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Father Knows Best
Joel-Hodgson-MST3k
Joel Hodgson and the ‘Bots from “Mystery Science Theater 3000”

February is typically a long, long, long month up here in northern Michigan, even though it technically is the shortest month. Anyone in a snowy climate knows what I mean. And I LIKE the snowy climate! But every winter about this time, I’ve reached the point where winter seems about 10 years long.

But! This new chirps me up. Shout! Factory — one of my favorite distributors in the world because they release a lot of my favorite classic shows, not to mention all the “Mystery Science Theater 3000” titles, which are must-see viewing in this family — just announced that they’re launching a streaming service known as ShoutFactoryTV.com (click through that link to watch shows and movies and learn more).

The channel, available on your desktop, mobile browser, or apps on Roku and other streaming devices (Yes! We just got a Roku for Christmas), offers an unrivaled blend of cult TV shows, movies, comedy, original specials and more – all good stuff to binge-watch our way through the rest of the winter! Best of all?! It’s free – and supported by ads.

So, without further ado, here’s what’s streaming on Shout! Factory TV in February:

MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 (beginning with over 30 laugh-out-loud episodes)

Multiple Emmy®-nominated and Peabody Award-winning Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K) is a true cult classic. Its high-camp rendition of B-movies from every genre to the small screen makes it one of the most memorable pop culture shows of our time. Brimming with laugh-out-loud commentaries from caustically hilarious space travelers Joel Robinson, Mike Nelson and their robot pals Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo, MST3K was a genuine phenomenon. Its popularity spawned an MST3K fan following that numbers over hundreds of thousands of fans world-wide.

MST3K Episodes available beginning February 2015 include:

Attack of the Giant Leeches, Beast of Yucca Flats, Beatniks, Beginning of the End, Blood Waters of Dr. Z, Bride of the Monster, Brute Man, Castle of Fu Manchu, Cave Dwellers, Code Name: Diamond Head, Eegah, Girl in Gold Boots, Gunslinger, Hamlet, Hercules Against the Moon Men, Hercules Unchained, Horrors of Spider Island, I Accuse My Parents, Incredibly Strange Creatures, Indestructible Creatures, Indestructible Man, Monster A-Go-Go, Red Zone Cuba, Ring of Terror, Secret Agent Super Dragon, Swamp Diamonds, The Giant Gila Monster, The Killer Shrews, The Phantom Planet, The Rebel Set, The Starfighters, The Touch of Satan, and The Unearthly.

(We’ve seen all of these, and they’re all fantastic, but our favorite is “The Touch of Satan” – make that your first choice!).

FATHER KNOWS BEST (Beginning with Seasons 1- 3)

Enter the perfect family life of a General Insurance agent Jim Anderson.  Beginning in 1954, Jim would come home from his office, take off his sports jacket, put on his comfortable sweater, and deal with the everyday problems of a growing family without breaking a sweat.  His picture perfect wife Margaret is a vibrant mother of three – Betty, Bud and Kathy. To the millions who watched the six-time Primetime Emmy®-winning Father Knows Best, starring Robert Young and Jane Wyatt; Elinor Donahue, Bill Gray and Lauren Chapin, this long running TV sitcom not only captured the hearts of American viewers, but also stood as the representation of mid-century traditional family values.

In 1949, Father Knows Best? first premiered as a NBC radio sitcom. The series star Robert Young and producer Eugene B. Rodney transplanted the popular radio series into television (minus the question mark in the show’s title). The TV sitcom Father Knows Best premiered on CBS in October 1954 and has been part of the American cultural fabric ever since.

The depiction of a “typical” mid-century, middle-class, Midwestern American family from Father Knows Best is fondly remembered by many of us who grew up watching the show and rather enviously thinking: “Oh. So this is what happens in all the other houses.”   Jim Anderson (Robert Young) became the idealized American dad for many generations. Margaret Anderson (Jane Wyatt) charmed us as the levelheaded domestic diva who stood faithfully behind the strong and benevolent father. Their three children—sophisticated teen Betty (Elinor Donahue), chronically befuddled 14-year-old brother “Bud” (Billy Gray) and precocious little sister Kathy (Lauren Chapin)—faced the challenges of growing up right alongside of us. And in episode after episode, Jim and Margaret treated their children’s youthful transgressions with authority, empathy and wisdom. By the end of each half hour, we’d all learned our lesson.

