Monday, April 18, 2011

The shocking final season of "Hazel"

Well, it's shocking to ME to see good ol' domestic engineer extraordinaire Hazel serving someone other than the Baxters. Oh, they call themselves "the Baxters," this 3-piece family Hazel and Harold move in with for the series' fifth and final season, but they are a weak substitute for the real deal, George, AKA Mr. B; and Dorothy, AKA Missy.

As Antenna TV winds up its first complete cycle of the series, I think it's fair to say that fifth season ain't getting any better. I've seen a good batch of these episodes, and while I enjoy them because it's still Hazel and because I've never seen them before, it just isn't the same. I find myself watching Mr. B's brother Steve, his wife Barbara, and their non-entity daughter Susie, and demanding the return of MY Baxters.

Susie is not the problem, as she means very little one way or the other, though in one episode I saw, she was terrorizing the family cat, wrecking Hazel's meals, and generally showing signs of a budding young sociopath. As for the women of the show, well, Lynn Borden as Barbara is gorgeous; Whitney Blake as Dorothy is...Meredith Baxter's mom. Fact is, the show never gave Dorothy much that was interesting to do, so she isn't conspicuous by her absence.

The REAL loss of season 5 is, of course, Mr. B. Nobody does "taken aback" like Don DeFore, and his quiet exasperation at Hazel's antics led to a handful of great sitcom actor "takes" in every single episode. As Steve Baxter, Ray Fulmer has a pleasant enough Dick-Sargentesque presence, but compared to DeFore he is--forgive me--a scrub.

One of the worst things about the "transition" from season 4 to season 5 is that the Baxters (the real ones, that is) leave off camera, and it's left to Hazel to tell the audience, via a convo with her busybody friend Rosie, what happened to force this jarring change. It's kind of funny, actually, because one by one, the two Sunshine Girl cohorts cover just about all the questions the audience has about what's going on. I know because my wife sat down with me to watch this one, and when I told her what was going to happen, she started peppering me with queries. I'm not saying Hazel answers them in a satisfying way, but she does answer them.

George and Dorothy, we learn, went to the Middle East for business. As far as Hazel knows (or is willing to tell Rosie), Mr. B is doing big-shot corporate lawyer stuff, blah blah blah. Personally, I believe he is conducting covert ops for a quasi-governmental "security" organization, which explains why he leaves the States so quickly and ditches his son. Ostensibly, Harold stays behind to "finish his schooling," and I realize American-style schooling may not have been as sophisticated in the 1960s as it is today, but still...COME ON! Harold's not in some kind of fast-track advanced college prep system, and he's not exactly Albert Einstein, besides, so one wonders why the Baxters are so eager to strand him in the USA. Perhaps after years of sharing living quarters with an inquisitive boy and an intrusive maid, George and Dorothy just want a little "us" time. Mr. B, you DOG, you!

For her part, Hazel stays behind because she can't bear to leave little Harold...or the Baxters threatened to auction her to a decrepit emir's harem if she tagged along, take your pick. Now, after hours of research at the Paley Center and the Library of Congress (not really, but that sounds better than "I looked at an online message board), I have discovered that behind the scenes, the Baxters were basically canned for financial reasons, and Shirley Booth soldiered on for this one last year before ending the show due to her own declining health. Even in season 5, we see an attempt to shift attention to some other characters, and we see less of Hazel's superhuman feats of skill, like kicking a football or bashing a gangster over the head with a frying pan.

This all makes more sense than the notion that someone thought it was a good idea creatively to replace DeFore and Blake, or that Booth pulled a power play and replaced them with some nonthreatening, less interesting players. Looks like it was just one of those stupid decisions. CBS did get one more season out of "Hazel," and because of Booth's health, any more would have been unlikely, anyway. That fifth season is easily the weakest, but it's worth a look just for the novelty value.

The unrecognizable Ann Jillian (only recognizable because I saw her in the cast listing) has a regular role, too, as realtor Steve's secretary. George's annoying sister shows up again as a foil for Hazel, too, which points out one of the show's problems at this point: The chemistry between Hazel and Steve just isn't there, which is of course in stark contrast to the Hazel/George relationship which drives previous seasons. There is a half-hearted attempt early on to position Steve Baxter as someone who will go toe to toe with Hazel, or at least try to, but predictably he fails, and Hazel soon becomes "one of the family." This was true with Mr. B, too, and no one ever really thought the two were truly at each other's throats, but at least they went through the motions and enjoyed playing the game. Steve isn't even in the same league.

So without DeFore, without even the way-overexposed Mr. Griffin, season 5 strains to provide that ol' Hazel magic. It's probably best that it's the last season. I would like to see a sixth season in which Mr. B dramatically returns and announces the family must go underground to avoid a congressional subpoena, but that will have to remain a figment of my imagination.

56 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very nice commentary! You answered many of my questions. The only thing I'm having difficulty with is finding Hazel season 5!! It doesn't seem to be anywhere. Where did you find yours? Thanks for the nice overview. photobee@yahoo.com

Rick Brooks said...

Thanks for the comment! I would expect Shout Factory to get around to releasing season 5 of Hazel on DVD sometime later this year, but I watched it on Antenna TV, which shows all the show's seasons as part of its rotation.

jerry c said...

It was sponsored by Ford the first 4 seasons, then after the cast change for season 5 they drove everything. Did see a season 5 episode I liked on 6-10-13. Hazel bought a 1959 plymouth Fury in mint condition for 525.00. Man I wish I had a time machine!

