With so much television available at our finger tips, there is always a demand for the revisiting of the golden age of television where everything was more simple. Mill Creek Entertainment has taken everything they could find in their catalogue and have built two rather large television time capsules and experiences that are suitable for audiences that grew up during what they call the “golden age” of TV. The “Watch Around the Clock: 24 Hours of TV” pair of box sets even includes the original commercials and ads for various products from the era, and there’s even a small fold out guide that allow you to view what TV shows are available through the entirety of the twenty four hour block.
So you can either see what the sets has in store for you and bask in twenty four hours of retro television and ads, or you can pick and choose what you want to see. Back in the age before so many options, there less channels and a broader appeal for families and general audiences, so with this set you’ll get a lot more family fun and game shows.
With the “Golden Age” set, you’ll get “Kids Clubhouse” which features classic kids shows like “Betty Boop,” “Howdy Doody,” “Lassie” and “Superman” only to name a few. The “Daytime Variety” block gets you “What’s my Line?”, “The Price is Right,” and “You Bet Your Life.” For the big “Prime Time Favorites,” there’s a lot of fun entertainment like “Dragnet,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” and “The Beverly Hillbillies,” just to name a few.
Finally, what would a twenty four hour block of classic TV be without the Late Movie? The block “Midnight Movie Marathon” features “The Strange Love of Martha Ivers,” “Cyrano De Bergerac,” and “The Man with the Golden Arm.” If you take context heavily in to consideration, you might be able to appreciate the lot of shows that just haven’t aged well. This includes puppet shows like “Howdy Doody,” but you can watch the whole daytime block and watch what would become templates for modern reality shows and reality based game shows like “Queen for a Day” and “Who Do You Trust?”
To complete the experience are uncut commercials that typically aired during the time slots, including toys that defined gender appeal, and even a beer commercial with a cartoon bear, obviously pandering to kids. Lest we forget the classic cigarette commercials which, in their historical context, are interesting examples of how times have changed.
The second box set “Watch Around the Clock: 24 Hours of TV in Color” is essentially the same theme of the aforementioned box set, but with more sixties and seventies era television, all of which embraced the color format. We’re essentially given the same line up, time period, and five to six hour programming blocks, but with more recent programming. The set features the same open manual format that provides the illusion of your own TV Guide, and it’s another treasure trove of fun and odd programming.
For the “Kids Clubhouse,” which begins at 6am, there is programming like “Clutch Cargo,” “Popeye & Friends,” and “Captain Fathom,” just to name a few. They’re mostly adventure programming, for what it’s worth with occasional breaks like “Casper” and “Gumby.” With the “Daytime Variety” beginning at 12pm, we get single episodes of adventure series’ like “Gulliver’s Travels,” “The Borrowers,” “Rescue from Gilligan’s Island,” and “The Over the Hill Gang.”
With the “Prime Time Favorites” beginning exactly at 6pm, there are so many fun action series, including “The Lone Ranger,” “Rango,” and “Bonanza” with the always great Lucille Ball breaking the monotony with “The Lucy Show” at 9pm. Finally at 12am we get the late night movie block “Midnight Movie Marathon,” with a trio of movies including “The Last Time I Saw Paris,” “The Proud Rebel,” and “The Snows of Kilimanjaro.”
Once upon a time TV stations gave movies after the local news, often late at night, and often well in to dawn. I recall many a night getting up at 2am to watch “Creepshow II” or “The Hitcher.” As with the previous edition, there are a slew of commercials from the eras spotlighted, that feature ads for toys including GI Joe, cleaning products, kitchen utensils, and so much more entertaining junk. Back in the seventies, you either sat through the commercials, or used the time to go to the bathroom or get a snack. There was no pausing, and the show came on when it decided. Ah, good times.
Both sets come with fold out guides attached, and their very own booklets inside the boxes that are supposed to act as your own TV Guide. Consumers also get Digital vouchers, allowing them to redeem the entire set on a digital format. You can watch the entire twenty four block at your leisure on any platform including iPhone, IPad, or laptop. As an added bonus, (not mentioned curiously) in the “In Color” set, there’s a five hour Holiday (twelve episodes) DVD of classic TV shows. Among the shows featured are “Ozzie & Harriet,” “Colgate Comedy Hour” with Abbot and Costello, “Petticoat Junction,” “The Paul Winchell Show,” “The Scarlet Pimpernel,” “The Red Skelton Show,” and “Family Doctor.” It’s tough to beat such a wonderful bargain. Both sets are now available for the respective collector, or nostalgia buff that love this kind of novel DVD release.