Finally, one of the most beloved series from television's Golden Age comes to DVD for the first time ever! Join the Cleavers, America's quintessential family, in all 39 digitally remastered, unforgettable episodes from the... more » complete first season of Leave it to Beaver! Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver (Jerry Mathers) can't seem to avoid trouble, and his older brother Wally (Tony Dow), and mischievous pal Eddie Haskell (Ken Osmond), aren't any help. But with some wise advice from his father Ward (Hugh Beaumont) and mom's (Barbara Billingsley) home-cooked meals, Beaver learns that all's well that ends well. Complete with the original pilot, brought out of the studio archives, this must-have DVD collection will have you declaring, "Gee, that Beaver sure is a swell guy!"« less
5 Stars (And Then Some!) For The DVDs Themselves .... But Ju
David Von Pein | Mooresville, Indiana; USA | 11/24/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
""LEAVE IT TO BEAVER: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON" .........
At-A-Glance DVD Stats:
Number of Episodes -- 39. Number of DVDs -- 3 (Dual-Sided; Dual-Layered; DVD-18). Video Aspect Ratio -- Full Frame OAR (1.33:1). Audio -- Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English only). Color or B&W? -- B&W. Any Bonus Stuff on the DVDs? -- Yes ... The LITB "Pilot" Episode ("It's A Small World"). Subtitles -- English and Spanish. "Play All" Option Included? -- Yes. Chapter Stops Included? -- No. Are These Episodes Complete and Unedited? -- Yes. Booklet Included? -- No. DVD Distributor -- Universal Studios Home Entertainment. DVD Release Date -- November 22, 2005.
"Leave It To Beaver" (1957-1963) is one of my all-time favorite television programs, and I'm thrilled to now have the opportunity to collect the series on the DVD format. It's a TV show that, for me, never grows old or tiresome. Wally, Ward, June, Eddie, Lumpy, and "The Beav" will always be welcome on my TV screen.
This "Limited Edition" Lunch Box version of "Leave It To Beaver: The Complete First Season" is both fantastic and a nightmare at the same time. The "fantastic" part is the TV show itself (and the three discs which have all 39 first-year Beaver entries on them....and the quality is excellent here).
The "nightmare" part has to do with the way the discs are stored within the Lunch Box, plus the complete and utter lack of ANY printed episode information inside this package whatsoever. No episode guide booklet. Not even a single-page insert with the ep. titles scribbled on them someplace. Nothing. That's just plain crazy.
Via this "Premium" pack, the only way to find a specific episode you want to view is to physically load up a disc and then search for the program via the Episode Index on the DVD itself. Either that or print out the episode information yourself from an online episode guide or some other source. I guess that WOULD actually be a good idea for people who buy this Limited set.
In fact, with the best interests of Beaver fans in mind, I'll provide a quick-reference, disc-by-disc, Season-One episode guide near the end of this review. And if anyone should desire to do so, they can easily copy-and-paste the program list below into "Word Pad" (or some similar type of computer word processor), and then print out a copy to put in the Lunch Box for future Beaver reference.
Offhand, I cannot think of one other TV-on-DVD product that doesn't come with some kind of program guide, either printed on the box or on an insert/booklet. I certainly don't own a similar such set anyway.
The three discs in this set are afforded a very cheap Lunch-Box home, with each one being slid into a CD-like plastic sleeve which comprise the first "pages" of the bonus item here, a "Cleaver Family Photo Album". The album is a pretty nice supplementary item, with six B&W pictures of the Cleavers (plus Eddie Haskell) placed into sleeves within the album (same type of sleeves that hold the discs).
But, for what's labelled as a "Premium Edition Gift Set" by Universal Home Video, I would have expected a much better disc-storing device than just these album sleeves. Sliding them in and out of sleeves could possibly result in the discs getting scratched more easily. Plus, to get the things out of the sleeves, you pretty much have no choice but to touch some portions of the data sides of the DVDs, which isn't too good of an idea either.
If only Universal would have made the Lunch Box a tad bigger, they could have easily put the "Standard Edition" of the LITB set inside the Lunch Box, which would have been the best of both packaging worlds -- i.e., a "Limited Edition", but with normal (and better) DVD cases/trays, which the Standard version does contain. The Lunch Box measures 7.75 in. x 6 in., with a thickness of about 3 inches.
The regular/standard edition comes in a nice-looking white slipcase box, which holds three individual slim cases for the DVDs. And, of course, that edition also has episode information written on the back of the cases (plus "DVD specifications" such as video aspect ratio stats, Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono, subtitle options, etc., which is also data that is completely absent from the Limited Edition set).
So, I'd advise fans of this charming and ultra-likeable TV sitcom to go with the "Standard" version of LITB Season 1. It has much better packaging for the double-sided DVDs. I might also add that three of the six photos contained in the Limited Edition's Photo Album can also be found in the Standard pack (with those same 3 pics being shown on the back covers of the three slim plastic cases).
