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Time-Life to 'Get Smart'

21 Sep, 2006 By: Thomas K. Arnold

HBO Video is bucking TV DVD tradition when it releases “Get Smart” on DVD later this year. Instead of rolling out season sets to retailers, HBO is issuing the entire series, all at once, and giving mail-order giant Time-Life a one-year exclusive.

“‘Get Smart' is among the most-requested classic TV series,” said HBO Video president Henry McGee. “Yet because of the retail-space squeeze, we needed a way to make the series stand out. We decided that the best way to create a buzz about the series would be via the broad reach of a direct-marketing campaign.”

McGee said his team “talked with a number of potential partners and selected Time-Life because of their outstanding track record and enthusiasm for the project. They are planning an extensive marketing campaign, so awareness will be extremely high when we release the series at retail next year.”

Get Smart: The Complete Collection goes on sale Nov. 15 exclusively through the Time-Life Web site. The collection ($199.96) includes all 138 episodes from the spy spoof series' 1965-70 network run, spread out over 25 discs. Time-Life and HBO spent nearly one year restoring and digitally remastering each original episode, not the shorter cuts that have lived on in syndication.

“This incredible restoration means that finally ‘Get Smart' can be seen the way it was meant to be seen,” said Leonard Stern, executive producer of the series.

The series will be released to retail stores in the fall of 2007. Acclaimed DVD producer Paul Brownstein was hired to oversee production of the DVD package. He came up with more than 10 hours of bonus materials, including rare bloopers, network promotional spots, commercials and the hour-long 75th birthday roast of star Don Adams at the Playboy Mansion in 1998. Adams died last year.

Gord Lacey, who runs the popular TVShowsOnDVD.com Web site, said “Get Smart” is No. 3 on his Web site's list of most-requested TV shows not yet out on DVD, behind “The Wonder Years” and the live-action “Batman.”

“Fans have been waiting to get their hands on ‘Get Smart' for years, and now they're being rewarded with the complete series loaded with special features,” Lacey said. “I can't imagine anyone complaining about the release Time-Life has put together — it sounds amazing.”

Other bonus materials on the “Get Smart” DVD collection include audio commentaries from Stern, series co-creators Mel Brooks and Buck Henry, actors Barbara Feldon, Bernie Kopell and Bill Dana, and guest stars Don Rickles and James Caan. Also included will be clips from the 2003 Museum of Television & Radio's “Get Smart Reunion” seminar, the last time the series' key alum were together on the same stage.

Season sets of the series will be released at a later date, also initially through the Time-Life Web site and direct-response television commercials.

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