"I'm Dickens - He's Fenster" was one of my favorite shows. When I was 11. But my guess is that it will still make me laugh, since I catch myself still chuckling over the remembered line these many years later. We shall see.
The official word (and you can see more at www.dickensandfensterdvd.com): TV Time Machine Productions, Lightyear Entertainment and eOne Distribution are proud to announce that the brilliant but short-lived 1962 ABC TV situation comedy, I’m Dickens…He’s Fenster, starring John Astin (The Addams Family) and Marty Ingels (The Dick Van Dyke Show), is now available for the first time on DVD.
The show was created by Leonard Stern (writer/producer on The Honeymooners, Get Smart, Sgt. Bilko) who, in the early 1950’s, co-created with publishing partner Roger Price, the phenomenally successful kids word game Mad Libs. Stern also helped launch the TV careers on I’m Dickens… He’s Fenster of such stars as John Astin, Yvonne Craig (Batgirl on Batman), Jim Nabors (Gomer Pyle, USMC) and many more (see full listing below)
This DVD release of I'm Dickens…He's Fenster Volume 1 (the first 16 episodes plus bonus material) marks the first opportunity in 50 years for the public to view this hilarious series.
I'm Dickens… He's Fenster follows the comic exploits of two construction workers and bosom buddies (played by John Astin and Marty Ingels). The two achieved a rare comic chemistry. "We were like Laurel and Hardy," says Mr. Ingels in one of his video interviews on the DVD. John Astin recalls the sometimes spectacular pratfalls he took during filming. "It was like playing football every week on a losing team," he chuckles. The two actors also contributed audio commentary on several episodes on the DVD.
I'm Dickens…He's Fenster ran for only one season of 32 episodes, and was a favorite of critics and fans alike at the time of its premature cancellation, when its ratings were winning its time slot for ABC. Time Magazine called it "the best new sitcom on television." The series was never rerun in syndication because it did not have enough episodes at the time to qualify.
The DVD is being initially released direct-to-consumer by TV Time Machine Productions in a special Volume One 50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition DVD Digipak set shipping on December 6, 2011, followed by general commercial distribution by Lightyear Entertainment starting on April 10, 2012, through eOne distribution
Included only with the initial online direct-to-consumer offer is a randomly-selected limited-edition autographed postcard personally signed by one of the show’s cast members (limited number available – first come first served). This exclusive online offer is now available to consumers for pre-order (items ship Dec 6, 2011).
The I’m Dickens…He’s Fenster Golden Anniversary three-disc set features the first 16 episodes of 32 from the show’s only season, and includes all-new interviews with stars John Astin (The Addams Family) and Marty Ingels (The Dick Van Dyke Show), directors Arthur Hiller (The In-Laws, Silver Streak), Norman Abbott (The Munsters), and Creator/Producer Leonard Stern (Get Smart); audio commentaries by Astin, Ingels, Yvonne Craig (Batman), Lee Meriwether (The Time Tunnel), series regular Dave Ketchum (who played “Mel Warshaw”), Chris Korman, son of Harvey Korman (Blazing Saddles, The Carol Burnett Show), and creator/producer Leonard Stern, new featurettes, original commercial bumpers and promos, and a special video tribute to the late Leonard Stern, Creator/Producer of I’m Dickens…He’s Fenster
In an unusual marketing concept for a DVD, purchasers will also receive several inventive bonuses: a limited-edition autographed collector’s postcard personally signed by one of the stars of I’m Dickens...He’s Fenster (John Astin, Marty Ingels, Yvonne Craig, Lee Meriwether, or Dave Ketchum); exclusive members-only online access to rare video, interviews, scripts, and a photo archive not included on the DVD; and their name in the credits of I’m Dickens...He’s Fenster Volume 2, to thank them for their support of the project.
I’m Dickens...He’s Fenster should never have been so forgotten or neglected. After producing thirty-two side-splitting episodes, and despite critics' raves in The New York Times, The Hollywood Reporter and Time Magazine, the show was prematurely canceled in its first season. By the time its final ratings came in, showing it having beaten Sing Along with Mitch and Route 66 for its time slot, it was too late to reassemble the cast, who had moved on to other projects. The successful and beloved show had become a casualty of timid programming and unlucky timing.
Although short-lived, I'm Dickens… He's Fenster featured an extraordinary roster of guest stars, many of whom made their television debuts on the show including: Yvonne Craig ("Batgirl" from Batman), Harvey Korman (The Carol Burnett Show), Sally Kellerman (M*A*S*H), Peter Lupus (Mission: Impossible), Lee Meriwether (The Time Tunnel), Ellen Burstyn (The Exorcist), Edy Williams (Beyond the Valley of the Dolls), and Jim Nabors (The Andy Griffith Show, Gomer Pyle USMC). The series also featured such directing talent as Arthur Hiller (Love Story, The In-Laws), Jay Sandrich (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Golden Girls), Norman Abbott, (The Munsters), Claudio Guzman (I Dream of Jeannie) and writers Mel Tolkin (Your Show of Shows, All in the Family), Don Hinkley (The Steve Allen Show, The Muppet Show) and Jay Sommers (Green Acres, Ozzie & Harriet).
In addition to being creator, writer, director and producer on I'm Dickens…He's Fenster, Leonard Stern's remarkable career included writing for the Abbott and Costello and Ma and Pa Kettle movies, and the classic TV shows The Honeymooners, Sergeant Bilko and The Steve Allen Show. From 1965-1970, Mr. Stern was executive producer, writer and director on the classic spy spoof Get Smart (starring Don Adams and Barbara Feldon). He also created, produced and directed the TV series He & She (co-starring Richard Benjamin and Paula Prentiss) and McMillan & Wife (starring Rock Hudson and Susan St. James). He also co-created the immensely popular series of children's game books, Mad Libs.
About TV Time Machine Productions - TV Time Machine Productions is a leader in the production and preservation of classic TV content. Its founder, Jim Benson, is a noted television historian archivist and author (Rod Serling's Night Gallery – An After-Hours Tour) and is the host of the radio show TV Time Machine, heard weekends on KCBQ-1170 AM in San Diego and Orange County, CA and archived online at http://www.TVTimemachine.com