DVD Review: I Married Joan (Classic TV Collection #4)

Society wants to you to believe that divorce is just a “recent” phenomen that happened at the end of the Free Love ’60s and the start of the Me ’70s. But turns out couples get married and couples break up. It’s just a fact of life and relationships. As proof there was divorce in the marvelous ’50s, there was the sitcom I Married Joan. Judge Bradley Stevens (Gilligan’s Island‘s Jim Backus) would handle divorce cases in his courtroom. But being a sitcom in the ’50s means that things had to be humorous and resolve with the couple giving love a second chance. Sponsor General Electric wasn’t ready to launch a line of “You’re A Bachelor Again Toaster Ovens. How did the wise Judge get the couples to reconcile? He reflected on is life of being married to Joan (Beautiful But Broke‘s Joan Davis). I Married Joan: Classic TV Collection #4 contains 10 of the 98 episodes with a selection from all three seasons.

Quite a few of the sitcoms that aired during the early days of network TV were based off radio shows. I married Joan was created as a TV show so there’s an emphasis on physical humor and sight gags. It wasn’t just a couple gabbing away with jokes. During “Hunting,” the Judge pulls out a massive map that nearly covers his office. He practically walks to his camping site on the map. Back at the house, Joan practices her fishing by hooking a throw pillow from the sofa. There are plenty of jokes. Davis and Backus work so well off each other as a married couple. The other nine episodes on the collection are “Shopping,” “The Stamp,” “Lateness,” “Business Executive,” “First Lie,” Initiation,” “Superstition,” “Eyeglasses” and “Lieutenant General.” The episodes run about 23 minutes meaning they have been snipped a little for syndication. But it doesn’t ruin the humor of Joan getting herself in unusual positions.

I Married Joan was NBC’s answer to I Love Lucy on CBS. The series gained a ratings boost during the second season when its competition, The Arthur Godfrey Show made a nasty casting change. Things went horrific the third season when a network pinhead put I Married Joan against Disneyland. The mouse ate them alive and NBC divorced Joan and the Judge. While the show ended prematurely, Jim Backus would end up playing James Dean’s dad in Rebel Without A Cause. Joan would appear on numerous talkshows. The show did have enough episodes for syndication and has popped up on UHF channels and cable stations over the decades.

The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The transfers look fine. There’s periodic scratches. Since it’s a black scratch on a black and white picture, the damage isn’t distracting. The audio is Dolby Digital Mono. The sound levels are fine so you hear the Judge get frustrated when Joan wants to be a part of his boys weekend out.

No bonus features.

VCI Entertainment presents I Married Joan: Classic TV Collection #4. Starring: Joan Davis & Jim Backus. Boxset Contents: 10 episodes on 1 DVD. Released: October 9, 2018.

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