A great boxset that is made even greater by the heavy involvement of Jim Nabors.
I'd have liked more information on Jim Nabors' musical career. Not enough commentary tracks.
Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C.: The Complete First Season is a 5 disc set that is filled with 30 episodes following one of the most patriotic and interesting servicemen this country has ever seen. Around hardened Marines, one might think that Gomer Pyle (Jim Nabors) would fold like a card house in a monsoon. However, this character's plucky can do attitude, interesting application of knowledge, and overall ability to never quit no matter how adverse the situation, is what endeared Nabors and Gomer Pyle to people the world over. While I honestly like them all, some of my favorite episodes in this set are "Gomer Overcomes the Obstacle Course," "A Date for the Colonel's Daughter," "Grandpa Pyle's Good Luck Charm" and "Gomer the M.P."
This set is honestly one of the better TV on DVD releases I have been given to review. Too many of the older shows come out with just the episodes. While I love the shows so much I can get passed that, I feel that with Jim Nabors involvement here (doing commentary tracks, audio intros, clips, etc.), Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C.: The Complete First Season transcends simply being just another TV show come to DVD. It is an experience unto itself.
There are sadly only two commentary tracks for this release. One is for the episode "Gomer Overcomes the Obstacle Course" in which Jim Nabors does these duties solo. There is another one for "Gomer and the Dragon Lady" by Ronnie Schell who played Cpl. Gilbert "Duke" Slater on the show. I chose to listen to the one with Nabors and I am glad I did. He talked a lot about The Andy Griffith Show, how he did ROTC in college, working with the late Don Knotts, and how even though he had his own vehicle, he was never on another show like Andy Griffith. I listened to every minute of this commentary and all I could think was, "I wish there was more!"
Jim Nabors Hour Clip
Jim Nabors provides us with very quick introductions to each episode. He gives us the history of that particular show, and then he informs us about what we are going to see. Now, one might think that this is a throwaway feature, but when you realize that they are on every disc, it really puts some perspective into how much work went into this DVD set.
Jim Nabors On The David Frost Show
This segment can be played separately or as part of the "Gomer Overcomes the Obstacle Course" pilot. I watched this separately and while they don't really do stuff like this nowadays, it was sure interesting to see how television handled alternative forms of promotion. Jim Nabors talks about the Gomer character, he tells us what we can expect from the Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C. TV show, and there's even a moment where he appears to lip sync a song.
The Lucy Show Clip
Fans of Lucille Ball will really get a kick out of this Lucy Show clip. We get to see how she might fare if she were drafted and then, just when the drill instructor thinks he can't find a worse soldier, out comes Gomer Pyle to much laughter and applause. One thing that struck me about this clip was how amazing the colors of it looked. It's almost as if this tiny segment was in technicolor.
Full Screen. I loved the way that this show looked. They have remastered all the episodes so that the black and white look of this show just sparkles all across this 5 disc set. Everything looks really bumped up over how this show might play on TV in it's analog form. I honestly got the impression that the creators of this DVD knew that they were working on something special, so they went out of their way to create a release that would give viewers everything they could want. Looking at these shows, it is obvious that Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C. will live forever.
Dolby Digital. These discs sounded really good as well. Jim Nabors has such a distinct voice that it almost sounds finely tuned on this set. Everything feels like it has been bumped up a notch so that things stand out a little bit more. While they obviously didn't utilize the audio to really get inside these character's heads, it is nice to see that even though this show was simplistic in a production sense, they haven't just thrown these episodes on here.
Gomer Pyle stands with a smile on his face as he is being yelled at by Sergeant Vince Carter (Frank Sutton) on this very colorful front cover. The back portion features some black and white shots from this show, as well as a shot of a dumbfounded Gomer. There is a Special Features listing, a description of this show, and on the bottom of this slipcase are some system specs. All 5 discs fit very nicely into 3 digipack cases that all have the same front cover image on them. On the back are episode listings, descriptions, and where to find the Special Features. Once again, Paramount Home Video does a great job keeping things high and tight with this digipack.
Being a huge fan of the The Andy Griffith Show, I was very happy to get this spinoff as Gomer leaves Mayberry to serve his country. I just love the down home, simple humor both of these shows employ, and when you experience Gomer, it is easy to see why he had to leave town and get his own show. This character is so special in all the right ways. I know that people think of him as goofy or a simpleton, but he really had a great deal of logic that helped put across the idea that as long as you were willing to work hard you could achieve anything. Jim Nabors was so good in this role, both with his facial expressions, mannerisms, and delivery. He has a cadence and a vocal tone that is imminently distinct and I think that's why both Nabors and this character remain highly popular today.
Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. was released .