This CBS/Paramount DVD set, "THE FUGITIVE: SEASON 3, VOLUME 1", was made available on October 27, 2009, and it's a 4-Disc collection of 15 episodes that mirrors the other DVD sets in this series (in both packaging and image quality).
These fifteen black-and-white shows look absolutely beautiful on Digital Disc, thanks to the care and remastering effort put into these "Fugitive" releases by CBS/Paramount Home Entertainment. The clarity and crispness of the video we find on these discs is virtually perfect. And the Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono audio is quite good as well.
ABOUT THE MUSIC:
I was very pleased to find that the vast majority of Pete Rugolo's and CBS' original background music from 1965 has been left untouched and is intact throughout this 15-episode DVD collection.
A little bit of "replacement" music can be heard in this set (which is never a good thing, in my view), but for the most part I'm quite satisfied with the way this first half of Season 3 sounds on these DVDs. Overall, there is very little of the Mark Heyes replacement music incorporated into these Season-Three episodes.
And from what I could tell, the original 1965 background score for the exemplary episode "Landscape With Running Figures" is almost all intact on Disc #3 of this set, which pleases me very much.
I didn't perform a note-by-note evaluation of all the music in "Landscape", but I did do a few random comparisons between the DVD and a VHS version of the episode that I recorded myself off of the A&E cable-TV network in 1995, and I only noticed one very small change in any of the music in either of the two parts, and that was when some low-key substitute music can be heard in Act I of Part 1, near the beginning of the episode as Kimble is coming out of the restroom.
ABOUT SEASON 3:
The third, and next-to-last, season of "The Fugitive" (starring the late David Janssen as the forever-on-the-run Dr. Richard Kimble) was originally seen on network television back in 1965 and 1966.
Executive producer Quinn Martin and producer Alan Armer knew they had a truly great TV series on their hands with "The Fugitive", a series that resulted in many viewers rearranging their lives and personal schedules in order to make sure they would be able to be in front of a television screen at 10:00 PM each Tuesday night to watch the latest installment involving the soft-spoken and wrongly-convicted physician from Indiana.
This third season of the show was watched by an average of 40% of all TV-owning households in the United States throughout the 1965-'66 television season. And it's a season that earned the series the Emmy Award for "Best Dramatic Series" of the year. David Janssen also received an Emmy nomination for his always-solid work during this third year of "The Fugitive".
While looking over the list of episodes that make up this four-disc volume of "Fugitive" programs, it becomes a little bit difficult (for me anyway) to come up with a "Best Of" type of list for this particular DVD set....because I think they're ALL very good shows.
But, I do have my favorites from this batch of shows that shine a little brighter than some of the others. And those favorites from this volume would be:
"All The Scared Rabbits" (which rekindles the great on-screen chemistry between David Janssen and the wonderful Suzanne Pleshette), "Trial By Fire", "Crack In A Crystal Ball", "Conspiracy Of Silence", "An Apple A Day", and (saving the best for last) the remarkable two-parter, "Landscape With Running Figures".
A LITTLE ABOUT "LANDSCAPE":
The two-part episode "Landscape With Running Figures" first aired in November of 1965, and it represents two of the very best hours of television viewing anyone had during the '65-'66 season (whether it be while watching "The Fugitive" or any other TV show that season).
The deeply-layered script for "Landscape" was written by just a single man -- Anthony Wilson. And it's a script that brings out just about everything that makes this television series so great -- plus a few things that we don't see too often during the course of Richard Kimble's travels, such as delving into the mindset of Lt. Philip Gerard (Barry Morse) and his wife (wonderfully portrayed by Barbara Rush), plus a glimpse into Dr. Kimble's inner feelings as he reminisces about his life before he was turned into the man everyone wants to slap handcuffs on.
"Landscape With Running Figures", which has Kimble (using the alias "Steve Carver") inadvertently and unknowingly becoming travelling companions with Lt. Gerard's wife, also gives us a look at a deeply-depressed Richard Kimble, which is a side of Kimble we don't see very much during the four years he's on the run from the law.
Some of the things that occur in this two-part episode might seem a tad bit far-fetched or contrived, but when you think about these things from a different perspective, the events that unfold on the screen don't really seem overly contrived or "convenient". And this is due to the presence of the man who is forever chasing and shadowing Dr. Kimble--Lt. Philip Gerard.
In addition, there's also the realistic way the plot elements come together and are presented on the television screen by writer Wilson and Director Walter Grauman.
"Landscape" is a "landmark" 102 minutes of American television, in my opinion. These two episodes provide a large amount of depth to the characters we have been watching for the previous two-plus seasons, along with empathy, compassion, fear, anger, and desperation.
The gamut of greatness (and of emotions) is pretty much run from goal line to goal line in "Landscape With Running Figures". This is a two-parter that deserves to be viewed again and again.
The 15 episodes in this DVD collection are:
Wings Of An Angel
Middle Of A Heat Wave
Crack In A Crystal Ball
Trial By Fire
Conspiracy Of Silence
Three Cheers For Little Boy Blue
All The Scared Rabbits
An Apple A Day
Landscape With Running Figures (Part 1)
Landscape With Running Figures (Part 2)
Set Fire To A Straw Man
Stranger In The Mirror
The Good Guys And The Bad Guys
End Of The Line
When The Wind Blows
>> "Landscape With Running Figures" was originally written as a one-part episode, instead of the immensely-entertaining two-part installment it ended up being. Producer Alan Armer said: "Tony Wilson came in with 84 pages, and they were beautiful. It was a gorgeous script. [Associate Producer] George [Eckstein] and I decided, rather than try to lop out 25 pages, to add another 30 pages and make it into a two-parter."
>> Barbara Rush, who is simply outstanding as Marie Gerard in "Landscape With Running Figures", was not the first choice for the role. Nor was she the second. She was the third choice, behind Julie Harris and Hope Lange, but neither of those actresses was available to play the part. David Janssen did some lobbying on behalf of his good friend Barbara Rush, and Barbara ultimately ended up landing the part.
>> The episode "All The Scared Rabbits" was initially going to be called "Wanted: Someone To Drive".
>> The original title of the episode "End Of The Line" was "Never Take The Milk Train".
[Trivia Source: Ed Robertson's 1993 book, "The Fugitive Recaptured".]
The fifteen episodes contained in this DVD set are most certainly worth owning, and represent some of the very best efforts of David Janssen and the "Fugitive" production team.
"The Fugitive: Season Three, Volume One" gets a big "Thumbs Up" from this writer.
David Von Pein