Rick Brooks said...

How about it? I guess the Ford sponsorship explains the opening sequence of them piling in the family automobile. Didn't know that about the change in season 5. I'm about to dive back into season 1 and watch the black and white episodes...

Walter said...

Wow. (Expression of shock). I'm currently watching this show via DVD's from the local library and that's seriously a downer.

While most would not like to have a spoiler like that known before-hand,it actually helps me to know this information.

Before late july,I had never seen an episode of Hazel,it simply was never run here in Phoenix (to my recollection). So now,this evening,I'm into disc 2 of Season 3 and I can already see the cracks of repetition showing in the series.

Whitney Blake isn;t in a few shows,Harold doesn;t seem to be aging at all after 2 years,Mr. Griffin is becoming tiresome,as is the tension betwen Hazel & George's sister.

No Baxters except Harold huh? Oh,well. I'll stil watch all the way to the end but yes,taht a BIG goof on CBS's part back then. I don;t see Shirley Booth doing a "power play".

Besides,given what the world became a short time later and how TV changed between '66 and 1970,"Hazel" would have been finished anyway.

Rick Brooks said...

Thanks, Walter, for the thoughtful comments. In fairness to me, it becomes clear early on what the deal is with season 5, so you would have known right away.

I'd still recommend sticking it out even though you nailed two of the most tiresome characters/elements of the series: Griffin and George's sister.

Season 5 is worth it just for "My Son, the Sheepdog." You make an interesting comment about how the world changed as the series progressed--just wait till you see that episode's hopelessly square take on rock and roll.

Cool that your library stocks the DVDs!

Abbott said...

"My Son the Sheepdog" episode is only a slight exaggeration of how
I was treated in 1966 when I stopped using Brycreem and combed my hair in bangs at age 8. As ridiculous as the episode plays, it's very real to the way my Father
and the school teachers of the day
reacted to things at that time. My
Father called "Drums" which I wanted to play, "Hippie". He would
brush his hair to his forehead with
his hand and say, "Man I'm Cool".
That Does make the season 5 worth wanting just to re-witness this
absurd truth of 1966.
Also, I believe that Hazel's poem
in that episode may be the source
of the band name "Deep Purple".
And looking at their (DP)success shows
just how short-sided the parents were about the lucrativeness of kids starting a band.

Rick Brooks said...

Well, as we now know, season 5 IS confirmed for January 2014, and I'm tempted to buy it just so I can get "My Son, the Sheepdog" and see it again!

Jimmy Combs said...

Your comparsion of Steve Baxter to Dick Sargent's drab take on Darrin Stevens is absolutley bang-on. Steve Baxter immediately comes off as "missing something" that his brother had. At the same time, I enjoyed Barbara Baxter just as much as Dorothy Baxter. They are both attractive blondes and have very friendly personalities. Unlike Harold, Susie Baxter is pointless to the show. In the intro she just stares forward like a zombie and then suddenly smiles as if the director yelled out "Somebody tell that brat to smile." No wonder Harold continued to hold the spotlite in many episodes. Still though, it's Hazel and it wasn't too bad. Even the episodes with the original Baxter's was losing its flair by season 4. Still thought, this is one of my top ten favorite television shows of all time!!!

Jimmy Combs said...

Your comparsion of Steve Baxter to Dick Sargent's drab take on Darrin Stevens is absolutley bang-on. Steve Baxter immediately comes off as "missing something" that his brother had. At the same time, I enjoyed Barbara Baxter just as much as Dorothy Baxter. They are both attractive blondes and have very friendly personalities. Unlike Harold, Susie Baxter is pointless to the show. In the intro she just stares forward like a zombie and then suddenly smiles as if the director yelled out "Somebody tell that brat to smile." No wonder Harold continued to hold the spotlite in many episodes. Still though, it's Hazel and it wasn't too bad. Even the episodes with the original Baxter's was losing its flair by season 4. Still thought, this is one of my top ten favorite television shows of all time!!!

Jimmy Combs said...

Your comparsion of Steve Baxter to Dick Sargent's drab take on Darrin Stevens is absolutley bang-on. Steve Baxter immediately comes off as "missing something" that his brother had. At the same time, I enjoyed Barbara Baxter just as much as Dorothy Baxter. They are both attractive blondes and have very friendly personalities. Unlike Harold, Susie Baxter is pointless to the show. In the intro she just stares forward like a zombie and then suddenly smiles as if the director yelled out "Somebody tell that brat to smile." No wonder Harold continued to hold the spotlite in many episodes. Still though, it's Hazel and it wasn't too bad. Even the episodes with the original Baxter's was losing its flair by season 4. Still thought, this is one of my top ten favorite television shows of all time!!!

Jimmy Combs said...

Whoops, sorry. I thought the comments weren't posting!

carol kroll said...

I,like my predecessors,agree that the show in its final season wasn't nearly as good without Don Defore and Meredith baxter. Once again artistic decisions are based uPon monetary decisions--the old bottom line,which may be good for the stations that run the show but not for the audience. thank you. B

TampaZeke said...

Me TV is airing the fifth season of Hazel now.

cadillac pat said...

always wondered what happend to Mr. and Mrs. B. cheap cbs. 5th year is on ch. 82 on the dishnetwork at 2pm ps time. still love hazel.

@Dragonfly3k1ds said...

You can watch season 5 (and all the seasons) on antenna tv.

Rick Brooks said...

Hazel season 5 endures! I should write a review of the DVD set for ClassicFlix one of these days.

