Gloryosky TV-on-DVD Roundup | The Great American Dream Machine, Automan, Manimal

When Gloryosky was still called URBMN, it had a feature called Canadian TV-on-DVD Roundup. Of course, the Canadian TV-on-DVD world – hell, the TV-on-DVD world as a whole – isn’t in 2015 what it was in 2009. Good luck finding any Canadian TV-on-DVD release that isn’t based on a new or relatively recent series. The market for “vintage” TV-on-DVD is stable enough thanks to companies like Warner Archive and Shout! Factory.

As an experiment, Gloryosky posts an irregular feature mentioning titles of interest to the site, including the occasional Canadian release when it’s warranted. Gloryosky does this to broaden its reach, as vintage television is a personal interest of mine, and since Gloryosky admits its foray into live-tweeting in 2014-15 was a debacle that the site needs to recover from. Consider this a necessary retrenching into what Gloryosky was around 2009-11, if this site can be so candid.

The Great American Dream Machine (WNET New York/PBS, 1971-72)
Company: S’More Entertainment
Release Date: September 29, 2015
Notable For: Created by Marshall Efron. The Great American Dream Machine is an early showcase for Chevy Chase, with contributors including Albert Brooks, Paul Jacobs, Henry Winkler, Charles Grodin, Penny Marshall, Andy Rooney, David Steinberg, Carly Simon, and Tiny Tim. The press release considers it a forerunner to Saturday Night Live and The Daily Show.

The Great American Dream Machine’s format also inspired ABC News’ initial version of 20/20 in 1978; 20/20’s initial executive producer Bob Shanks was a GADM producer. Magazine editor Harold Hayes and art critic Robert Hughes anchored 20/20 for its June 6, 1978 debut. The next week, Hayes and Hughes were replaced by Hugh Downs. Shanks was replaced in October 1978 by Al Ittleson, and 20/20 eventually retooled into the straightforward newsmagazine it is now. Yes, The Great American Dream Machine can claim to inform both Saturday Night Live’s and 20/20’s initial content. GADM was that versatile.

Manimal (1983, NBC)
Company: Fabulous Films/Shout! Factory
Release Date: November 10, 2015
Notable For: Manimal is 1980s television crap from Glen A. Larson. It’s the show David Letterman ragged on extensively in the early days of Late Night with David Letterman. It’s the show where Jonathan Chase (Simon MacCorkindale) can become a panther and a hawk. Stan Winston designed/created the transformation sequences.

Manimal’s complete run was released in 2012 for the United Kingdom and French markets. This is the first time the series hits the TV-on-DVD market in North America. Also, Jonathan Chase can become a panther and a hawk.

Automan (1983-84, ABC)
Company: Fabulous Films/Shout! Factory
Release Date: November 10, 2015
Notable For: Automan is 1980s television crap from Glen A. Larson. This time, it’s Larson trying to profit from both TRON and computer programming enthusiasts, with some Knight Rider thrown in. Yup, Glen A. Larson wanted to one-up a show he created for a different studio. Desi Arnaz, Jr. plays Walter Nebicher, Automan being the king of subtlety.

Automan’s complete run was released in 2012 for the United Kingdom. This is the first time the series hits the TV-on-DVD market in North America. Also, Automan has a stupidly catchy theme song, and Cursor (“as himself”) can draw a motorcycle and a car.

Cameron Archer

Owner/Writer at Gloryosky
Cameron Archer runs this site, and is a freelance arts writer. He has contributed to Canadian Screenwriter since 2011. He is a CMG Freelance member.
Cameron Archer