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Category:    Home > Reviews > TV Situation Comedy > Drama > The New Loretta Young Show – Christie’s Children (VCI)

The New Loretta Young Show – Christie’s Children (VCI)

 

Picture: C     Sound: C     Extras: C+     Episodes: C+

 

 

Any have heard the name Loretta Young, but it is surprising how few know her work.  Starting as a successful child actor in Silent Hollywood films of the 1920s, she not only made a seamless transition to sound, but became an even bigger star right into the 1950s.  Noticeable turns in the likes of the Bulldog Drummond series led to more prominent roles in The Story Of Alexander Graham Bell, The Bishop’s Wife, the Film Noir Cause For Alarm! and Orson Welles’ The Stranger.  Then came TV, where she had two hit series back to back.

 

Her first self-named series (aka Letter To Loretta) was an anthology show that ran for eight seasons and was still a top-rated program when she had a falling out with producers.  They owned the part of the show, but not her, so she left and launched The New Loretta Young Show aka Christine’s Children, producing 26 new shows.  No, it was not the hit of the first show and fans may have missed that arrangement too much, but it was as competent, professional, well-written and had its share of interesting moments.  Now comes the show in its complete run on 4 DVDs from VCI.

 

As Christine Massey, she settles into a TV situation comedy with some melodrama and some very 1950s situations, though it is from 1962.  She is a widow who writes for a magazine in New York and has plenty to juggle.  Of immediate note is real life twins Dock and Dack Rambo playing her twin sons.  They also went on to major TV careers.  James Philbrook is her boss, who slowly become a father figure to the seven.

 

The show is so in the Ozzie/Harriet mode that it could only come from the early 1960s, but its heart is in the right place and it is much better than most sitcoms since the 1980s, many of which are accused of turning back the clock ideologically.  Whenever they have, they lost the charm of a show like this.

 

Sure, its simple and some moments are corny, but Young was still a star and actress who knew how to work what made her so appealing in front of a camera.  If you want to see one of the more interesting and well-built TV comedy/dramas of the time, you will want to see this set.  Guest stars throughout these shows include future writer Kitty Kelly when she was a child actress, Joyce Van Patten, Stafford Repp (Chief O’Hara from the 1960s Batman series), Cloris Leachman, Leif Ericson and Victor Buono.

 

The 1.33 X 1 comes from prints issued in the 1980s with color videotape tags and if the shows lack detail and depth, it is only because they are those older transfers.  However, you can tell the show was shot on film and made to look good.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is also second-generation, but audible enough to enjoy as well.  Wonder how these would look in HD?

 

Extras include trailers for other VCI product, stills, text bios and several interviews.  One is with Miss Young’s three children, one with a fashion expert on Young – Sandy Schrier and one with supporting cast members Celia Kaye, Sandra Descher and Beverly Washburn.  More 1950s and 1960s TV shows deserve this treatment and we’ll hopefully see that happen too.

 

 

-   Nicholas Sheffo


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