DVD Review: Hazel (The Complete Second Season)

Hazel was in color? My perception had been that Hazel was in black and white when it ran in a local UHF station with Father Knows Best, Dennis the Menace and Leave It to Beaver. Why would I remember it so wrong? The distant summer when Hazel was on in the mid-mornings, I watched the show on my grandmother’s black and white TV. They really did make TVs that had no color. The show just seemed like it lacked the hues like other shows on the schedule. It’s a bit of a shock seeing the Baxter’s house in full color on Hazel: The Complete Second Season.

Hazel (Oscar winner Shirley Booth) was the maid for the Baxter family, but she wasn’t merely the help. She controlled everything on the property. Mr. Baxter (A Guy Named Joe‘s Don DeFore) was a successful lawyer, but he had no sway with Hazel. His wife Dorothy (Whitney Blake) was at the housekeeper’s mercy. Their son Harold (Bobby Buntrock) thought Hazel was his real parent. Hazel doesn’t merely run the family, but appeared to be the unofficial mayor of the town with her connections. The vastness of her pull and power made the episodes so addicting.

“Hazel’s Cousin” turns out to be a major showbiz star (Rosemary DeCamp) that’s about to be married. Hazel gets ready for the wedding. The dean of thespian Harold Gould (Rhoda) makes an appearance since he was in every show ever made in the 20th Century. “Barney Hatfield, Where Are You?” tracks down a missing mailman. It’s good to see that someone cares about postal employees. A very young Jamie Farr (M*A*S*H) has a bit role. You might overlook him since he’s not wearing a dress. “Hazel’s Highland Fling” presents a cook that can’t cook. Mr Griffin (Howard Smith) wants Mr. Baxter to fire the woman, but Hazel can’t allow that to happen. What’s really cooking is a young James Doohan (Scotty on Star Trek). He’s ready to be beamed up.

“Mr. Griffin Throws a Wedding” twists around a romance so Mr. Griffin’s nephew falls hard for Mr. Griffin’s secretary. They’re fixing to get hitched. But why? Does she now want to spend the workdays and family reunions with Mr. Griffin. Dick Sargent (the second Darrin on Bewitched) is part of the romance. “Hazel’s Day Off” isn’t much when she has to calm down William Schallert from his high tension. He’d soon get more reasons to be worked up when he dealt with identical cousins on The Patty Duke Show. “Oh, My Aching Back” has Mr. Baxter in fear that Hazel will notice he’s got back issues again. She’ll nag the pain away. “Maid of the Month” sums up what Hazel wins. “So Long Brown Eyes” brings back an old lover who wants Hazel as his wife. Can she really give up dominating the Baxters to settle for a guy?

The joy of watching Hazel at work is that she’s not merely doing the chores for the Baxters. She’s not a servant since it’s obvious this family would die if she truly quit them. She hasn’t problem getting into trouble since she’s an unstoppable force. Shirley Booth brings the necessary energy and savvy nature to make sure her meddling ways have a purpose. Finally seeing this show in color is a revelation since Hazel is not a black and white character.

The Episodes
“Hazel’s Cousin,” “Rosie’s Contract,” “We’ve Been So Happy Till Now,” “How to Lure and Epicure,” “Barney Hatfield, Where Are You?,” “A Four-Bit Word to Chew On,” “Hazel’s Tax Deduction,” “Mr. B on the Bench,” “License to Wed,” “Genie with the Light Brown Lamp,” “The Natural Athlete,” “New Man in Town,” “Herbert for Hire,” “Hazel and the Lovebirds,” “Top Secret,” “The Sunshine Girls Quartet,” “A Good Example for Harold,” “Hazel’s Highland Fling,” “Ain’t Walter Nice?,” “Mr. Griffin Throws a Wedding,” “Hazel and the Stockholder’s Meeting,” “Hazel’s Day Off,” “I’ve Been Singing All My Life,” “The Fire’s Never Dead, While the Ashes Are Red,” “Hazel’s Navy Blue Tug-Boats,” “The Hazel Walk,” “Hazel Digs a Hole for Herself,” “Hazel Sounds Her ‘A’,” Hazel’s Luck,” “Oh, My Aching Back,” “Maid of the Month” and “So Long, Brown Eyes.”

The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The color transfers look fine although the resolution brings out Shirley Booth’s make up secrets. The audio is mono. You can clearly hear Hazel calling from the other room.

No bonus features.

Hazel: The Complete Second Season brings the madcap adventures of a meddling maid to the world of color. She’s not there to do exactly what the Baxters want her to do. She’s taking care of them and herself. Even with minor power struggles, there’s a true bond between the family and their maid that doesn’t end at the paycheck. Season Three is slated to be released on May 15.

Shout! Factory presents Hazel: The Complete Second Season. Starring: Shirley Booth, Don DeFore, Whitney Blake and Bobby Buntrock. Boxset Contents: 32 episodes on 4 DVDs. Released on DVD: February 21, 2012. Available at Amazon.com.

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