Veteran actor Alan Young celebrated his 95th birthday last Wednesday, November 19th. For those that might not know, Young is best known for playing architect Wilbur Post in the beloved 1960s sitcom Mr. Ed. And on Tuesday, December 9th, fans of the classic series will receive a special belated gift celebrating Young’s birthday in the form of Mr. Ed: The Complete Series. Shout! Factory’s upcoming box set marks the culmination of what started roughly five years ago with the release of Mr. Ed: Season 1. It also marks the first time that the complete series has ever been released in one collection in any format. And that is just the beginning of what makes this box set well worth the price and the space on any classic TV fan’s DVD rack. Whether or not audiences are familiar with Mr. Ed, audiences will agree that more than anything else the writing in this series is a prime example of what once made television so great. It is also an example of what once made sitcoms in general great. The bonus features that were added to the box are just as welcome. And of course, one would be remiss to ignore the quality of the footage itself. Each aspect plays its own important role to the whole presentation. Each aspect combined with the other makes Mr. Ed: The Complete Series one of this year’s best new box set for grown-ups and the family in whole if not the best new box set overall.
Nearly five decades have passed since Mr. Ed aired its last episode; forty-eight years to be exact. That episode, “Ed Goes to College,” aired on February 6th, 1966. Since that time, the series hass run in synidcation on a variety of networks. One of its best runs was on Nickelodeon in the late 80s and early 90s. That was long before TV Land had become its own network. It currently runs on Antenna TV as part of the network’s weekend programming lineup. Throughout all of the syndicated runs on various networks and its current run on Antenna TV, Mr. Ed has never gotten a proper full release whether on VHS or DVD. Now thanks to Shout! Factory the prayers of Mr. Ed fans everywhere have been answered. Shout! Factory’s upcoming complete series release of Mr. Ed marks the first time that this classic CBS hit has ever gotten a full, proper release in any format. That its upcoming complete series set will be the first ever for the series is more than enough reason for any fan of the show to add this box set to their collection. Far too often, movies and TV shows are released, re-issued and sometimes re-issued again with litle to nothing different from said releases and re-issues from one to the next. It makes them worth purchasing only for those that don’t already own said titles from one release to the next. This release is worth picking up for every fan since until now, only the first five seasons have been released. And even they have not been easy to find. This box set will likely be just as difficult to find after a certain amount of time. That makes thisfirst-ever release all the more worth purchasing upon its release. It’s not all that audiences will appreciate about this box set, either.
The very fact that Shout! Factory will release Mr. Ed in its complete six-season run next month is in itself more than enough reason for fans of this classic to pick up the box set. That’s because its release will mark the first time ever that the series will have been released in its entirety in one complete collection. Examining this upcoming release a little closer, another reason that audiences will appreciate this box set is the series’ writing. In comparison to the sitcoms that dominate the television spectrum today, the writing behind Mr. Ed is actually family friendly for the most part. The jokes and stories were obviously aimed more at grown-ups. But it was still tame enough that even children could enjoy the show if only for Wilbur and Ed’s antics. While younger audiences will enjoy their antics and the show’s physical comedy, grown-ups will enjoy the classic story lines. From Ed helping Wilbur get a construction contract to making another man think his wife is having an affair with Wilbur to winning himself a television on a radio game show and much more, Ed is either helping Wilbur, getting him in trouble, or getting him out of the messes that he himself makes. The formula is one that sadly, writers have long since abandoned. It’s just classic feel good buddy comedy writing that the world needs more than ever today. And audiences will agree in watching any of the episodes from this classic series just how welcome a return that formula is in comparison to the sophomoric, over sexed series that call themselves comedies today. Whether it be the series’ first season, its sixth, or those in between, every season more than proves that argument.
The writing behind Mr. Ed is the polar opposite of that behind every one of today’s sitcoms. While it is aimed more at grown-ups, the comedy is tame enough for grown-ups and younger audiences alike. The fact that audiences will be able to enjoy this largely family friendly brand of comedy in its entirety for the first time makes this set even more worth the purchase. The companion interviews and commentary included with the set are just as important as those aspects to the overall presentation that is Mr. Ed: The Complete Series. Right off the top, audiences are treated to the pilot episode to Mr. Ed complete with bonus commentary from Alan Young and co-star Connie Hines. Audiences get some interesting insight in the bonus commentary including the real name of the horse that played Mr. Ed. That name won’t be given away for the sake of those that don’t yet know the horse’sname. There are also two bonus radio interviews and an extended interview with Alan Young and Connie Hines that explains the rise and fall of the show over the course of its six seasons. Audiences will be interested to learn that Studabaker originally wanted to sponsor the series but then gave in to pressure before an employee of CBS brokered a deal that would bring Mr. Ed to CBS for the course of its six-season run. That and much more is offered throughout each of the interviews and the bonus commentary. And together with the aforementioned factors, it makes this box set even more deserving of the top spot on any critic’s list of the year’s best new box sets for grown-ups and families alike.
The bonus material included in as part of Mr. Ed: The Complete Series, the series’ writing, and the fact that the series has never been released in its entirety until now collectively make this box set far more than deserving of the top sopt on any critic’s list of the year’s best new box sets for grown-ups and families alike. For all of those positives, the box set would be nothing without quality footage. And quality footage is exactly what audiences get from every last episode fromSeason 1 to season 6. Since Shout! Factory had already released the series’ first five seasons prior to this box set, all that had to be done was to take those transfers and put them in new boxes. The next step was to transfer the original masters for Season 6 onto DVD and the process was done. The end result is six seasons that look just as good today as they did so long ago both in their original broadcasts and their syndicated re-airings. It pushes this box set over the top and makes it without a shadow of a doubt, the best new box set for grown-ups and families alike and a viable candidate for the best new box set of the year overall.
Mr. Ed: The Complete Series will be available Tuesday, December 9th on DVD in stores and online. It can be pre-ordered online now direct from Shout! Factory’s online store at https://shoutfactory.com/tv/comedy/mister-ed-the-complete-series. And anyone that pre-orders it online now will get free U.S. standard shipping. More information on Mr. Ed: The Complete Series and other releases from Shout! Factory is available online at:
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