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Decoy on DVDDecoy

Decoy starred Beverly Garland as Casey Jones, a tough minded New York City undercover police officer, TV's first policewoman.

This is a nicely realized 1950's TV noir; though at times it can be too claustrophobic and talky. These half-hour mysteries are augmented with some magnificent footage shot in and around the Big Apple circa 1957. The locations are worth the price of the DVDs alone - Tin Pan Alley, Birdland, Beakman Hill, Central Park South, downtown Manhattan along with other icon areas and long-gone buildings are all seen in their glory.

Inevitably Officer Jones usually finds herself in a tight spot, getting slapped around by violent gangsters, thugs and other unsavories but manages to prevail by keeping her cool and relying on her wits. Overall, the women get roughed up pretty badly in this series while the show tackled tough issues like drug dealing and wayward women in prison.

Guest stars include Frank Campanella, Martin Balsam, Lois Nettleton, Colleen Dewhurst, Peggy Feury, Albert Dekker, Edith Atwater, Irene Daily and others. Episodes end with Garland speaking directly into the camera with a final take on the story.

One of the better crime dramas of the era, for whatever reason this black and white 1958 syndicated series that never really caught on and lasted only one year.

The picture quality on the 2 DVD set is not always the best, it's somewhat washed out but likely looks better than it did when first broadcast. This is likely the best we'll see of this series and this collection of 10 episodes is a bargain at only $6.00 if you order online now.


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Gangbusters on DVDGangbusters

Smashing early-1950s dramatizations of the capturing of real life gangsters like Alvin Karpas, John Dillinger and Durable Mike.

This is one of those great old time radio shows that carried over to television but like most radio transplants it never took hold despite being an A-1 production. (Gangbusters ran for one year on TV, 1952, but the radio version lasted from 1935 until 1957.) It's really effective overall with real life law enforcement types introducing the stories.

Shot in real life locations makes the drama all that more appealing and realistic. It's melodramatic and strikes that perfect 1950's film noir cord with one of the most over the top openings of all time. Gangbusters was syndicated under the title Captured.

This DVD release looks and sounds great, especially when you consider how old the footage is - the price is right as well, 10 episodes for around 6 bucks.

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Judge Roy Bean on DVDJudge Roy Bean

Edgar Buchanan (Petticoat Junction) stars as the irascible legendary frontier Judge who came to tame a town and bring law and order to the good folks in Langtry, Texas, the toughest portion of the west according to the show's opening.

The Judge solves the town's problems with wit and gunplay if necessary. According to legend, Judge Roy Bean (aka the 'Hanging Judge') held court in his saloon along the Rio Grande but this incarnation doesn't sell booze, he's a kindly storekeeper. There's little authenticity here but that's expected of a TV series from 1956.

Seen frequently were western greats Lash LaRue, Russell Hayden, X. Brands (Yancy Derringer) and Glenn Strange (Gunsmoke). The series was filmed in color (very rare for this time) at Frontiertown, California whatever that was.

It's all enjoyable fun in the way those simple TV westerns were. Nothing too exciting but pleasurable enough. Fans of horse operas or Edgar Buchanan will enjoy it especially considering the low price - about 6 bucks for a two disc 10 episode collection.

These episodes are mildly amusing and the picture and sound look quite clean.

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Number of discs: 2

Studio: Entertainment Distributing
DVD Release Date: September 12, 2006

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