(October 6, 2009 – Burbank, CA) – Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group (WBHEG) announced today a wide-range of titles are being added to the Warner Archive Collection (www.WarnerArchive.com) this October that include a complete collection of the Oscar-nominated “JOE MCDOAKES” comedy shorts directed by Hollywood legend Richard Bare, two never before released Gene Roddenberry TV pilots “PLANET EARTH” and “GENESIS II” and highly requested contemporary TV mini-series that include “JACK THE RIPPER” starring Michael Caine, “THE DELIBERATE STRANGER” starring Mark Harmon and “HAYWIRE” starring Lee Remick and Jason Robards. Since its debut in March, The Warner Archive Collection has 338 titles available and it continues to grow monthly. This month, the laughs continue with two more sets of comedic gems as we present a complete collection featuring all 30 of the wonderful M-G-M shorts starring ascorbic wit of the Algonquin Round Table, the ever-befuddled and fascinating Robert Benchley, and a six disc set of the marvelous mini mirth-filled adventures of “JOE MCDOAKES,” in the persona of his alter-ego, comic George O’Hanlon. A satirist and humorist, Robert Benchley was part of the famous legendary group of writers that held court at New York’s legendary Algonquin Hotel in the 1920s, which also included Dorothy Parker and Alexander Woolcott. Benchley eventually came out to Hollywood to do write screenplays, but his persona was too irresistible not to be placed in front of the camera. He soon found his way into supporting roles in features, when almost on a whim, MGM got the idea to give him his own series of short subjects. The first of these, entitled “HOW TO SLEEP” went on to win an Academy Award®. Benchley continued appearing in both features and shorts until his untimely death in 1944. While he is fondly remembered as one of Hollywood’s great character actors, his MGM short subjects have earned him a special endearment among film fans. With all 30 of the one reel shorts that Benchley made at Metro between 1935 and 1944 included in this Warner Archive collection release, fans will celebrate the first-ever comprehensive collection making their home video debut. Created while he was a student at the University of Southern California, Richard L. Bare developed the character of Joe McDoakes within a student film title “SO YOU WANT TO GIVE UP SMOKING.” He sold the film to Jack Warner who saw potential in this talented director. Bare went on to create 63 different “JOE MCDOAKES” ten minute shorts, three of which earned Oscar nominations. These laugh-out-loud comedies star George O’Hanlon (later the voice of TV’s George Jetson) as the loveable Joe McDoakes who’s always getting into some kind of jam that audiences can relate to. This popular series ran for 14 years and most of them have never been released on DVD, until now in this unprecedented collection. Gene Roddenberry fans will ‘tweet’ with delight this month as the Warner Archive offers two feature-length TV pilots that represented his first attempts to return to the world of series television following the demise of his groundbreaking creation “STAR TREK.” “GENESIS II” (1973) starred Alex Cord in the role of Dylan Hunt; an astronaut from the 20th Century who awakes to find himself propelled forward 200 years into a post-apocalyptic society of the future called PAX. Roddenberry had completed almost an entire season’s worth of scripts before learning that CBS would not pick up the series. Roddenberry tried again the following year with “PLANET EARTH,” which appeared as a made-for-TV feature on ABC in 1974, portraying a similar theme, but with a different stylistic approach that had a swifter pacing and a decidedly different leading man (John Saxon) in the role of Hunt. Also this month, the archive offers “EARTH II,” a 1971 telefilm from director Tom Gries, and starring Gary (“2001: A Space Odyssey”) Lockwood with co-star Mariette Hartley. “EARTH II” has become a cult favorite with sci-fi fans, as its visions for a future world reflect a notable influence from the ground-breaking achievements made by Roddenberry with “STAR TREK.” Also this month from the Warner Archive Collection, sci-fi Producer Irwin Allen put his personal touch on every aspect of 1971’s “CITY BENEATH THE SEA,” an underwater spectacular starring Stuart Whitman, Robert Wagner and James