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The Case of the Sure Thing - 'Racket Squad' (1950)           Life of Riley - Pilot (1948)

 

Cool and Lam (1958)           Count the Man Down - pilot 'Nero Wolfe' (1959)

 

This is a special series of lost classic programs from the Golden Age of TV. The series has been restored by SabuCat Productions from the best archival film elements available in high definition, some of the programs have not been seen since they were originally broadcast. Volume Two features 4 half-hour lost pilots.

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Volume Two – Rare ‘Pilots’ with four episodes on Blu-ray. “The Case of the Sure Thing” stars Reed Hadley, Louise Currie and Milburn Stone and introduced the series “Racket Squad,” which lasted for three seasons and was nominated for two Primetime Emmys. The program reportedly may have inspired parts of the Hollywood hit The Sting. First broadcast on CBS June 7, 1951, the pilot contains original network commercials as originally broadcast. Directed by Jacques Tourneur, “Cool and Lam” stars Billy Pearson, Benay Venuta, Alison Hayes and Sheila Bromley in a light-hearted, detective yarn featuring characters first created by Erle Stanley Gardner. Bertha Cool runs a detective agency and Donald Lam is her junior partner, hence “Cool and Lam.” “The Life of Riley” features Lon Chaney Jr., Rosemary DeCamp and John Brown. It stars Chaney as Chester Riley and was produced in 1948, but by the time the first season went into full production in 1949, Chaney had been replaced by Jackie Gleason. “Nero Wolfe” stars Kurt Kasznar, William Shatner and Alexander Scourby in another one-off production based on characters created by Rex Stout. Also included on the disc is a bonus CBS blooper reel hosted by James Arness.

Titles

Reviews                                                                        Reviews                                                            DVD Reviews

 

Review: VCI - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Box Cover

 

    

Distribution

VCI
Region
FREE Blu-ray

Runtime

0:30:20.318 x 4

Video

Disc Size: 23,339,948,642 bytes

Example Episode Size: 5,672,491,008 bytes

Average Bitrate: 21.99 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video

Bitrate:

 

VCI Blu-ray

 

Audio

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

Subtitles English (SDH), None
Features Release Information:
Studio: VCI

 

Disc Size: 23,339,948,642 bytes

Example Episode Size: 5,672,491,008 bytes

Average Bitrate: 21.99 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
• James Arness hosted western gag Reel (12:16)


Blu-ray  Release Date:
September 11th, 2018
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters: 6 X 4

 

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

VCI are distributing Television's Lost Classics Volume Two on Blu-ray - restored via SabuCat Productions. We have reviewed Volume One HERE.

There are 4 X 1/2 hour-long episodes - and while some appear to be live - The Life of Riley starts with this forward: "Presenting an experiment in transcribing a television show on 35 mm film in an effort to arrive at a method to eliminate the risks of acting errors and production failures that have been and will continue to be a serious problem in 'live" presentations. The producer wishes to thank Eilmtone, Inc., for its resourcefulness in the physical production, which was achieved in tremendous haste, and which augurs even more finished quality in future production, when the proper amount of time can be devoted to the task of raising the standards of television. - Irving Brecher ". These are far from the height of the format but look superior to, the often warped, kinescope (as seen in Volume One) but belie the source limitations. The live advertisements are humorous - extolling the value of Philip Morris cigarettes or Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. The visuals have imperfections including scratches and speckles but are certainly very watchable. This is a single-layered Blu-ray disc with a supportive bitrate.

The episodes are presented in a 2.0 mono via a 16-bit linear PCM audio transfer in the original English-language. Obviously, the production limitations are notable with the sound as well as the video, but the dialogue was generally audible and the disc is supported with optional English (SDH) subtitles on this Region FREE
Blu-ray.

VCI include 12-minutes of blooper Gag Reel of western shows like 'Have Gun Will Travel' and is hosted by James Arness.

Despite the marginal quality it was great to just see these - with notably having the Cool and Lam episode directed by Jacques Tourneur and introduced by Erle Stanley Gardner of Perry Mason fame. Also to see a young William Shatner pre-Star Trek fame. Fans of vintage entertainment will probably get some enjoyment out of this Blu-ray series. I did. 

 - Gary Tooze

Menus

 


 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle Sample

 


The Case of the Sure Thing - 'Racket Squad' (1950)

 

 

 

 

 'Live' Advertisements - beginning, during and ending the feature


Life of Riley - Pilot (1948)

 

 

 

 


 

Cool and Lam (1958)

 

 

 

 

 

'Live' Advertisements / Intros - beginning, during and ending the feature

 


Count the Man Down - pilot 'Nero Wolfe' (1959)

 

 

 

 

 

Box Cover

 

    

Distribution

VCI
Region
FREE Blu-ray


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