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Category:    Home > Reviews > TV Situation Comedy > My Little Margie Collection 1 & 2 Sets (VCI)

My Little Margie Ė VCI Collections #1 & 2

 

Picture: C+†††† Sound: C†††† Extras: V.1 C//V. 2 D†††† Episodes: B-

 

 

One of the most successful answers to I Love Lucy was My Little Margie, which ran a respectable three seasons.Gail Storm became a TV icon as Margie Albright, the sprightly daughter of financial dealer Vern Albright, played by Charles Farrell.In the earliest show on the first set, there is actually no laughtrack on the show.The sitcom was just formulating, and it makes for interesting comparison the camerawork alone on the two aforementioned shows.Margie did not have as set idea of camerawork, though it was fortunately shot on film.

 

The humor, which later is often awkwardly accompanied by obvious canned laughs to fit into the Lucy mode, is at least as charming as it is funny, if not more so.If the show has not always aged as well as I Love Lucy did, then it can also be said to be one of the best time capsules of the first full decade of American TV.The show never turns its characters into caricatures, or degrades anyone, something most of todayís bad sitcoms seem to swim in.

 

The approach of the show was to both respect and entertain the audience, and there is an authentic innocence that also keeps the show interesting against other factors.Storm is archetypal as a female TV lead and Feminist critics may say she was way overboard by default playing ďthe good girlĒ and compounded by her fatherís presence, but the show is not stuck on such a thing.I never laughed out loud at the two dozen shows featured in VCIís double DVD sets, but I did enjoy seeing an early TV success that built the foundation for the entire medium.That is why My Little Margie is worth seeing again after all these years.

 

The full frame images are varying from episode to episode, but they are from a series of film prints that have held up very well for their age.All shot in black and white, the production design was some of the first to really fill-out the screen in what was more believable than the low-budget set-up that were often theater stage-like.They are pleasure enough to sit through.Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is on all the shows, plus the bonus John Wayne episode of The Lucy Show, and they also vary.Some have more background hiss or noise than others, while there are moments of some distortion or even warping, but they do not last very long.

 

The only extras are biographies of the principals and on DVD 1 on the first set, that Lucy Show with John Wayne.Unlike a generation ago, where all of Lucille Ballís series were constantly on TV, only I Love Lucy is talked about much.In real life, Lucy had a still-unmatched 23 season run on CBS, where her shows were constant hits and money machines for both the network and her Desilu Company.After I Love Lucy, there was the monochrome Lucy Show with Vivian Vance.When Viv left, the great Gale Gordon (originally considered for Fred Mertz, but on another show at the time) arrived as Mr. Mooney, a bank executive who Lucy Carmichael was now working for.

 

The irony of that set up is that is echoes My Little Margie.Lucy did only yearly contracts with CBS to get the maximum out of them, and her clout was so huge, she could get some of the biggest names to do her series (to the very end with Hereís Lucy) that no one else on TV could.The Classical Hollywood Studio System was in decline, but its stars and spirit were alive and well on her shows.This John Wayne show is one of the funniest, now much funnier as film production these days has become such a serious and expensive matter.Sadly, though the print is fine otherwise, the Deluxe color Desilu pushed to the limits on all of their shows (Star Trek, Mission: Impossible, Mannix, The Immortal) has begun to fade on this print.

 

To conclude, here are the Margie episodes on each DVD:

 

Set One, DVD 1

Margieís Phantom Lover

The Missing Link

Hillbilly Margie

Vernís Mother-In-Law

The Trapped Freddy

Buried Treasure

 

Set One, DVD 2

To Health with Yoga

A Horse for Vern

Vernís New Girlfriend

Delinquent Margie

Whatís Cooking

Meet Mr. Murphy

Lucy Show with John Wayne

 

Set Two, DVD 1

Margie & The Shaw

Papa & Mambo

The San Francisco Story

Margieís Millionth Number

Corpus Delecti

Margie Baby-Sits

 

Set Two, DVD 2

The Hawaii Story

Vernís Winter Guest

Miss Whoozis

Star of Khyber

The Unexpected Guest

Honeyboy Honeywell

 

It should also be noted that this show is sometimes not so politically correct beyond issues about Stormís role.Either way, the show is a classic and deserves to be on DVD as much as the other increasing number of TV shows that are coming out at a record rate.My Little Margie had a reason to be a hit and fifty years later, it is still easy to see why.

 

 

-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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