THE MANY LOVES OF DOBIE GILLIS (The Complete Series)

The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis ignited one of the many loves of American television: stories about teenagers.  Dobie Gillis was a typically indecisive young man who continually set out on hopeless quests for popularity, money, and the attention of beautiful girls, all while trying to make his parents happy. Created and written by humorist Max Shulman and adapted from Shulman’s celebrated collection of short stories, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis premiered on CBS in 1959 and was a counter-culture hit throughout all four years of its network run. Starring Dwayne Hickman, Bob Denver, Frank Faylen, Florida Friebus, Tuesday Weld, Warren Beatty and Sheila James, this timeless show triggered a sea change in sitcoms and dramas, which would focus on the hopes, dreams and angst of teenagers for decades to come.

This complete series streaming release on Shout! Factory TV features all 147 episodes that originally aired from 1959-1963. Whether reliving the rosy memory from the 1950s or discovering this classic sitcom for the first time, loyal fans and new viewers will be enamored by Dobie Gillis all over again.

HOME MOVIES (Complete Series)

Home Movies is one of the first [adult swim] animated cult classics. With an alcoholic soccer coach for a father-figure and a woman who swears during parent/teacher conferences for an actual mother, eight-year-old Brendon Small (voiced and created by Brendon Small, now of Metalocalypse fame) chronicles his life as a jaded third-grader who happens to have the brain of a twenty-something-and who uses his video camera to cope with the trials of his oddly precocious life.

It’s Garry Shandling’s Show (Season 1)  

Before the Internet and reality TV, no one saw the true potential of television more humorously and with more vision than award-winning actor/writer/producer/director Garry Shandling.

In 1986 Shandling was poised to become a permanent guest host on Johnny Carson’s The Tonight Show. Instead, he took a chance on an offer from fledgling cable network to create his own television series.

A surreal look at the daily life of a young single man who is a comedian, It’s Garry Shandling’s Show was not a typical sitcom. In an incredibly bold show of respect for his viewers, Shandling broke the “fourth wall” and included the studio audience and the viewers at home in on the actual making of the show, while performing in the show. Experimenting with the sitcom form meant inviting the audience onto the set, playing with the passage of time (“It’s now two weeks later”), and generally exploding the genre and making art of the debris.

From its unforgettable theme song to its closing credits, It’s Garry Shandling’s Show epitomized award-winning, mind-bending television for four seasons, and its influence is clearly seen in the best TV comedies through the decades to follow.

DENNIS THE MENACE

Jay North stars as the well-meaning youngster Dennis Mitchell, who loves his dog Ruff and neighbor’s dog Freemont, can’t seem to avoid trouble. Whenever Dennis tries to help anyone, he always makes a mess of things.  Based on the long-running, popular comic strip by Hank Ketcham, the beloved classic television series Dennis the Menace chronicles the humorous misadventures of Dennis, as his youthful curiosity always managed to get him into heap of trouble, especially with his grumpy neighbor Mr. Wilson. Dennis’ parents Henry and Alice Mitchell were always on hand with love and patience but not necessarily the required supervision.  Starring Jay North, Herbert Anderson, Gloria Henry, Joseph Kerns and Sylvia Field, Dennis the Menace celebrates the innocence and simple joy of suburban childhood from the 50s and 60s.  In addition to the Mitchells – Dennis, Henry and Alice – this iconic classic TV series featured an unforgettable supporting cast including Dennis’ pal and classmate Tommy Anderson (Billy Booth) and Margaret Wade (Jeannie Russell), a neighborhood girl with a crush on Dennis.

Originally created as a comic strip by the late Hank Ketcham in 1951, the Dennis The Menace comic strip has appeared in over 1,000 newspapers in 48 countries and 19 languages. The television sitcom Dennis The Menace, based on Ketcham’s comic strip, premiered on CBS Television in 1959 and has been part of the American cultural fabric ever since. Throughout the years the character has evolved into animated series, two feature films, as well as the face of the Dairy Queen Franchise.

The Weird Al Show

Ever since his 1983 self-titled breakthrough album “Weird Al” Yankovic has been unsurpassed as a proven purveyor of parody and musical satire. For nearly four decades, Grammy Award-winning musician and satirist “Weird Al” Yankovic has been entertaining audiences worldwide with his parodies of songs by the biggest stars in the musical universe, as well as his appearances on television and in film.

The Weird Al Show: The Complete Series pulls together all 13 complete episodes of the Saturday morning cult classic on Shout! Factory TV. Yankovic’s signature warped comedy, original songs, TV and movie spoofs, twisted animation and ability to attract a wonderful and motley collection of special surprise guests are what make this a treasure chest of all things Al.

