Takaisin

CLASSIC TV MAY BE COST-PROHIBITIVE

  

For Hicksflicks.com, Feb. March 7, 2014

For those who collect their favorite vintage TV series on DVD, the purchasing process can be pricey (alliteration unintended).

Sometimes ridiculously so.

And the cost is so disparate for shows with a similar number discs and episodes that one has to wonder why some are so outrageously expensive and others are relatively cheap.

For example, here are a few TV series, all black-and-white half-hour shows from the 1950s and '60s; all are first-season box sets of shows released over the past decade, the releasing company, the number of discs and episodes in each set, and the retail price:

"Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (Universal, three double-sided discs, 39 episodes, $34.98)

"The Dick Van Dyke Show" (Image, five discs, 30 episodes, $39.99)

"Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theatre" (VCI, four discs, 29 episodes, $29.99)

"Gunsmoke" (CBS/Paramount, six discs, 39 episodes, $42.99)

"McHale's Navy" (Shout!, five discs, 36 episodes $44.99)

"The Twilight Zone" (Image, six discs, 36 episodes, $69.99)

All of these prices were discounted 40-50 percent at Amazon.com on the first day of release, which is the site's usual practice. But even $20-$40 per season set can add up quickly. And consider that some subsequent seasons of "Gunsmoke" and many other series have been split into two parts, so it isn't just $20-$40 per season, it's $20-$40 per half-season!

This is especially frustrating when you consider that the primary audience for these 50- to 60-year-old shows has likely reached retirement age, people on fixed incomes who are careful with their entertainment dollars.

And, sadly, it looks like it's just getting worse.

Not only are many of your favorite shows from the era not going to ever turn up on DVD, those that do will cost you a lot more than the above titles.

Last December, the first season of the 1950s Western series "The Rifleman" was finally released on DVD — for $69.95. And Amazon is not discounting the price. That's nearly $70 for 40 half-hour episodes on eight discs.

Similarly, Universal, which released the first five seasons of Alfred Hitchcock's anthology series from 2005 through 2012 at fairly reasonable prices, last November released "Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Season Six" as an Amazon exclusive in an inferior five-disc DVD-R manufacture-on-demand set of 38 episodes for $44.98, discounting the price to $40.48.

We have seen the future of classic TV on DVD — and it's going to cost an arm and a leg.