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Heralding ‘The Saint'

23 Mar, 2005 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Before Roger Moore's 12-year reign as Her Majesty's secret service agent James Bond, he warmed up by playing glam mystery man Simon Templar, aka The Saint, on British television from 1962 to 1969.

A&E Home Video March 29 will release The Saint: The Early Episodes ($59.95), a three-disc TV DVD box set that features all 12 black-and-white episodes from the first season.

The set's special features include archival photos showcasing a virtual who's who of 1960s ing?nues in mod styles a la Austin Powers, a biography and filmography of Moore, and the vignette The History of The Saint, based on the best-selling stories by Leslie Charteris.

A&E last year released The Saint Megaset DVD Collection ($199.95) that included every episode of the show filmed in color, starting with the 1964 season.

A box set of the 1963 season is scheduled for release some time next year.

“The Saint” franchise came included with the North American licensing deal A&E did with Carlton Entertainment. The deal featured hits, such as “The Prisoner,” “Blake's Seven,” “Danger Man,” The Avengers,” “Space 1999” and Gerry Anderson's marionette “Thunderbirds” series, from British production company ITC.

“It's all that great classic cult British TV,” said Kate Winn, VP of sales and marketing for A&E Home Video. “‘The Saint' has remained a cornerstone of our cult and classic TV library, and it has a real emotional connection with people who remember having seen it in its original airing.”

Winn said the 78-year-old Moore, who is apparently living a quasi-Simon Templar life in Monaco, cooperated to a degree in the marketing of the boxed sets.

“If I lived in Monaco, I wouldn't leave either [to do commentary],” Winn said.

She said the early episodes boxed set is for the hardcore “Saint” fans, who probably purchased the Megaset and are looking to complete their collection.

“I think the fans will respond really well to it,” Winn said.

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