The Weird Al Show features guest appearances from comedy favorites Drew Carey, Gilbert Gottfried, Michael McKean, Patton Oswalt, Fred Willard, and many, more more. Musical performances include Barenaked Ladies, Hanson, Radish and of course, Weird Al!

A ROOM WITH A VIEW (Maggie Smith, Helena Bonham-Carter, Judi Dench, Daniel Day-Lewis)

Lucy Honeychurch is, like all proper young British ladies, compelled to tour Europe in the company of an older chaperone — in this instance, her spinster cousin Charlotte Bartlett. While in Italy, the ladies make the acquaintance of a wide variety of personalities; the most fascinating — at least in Lucy’s eyes — is free-spirited George Emerson. Aware that her cousin is becoming too familiar with Emerson, Charlotte demands that Lucy return to England posthaste. Lucy complacently settles for the tiresomely traditional courtship of nerdish Cecil Vyse — and then Mr. Emerson moves into the neighborhood. Lucy now finds herself on the horns of a dilemma: Should she opt for a safe, proper marriage to Cecil, or the bohemian unpredictability of the charismatic Emerson?

THE ERNIE KOVACS SHOW

With a gift for inventive comedy that was alternately cerebral, goofy and just plain absurd, Ernie Kovacs transformed television’s early era into his own personal playground—and invited viewers to enjoy every sight gag and loony character.

Kovacs, whose offbeat humor graced the airwaves for just a decade in the 1950s and 60s, served healthy portions of the offbeat to his audiences, who had never seen anything quite like this cigar-wielding charmer. Wickedly funny but not offensive, Kovacs’ unique humor and flair for improvisation would ripple across generations, influencing TV funnymen

Death of a Salesman (Dustin Hoffman, John Malkovich, Charles Durning)

Directed by Volker Schlondorff

Willy Loman is an aging, traveling salesman, who despairs that his life has been lived in vain. Facing dispensability and insignificance in a heated, youthful economy, Willy is not ready to part with his cherished fantasies of an America that admires him for personable triumphs in the marketplace. But the reality is far more difficult than that, and the measure of Willy’s self-delusion and contradictions is found in his two sons. One, Harold, is a ne’er-do-well gliding on inherited hot air and repressed feelings, and the other, Biff, a mousy, retiring sort unable to reconcile the difference between his father’s desperate impersonation of success and the truth.

A NIGHT IN CASABLANCA (Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx, Sig Ruman)

Directed by Archie Mayo

In post-war Casablanca, Ronald Kornblow is hired to run a hotel whose previous managers have all wound up being murdered. French soldier Pierre suspects the involvement of ex-Nazis, specifically Count Pfefferman, in reality the notorious Heinrich Stubel. Pierre is accused of collaborating with the enemy, and attempts to clear to clear his name with the help of his girlfriend Annette and cagey buddy Corbaccio. They enlist the aid of Pfefferman’s beleaguered mute valet, Rusty, and discover a hoard of war booty the Nazis have stashed in the hotel.

Steve Martin Stand-Up Showcase

Featuring Steve Martin: Comedy Is Not Pretty and Steve Martin: Wild And Crazy Guy

In the 1970s, Steve Martin exploded onto the national scene with a brand of comedy that was so anti-hip it was über hip.  But before he turned into a movie star, he’d cemented his legend as a television star and stand-up comedian. Now, on Shout! Factory TV, Martin’s stand-up and sketch comedy performances will have you laughing all over again!

Included in this comedy showcase are the joyfully twisted vintage NBC sketch comedy specials Steve Martin: A Wild and Crazy Guy and Steve Martin: Comedy Is Not Pretty. These specials deliver moments from one of the most unique and treasured eras in Steve Martin’s celebrated career.

THE STUNT MAN (Peter O’Toole, Steve Railsback, Barbara Hershey)

Directed by Richard Rush

Running from the law, Vietnam vet Cameron stumbles on a movie shoot just in time to interfere with a staged accident, causing the stunt man’s death. Rather than turn Cameron in, director Eli Cross makes him an offer he can’t refuse: replace the dead stunt man in return for safe harbor. Despite objections about Cameron’s inexperience, Eli keeps him on, figuring that a vet will add an extra charge of realism to the World War I opus that he’s filming. As leading lady Nina returns Cameron’s affections, and Eli becomes ever more inscrutably mercurial, Cameron begins to wonder how far Eli will go to get the screen effects he wants, and if he would think twice about killing the stunt man.

