Starring David Janssen
USA 1963-1967

Certain classic literature endures because the universality of a storyline that gets imbedded into mainstream culture with repetitious variations of its strong themes directly borrowed and often altered to suit modern lifestyles - one example of this might be Charles Dicken's Great Expectations. Another would be Victor Hugo's Les Miserables. The much awaited (to DVD) TV series The Fugitive starring David Janssen has definite leanings to the latter with Dr. Richard Kimble as the Jean Valjean character doggedly, obsessively and unjustly pursued by Lt. Philip Gerard (Hugo's Javert). I suspect it is a small part of my passion for this classic television - the only TV show I actually copied every single episode to VHS (a medium from the past kids). I suspect the other trait that I am so keen on is The Fugitive's link to Film Noir. It is not a strong association but it does share some of the 'black cinema' style and old performers - notably 'Garden House' directed by Ida Lupino and 'The Homecoming' starring Gloria Grahame. Kimble floats from menial job to job (stable boy, cleaning man, farm hand, etc.) meeting and helping often desperate characters - played by enduring stars (from the second half of season one) like Bruce Dern, Carroll O'Conner John Fiedler, Joseph Campanella, Claude Akins, Lee Grant and Telly Savalas.

 

In case you are unfamiliar with the story - Dr. Richard Kimble is accused, tried and convicted of the murderer of his wife. The night before his execution, he escapes, because, as deep-voiced narrator William Conrad states '...fate moves its huge hand...' and there is a train derailment. The only chance to prove his innocence is to find the one-armed man he saw fleeing the crime that horrible night. Kimble, relentlessly pursued by Lt. Gerard (Barry Morse), risks exposure several times when he is forced to reveal his medical knowledge to help others out of trouble. The Fugitive works for entertainment on many levels beyond simple suspense and drama and remains my favorite vintage TV series of all time (if I said it about Perry Mason I must have been lying).

Gary W. Tooze

Reviews     DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution Paramount Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 15 X approx 51:00 episodes
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.9 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s   

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Sample Bitrate:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 1.0) 
Subtitles None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Paramount Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Season 1, Episode 16: Garden House
Original Air Date: 14 January 1964
• Season 1, Episode 17: Come Watch Me Die
Original Air Date: 21 January 1964
• Season 1, Episode 18: Where the Action Is
Original Air Date: 28 January 1964
• Season 1, Episode 19: Search in a Windy City
Original Air Date: 6 February 1964
• Season 1, Episode 20: Bloodline
Original Air Date: 11 February 1964
• Season 1, Episode 21: Rat in a Corner
Original Air Date: 18 February 1964
• Season 1, Episode 22: Angels Travel on Lonely Roads: Part 1
Original Air Date: 25 February 1964
• Season 1, Episode 23: Angels Travel on Lonely Roads: Part 2
Original Air Date: 3 March 1964
• Season 1, Episode 24: Flight from the Final Demon
Original Air Date: 10 March 1964
• Season 1, Episode 25: Taps for a Dead War
Original Air Date: 17 March 1964
• Season 1, Episode 26: Somebody to Remember
Original Air Date: 24 March 1964
• Season 1, Episode 27: Never Stop Running
Original Air Date: 31 March 1964
• Season 1, Episode 28: The Homecoming
Original Air Date: 7 April 1964
• Season 1, Episode 29: Storm Center
Original Air Date: 14 April 1964
• Season 1, Episode 30: The End Game
Original Air Date: 21 April 1964 

DVD Release Date: February 26th, 2008

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 5 in each episode

 

Comments:

I rifled through these episodes... and still crave more.

Paramount's DVD package looks strong with one glaring transfer flaw. Most are very clean and contrast is phenomenal. Unlike Season One, Volume 1 (reviewed HERE) this is not progressively transferred (it is interlaced). I don't know if it was a financial decision by Paramount or a simple oversight. Either way, I am a bit disappointed as it is still advertised as 'transferred from the original negative with restored audio'. So, aside from the interlacing (combing) - it looks amazingly detailed. The screen captures below will give you a good idea of how strong it looks on DVD. There are no optional subtitles and the mono audio sounded quite clear and clean to me. 

Once again (like Season One, Volume 1) these are the full episodes, at about 51:20 long each, not the 'cut' syndicated ones. This represents the second half of season one - 15 episodes spread over four dual-layered DVDs. Hopefully Season 2 won't be too long in coming to digital. There are no extras but the price is a steal for approx. 12 hours of the best TV ever broadcast (IMHO). I'm surely biased and had a huge obsession with this series many years ago but the supporting cast is always great, the stories are gripping and unique in that it's a new environment and back-plot with each episode. Tack onto this they look great digitally (aside from the interlaced combing) and are immensely addictive. I strongly recommend!   

Gary W. Tooze

 

 



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Distribution Paramount Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC




 

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