Packaging devices aside, I'm extremely pleased with the overall video and audio quality of these DVDs. The Cleaver clan looks just terrific here. It appears to me that Universal Studios has done a marvelous job of transferring these nearly half-century-old TV episodes (which were shot on film, not videotape) to the DVD format. The original "wet cement" opening titles appear on each of these 39 episodes, as do the "teasers" (i.e., prologues/trailers) that originally aired during these shows just prior to the opening credits. Thank you, Universal, for presenting these programs unedited in any fashion; the average run time here looks to be about 25.5 minutes, which is excellent (in an "uncut" sort of way). ;)
And Universal has even seen fit to include the "Pilot" episode ("It's A Small World") in this Beaver collection as well (it's located on Side B of Disc #3). The pilot, which was first broadcast in April 1957 as an installment of the syndicated "Studio 57" TV series, is a good program too (IMHO), and provides a very satisfactory start to the LITB series (although I must admit that Casey Adams, who portrayed Ward Cleaver in the pilot, doesn't nearly exhibit the charm, likability, and overall greatness that Hugh Beaumont brought to the role in the actual LITB series). Very nice DVD picture quality for the pilot too.
Here now is that episode list I promised earlier. For providing the following info that Universal should have included in this Lunch-Box pack in the first place, but didn't, I accept personal checks and most major credit cards. (Just kidding, Beaver fans. ~devilish grin~).......
LEAVE IT TO BEAVER -- THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON:
DVD EPISODE INDEX:
DISC 1; SIDE A:
1. BEAVER GETS 'SPELLED 2. CAPTAIN JACK 3. THE BLACK EYE 4. THE HAIRCUT 5. NEW NEIGHBORS 6. BROTHERLY LOVE 7. WATER, ANYONE?
DISC 1; SIDE B:
8. BEAVER'S CRUSH 9. THE CLUBHOUSE 10. WALLY'S GIRL TROUBLE 11. BEAVER'S SHORT PANTS 12. THE PERFUME SALESMEN 13. VOODOO MAGIC 14. PART-TIME GENIUS
DISC 2; SIDE A:
15. PARTY INVITATION 16. LUMPY RUTHERFORD 17. THE PAPER ROUTE 18. CHILD CARE 19. THE BANK ACCOUNT 20. LONESOME BEAVER 21. CLEANING UP BEAVER
DISC 2; SIDE B:
22. THE PERFECT FATHER 23. BEAVER AND PONCHO 24. THE STATE VS. BEAVER 25. THE BROKEN WINDOW 26. TRAIN TRIP 27. MY BROTHER'S GIRL 28. NEXT-DOOR INDIANS
DISC 3; SIDE A:
29. TENTING TONIGHT 30. MUSIC LESSON 31. NEW DOCTOR 32. BEAVER'S OLD FRIEND 33. WALLY'S JOB 34. BEAVER'S BAD DAY 35. BOARDING SCHOOL
DISC 3; SIDE B:
36. BEAVER AND HENRY 37. BEAVER RUNS AWAY 38. BEAVER'S GUEST 39. CAT OUT OF THE BAG BONUS PILOT EPISODE: IT'S A SMALL WORLD
I've always looked upon the "Leave It To Beaver" TV series as an American institution of sorts. Its scripts and storylines were always very simple in nature, but the show never has failed to make me smile. And the entertainment value of the series' inaugural season is increased many times over thanks to the high quality of these DVDs.
Even with my many gripes concerning the Lunch-Box packaging, the first season of "Leave It To Beaver" on DVD is unquestionably an obligatory purchase for fans of this fun television show.
I'd strongly suggest getting the Standard Edition set, however, instead of this Limited Edition pack. And even though I dislike multiple things about the Lunch-Box set, I still feel the need to heap some praise and compliments upon Universal Studios for giving consumers a choice here, and for not releasing LITB Season 1 in JUST the Lunch Box. For being provided a choice of Beaver sets, I salute Universal proudly."
Stick with the basics
F. SHIRRA | Concord MA | 11/22/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I recommend purchasing the standard set, not the "limited edition" collectors version. The lunch box is cool enough, but the DVDs are housed in a cheap plastic "photo album", which will, no doubt, yellow with age (looks like PVC, which is notorious for aging). The "photo album" doesn't stand up buy itself and doesn't physically "fit in" very well with a DVD collection. Would have been much better if they had just put the standard boxed set in the lunchbox. (There is also a large piece of styrofoam in the lunchbox. Classy.) The DVDs themselves are excellent and any LITB fan will be thrilled."
LUNCH BOX SET
Joey Dryfka | SACRAMENTO, CA. | 12/21/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Other than the cool lunchbox and the episodes themselves, this set sucks. No episode guide and the photo album inside is a brittle piece of crap!!! All 3 of my dvds inside were scuffed up when I pulled them out. I will be sending this back and getting the regular edition, which has a episode guide and a decent case to house the dvds. Whoever designed this thing should be fired! One of the worst deluexe edition dvd sets ever released!!"
NO WAY TO TREAT SUCH BRILLIANT DISCS
M. Woods | somehere in england | 12/06/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"like others, i found the discs brilliant but the album packaging is bad for the discs, so i have put mine in 3 empty cd cases, ditched the styrofoam (not good for the discs) put in its place 1 of those airbags(1 only)that amazon use to pack round your goods, and that has everything nice and tight in the rather nice lunchbox tin. getting back to the discs, the picture is sharp and crisp and the sound is excellant too .i love the shows depiction of smalltown life, and june cleaver is just the perfect mom, brilliant stuff, you wont want to leave this beaver!."
Classic TV at its best!
P. Jaspers | Washington, USA | 06/25/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This show was and is a great classic. My teenage son and I watch these episodes together and thoroughly enjoy them. What a wonderful time this must have been to grow up in. Wish things could be this simple now. However, this is a must have set. I only wish it would have came with an episode guide and maybe a more secure place to store the DVDs."