DVDs give a chance for a nearly forgotten series that barely had a season on the air a chance to be rediscovered. TV stations don’t want to rerun a series that can’t even last a month on TV without recycling. They want popular shows that have a hundred plus episodes on the shelf. So what happens to the short lived shows that features major stars? They just get mentioned in TV books or a clip on a nostalgia special. TV fans know that David Carradine played a character in the Old West who did his best to swear off violence in Kung Fu. That ’70s cult series has fared well in syndication over the decades. But few folks knew that Carradine had played a similar Western character in the ’60s. The obscure series only lasted 17 episodes. Luckily Shane: The Complete Series has allowed Kung Fu fans a chance to see another side of a peaceful Carradine on horseback.
Shane is based off Jack Schaefer’s novel and Alan Ladd’s iconic cinema role. He’s a gunfighter who has tired of showdowns. The movie ends with Shane mowing down the bad guys and leaving town. A little boy shouts, “Shane! Come back!” But he can’t return since he’s brought so much blood to the town that was supposed to be a peaceful place. The series brings Shane back to the Starrlett Ranch. Marian Starrlett (Jill Ireland, Spock’s Lady on Star Trek) needs help running the ranch and raising her boys. Thus Shane really does come back. But trouble has also returned to town with Rufe Ryker (Bert Freed) being a pain for the townsfolk. “The Distant Bell” brings Diane Ladd (Wild At Heart) to town as a school teacher. She sets up a classroom in a barn. But Rufe doesn’t want no book learning for the kiddies. He sets the barn on fire. Shane thinks she might want to leave. But she rings the class bell in the saloon since nobody needs to be drunk during school hours. Rufe ain’t happy and Shane can’t talk him down. “The Hant” marks an awkward encounter when Shane can’t quite recall that he killed a visiting old man’s son a few years back. The Spicer family rides into town bent on revenge in “An Echo of Anger.” Warren Oates (The Wild Bunch) and his kin swear Shane killed their brother. But Shane swears he didn’t do it.
“The Other Image” gives Shane a rival for the heart of Marian. Her beau from the East arrives. Can he measure up to the quickdraw artist.”Poor Tom’s A Cold” puts Robert Duvall (The Godfather) on the range. Rufe might have poisoned Duvall’s water to ruin the settlement. Things get nasty quick. “The Big Fifty” frames Shane for killing one of Rufe’s ranch hands. Wayne Rogers (M*A*S*H*() is so young on the prairie. “The Great Invasion” is a two parter covering a range war. Charles Grodin (Midnight Run) gets involved in the battle over cattle, rustlers and fraudsters. “A Man’d Be Proud” wrapped up the series with Marian plotting to get Shane to do more than be fond of her. She’s got a love trap ready to snare her gunslinger.
Shane deserved a longer life. ABC had a bit of faith in it since there was a Batman spoof villain named Shame. But somehow Shane couldn’t get a full order. Maybe he should have been a little bit more forceful with the network executives. Shane: The Complete Series reminds of a time when Carradine wanted to stay on the ranch rather than walk the Earth alone.
The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The transfers have a richness to the color. The audio is Dolby Digital mono. The levels bring out the sounds of ranch life.
No bonus features.
Shane: The Complete Series has the gunfighter come back to help out on the ranch. The short lived series has David Carradine taming the wild west without using his feet.
Timeless Media Group presents Shane: The Complete Series. Starring: David Carradine, Jill Ireland & Christopher Shea . Boxset Contents: 17 episodes on 3 DVDs. Released: March 10, 2015.
Tags: Kung Fu, Shane