Annie Oakley TV Collection (VCI)
C Sound: C+ Extras: C- Episodes: B-
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).
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.
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
Annie Trusts a Convict
Annie and the Leprechauns
Shadow at Sonoma
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