Darren. Last but certainly not least is Patrick Duffy as the “MAN FROM ATLANTIS,” an underwater humanoid who is given the name of Mark Harris as he is inducted by the U.S. Navy to help the protect the nation. One of Hanna-Barbera Productions’ rare forays into live-action production, this was the first of four Man from Atlantis TV Movies to air on NBC in 1977. The response was so positive that NBC picked up the series for a fall season slot that year. This is the pilot movie that started it all. The Warner Archive Collection is heading down the ‘Yellow Brick Road’ this month to offer four classic films featuring the cast of the “The Wizard of Oz” which is celebrating its 70th anniversary. Before they were Dorothy and Glinda the good-witch, Judy Garland and Billie Burke co-starred as daughter and mother in the irresistible 1938 MGM musical “EVERYBODY SING.” Scarecrow Ray Bolger and Wizard Frank Morgan provide comedic antics galore supporting Eleanor Powell and Nelson Eddy who star in “ROSALIE.” Jack Haley stars in the rarely seen RKO musical “GEORGE WHITE SCANDALS” (1945) in which he plays the henpecked brother of a nasty fussbudget played by the Wicked Witch herself Margaret Hamilton, and lastly Bert Lahr re-creates his Broadway performance in the 1931 MGM musical “FLYING HIGH,” adapted from the stage musical hit originally produced by none other than George White himself. The success of made-for-TV movies in the late ‘60s and early 70s led to another innovation, as impressive multi-night presentations (usually with major stars and/or based on famous books) became defined as the “mini-series.” This month, the Warner Archive Collection heralds the DVD debut of these six highly-lauded productions: • “THE DELIBERATE STRANGER” - Mark Harmon eerily takes on the persona of Ted Bundy, in this highly-lauded docudrama chronicling the harrowing story behind the notorious serial killer • “HAYWIRE” - Lee Remick earned an Emmy nomination for her portrayal of legendary actress Margaret Sullivan, and Jason Robards co-stars as her husband, famed Broadway producer Leland Hayward, in this brilliantly crafted adaptation of Brooke Hayward’s best-selling memoir • “JACK THE RIPPER” – Michael Caine won a Golden Globe award for his portrayal as the detective out to catch the murderous beast that terrorized London in the 1880s. Jane Seymour and Armand Assante co-star • “NUTCRACKER: MONEY, MADNESS & MURDER” - Journalist Shana Alexander’s best-selling investigation into one of the most bizarre murder cases of recent years provided the fascinating basis for this fascinating three-part presentation, which earned NINE Emmy Nominations! Lee Remick heads up in the all-star cast • “THE TWO MRS. GRENVILLES” - Oscar-winning screen legend Claudette Colbert was lured in front of the cameras for one last appearance, joining co-star Ann Margret to make screen magic as they portrayed “THE TWO MRS. GRENVILLES.” Both actresses earned Emmy nominations for their scintillating performances in this elegant adaptation of Domenic Dunne’s famous novel Also this month the Warner Archive Collection features the following DVD premieres: • Romantic Comedies from Hollywood’s Golden Age – Legendary Hollywood talents are on fine display this month. First, “EVERY GIRL SHOULD BE MARRIED” stars the dashing Cary Grant and Betsy Drake who also stars in “PRETTY BABY” with Edmund Gwenn, “PERFECT STRANGERS” features the ever-lovely Ginger Rogers, Kirk Douglas and Susan Hayward defy Washington D.C. politicos with their “TOP SECRET AFFAIR,” the ever-cool Dean Martin stars in “TEN THOUSAND BEDROOMS” and “OUR MISS BROOKS” features Eve Arden in the big-screen adaptation of her hit radio and TV series. • Politics and Propaganda! - Controversial in their day, these films utilized the power of cinema to convey political thinking. Walter Huston stars as the mentally-impaired President in “GABRIEL OVER THE WHITE HOUSE,” “THEY WON’T FORGET” is director Mervyn LeRoy’s attack on prejudice, and, Edward G. Robinson’s “CONFESSIONS OF A NAZI SPY” takes on the growing threat of Nazis in New York, Margaret Sullivan and James Stewart co-star in the MGM classic “THE MORTAL STORM,” Ambassador Joseph Davies 1943 pro-Soviet movie “MISSION TO MOSCOW” and Lloyd Bridges stars in Herbert Biberman’s warning of Nazi theology in “THE MASTER RACE.” • Legendary Ladies of the Silver Screen – Some of the most requested