Anonymous said...

Hello.....

Yes, season 5 starts on Friday, February 19th, on Antenna TV!

The last episode of season 4 and the first episode of season 5 will air back-to-back, here in Cleveland, OH.

I agree with you that Don Defore was a great actor in this series.

People now a days dismiss Hazel as being not true to life. Those folks probably don't remember rotary phones, b&w television sets, console record players, or leaded gasoline.

Ahh, nostalgia!

Great post. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Great show!

You are correct, season 5 was kinda a stinker!

Most t.v. series progressively get worse. The plots get weaker and the writing uses recycled ideas over time.

Two weeks from today, Lynn Borden passed away a year ago. (3-3-2015). Sad. :o(

Ray Fulmer and his t.v. daughter are the only ones left!

Anonymous said...

The last network broadcast of Hazel was on April 11, 1966. That will be 50 years ago.

It is amazing that the show, regardless of the season, is being shown today. I didn't even know about Hazel until I started watching it on Antenna TV a few years ago. My mom watched this show with my grandmother when she was a little girl.

I agree with the other comment that most shows get worn out over time. MASH is a great example. Once BJ grew his moustache and started to wear converse shoes, red suspenders, and a pink undershirt with an army shirt with the sleeves removed, I lost interest. Anything past season 6 is terrible.

Ray Fulmer isn't as bad as Dick Sargent's character on Bewitched. Ironically, Dick was on Hazel as Mr. Griffin's nephew in season 2.

Regardless, the older shows no matter what season are better than anything on tv today. "For Pete's sake."

Unknown said...

I'm retired and drive a School Bus and one of my young riders is a cute little girl named Hazel. As she sits up front waiting to get off I've often gotten into conversations with her telling her that I watch a show named after her, Hazel. She finds that weird and funny every time I bring it up. It's a strange name to me and one you don't hear anymore, I mean who would deliberatly name there child Hazel? I recall watching the shows when they first appeared. I try and explain this character to her along with some of the episodes and the strange looks on Hazels face are priceless. There's really no point to my story other than I find a little girl named Hazel in today's world funny.

Me said...

I'm retired and drive a School Bus and one of my young riders is a cute little girl named Hazel. As she sits up front waiting to get off I've often gotten into conversations with her telling her that I watch a show named after her, Hazel. She finds that weird and funny every time I bring it up. It's a strange name to me and one you don't hear anymore, I mean who would deliberatly name there child Hazel? I recall watching the shows when they first appeared. I try and explain this character to her along with some of the episodes and the strange looks on Hazels face are priceless. There's really no point to my story other than I find a little girl named Hazel in today's world funny.

Karen Jones said...

Thanks for filling in the blanks for me. I appreciate the research you did. That's what I'm doing now - searching for clues as to why Hazel is with Steve and wife in a string of episodes I recently watched. HAND!

Rick Brooks said...

I love the fact that this post still gets comments! Pardon the plug, but I make a reference to the show and that fifth season in my new ClassicFlix piece at http://classicflix.com/TV-TIME-Mothers-Day-Mommy-Awards-ar-226.html

pat mulei said...

Ironically, Season 5 will begin on Wednesday, June 8th at 9:30am on Antenna TV...I can't wait! :)

Anonymous said...

Hazel: SEASON 5 was released on JANUARY 14,2014. It was nearly $30.00 when it was first released. I finally bought a copy from AMAZON on JUNE 28,2014. I had bought Season 1 for CHRISTMAS OF 2013. Then I bought Seasons 2-4 in FEBRUARY in 2014. I only bought it because it was LAST SEASON OF THE SERIES. I dislike unfinished Television Shows. They should have had HAROLD TO HAVE REUNITED WITH HIS PARENTS. THEY SHOULD HAVE FINISHED HAZEL'S CHARACTER. HOW ABOUT MARRYING HER OFF. THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN GREAT. NANCY GOT MARRIED, BUT TO WHOM? COULD WE ASSUME IT WAS TO EDDY BURKE? AND THE BLAKES JUST DISAPPEARED FROM NEXT DOOR. THEY SHOULD HAVE SENT STAN BLAKE OFF INTO THE SUNSET WITH A WIFE. And I just recently learned that the CHILD ACTOR PAUL ENGLE, WHO PLAYED "DON BLAKE", THE OLDEST OF THE "BLAKE CHILDREN", (Actually the Actress Brenda Scott, who played "Linda Blake" was older than Paul),has past away. I thought it was so neat that ALL OF THE "BLAKE CHILDREN" were still alive. I don't think that there is a TELEVISION SHOW AROUND THAT IS FIFTY OR MORE YEARS OLD THAT HAD MORE THAN ONE CHILD AND AT LEAST ONE OF THEM HASN'T PAST AWAY. Needless to say I was in shock. I think that everyone by now know that BOBBY BUNTROCK HAS BEEN GONE FOR OVER FORTY TWO YEARS. THAT HOLDS ITS OWN TRAGEDY. I didn't learn about that until 2011, when I was looking up the Actors on "HAZEL". I knew about SHIRLEY, DON, AND WHITNEY, BUT NOT BOBBY. It's to bad that there couldn't have been a "HAZEL REUNION MOVIE", LIKE THE "ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW" AND "GREEN ACRES" DID. It would have been great to have seen what everybody looked like twenty-to-twenty-five years later. I don't think that the audience would have accepted a different ACTRESS playing "HAZEL". Remember, they tried that on those "GILLILAND ISLAND MOVIES" and everyone wanted TINA LOUISE?! Well, WHITNEY BLAKE didn'T like her character anyway, but hopefully that wouldn'T have stopped her from doing a REUNION MOVIE. EVE PLUMB DIDN'T LIKE DOING THE "BRADY BUNCH", BUT IT DIDN'T PREVENT HER FROM DOING "REUNION SHOWS".

