Too often, legendary TV stars are overlooked when their classic shows are being prepared for DVD release. Sometimes it's a case of money; other times it's simple neglect.
At the third annual TV-DVD Conference in October, Jack Klugman made a big stink out of being excluded from the DVD release of Quincy, M.E., particularly because his mug is prominently featured on the cover. And several other stars have noted that they weren't even aware their shows were available on DVD until they saw a copy in stores.
Archival label Shout! Factory is bucking this trend with its March 20 DVD release of the complete first season of McHale's Navy. This week, surviving cast members including leads Ernest Borgnine (Lt. Cmdr. Quinton McHale) and Tim Conway (Ensign Charles Parker) are gathering for a reunion, footage of which will be included as an exclusive DVD featurette.
It's the first time the cast of the 1962-66 comedy, about a misfit PT boat crew during World War II, has come together since the show went off the air.
"I think it's a great idea for all DVDs to do that," Conway said. "You get a look at what went on and how the guys really got along. I run into Ernie every now and then--he gives you a hug and breaks a couple of ribs--and we always reflect on some crazy thing that happened at that time. But it's great to sit around and talk about those days with all the other guys."
Other cast members taking part in the reunion are Carl Ballantine, Edson Stroll, and Bob Hastings.
Said Gord Lacey, who runs the popular fan site TV Shows ON DVD: "Very few classic TV shows are released with cast interviews, so it's nice to see Shout! Factory go the extra mile. DVD is a wonderful way to preserve these old shows, but it's also a great way to preserve the stars' thoughts and experiences working on the series. I'm surprised more studios aren't shooting bonus material while the stars are still around."
In addition to the regular five-disc set, Shout! Factory is creating a specially packaged edition of McHale's Navy exclusively for US naval bases worldwide.