MGM titles in our vault make their debut! Myrna Loy charms Ramon Novarro in “THE BARBARIAN,” Spencer Tracy stars as a government agent in “WHIPSAW,” Warner Baxter falls for Myrna Loy in “PENTHOUSE,” Ava Gardner is the temptress who lures Robert Taylor in “THE BRIBE” and “THE SUBJECT WAS ROSES” stars Oscar-winner Patricia Neal as the mother of a returning Vietnam vet, portrayed by a young Martin Sheen. • TV Movies released by Popular Demand! – These appeared for one night only but were some of the most memorable of all time including “DEATH OF A CENTERFOLD: THE DOROTHY STRATTEN STORY” featuring Jamie Lee Curtis, “LOVE AMONG THIEVES” stars Oscar® winner Audrey Hepburn and Robert Wagner and Barbara Eden is a woman possessed by her unborn baby in “THE STRANGER WITHIN.” • 1950s Western/Action Heroes – Fans of “Oater” can’t get enough of their favorite genre. This month, Alan Ladd and Ernest Borgnine re-tell the story of “THE ASPHALT JUNGLE,” in “THE BADLANDERS,” Robert Ryan and Walter Brennan star in the Technicolor hit “BEST OF THE BAD MEN,” Glenn Ford heads up a fine cast of favorites in “THE FASTEST GUN ALIVE,” Stewart Granger fights off enemies and wins the love of Rhonda Fleming in “GUN GLORY,” Fritz Lang directed Marlene Dietrich in the RKO classic “RANCHO NOTORIOUS,” while Virginia Mayo stars opposite Alan Ladd (as Jim Bowie) in the 1952 fan favorite “THE IRON MISTRESS.” Last but certainly not least are two comic westerns starring Glenn Ford: “THE SHEEPMAN” with Shirley MacLaine and Burt Kennedy’s 1965 hit “THE ROUNDERS,” co-starring Henry Fonda. For a complete list of release dates and titles included in the Warner Archive Collection visit www.WarnerArchive.com. Spanning more than 60 years of filmmaking, the Warner Archive Collection offers movie fans access to Warner Bros. Entertainment’s unparalleled film library consisting of pre-1986 MGM, RKO Radio Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures films. These timeless classics can be downloaded or purchased on DVDs that are made to order for the customer using a state-of-the-art manufacturing on Demand (MOD) process. To order their movies, fans visit WarnerArchive.com, select their titles, and upon purchase, a state-of-the-art manufacturing on demand (MOD) system creates a made-to-order DVD. The system places the DVD into a hard plastic Amaray case featuring custom artwork; and ships the finished package to the customer which arrives in approximately five days. The cost per title is $19.95, plus shipping. Alternatively, consumers can purchase digital downloads of these classic films to enjoy immediately on their PC or broadband connected TV. The cost for a digital download is $14.95 per title. Warner Archive Collection is currently available only to consumers in the United States. About Warner Bros. Digital Distribution Warner Bros. Digital Distribution (WBDD) manages Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group’s electronic distribution over existing, new and emerging digital platforms, including pay-per-view, electronic sell-through, video-on-demand, wireless and more. WBDD also oversees the WBHEG’s worldwide digital strategy, partnerships in digital services and emerging new clients and business activities in the digital space. About Warner Home Video With operations in 90 international territories Warner Home Video, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, commands the largest distribution infrastructure in the global video marketplace. Warner Home Video's film library is the largest of any studio, offering top quality new and vintage titles from the repertoires of Warner Bros. Pictures, Turner Entertainment, Castle Rock Entertainment, HBO Home Video and New Line Home Entertainment. About Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group brings together Warner Bros. Entertainment's home video, digital distribution, interactive entertainment/videogames, direct-to-DVD production, technical operations and anti-piracy businesses in order to maximize current and next-generation distribution scenarios. WBHEG is responsible for the global distribution of content through DVD, electronic sell-through and VOD, and delivery of theatrical content to wireless and online channels, and is also a significant worldwide publisher for both internal and third party videogame titles.
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