Anonymous said...

What I don't understand is if a show is in jeopardy and THE NETWORK KNOWS IT, THEN WHY NOT "FINISH THE SHOW"?! FINISH UP THE CHARACTERS AND THE LOOSE STORYLINES. WHY leave them open and unfinished. I refuse to believe that they could not have finished "HAZEL". The writers are paid to write. WHY didn't they? Okay, let's fast gorward. I know that this is "2016" and three of my favorite shows ended that year: "HAZEL", "PERRY MASON", AND "THE ADVENTURES OF OZZIE & HARRIET". With that said, it doesn'T explain how come they didn'T try to bring back the "MAIN PARENTS". To me it looks as if they simply left "HAZEL AND "HAROLD" indefinitely with "GEORGE'S BROTHER "STEVE" AND HIS WIFE, "BARBARA". I think the audience could have accepted the "GONE TO ARABIA" bit, if they had of returned the parents, which they didn't. Even in real life people take trips and ask relatives to take care of various family members, but to just leave them seems like "abandonment". I bet they could have afforded to have brought back DON AND WHITNEY for a handful of episodes. Maybe they didn't think that anybody would still be viewing this show so far into the future. I was so young when this show came out. And I'm still young. I'm certainly not older than any of the ACTORS WHO WERE IN THE MAIN CAST, unless the "babies" are considered. But we are the audience of all of those wonderful old shows. We're the ones who remember them and are introducing them to our families. I would dislike a novel that ended this way, unless a sequel was in the works.

Anonymous said...

This comment is really to correct something that "CAROL KROLL" said. She said that the final season was not the same without "DON DEFORE" AND "MEREDITH BAXTER". YOU HAVE THE WRONG ACTRESS. "MEREDITH BAXTER" IS THE REAL LIFE DAUGHTER OF ACTRESS "WHITNEY BLAKE" WHO WAS THE ACTUAL ACTRESS ON "HAZEL". SHE IS THE ACTRESS WHO PLAYED "DOROTHY BAXTER". I'm really surprised that no one has noticed your goof but me. That was more than a TYPO.

Anonymous said...

What is this real stuff? Of course shows like "HAZEL" weren't/aren't real. They weren't supposed to be "real". FICTION IS NOT REAL EVEN IF A CHARACTER IS BASED ON A "REAL PERSON". "HAZEL" began as a CARTOON STRIP IN THE "SATURDAY EVENING POST". THE CREATOR "TED KEY" SAID HE DREAMED OF "HER" AND IMMEDIATELY GOT UP AND DREW A PICTURE OF HER. Television and Movies were not originally designed to be "REAL". SPECIFICALLY DURING THE WAR YEARS. PEOPLE WERE AFRAID. SO MOVIES ESPECIALLY COMEDIES AND MUSICALS WERE DESIGNED TO DISTRACT PEOPLE FROM THAT REALITY. TV WAS NOT AROUND YET. BUT IT WAS NOT DESIGNED FOR REALISM EITHER. WHO WANTS REALISM IN MOVIES AND ON TELEVISION? DON'T WE HAVE ENOUGH REALISM IN OUR LIVES???? THE EVERY DAY GRIND, PEOPLE WITH SILLY USELESS ISSUES THAT SPILL OVER INTO OTHERS LIVES. ILLNESS, MURDER, UNEMPLOYMENT,AND ON AND ON AND ON. WOULD ANYBODY REALLY WANT TO SEE THAT ENDLESSLY ON TELEVISION? Well, there are enough REALITY SHOWS around these days. Will those do?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Anonymous said...

I've checked to see which Actors are still around. As most fans know, the entire "BAXTER FAMILY" is gone. So are most of the "RELATIVES". I was watching the Episode: "EVERYBODY'S THANKFUL BUT US TURKEYS" recently. In an early scene when everyone is standing at the door it hit me that I was looking at a scene with all deceased people in it. They passed away in this order: "Harold", BOBBY BUNTROCK, "Hazel", SHIRLEY BOOTH, "Tom", WILLIAM BAKEWELL, "George", DON DEFORE, "Dorothy", WHITNEY BLAKE, "Aunt Phyllis", BEVERLY TYLER (HER BIRTHDAY WOULD HAVE BEEN ON JULY 5, AND SHE WOULD HAVE BEEN 89 YEARS OLD), and "Uncle Bob", CHARLES COOPER. Other "RELATIVES" who are still around are: "George's Niece" - "Nancy Thompson", DAVEY DAVISON, his "Brother" - "Steve Baxter", RAY FULMER and "Niece" - "Suzie Baxter", JULIE BENJAMIN "Steve's Daughter", and their "Cousin" - "Charlene", DIANA LADD. "Hazel's Nephews: "LeRoy Burke", WRIGHT KING, and "Eddy Burke", JOHNNY WASHBROOK. The "BLAKE Family", though they weren't related to "The Baxter's", lived next door. "Stan Blake", JOHN NEWTON, "Linda Blake", BRENDA SCOTT, "Stevie Blake", KIM TYLER, and "Mavis Blake", JUDY ERWIN WHITNEY, are all still alive. Only "Don Blake", PAUL ENGLE, HAS PASSED AWAY, ABOUT EIGHT MONTHS AGO. When I look at "HAZEL" it doesn't seem that that show went OUT of PRODUCTION FIFTY YEARS AGO. HERE'S TO A GREAT SHOW! MAY IT LAST ANOTHER FIFTY YEARS!

