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The Official Second Season
Starring: Buddy Ebsen, Irene Ryan, Donna Douglas, Max Baer
Running Time: 918 minutes
Retail Price: $49.98
Features: Original Episode Sponsor Openings and Closings, Irene Ryan Screen Test, Clip from "The Stars' Address is CBS" 1963 Fall Preview Show, CBS Network Promo, Paul Henning Interview
Specs: 1.33:1 Full Screen, English Dolby Mono, English Closed Captions, Episode Selection, Chapter Selection (4-5 chapters per episode), Five-Disc Set
Released: October 7th, 2008
This second "official" season of The Beverly Hillbillies is presented in 1.33:1 full screen, and in black and white - just as these episodes aired 45 years ago. The episodes are pretty watchable, but have certainly seen better days. Blemishes and scratches are all over the episode prints, plus the image quality is very grainy and soft. There is excess noise too, plus some artifacting and edge halos as well. These really aren't too great, but that's to be expected given the show's age.
The English Mono tracks are simple, but better than the transfers in that they're not shoddy. I did not hear any audio distortions, such as hissing, cackles and pops. The dialogue comes in clear and is easy to hear, and the laugh track also comes through on the mono tracks. That bouncy theme song is also audible, as are the sound effects. Like the transfers, what you get here is what you'd expect.
English closed captions are included via your TV, too.
Fans of the series should be rather pleased with the fine amount of archival material included here, even if it's all rather short. First up, every episode of the second season gives you the option to see the Original Episode Sponsor Opening and Closing (with the warning that its strictly presented for historial context). These are pretty fun to watch - and you can definitely draw parallels with these to some webisodes and integrated ads that occur in network series today.
The other extras are on the first disc. A real treat is the original Irene Ryan Screen Test. It's only a minute, but it's enjoyable and in rather good shape. A Clip from "The Stars' Address is CBS" 1963 Fall Preview Show is also a fun watch, and runs a bit over 2 minutes. Also included is a CBS Network Promo (with a pretty stuffy announcer), and a near-three minute Paul Henning Interview from 1969 where the writer/creator of the series says it's his favorite creation, and also talks about his start in radio.
Fans of the Clampett family will most certainly want to get this set, as all the second season episodes are here plus some neat - if short - extras well. The episodes look and sound their 45 years, but since a full restoration was probably never in the cards, Hillbillies purists will just have to live. With that said, if you are one, this set should please you overall and is worth looking into.