants is to get his tree up, put up the Xmas lights outside and do a little shopping. This one is fun for all, even as Ozzie repeats Bah, Humbug over and over, he doesn’t really mean it. The Nelson gang chips in to make it a perfect 1956 Public Domain Merry Christmas. At 15 cents a show how can you go wrong?
Rated 3.5 out of 4.0 reasons we hope you have a Merry Christmas and enough time to watch all 49 of these classics. If you don’t, a virtual fireplace including the sounds of the crackling fire is included on disc #1.