Goliath_62 said...

Thanks for the blog Mr. Brooks. I found Hazel by chance one day while flipping through the channels. I started watching it and enjoying most of it except the last season when Mr. B was not Don DeFore he had been replaced as was his wife. I didn't see the episode where Hazel explained what happened to Mr. Baxter so I just tried to figure out why Mr. B and Missy were replaced by these pod people and had left their son behind. Well, now I know. I'm glad to see they are starting the series over again at season one. Me thinks I'll have to watch again cuz Hazel is one of the "nicest and prettier ladies I know." ;-)

Rick Brooks said...

Lot of spirited discussion here! For me, Hazel just ain't the same without Don DeFore to play off her, but those fifth-season episodes are still interesting. It's funny because, not having been around at the time, my first impulse is to assume everyone involved with the show thought, "Ah, people won't care as long as Hazel is there," when comments on this very post prove that, yeah, at the time, it really did throw the viewers!

Anonymous said...

I want to comment on "ARE There Any Shows Left That Are More Than Fifty Years Old With More Than One Child, That Doesn't Have At Least One Of The Children Gone. Well, I've come across one: "FATHER KNOWS BEST". AS of this writing, on this date, all of the "Anderson Children" are still alive. ELINOR Donahue, Billy Gray and Lauren Chapin. That show ended in 1960. Which was Fifty-Six Years Ago. I came across an Interview on Youtube, which appeared on "Good Morning America" in 1984. All of the main cast members were still around then. "Father Knows Best" is one of my "Old Favorite Shows" too, which I've started collecting, since last Christmas. I've bought the first three seasons. I don't think I ever saw "Father Knows Best" until around 1989-1990, thanks to Cable TV. I think it's wonderful that all of those "Old Shows" that we watched and loved so much, can be bought on disc's, contributing to forums like these, where the fans can discuss them. Most of those shows have been released in their entirety. I'm still hoping that "The Adventures Of Ozzie And Harriet" will eventually go to "seasons", instead of "volumes" and "Best Of" type releases.

Rick Brooks said...

You may be aware that the Nelsons apparently didn't properly copyright the series, making video releases problematic, but heir Sam Nelson announced years ago he was trying to restore and put the series out on DVD. Scuttlebutt is that he turned down offers from experienced companies to maintain control over the project. Unfortunately, the result is a grand total of zero releases from him to this point.

I didn't see much of Father Knows Best until it hit DVD and Antenna TV. I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was.

Trogdor Trogdor said...

Buy them at Walmart.com! :)

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if all of the Seasons of "HAZEL" can be bought at WAL*MART or not. At least I haven't seen them. But then to be honest, I bought all of my Seasons from AMAZON. I only began them buying them when I saw on AMAZON that Season Five, the FINAL SEASON, was becoming available in January . I was a little tired of buying shows that weren't being sold in their entirety. Fortunately most of the shows that I've chosen to purchase have been completely released. If SHOUT FACTORY get their hands on the rights to a show, the fans can almost guarantee that they will release the remaining Seasons.

I checked with AMAZON. For some reason Season One Of "HAZEL" is only available with Sellers. I wonder if it has something to do with "SONY". I hope that every HAZEL FAN can get a copy before it becomes almost impossible to get a copy, opening the field up for every greedy person on the map. Just imagine, there are Sellers who would ask for $2,000 FOR Season ONE, just because they know that it is hard to find on the open market, if it is still Factory Sealed.

You probably don't have time to do this, however you can look around in other places that sell DVD'S. I understand that F•Y•E is still around. Some other places I can think of are Supermarkets, Drug Stores and Discount Type Stores, such as "BIG LOTS". Some Supermarkets used to have, and some probably still have "ELECTRONIC DEPARTMENTS". These sort of places often have good used rentals for sale. But then often they have plenty of unused still FACTORY SEALED SELECTIONS TOO, very inexpensively. During THE CHRISTMAS SEASON OF 2009 I was so broke. I had about $5.00 to spend. There was a "BIG LOTS" in my Neighborhood. Some of my family members and I went over there to shop, and I FOUND THE "INFAMOUS FIFTH SEASON" OF "THE DUKES OF HAZZARD", STILL FACTORY SEALED, FOR $3.00. I enjoyed every minute of it, too, on CHRISTMAS DAY. I don't think that I'll ever forget that. It was a very "HUMBLING EXPERIENCE".

Anonymous said...

OOPS!I LEFT OUT A DETAIL WHEN I WROTE IN THE LAST COMMENT POSTED ABOUT "HAZEL". I SHOULD HAVE SAID: "I ONLY BEGAN BUYING THEM WHEN I SAW ON "AMAZON" THAT SEASON FIVE, THE FINAL SEASON, WAS BECOMING AVAILABLE ON JANUARY 14, 2014". And as an added Post Comment, it seems to me that Seasons TWO and Three were available before "2012". Sometimes a Series would be available for awhile. Then it would disappear. Then it would reappear, but with a different "Release Date". This happened with "GIDGET", THE TV SERIES. IT DISAPPEARED. THEN IT REAPPEARED, WITH A DIFFERENT RELEASE DATE, BUT WITHOUT THE COMMENTARY THAT WAS ON THE FIRST RELEASE. OF COURSE THE FIRST RELEASE WAS A LOT MORE MONEY, TOO.

