Gunn Gets Better
Bobby Underwood | Manly NSW, Australia | 09/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Long before Crockett and Tubbs, before Magnum and Dan Tanna, and before Tony Franciosa as Matt Helm or Mike Conners as Mannix, there was Peter Gunn. He was cool. He was the guy every girl wanted and every guy wanted to be like. He lived in a cool world of jazz and bad guys, and girls who needed his help. He had a cool and sexy girlfriend, a little on the sweet side. Some of his friends, like Lt. Jacoby, were squares. It somehow made Gunn even cooler, that you didn't have to be cool yourself to be his pal.
Craig Stevens was Peter Gunn and Lola Albright was his girl, Edie Hart. Hershel Bernardi was his cop pal Lt. Jocoby. Hope Emerson was "Mother." She ran the jazz joint Gunn frequented. Blake Edwards was the guy who dreamed up Peter Gunn in the first place. By accident, he ran into a guy by the name of Mancini while getting his hair cut, and the music Mancini would write for Gunn would change television forever. It would also begin a long and fruitful friendship that would give moviegoers and music lovers such classics as "Days of Wine and Roses" and "The Pink Panther."
While there is an occasional washed out look to these black and white episodes, the convenience of having so many great episodes on the two discs sort of makes up for the occasional lack of quality. While the first boxed set offered some great episodes, including "Lynn's Blues," which I feel is the best of the series, the second boxed set is actually more colorful.
While Mancini's West Coast jazz score and the noirish tone continued, the locations offered Gunn a chance to roam a bit, as the show got even better. Craig Stevens will always have a special place in TV history as the very cool, Peter Gunn. This show broke new ground in television for its blend of music and action, and set a tone for what cool really was. This is a must have for "Peter Gunn" fans and anyone else who loves classic television. There may indeed not be much that's new here, but that is only because Craig Stevens as Peter Gunn started it all."
Thank goodness for this set!!
K. Scott | IN United States | 04/07/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This the coolest TV series ever and the episodes are great on this DVD package. I know that the tape to DVD transfers could have been done a little better, at least in the soundtrack dept. however, the sound is really not bad, just a little hissy now and then. But who's complaining?? The picture quality is very good and the acting and the action are second to none. This is great stuff. I have an older Peter Gunn VHS box set with 10 episodes which were transferred quite poorly and in the SLP mode. The DVD release trashes that set but I treasure the VHS set anyhow. I don't know why this series was never on TV when I was growing up (b. 1965) but it should have been. I found a cd of the Peter Gunn music by Henry Mancini 11 years ago and REALLY dug the cool jazz on it but never saw and episode untill the VHS set came out a couple of years ago. And it still has not been re-released into syndication for broadcast. I recall about 5 or 6 years ago it was on Direct TV but was soon taken off and I never saw it there either. What gives? Detective shows hardly get any cooler than this and Craig Stevens, and all the regular and guest actors were some of the best of their time. I fail to understand how this series could have gone out of popularity yet, the Lucille Ball show has played straight through since its inception fer cryin out loud! Get this set and you'll be amazed. I can't wait to get the 1st set now!!"
Steven Hellerstedt | 08/06/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Having just watched Set 1, I didn't expect a whole lot of evident changes in PETER GUNN SET 2. Set one contained the first sixteen episodes of the private eyes series from 1958, Set 2 episodes seventeen through thirty-two. Peter Gunn (Craig Stevens) still hangs out and headquarters at Mothers, the smoky jazz club run by the imposing Mother (Hope Emerson.) Gunn's girlfriend Edie (Lola Albright) is still huskily breathing out torch songs and melting butter at ten feet. And Herschel Bernardi as Police Lt. Jacoby is still tucked underneath fedora and trenchcoat, every ready to collaborate with Gunn in solving crimes.
Still, I enjoyed the second set more than the first. The first set seemed to be aiming at some kind of gritty realism, and most of the stories took place on the docks, the pier, or the abandoned warehouse. They missed, and in place of realism they seemed over-populated with dingy locales and Poverty Row-worthy plots and characters. The episodes in the second set seem to breathe a little more. It helps that the locations are comparatively exotic - a Texas cattle ranch, an overstuffed antique shop, and the ever reliable carnival midway are just a few of the places where crimes are committed and solved.
Of course, the music is still great. After the ultra-cool Cary Grant-lookalike Craig Stevens, the hero of these programs in the Henry Mancini scores. Well, that and a little more. `Peter Gunn' has a few repeating characters, the most welcome of which is the 3'9" Billy Barty and the pool shark (he drags the box he stands on around the table as he surveys his next shot) and sometime informant. Another treat are the jazz musicians who appear as themselves now and then - included among that crew in this set is drummer Shelly Manne and flamenco guitarist Laurindo Almeida. There are a few clunkers in the set, of course, but I suppose that's to be expected. It's hard writing a twenty-five minute crime story. You have to create the crime, present a handful of likely suspects with plausible motives, and leave enough time for Pete & Edie to sneak away for some sincere snuggling now and then. In this set of episodes that happens more often than not, and merits a strong recommendation.
Better than we remembered.
David A. Shannon | Altoona, IA United States | 04/22/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Forty years old and still high quality entertainment. The quality
of the images and sound are better than we ever saw or heard on those primitive TV sets of the 60's. The acting is clearly for fun and the dialog is laced with good comedy moments. The talent of Blake Edwards, Henry Mancini, the actors and musicians, is clearly on display. You will watch it again and again. Whenever there is nothing worth watching on the networks or dish we enjoy Peter Gunn all over again."