Monday, February 19, 2024

GOMER PYLE, U.S.M.C. - THE COMPLETE SERIES (1964-1969) (CBS/Paramount Blu-ray Review)


Label: CBS/Paramount 
Region Code: A
Rating: Unrated 
Duration: 3786 Minutes 
Audio: English DTS-HD MA Mono with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: 1080p HD Fullscreen (1.33:1) 
Cast: Jim Nabors, Frank Sutton, Ronnie Schell, Roy Stuart, Forrest Compton, Barbara Stuart, Ted Bessell, Allan Melvin, William Christopher, Elizabeth MacRae

After 60 years, the most incompetent soldier in the Marine Corps is finally getting an HD promotion! I wasn't even born yet when Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. first aired, or even when it ended in 1969, so I certainly did not grow up with it. I wasn't exposed to it until I was already in my teens and it would air on Nick At Nite (O think), and I would hang out in the living room with my when dad relived his youth by watching the reruns of the show - of which he was a huge fan. Me, not so much, I thought it was a bit too dopey, so when he tuned in I would generally tune out and bury my nose in a comic book or the pages of the metal-mag Rip. 

The series was a spin-off of the wildly popular The Andy Griffith Show wherein Nabors appeared in a few episodes as dopey gas station attendant Gomer (crooner Jim Nabors, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas) who talked out of the side of his mouth. In the spin-off Gomer enlists in Marine Corp. and his naive country ways rub his loudmouthed Gunnery Sergeant Carter (Frank Sutton, The Satan Bug), but the guy is so gosh-darn likable and well-meaning that no one can help but eventually like the guy.  To me the show was very mediocre, it had no edge to it, it avoided the politics and societal ills of the era and seemed to be a celebration of old school traditional value persevering over any obstacle - which ain;t a bad message, it just bored me to tears. For me personally the show is mostly notable for the characters dopey signature  quotes like "Shazam!", "Surprise, surprise, surprise!" and “Go-o-o-o-llee!”, and for when Vincent D'onofrio's character in Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket gets derogatorily dubbed "Gomer Pyle" by his sharp-tongued gunnery sergeant, but I am not a fan of the show - though I am pleased to see it get a solid Blu-ray release for the legions of fans who grew up with it in the 60's or experienced it during its later reruns.  

Audio/Video: All five seasons of Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C. arrives on Blu-ray from CBS/Paramount in 1080p HD framed in the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio, spread across 20-discs, 4 discs per season, and averaging 7-8 half-hour episodes on each disc. The first season is in black and white, with the remaining four season having been shot in color. The complete series was previously issued on DVD and I am pleased as punch that CBS/Paramount saw fit to release the entire series on Blu-ray, that these classic sitcoms are being afforded physica media HD upgrades from the studios with restored with uncompressed video and audio, preserved for future generations to enjoy is no small thing. I do not think that these are newly minted HD scans for this release, they were probably created when the DVD sets were being dine up. Grain is generally quite nicely resolved though there are dips in quality from time to time, but I was quite pleased with how fresh these scans look for this 60-year old TV sitcom, the first season is black and white and has pleasing contrast and grayscale, while the color episodes showcase pleasing hues, natural skin tones and good contrast throughout. 

Audio across all five seasons comes by way of English DTS-HD MA mono with optional English subtitles. The tracks are clean and well-preserved. I will say that I know the previous DVD sets were edited for music cues, sadly, and I do not know enough about the show to speak with any sense of authority in that regard, but I am assuming that these are the same edited for music versions, and have not been corrected, which for some will certainly be a deal-breaker. If you know differently please chime in the comments section. 

Extras on this set include the Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. Pilot (from The Andy Griffith Show) in HD, a Vintage Sales Presentation Clip in SD, plus Audio Commentary on Select Episodes. All five seasons get their own individual keepcases containing four discs in each season, with 7-8 episodes per disc. These are housed inside a cardstock side-loading slipbox, featuring Pyle in the wrong camo for some reason, they didn;t wear desert camouflage in the series, so someone goofed on the artwork.  

Special Features: 
- Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. Pilot (from The Andy Griffith Show) (HD)
- Vintage Sales Presentation Clip (SD)
- Audio Commentary on Select Episode (HD)

Screenshots from the CBS/Paramount Blu-rays: 

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