Anonymous said...

OOPS!I LEFT OUT A DETAIL WHEN I WROTE IN THE LAST COMMENT POSTED ABOUT "HAZEL". I SHOULD HAVE SAID: "I ONLY BEGAN BUYING THEM WHEN I SAW ON "AMAZON" THAT SEASON FIVE, THE FINAL SEASON, WAS BECOMING AVAILABLE ON JANUARY 14, 2014". And as an added Post Comment, it seems to me that Seasons TWO and Three were available before "2012". Sometimes a Series would be available for awhile. Then it would disappear. Then it would reappear, but with a different "Release Date". This happened with "GIDGET", THE TV SERIES. IT DISAPPEARED. THEN IT REAPPEARED, WITH A DIFFERENT RELEASE DATE, BUT WITHOUT THE COMMENTARY THAT WAS ON THE FIRST RELEASE. OF COURSE THE FIRST RELEASE WAS A LOT MORE MONEY, TOO.

Rick Brooks said...

Sony has licensed many of its shows to Mill Creek, which stripped the original releases of the special features, reduced the number of discs, and re-released them in budget versions. I don't expect to see a "Complete Series" release of Hazel from Mill Creek, but I suppose it could happen!

Was that Dukes of Hazzard find tied into the controversy with Warner Brothers and Big Lots? Apparently a slew of TV/DVD sets that were supposed to be destroyed found their way to some liquidator, who sold them to Big Lots, who sold them at cut-rate prices and outraged Warner Brothers. I wasn't lucky enough to get any of those super-cheap sets!

Doozy Fan said...

Hazel Season 5 will start airing on Antenna TV, Friday, September 23rd.

Yes, I will be watching! Despite missing George and Dorothy, the show is titled; "Hazel," not the "Baxter's."

Although the season 5 episodes lack the quality of the prior seasons, it is a time capsule in beautiful color! The cars, the sets, and the clothing.

Someone mentioned nostalgia. That's it in a nutshell. Regardless of its realism or lack thereof.

Tammy Ikonen said...

I concur completely regarding fathers knows best I never saw the show being too young when it first aired but my goodness this show Father Knows Best is probably one of the best shows I have ever seen in my life and really has much bearing on the conditions of the teenagers and young children and the parents child conflict we deal with every day to this day this show was superb

Tammy Ikonen said...

I concur completely regarding fathers knows best I never saw the show being too young when it first aired but my goodness this show Father Knows Best is probably one of the best shows I have ever seen in my life and really has much bearing on the conditions of the teenagers and young children and the parents child conflict we deal with every day to this day this show was superb

Earline said...

I'm responding to an earlier comment about the retired person who drives a School Bus and was telling a young student about the show, and the character, with the same name "HAZEL". Though the student didn't seem to have ever heard of the show I don't think that the name "HAZEL" is so odd. If a person like something, fine. If they don't, that's fine too. At least though with the name "HAZEL" it's easy and simple to pronounce and spell. It may be an Old Fashioned name, but there are some really, what I consider to be "Ugly Names" that I won't rattle off because I'm not on here to offend anybody. But I will rattle off Three Old Fashioned names that I do like: "CLAIRE", "ESTHER",and "GRACE". With this said, I wonder did the Young Girl "HAZEL" see the show: "HAZEL". Or did she ask any of her older relatives about the show? I've read that the SINGER "WHITNEY HOUSTON" WAS NAMED AFTER ACTRESS "WHITNEY BLAKE". By the way, I still have not found out how ACTRESS "WHITNEY BLAKE" came up with her "PROFESSIONAL NAME". Perhaps her husband at that time picked it. He was her agent.

Rick Brooks said...

It seems like Grace has made a comeback, as anecdotally I come across a good deal of Graces. Now, Esther is one I have not seen lately!

judy said...

I always refer to Season 5 as "Real Estate 101." A real snoozefest in terms of storylines, characters and dialogue. It's like one of the writers took a night class in Real Estate and dumped their notebook. However it is nice to see the lovely Lynn Borden, whom we lost last year. I also agree with a previous poster that it is a nice "time capsule" of the mid-1960s, when revolution was just around the corner. Although where I grew up, the 1960s lasted well into the mid-1970s. :)
And Hazel seems to be making a comeback in terms of little girls' names. There was a character in the last seasons of 30 Rock named "Hazel" which might account for that one.

Earline said...

I think to cut down on the repetition of some storylines being repeated over and over, the writers probably could have worked on unfinished storylines and characters. I know that someone on this forum has already mentioned this but that person did not mention anything about repetition. Perhaps back then writers thought that if a show was successful it could go on forever. Well, "forever" in television land often means as long as the ratings are high, the main actor/actress doesn't decide to quit the show, or the show doesn't get bumped in favor of another show. Television was still very young when "HAZEL" hit the airwaves. Many actors at that time came from the theater and stage. And Actress Shirley Booth was one of them. She enjoyed her character "HAZEL". She had enough sense to realize a good role when it came her way. But I think that not finishing the show was not in her favor. If she owned the show as I keep reading in various places that she did, then she may have had some say on how she would want the show to end. I've read that she personally handpicked Lynn Borden to replace Whitney on the show. I wonder who picked Ray to replace Don?

