Despite the manufacturing glitches, a treasure of a show
John McWhorter | New York, New York United States | 07/01/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Sadly, someone really did screw up in the packaging of this one; my first set was a mess with mislabelled disks and two with the same episodes, meaning seven episodes were missing; I got a replacement from Amazon and it was fine -- except for some reason there was an extra fifth disk that was a copy of another one. That's why I am giving the set four stars. So check your disks when you get your set, but then...
Savor one of the very few fifties sitcoms that holds up (and even though I'm an I LOVE LUCY fan, even that show is getting so old that the fascination is increasingly anthropological rather than a true, direct delight in the "wacky" goings on). PEEPERS has the sweet fifties-whimsical tone of GERALD MCBOING BOING or HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON. Wally Cox's portrayal is, in its way, a kind of less tortured proto-Stephen Wright.
And then you get a young Tony Randall (or Anthony Randall, as he is first billed) using his stage smarts to breathe incredible life into the character of Peepers' colleague and friend. In addition, the unearthing of these shows means that anyone who has ever loved Marion Lorne as Aunt Clara on BEWITCHED or enjoyed her memorable turn as the mother in STRANGERS ON A TRAIN now gets two-dozen-plus new performances by her; her dithery shtick steals many an episode. (Peepers: "Have a good weekend!" Lorne: "Oh, yes, we will, we will ... we're having artichokes!")
And even in this first season, we get to watch the budding romance between Peepers and the school nurse. Patricia Benoit's Miss Remington, with her early-Mia-Farrow short haircut and a fetching bit of an overbite, comes off as a quietly sexy small-town girl, and her eternal solicitous gaze at Peepers seems utterly plausible and warms the heart.
The show takes its time, with long, casual exchanges between the characters that no wacky Desilu show ever had time for. As with most shows, it took a little while to gel. The first disk and a bit dwell in a little too much dopey slapstick, and only after them are Randall and Benoit introduced (despite the frequently adduced factoid, Walter Matthau plays the coach only in the pilot, which is included in the set). But by the end of the second disk, you're hooked and happy to return "next week" as Cox reminds us to at the end of every show. I can't wait for the second season to come out (it'd better!).
As to quality, I am mystified at some of the reviewers' complaints. As kinescopes (film made of a TV monitor, so that live shows could be rebroadcast out west), these are quite nice compared to what some of them look like after all this time. MR. PEEPERS never looked like FATHER KNOWS BEST because it was either seen done live on flickering little sets or as kinescopes. Sound in the first half-dozen or so episodes is a little dicey, especially since Cox was soft-spoken, but turning up the volume does the trick.
And as for performance glitches, it is admirable how few there are. If you're really waiting for them, you sense that here and there someone has dropped a line and the others are filling in. But it's not as if people are tripping over furniture, or going blank as to what to say next and breaking each other up a la blooper reels. If anything, the live aspect is exciting -- when a scene is over, often the camera will focus on some trivial set piece or Marion Lorne will be given 30 seconds of "business," just so that everyone can run over to the next set and launch into a scene taking place the next day (often in different clothes!). It's like watching little plays.
Most fifties TV is tough viewing today -- just try sitting through more than one episode of PRIVATE SECRETARY, for example; America and its sense of humor have changed vastly since the Eisenhower era. MR. PEEPERS was one for the ages, and given that I used to think it was all but lost, hooray for the UCLA archive (and the show's creators, for donating the kinescopes). Very soon, let's have Season Two -- with disks properly pressed and packaged."
HELP SAVE MISTER PEEPERS!!!!!
Rev Dr John Benjamin Tatum DD PhD | Mansfield, Ohio, United States of America & Atlant | 01/11/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have both Mr. Peepers volume one
and two on DVD. I loved this endearing
show, so I emailed S'more Entertainment
( email@example.com ), and asked if
the whole set would be coming out on
DVD. This is the disheartening response
I got from them:
Thank you so much for your kind note. Sadly, the DVD market has shrunk to the point where we can no longer sell enough product to justify the cost of transferring from film to video, digitizing and then restoring the elements, let alone the cost of authoring the DVD and creating packaging. Unless we can find a way to change the distribution model completely, I fear the final 2 seasons of "Mister Peepers" may not see the light of day.
We're exploring ways to reach consumers directly, not relying on stores and on line sites as the series is much loved.
PLEASE HELP MAKE MR. PEEPERS FINAL TWO
SEASONS A REALITY. WRITE TO
firstname.lastname@example.org and BEG them to
put out Mr. Peepers Vol 3 and 4. If
we can get enough responses, they
just might see that there IS a market
out there for these shows. It can't
hurt to ask.
Love this set!!
MissPammy | 09/11/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I barely remembered the Mr. Peepers show before I bought this set, and now I'm enchanted by it. Wally Cox's mild-mannered character is hilarious, Marion Lorne is sensational as the principal's wife, and Tony Randall plays the girl-magnet funny guy to the hilt. As a show from the fifties, it's a slower-paced show but with excellent comedic timing, and it may not appeal to people unaccustomed to subtle humor. For those who can appreciate that, though, it's a gem. The sound quality at the beginning of the very first program is poor, and there are other glitches here and there, undoubtedly due to the fact that the series was salvaged from the old technology of the day, but I wouldn't trade my set for anything. I've watched some of the episodes over and over, and I'm looking forward with bated breath to the 2nd boxed set, which is due out in November 2008. On that one, we'll see Mr. Peepers marry Nancy, an episode that topped the charts for viewing back when it originally aired. An added bonus is seeing the clothes, hairdos, and decor from the fifties, which all bring back great memories. In sum, this set is full of delicious little comedic moments, all set in the nostalgic fifties. This is really a five-star set, but due to the minor quality issues I gave it four stars. I love it! I think you will too."