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec

A film by visionary director Luc Besson

Directed and produced by world renowned filmmaker Luc Besson (The Fifth Element) and adapted from Eisner Award winner Jacques Tardi’s celebrated French classic comic book series, this movie features a stellar cast of Louise Bourgoin (Anne Fontaine’s The Girl From Monaco), Mathieu Amalric (Quantum of Solace, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly), Gilles Lellouche (Love Me If You Dare), Jean-Paul Rouve (La Vie En Rose), Jacky Nercessian (Le Grand Voyage), and  Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly).

The year is 1912. This is the story of an intrepid young reporter Adèle Blanc-Sec and her quest for the power of life over death. Her journey would take her to distant lands to face many dangers beneath the sands. She will go to any lengths to achieve her aims, including sailing to Egypt to tackle mummies of all shapes and sizes. Meanwhile in Paris, a 136 million-year old pterodactyl egg on display in the natural history museum has mysteriously hatched, and the creature subjects the city to a reign of terror from the skies. But nothing fazes Adele Blanc-Sec, whose adventures include many more extraordinary surprises…

Five Roger Corman’s Cult Classic Movies

Independent filmmaker-producer Roger Corman’s storied career ranks as one of Hollywood’s most amazing success stories. Having produced more than 350 films and directed 50 others, his influence on American film goes far beyond his own energetic, creative low-budget movies. He is arguably one of Hollywood’s most gifted and masterful filmmakers.

This February, Shout! Factory TV has your prescription for a good time! Roger Corman’s cult classics Private Duty Nurses, The Young Nurses, Candy Stripe Nurses, Night Call Nurses and Cover Girl Models are now available on the streaming service.

Jackie Chan Action Classics (Police Story and Police Story 2)

International superstar and cultural icon Jackie Chan is a master of action and comedy, with an illustrious film career that ranks as one of the most amazing success stories in the entertainment industry. His movies continue to have an enduring impact throughout the world. This February, Shout! Factory TV unleashes martial arts action classics Police Story and Police Story II. Boasting world renowned international film stars Jackie Chan and Maggie Cheung, and pulse-pounding action sequences, these two highly regarded world cinema classics debut on Shout! Factory TV.

Other notable series and movies also streaming on Shout! Factory TV now include:

  • A Boy and His Dog (Don Johnson)
  • A Shock to the System (Michael Caine, Elizabeth McGovern)
  • Another Country (Rupert Everett, Colin Firth)
  • BULLET IN THE FACE from creator and executive producer Alan Spencer (Max Williams, Neil Napier, Jessica Steen, and Kate Kelton, alongside special guest stars Eddie Izzard and Eric Roberts)
  • The Chosen (Maximillian Schell, Rod Steiger, Robby Benson)
  • DEAD CERT (Craig Fairbrass, Dexter Fletcher, Steven Berko)
  • Dreamscape (Dennis Quaid, Kate Capshaw, Max Von Sydow, Christopher Plummer)
  • Elvira’s Movie Macabre: Blue Sunshine, Count Dracula’s Great Love, Frankenstein’s Castle of Freaks, The Devil’s Wedding Night, The House That Screamed, Legacy of Blood, The Werewolf of Washington, Monstroid, Maneater of Hydra, They Came From Beyond Space, The Doomsday Machine, and Gamera Super Monster.
  • Fanny (Leslie Caron, Maurice Chevalier)
  • FRIDAYS – The Best of (Mark Blankfield, Maryedith Burrell, Darrow Igus, Brandis Kemp, Bruce Mahler, John Roarke, Michael Richards)
  • Hester Street (Carol Kane, Steven Keats)
  • Jeffrey (Patrick Stewart, Steven Weber, Nathan Lane, Michael T. Weiss, Sigourney Weaver, Christine Baranski)
  • Kevin Smith: SMODimations
  • MEL BROOKS MAKE A NOISE
  • Miss Firecracker (Holly Hunter, Mary Steenburgen)
  • My Brilliant Career (Sam Neil, Judy Davis)
  • ROUTE 66 TV series, beginning with Seasons 1 & 2 (Martin Milner, George Maharis)
  • Sapphire and Steel The Complete Series (Joanna Lumley, David McCallum)
  • Shopping (Jude Law, Sadie Frost, Jonathan Pryce)
  • STAGECOACH (John Wayne)
  • Stella: Live in Boston
  • Tower Block (Russell Tovey, Jack O’Connell, Sheridan Smith, Ralph Brown)
  • TROUBLE IN MIND (Kris Kristofferson, Keith Carradine, Lori Singer, Genevieve Bujold and Divine)
  • Voyager (Sam Shephard, Julie Delpy)
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