I understand too, that the show could have continued for another season or two, but it was Shirley who decided not to do the show anymore. I read that she was exhausted and experiencing some other health issues which spurred on her decision to call it quits. I'm sure that that made Ray Fulmer happy, since he wasn't happy with the show anyway. Well, it may have made him happy but it didn't make "HAZEL'S AUDIENCE" very happy. Since we're not privy to what went on behind the scenes, we'll probably never know one way or another what really happened. There are books that has been written about SHIRLEY BOOTH. And DON DEFORE wrote a book too. I would sure like to get my hands on a copy of that one. Unfortunately WHITNEY did not write her memoirs. The closest we are probably ever going to get to reading about her life is from what has already been written, including what her daughter MEREDITH wrote in her own book, about her.

In my own quest to learn more about WHITNEY, I bought MEREDITH'S BOOK. I'm still reading it. I haven't found any interviews or articles about her other than that she was in more television shows after "HAZEL". And that she and her Husband, Allan Manings, created the hit Television Show: "ONE DAY AT A TIME". She also produced a movie titled: "RENO KIDS". After that she disappeared. She Co-Owned a Bookstore in Minnesota with one of her sons for awhile until it closed. She had also moved to Edgartown, Massachusetts, though I believe that I read that she still maintained a home in Malibu. Funny, Shirley had also left Hollywood and moved to Chatham, Massachusetts. So did "Johnny Washbrook", "Eddie Burke", "HAZEL" NEPHEW. He moved to Edgartown, too, after he retired from show business. His Birthday will be on October 14th. He will be Seventy-Two Years Old. I saw him on one of those shows where they round up Western Stars of Television Shows like "FURY" and "MY FRIEND FLICKA" and discuss the show that they were on. Johnny was discussing "MY FRIEND FLICKA". Imagine my surprise when he didn't have "Red Hair". I honestly thought he did. Shirley wore "Red Wigs". When "HAZEL" went to color and Johnny appeared in "LICENCE TO WED" AND "HAZEL, AND THE LOVEBIRDS", I thought "wow, they found a young actor to play "Eddie Burke", who had "Red Hair". No it was tinted for that role. What a bummer.

Earline said...

From what I've been able to find out, Shirley Booth was not as successful after "HAZEL" as she was before. And I think that she may have used "exhaustion" as a ruse to not continue with "HAZEL". She went back to work soon after "HAZEL" ended. If she was truly "exhausted" and was experiencing some health issues, how come she returned to work so soon? Unless it may have been because "HAZEL" wasn't as lucrative as she thought it would be?! And I didn't come across anymore mention of any further such issues until she was reported to have had a stroke in the 1980's. I know that her last TELEVISION ROLE was the VOICE OF "MRS. CLAUS" on "THE YEAR WITHOUT A SANTA CLAUS".

I think if she hadn't of had a stroke she may have appeared on other Television Shows, like "GOLDEN GIRLS" or "MURDER, SHE WROTE". I think that she would have done well as someone's recurring Mother, Aunt, Grandmother, Cousin or Friend. Except, hopefully she would have had a different profession, like a School Teacher, Nurse, Real Estate Agent or some other sort of Business Profession. Of course she would be stylishly dressed for her role. If she wore wigs I would hope that they would have worn styles that were more attractive than those ugly styles that she wore when
"HAZEL" was in its first two or three seasons. And a Husband would have been better than a bunch of fellas whom she dated. The imagination is a wonderful thing, though none of what I've written could happen. Not even if the show could be rebooted.

Earline said...

To Rick Brooks on your September 15, 2016 Post: I don't know if my purchase of "THE DUKES OF HAZZARD" was part of the DVD'S that "WARNER BRO'S" intended to destroy. I wasn't aware that "WARNER BRO'S" had intended to do such a thing. I wonder why wouldn't they simply sell them until they were all gone. It makes little or no sense to me. After all, they stood to profit.

I did have the First Season Of "THE DUKES OF HAZZARD". I bought it used, without its sleeve. Then I later pawned it, which wasn't a good idea. Now there seems to be a hit or miss on its availability. And some of the extras may not be on there. Maybe I should go back over to "BIG LOTS" and see whatelse they have. I'm interested in buying another Season One of "HAZEL".

Now, about "OZZIE AND HARRIET": I too read about two years ago that "SAM NELSON" was trying to have "THE ADVENTURES OF OZZIE & HARRIET" issued by Seasons, instead of the "VOLUMES" and "BEST OF" type offerings we'be been getting. Maybe if Sam had worked out some sort of deal with the companies who specialize in releasing shows by the season, we may have some of the seasons in our possession now. I didn't know that "THE NELSON FAMILY" did not own the copyrights. But it doesn't explain how come whoever does have the rights doesn't simply release them. So if I'm understanding you right, it is because "Sam" wants to maintain control of the project of releasing the episodes by the season, which is holding up the whole project?! Maybe there would be a legal issue involved, costing Millions of Dollars. But I always thought that whoever had the rights to something also have the right to do what they want with it, within legal and moral means, of course.

Rick Brooks said...

Lots of stuff here! Thanks as always, everyone, for the comments! Before I respond to some of Earline's thoughts, let me praise Judy for this line above:

It's like one of the writers took a night class in Real Estate and dumped their notebook.

That's hilarious!

Rick Brooks said...

In reverse order, Earline: I think Warners was upset because the Big Lots sale devalued its TV-on-DVD sets, and if you think about it, that's true: It's tough to get people to pay 25 bucks for a set once they know someone had it for 5 bucks. Me, I didn't care about Warners interests. I was just disappointed I didn't get any of those clearance deals!

