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A beloved vintage Western TV series is on DVD for the first time
A young Robert Vaughn stars in "Teenage Cave Man" (1958), one of four movies spoofed by the snarky MSTK3 team in the new DVD release "Mystery Science Theater 3000: Vol. XXXV." - photo by Chris Hicks
A beloved TV Western makes its DVD debut this week, more than 60 years after it aired as a syndicated series.

Death Valley Days: The Complete First Season (Shout!/Timeless, 1952-53, b/w, three discs, 18 episodes). Before this half-hour Western anthology was adapted for television, it was a radio staple from 1930 to 1951. Then the TV program ran from 1952 through 1970.

Older fans may remember Ronald Reagan or Robert Taylor as hosts, but they came later. The first 11 seasons true stories were hosted by The Old Ranger, played by unbilled Stanley Andrews, and the show had a single sponsor, 20 Mule Team Borax.

Western fans will enjoy these episodes, most of which havent been seen in decades. Each is bolstered by location shooting and one, Sego Lilies, focuses on a Salt Lake pioneer family called by Brigham Young to help establish St. George (and pronounces the name of a supporting character as Neh-fy).

Guests here include Phyllis Coates (a month before she began her single season as Lois Lane on The Adventures of Superman), Gail Davis (in two episodes, two years before Annie Oakley) and Jock Mahoney (a decade before he took over the role of Tarzan).

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Vol. XXXV (Shout!, 1991-96, b/w and color, four discs, four episodes, three short films, featurettes; mini-posters). The four films spoofed in this collection of episodes by the snarky MST3K commentators are highlighted by Teenage Cave Man (1958), with Robert Vaughn in the title role (two years before The Magnificent Seven and six years before The Man From U.N.C.L.E.). (For the first several weeks of its release this DVD set will sell exclusively in Wal-Mart stores.)

Also here are Being From Another Planet (aka Time Walker, 1982), about a mummy stalking a college campus; 12 to the Moon (1960), with astronauts encountering hostile aliens; and Deathstalker and the Warriors From Hell (1988), the third medieval fantasy in the Deathstalker franchise.

Humans (Acorn, 2015, three discs, eight episodes, featurettes, photo gallery). Androids called synths resemble humans, but perhaps a bit too much. They have been created to help busy families but lately they seem to have started thinking for themselves. This sci-fi series, which aired in this country on AMC, is extended by more than 20 minutes using the original unedited British episodes. William Hurt is among the cast. (Contains violence, coarse language, nudity and sex.) (A second season will begin later this year.)

Archer: The Complete Season Six (Fox/FX, 2015, two discs, 13 episodes, featurettes). The deliberately anachronistic spy cartoon series for adults hijacked its own fifth year for a season-long diversion, but with Season 6 the show returns to its espionage roots as Archer and friends travel the world on new missions. Jessica Walter and Judy Greer are among the voice talent; guests include Christian Slater, Allison Tolman, Gary Cole and Ron Leibman. The name of Archers organization is changed this season, since in real life ISIS has taken on a new meaning. (Season 7 begins this weekend on the FX cable channel.)

CPO Sharkey: The Best of Season Two (Time Life, 1977-78, six episodes). This is a collection of episodes from Don Rickles mid-70s sitcom about a Navy chief petty officer dealing with misfit recruits. Funny stuff for fans who are accepting of the decidedly un-PC humor offered by Rickles insult style.

Rhythm n Bayous: A Road Map to Louisiana Music (MVD, 2000). Various talking heads explain the background of the title musical stylings in this Robert Mugge three-part documentary, but its really all about the toe-tapping songs, and fans of the Bayou sound will not be disappointed. Included here are Frankie Ford, Dale Hawkins, Sister Pearlee Toliver, the Hackberry Ramblers, Dale & Grace and many more.

Frontline: Netanyahu at War (PBS, 2016). A two-hour look at the prime minister of Israel, his path to power, his relationship with American presidents, and the pros and cons of his politics, which have garnered praise and criticism.

The Making of Trump (History/Lionsgate, 2015). The divisive presidential candidate is profiled in this 90-minute History Channel documentary. Lots of outrageous stuff, but not any more outrageous than what we read daily of Donald Trumps diatribes along the campaign trail.
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