DVD Review: Hazel (The Complete Fourth Season)

Hazel (Shirley Booth) does seem like a bygone character. When is the last time a TV show featured a maid that spoke English as her primary language and dominated their employer’s lives? The Baxters (Don DeFore and Whitney Blake) never seemed to have a single worry that Hazel could be secretly stealing them blind while they’re out of the house. Hazel was good for their son Harold (Bobby Buntrock). Sure, Hazel caused them trouble now and then when she overstepped her duties. But at no point did the Baxters have to worry about being arrested for hiring her. This was a completely different world from today’s domestic employment on television. Hazel: The Complete Fourth Season shows how even with such an ideal situation, Mr. Baxter was still frustrated with Hazel’s involuntary help.

“Never Trouble Trouble” focuses Mr. Baxter’s gruffness on his mooching cousin. Leave it to Hazel to want to fix up the family. Mr. Baxter could now growl at both. Harold Gould, the Dean of Thespians graces the Baxter’s home. “Luncheon with the Governor” should be a great career moment for Mr. Baxter when the head of the state drops by the house for a bite. However the joyous occasion is met with a protest on the lawn. “The Marriage Trap” snaps hard on the leg of Ken Berry (F Troop). Mostly it clamps down on Mr. Baxter’s secretary when a client begs her to be his bride. “The Flagpole” is another power struggle between Hazel and her employer. This time she goes out and buys a 30 foot high flagpole. He’s not into waving Old Glory so high above the neighborhood. Frank Cady (Green Acres) is part of the tall tale. “Welcome Back, Kevin” brings Mr. Baxter’s nephew for a visit after his military discharge. He’s got a lot of issues in his footlocker.

“Mind Your Own Business” puts Mr. Baxter on the rampage. He draws up new house rules to keep Hazel in check. But can he really contain a force of nature? “Just Me, Harold and the Universe” enters Hazel in a contest to show off her maid skills. She once more gets things twisted up. The title has an ironic twist when it comes to Season 5. But no need to spoil that surprise yet. “Mix-Up on Marshall Road” ticks off Mr. Baxter again when Hazel gets his annoying client to move into the neighborhood. “A Lesson in Diplomacy” has another government VIP drop by the Baxter’s house. She’s not happy with a guest for Thanksgiving. “Better to Have Loved and Lost” explains why Mr. Baxter didn’t want his annoying client so close to his house. Now he has to deal with the client’s issues with his wife. “Just 86 Shopping Minutes to Christmas” aired on Christmas Eve in 1964. George is sick of the consumerism of the holiday. Is he really going to make Santa skip any presents being tossed down the chimney?

“Champagne Tony” is a time with British Open champion Tony Lema. Hazel loses his lucky golf clubs. Can she find them by tee time? Lema would die a few years later with his wife in a small plane crash. “Temper, Temper” puts Hazel in a bad mood with Mr. Baxter’s Italian client. “Boonie Boy” shows how much Hazel does for her ungrateful boss. She buys him a winning ticket and he finds a reason to be cranky. “Hazel’s Inquisitive Mind” gets her pushing for a new neighbor to be Mr. Baxter’s client. “George’s Man Friday” gets Hazel a marriage proposal. Can she give up being a maid? Harold Gould returns as a judge. “The Investor” makes Hazel a part owner of a bakery run by John Banner (Sgt. Schultz on Hogan’s Heroes). She has to become an active owner to save her dough, but can she work for Mr. Baxter and the baker?

Hazel: The Complete Fourth Season did bring to an end the frustrations of Mr. Baxter. NBC canceled the show, but CBS picked it up. In order to save money, the producers dropped Don DeFore and Whitney Blake. But they kept Hazel and Bobby Buntrock. How did the show explain a maid and a parent-less kid? You’ll have to wait for Season 5’s review. What matters is that DeFore had perfected his frustration look with Hazel. He knew how to look ungrateful when he was given the miracle of Hazel to straighten out his life.

The Episodes
“Never Trouble Trouble,” “Luncheon with the Governor,” “Ain’t that a Knee Slapper?,” “Marriage Trap,” “The Flagpole,” “Welcome Back, Kevin,” “Mind Your Own Business,” “High Finance Hits a New Low,” “Just Me, Harold and the Universe,” “Mix-Up on Marshall Road,” “A Lesson in Diplomacy,” “To Build or Not to Build,” “Better to Have Loved and Lost,” “Hazel Squares the Triangle,” “Just 86 Shopping Minutes to Christmas,” “Champagne Tony,” “It’s a Dog’s Life,” “Love ’em and Leave ’em,” “Temper, Temper,” “Bonnie Boy,” “Stop Rockin’ Our Reception,” “What’s Bugging Hazel?,” “Hazel’s Day in Court,” “Hazel’s Inquisitive Mind,” “George’s Man Friday” and “The Investor.”

The video is 1.33:1. The color seems to vary with the episodes with a few having a brown tint. They do look better than the episodes running on Antenna TV. The audio is Dolby Digital mono. You can hear Mr. Baxter’s frustrated tones from smoulder to shout.

Original Promotional Booklet went out to advertisers when Screen Gems signed up to adapt the Saturday Evening Post cartoon. The big bonus is a few Hazel cartoons are included.

Hazel: The Complete Fourth Season is the last time around for Mr. Baxter to get angry with his maid. He does his best frustration reactions as Hazel meddles with his family, relatives and clients.

Shout! Factory presents Hazel: The Complete Fourth Season. Starring: Shirley Booth, Don DeFore, Whitney Blake and Bobby Buntrock. Boxset Contents: 26 episodes on 4 DVDs. Released: December 11, 2012. Available at Amazon.com

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