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Angel - NOT the Buffy Spin-Off: DVDs for the 1960 Sitcom from I Love Lucy Creator Jess Oppenheimer


Volume 1 available now, and Volume 2 available in November

Posted by David Lambert
10/07/2010
 
If you think this story is about the 1999 drama that was a spin-off of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, we're sorry to say that you're incorrect. However, all five seasons of that series in Angel - Collector's Set just so happens to be Amazon's "Gold Box Deal of the Day," at a really great price.

Today's write up is about the 1960 sitcom Angel, which ran on CBS in black-and-white for 33 episodes. Longtime visitors to our site have probably seen notices we've posted such as this one, about a call-in talk show program on Shokus Internet Radio called Stu's Show, where each week host Stuart Shostak will interview people from the golden age of television (taking your phoned-in questions during the live broadcast). In the example link just above, Stu interviewed Gregg Oppenheimer, the son of I Love Lucy co-creator Jess Oppenheimer. Angel was the next regular ongoing series Jess created following his time on I Love Lucy, and as you'll see from the press release below there is a lot in common between the two programs!

Gregg Oppenheimer (son of Jess) and Stu Shostak were mentioned above, though, for a reason. Jess passed away in 1988, and Gregg inherited his father's estate, and became the caretaker of his television legacy. While recently selling his parents' house, he found reels of 16mm films in storage in the basement, containing all 33 episodes of Angel. He shared these with his friend Stu, who enjoyed these immensely. As part of his work on Shokus Internet Radio, Stu also runs "Shokus Video," which sells DVD and VHS releases of TV episodes which are now in the public domain (the sort of thing we don't normally report on here, since there's so much PD material out there). Stu discussed with Gregg the possibility of licensing Angel to release through Shokus Video, as the outfit's first non-PD title.

Confirming that he did own the show as part of his father's estate, Gregg did indeed contract a license with Stu, allowing Shokus Video to sell Angel - Volume 1 as a DVD-R release with 4 selected episodes on it, beginning this past summer: "The Happy Marriage," "Angel's Temper," "The French Lesson" and "Unpopular Mechanics." These were selected not only for their great entertainment and comedy, but also for the terrific guest stars: James Garner (Maverick; The Rockford Files) as himself, Gale Gordon (The Lucy Show; Here's Lucy), Shirley Mitchell (Bachelor Father; The Red Skelton Hour) and legendary voice actor Mel Blanc (Looney Tunes; The Flintstones). You'll also hear Blanc's voice as a bug in a Raid ad, as all of the sponsor commercials are intact within these episodes!

You can purchase Angel - Volume 1 on DVD-R for $14.95 right now exclusively at the Shokus Video online store (note: scroll to the bottom of the page at that link, and click the button marked "Enter Store To Order Now" in order to make your purchase). Stu and Gregg are currently exploring options to ALSO make this title available through Amazon, via the e-tailer's "marketplace" third-party seller program (this is mentioned in the press release below). Other Shokus Video products are likely to be offered there as well. However, at this time the Shokus online store is the only place to get this title.

Sales of Volume 1 have been so great during the summer, that Stu and Gregg have decided to move forward with an Angel - Volume 2 release with 4 more episodes: "Phone Fun," "The House Guests," "The Dentist" and "The Trailer." In these installments you'll spot Dave Ketchum (Get Smart; I'm Dickens, He's Fenster), Maudie Prickett (Hazel; The Jack Benny Program), Frank Wilcox (The Beverly Hillbillies; The Untouchables), and Ross Elliott (The Virginian; Sea Hunt). The Shokus DVD-R release of Angel - Volume 2 will be ready to sell and ship beginning November 9th.

Stu and Gregg are already looking into a possible Volume 3 release, early in 2011, perhaps this time with extras. The first two volumes are bare-bones releases, with just the episodes. Also note that those episodes are supplied as-is, without any restoration or remastering. Since I personally was unfamiliar with the show, Stu was kind enough to send me both volumes, and I can tell you that these are hilarious, wonderfully entertaining, and certainly worthwhile despite the lack of a clean-up (the video has numerous artifacts, for example, but it's still very watchable, and listenable, too!). I would recommend this for anybody interested in comedy shows of that era, and recommend it highly for anybody who is a fan of I Love Lucy and would like to see how Jess "turned that concept around" for the next series he created. A terrific piece of TV history!

Immediately below is the cover art for Angel - Volume 1 (the cover itself is black-and-white, just like the episodes are) and Angel - Volume 2 (which has a color cover, but the episodes on the disc are still in the original black-and-white). Underneath that is the official Shokus Video press release for these titles, explaining more about the show and its stars (including Marshall Thompson of Daktari! and I Love Lucy regular Doris Singleton), and also formally announcing the upcoming Nov. 9th release of Volume 2.

Angel (1960) - Volume 1 and Volume 2

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


SHOKUS VIDEO ACQUIRES RIGHTS TO VINTAGE SITCOM

ANGEL

CREATED BY I LOVE LUCY PRODUCER JESS OPPENHEIMER



For over thirty years, Shokus Video has specialized in offering public domain television programming to the home video marketplace. Now, in an exclusive deal with Burlingame Productions and the Estate of Jess Oppenheimer, Shokus has acquired the rights to Jess' second situation comedy, "Angel", which aired on CBS-TV during the 1960/61 season and starred a young, pretty French actress named Annie Fargé and actor Marshall Thompson, known for his role as Dr. Marsh Tracy on "Daktari!".

"Angel" is basically "I Love Lucy" in reverse: an American architect marries a French ingenue and moves her to the United States, where she has trouble adopting to the American culture. Co-starring in the series are veteran character actress Doris Singleton (Caroline Appleby on "I Love Lucy") and Don Keefer (an "All My Children" regular) as Angel and John's neighbors and best friends. The program is very "Lucy-like": familiar actors such as Lou Krugman, Parley Baer, Peter Leeds, Shirley Mitchell, and even Gale Gordon appear in many of the episodes. In addition, guest stars such as James Garner and Mel Blanc often appeared. The series itself was filmed before a live audience at Desilu Cahuenga studios, so it has that "classic TV" touch through each of its 33 episodes.

Volume I, featuring four episodes of the series, was released this past summer as a "test" and sales were much better than expected, which prompted Shokus owner Stu Shostak to option more episodes from rights-holder Gregg Oppenheimer (Jess' son). The result: Volume II (with four more episodes) will be released on November 9 at a suggested retail price of $14.95, just in time for the holidays! If sales for the new volume are successful, fans can expect a Volume III during the first part of 2011. Stu and Gregg are also working on unique bonus materials that may include new interviews with surviving cast members, vintage audio, promos, and more for future editions.

For now, Volume I is available only through the Shokus Video web site at this location: http://www.shokus.com/sitclass.html. A button at the bottom of the page will forward to the Shokus online store for ordering. Plans call for Amazon to offer the series through its "marketplace" program by the time Volume II is released, for those who wish to order both volumes via the Amazon method.


Shokus Video is located in Chatsworth, CA, and besides offering classic television on home video since 1979, its archives have been featured on "Entertainment Tonight," "Quantum Leap", A&E's "Biography", PBS' "American Experience", and various telecasts of the Emmy Awards.

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Link to this page:
http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Angel-DVDs-Announced/14511
 
All news for this show:
http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/shownews/Angel/704
 
More info on this show:
Angel


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