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Category:    Home > Reviews > Western > TV > Annie Oakley TV Set (VCI)

Annie Oakley TV Collection (VCI)


Picture: C     Sound: C+     Extras: C-     Episodes: B-



The TV Westerns of the 1950s seem like a blur to most people, except fans, but even non-fans can appreciate what a standout the Annie Oakley series was.  Running 1954 – 58, Gail Davis was a bullseye choice for the title character.  Before Diana Rigg was Mrs. Peel on The Avengers, Lynda Carter was Wonder Woman, Lindsey Wagner was The Bionic Woman, Joanna Cameron was Isis, and Anne Francis was Honey West, Davis was one of the very first (if not THE first) female TV hero or heroine if you prefer).


Though there is nothing gender-subversive about the show, except having a woman hero, Davis retains much femininity despite some marginal “tomboy” qualities.  Davis also has much enthusiasm as Oakley, becoming the character outright.  She is as memorable as any portrayal this critic has seen.  The box says this was a Saturday Morning series and it holds up especially well if this was only targeted at children.  Gene Autry of all people was appropriately, a producer.


The two DVD set includes the following shows:


Annie Finds Strange Treasure

The Hardcore Trail

Annie Calls Her Shots

The Dude Stagecoach

Annie and the Lily Maid


Sharpshooting Annie

Justice Guns

Ambush Canyon

Annie Trusts a Convict

Annie and the Leprechauns

Shadow at Sonoma


These shows are various samplings of the four seasons and are in exceptional shape.  The black and white, full frame images are clear, but grain from the older film stocks are visible here and there, though not excessive.  Video Black and Gray Scale are decent as well.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is louder and clearer than expected, which means that the sound off of the film prints stayed in good shape.  There was obviously some restoration work done for these to play back as well as they do.  The only extras are trailers for other VCI Western product and a biography of Davis.


This is a nice series that is only forgotten because it was a Western show.  Otherwise, there is no excuse for people not to enjoy such a well-done show.  In a few years, it might be finally recognized as a minor TV classic.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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