With Ozzie and Harriet, there are huge costs with transfers and DVD production, and maybe music rights, which makes any "official" release a big undertaking for one guy. There are many episodes thought to be public domain, which is why you see things like the Mill Creek sets, and Shout! released a few sets that were endorsed by, I think, David Nelson, but Sam Nelson announced his intent to release restored complete seasons.

I could be wrong, but I think in theory anyone could take old film prints and release episodes themselves, but the publib domain status, or perceived status, of the series makes the larger companies wary of spending any money on it because there are already a bunch of cheap releases and also someone else could take those shows and release them under their own banner. That said, yes, apparently Sam Nelson had an offer or two from a major company but decided to turn it down, perhaps not realizing how hard it would be to put something together.

Rick Brooks said...

Thanks, also, for your comments on the end of the Hazel series and the lives of its cast. I would love to read a Don Defore memoir as well. The magazine Films of the Golden Age ran an article on him a few years ago, but IIRC it was mostly a summary of his career, and even then I think it focused more on Ozzie and Harriet than on Hazel.

I grew up watching him in Hazel, so it's always a nice treat to me to see him in something like Too Late for Tears or Southside 1-1000.

Earline said...

What I find really fascinating is that no one bothered to interview the "HAZEL CAST MEMBERS" anytime during their lifetime to discuss their characters on the show. Though I do know of an interview that Whitney Blake did on Tom Snyder's radio program, I have yet to hear it. I thought that it may be on "Youtube", but not to the best of my knowledge. Maybe back then no one thought that anyone would be interested in the "WHY", "WHAT", or "HOW COMES" of some of those ACTORS'S CAREERS. That the audience was only interested in what was presently going on. Well, Fans sure are curious and asking questions now. There isn't hardly an old show around that doesn't have a following.

On "HAZEL" the infamous Season 5, is somewhat of a heart breaker for many "HAZEL FANS". Not only did they remove the main couple: "George and Dorothy" and replace them with a younger unheard of couple: "Steve and Barbara", but "Steve" also had a silly Receptionist. "Steve" was running a business. The Receptionist should have been a little bit more professional. Since "George" was to be out of the Country for a little while, "Steve" could have used his Secretary, "Miss Scott", the same way "Steve" got "HAZEL". I think "Millie" would have been better as a Relative of "Barbara's", who showed up here and there for various reasons. If she was on there for comedy relief, it could have still been written in. And "HAZEL" and "HAROLD" seemed to have been abandoned or left to stay with the "Younger Baxter's".

And just like "George" whose Partner was "Harry Noll", who was always in some sort of messy situation, with George coming to the rescue, "Steve" also had a rather unscrupulous Partner, who did things for his own gain. Not to mention the time when he teased "HAZEL" about her weight, causing her to go on a weight reduction program, which she didn't have the money for. Of course "HAZEL" turned the table on him.

What was rather funny throughout the first four seasons was the way that "HAZEL" watched "George's" weight. It was rather silly because all "George" had to do was eat a little something extra while he was out. Then, of course, someone would see him, then spill it to "HAZEL", and the battle would be on just as soon as he tried to get dessert. I could just hear her now: "Oh no Mr. "B"! "Rosie" said she saw you down at the Ice Cream Parlor having three scoops of Chocolate Ice Cream with all the trimmings". Or "Mr "B"., you already had your dessert. "Barney" told me that he saw you over at the Diner, and he heard you ordering Coffee and Lemon Meringue Pie, when he was delivering the mail there". I guess too, it was so silly because "HAZEL" was no skinny gal herself. I think I'm going to go and watch a few episodes of "HAZEL". Maybe Season 5.

Earlinefan said...

.....back to season 1 on Antenna TV today!

Rick Brooks said...

Funny timing! Check the blog tomorrow for an announcement: I'll be going through season 1 and posting about the episodes here! I hope everyone who has contributed comments will keep the discussion going!

Earline said...

This question is to Rick, though anyone can answer it: Who was the Girl Actress on the first Episode of Season One of "HAZEL": "Hazel and the Playground" who said that she was "to old to play Hop Scotch". I haven't been able to find out who she is. I know that sometimes Actors used to not get credit for their role. A scene would be full of Actors but only the "Main Characters" would be mentioned. In one episode on "HAZEL" Child Actress "Judy Erwin" appeared in either season three or four as a child who tried to purchase Lemonade. She didn't get it after putting in her money. "HAZEL" then came to her rescue. She then disappeared after that scene. Not only was she not listed on the credits, but that was the last time she appeared on the show. Judy played the youngest daughter of "STAN BLAKE", "MAVIS BLAKE", who were neighbors of "The Baxters".

A lot of Adult Actors and Child Actors went uncredited on"HAZEL". Unfortunately without knowing who some of them were, there probably isn't a way to look them up. I wonder if that was something that Actors did back then to get exposure or work. This sort of thing was rampant on "Ozzie & Harriet" too. Today is Johnny Washbrook's Birthday. He played "HAZEL'S" Red Haired Nephew, "Eddie Burke". For everyone who is watching Season One today, he first appears on Episode 8: "GEORGE'NIECE".

Earline said...

Oops! I'm sorry about the Birthday Date Goof. JOHNNY WASHBROOK'S BIRTHDAY IS ON OCTOBER 16TH. This is what happened when I don't check for typos and I haven't had my Breakfast.