Smart marketing: Time-Life sells entire series

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HBO Video is bucking TV-DVD tradition when it releases Get Smart on DVD 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, yet because of the retail space squeeze, we needed a way to make the series stand out," HBO Video president Henry McGee said.

Get Smart: The Complete Collection goes on sale November 15 exclusively through the Time-Life Web site. The collection includes all 138 episodes from the spy spoof series' 1965-70 network run, spread out over 25 discs. It is priced at $199.96. The series will be released to retail stores in fall 2007.

Time-Life and HBO spent nearly a 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.

DVD producer Paul Brownstein was hired to oversee production of the DVD package, and 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 TV Shows On DVD Web site, said Get Smart is No. 3 on the site's list of most-requested TV shows not yet out, 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 collection include commentaries by Stern, series cocreators 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 alumni were together on the same stage.

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