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SALVAGE 1

   

For Hicksflicks.com, Jan. 10, 2014

Andy Griffith initially rose to prominence in his first TV appearance, a one-hour comedy titled "No Time for Sergeants" (1955), and then boosted his stock with an extended Broadway adaptation of the same show.

Griffith then made his first film, the excellent melodrama "A Face in the Crowd" (1957), playing a self-centered pseudo-folksy country singer who hits it big on TV, followed by the big-screen version of "No Time For Sergeants" (1958), which made him a star.

After a couple more movies, he landed his iconic, still-popular TV sitcom "The Andy Griffith Show" (1960-68), which ran eight seasons and 249 episodes.

After that, Griffith returned to theatrical films only sporadically, spending most of his time developing new series, none of which took off until "Matlock" nearly 20 years later.

But during this period, one of his failed series was the all-too-brief sci-fi adventure "Salvage 1" in 1979, which has developed a cult following that has become all the stronger for the show's absence all these years.

"Salvage 1" cast Griffith as a sort of space-age junkman, leaving the planet to collect interstellar garbage for resale and also using his handyman skills to develop junk-centric technology for other tasks.

First came the TV pilot, "Salvage," then a 20-episode series, although only 14 aired. And the show has never been on home video.

Now, the manufacture-on-demand DVD label Sony Choice Collection has released two discs, each with a double-episode story, "Golden Orbit" and "Hard Water," respectively, the first about retrieving a satellite and the second about diverting a runaway iceberg.

"Salvage 1" isn't as sophisticated as today's science-fiction films or TV series, of course; it's a bit slow, with less-than-stellar (pun intended) special effects, and a few too many digressions for silly comic relief.

And one might complain that "Salvage 1" could be better served by the pilot being released first, or perhaps having it accompany one of these double-episode discs — or that since there are only 21 episodes altogether it wouldn't be that hard to put the entire series on DVD.

But fans of Griffith or anyone who remembers the show fondly will be happy just to have these morsels within reach.