When I was a kid, I bought B-movies left and right. I loved the vintage comedies of yesteryear, the classic horror thrillers of the past, and the insanely wacky cliffhanger serials of the matinee era. Hell, I still love vintage motion pictures — and I'll gladly take even one truly awful Poverty Row B-movie over ten Hollywood blockbuster Michael Bay films any ol' day (yes kids, even the most abominably schlocky Poverty Row quickie has more grace, originality, and elegance than a Michael Bay film).
But did I have the option of selecting from Alpha way back when? No, no I didn't. No, instead, there was this label called Viking Video Classics that issued dozens of grey-market releases on VHS. Well, about the time I wrote 'em and requested a catalogue was around the same point in time that Viking Video Classics disappeared from the face of the earth altogether (I think they became Burbank Video from then on, or something like that).
The departure of Viking left me a bit bummed. More than a bit bummed, really. I was downright peeved. Viking Video Classics might have had some of the funkiest artwork ever (although they did use original stills and artwork from the nearly-forgotten films they distributed), but their selection was just what I always wanted. I prayed that somebody would pick up where they left off. Thankfully, someone has.
Had I have known that Alpha Video would one day become the premiere budget video label in the United States (and possibly beyond for that matter), I would have bought stock in them a long time ago. Alpha brings us nothing but vintage film and retro television, all of which are completely affordable and (thankfully) depict original artwork on their DVD sleeves. For its February 24, 2009 slate, Alpha has lined up another batch of exciting titles, including 3 Blondes In His Life (1961) with Jock Mahoney; The Missing Corpse (1945); William "One Shot" Beaudine's The Miracle Kid (1941); Jackie Cooper in Peck’s Bad Boy (1934); Along Came Love (1936); High Hat (1937); Radio Cab Murder (1954); Curtain At Eight (1933); I Can’t Escape (1934) with Onslow Stevens; and Larceny On The Air (1937) starring Robert Livingston and featuring B-movie regular Byron Foulger and B-Western favorite Smiley Burnette.
Speaking of B-Westerns, there's plenty of those, too: Bob Custer Double Feature: The Scarlet Brand (1932)/Quick Trigger Lee (1931); Roy Rogers in Frontier Pony Express (1939); another Tex Ritter Double Feature: Rolling Westward (1939)/Rolling Home To Texas (1940); Under Western Stars (1938) starring Roy Rogers (in his first starring role) and Smiley Burnette.
For February's selection of Retro TV, Alpha Video has assembled another line-up of classic Boob Tube favorites, which an entire generation of devoted viewers grew up watching, from the suspense-filled stories of Lights Out: Vol. 6 (1949-1952) and The Vise: Vol. 2 (1954) to the action-packed goodness of Roy Rogers with Dale Evans: Vol. 12 (1950). Comedy is also on hand: witness the amusing antics of Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet: Vol. 9 (1952-1966) and The Ed Wynn Show: Vol. 1 (1949-1950) — and, when it's all over, blind yourself with science one again as you Watch Mr. Wizard (1950s).
Lastly for February, Alpha Video has repackaged several previous DVD releases as Multi-Pack items. Now, while some of you may scream "Hey, that's double-dipping," I like to think of it as a cheap way to pick up more movies. These new Multi-Pack titles consist of the Lon Chaney Collection (including Phantom of The Opera/Hunchback of Notre Dame/Shadows/The Shock); the Black Cast Comedy & Music (includes Boy! What A Girl!/ Boarding House Blues/Killer Diller); and (even better) the Tarzan Collection (including Tarzan’s Revenge/Tarzan The Fearless/Tarzan And The Trappers/Tarzan and the Golden Lion (Silent)/Tarzan The Tiger (Silent)/Tarzan and The Green Goddess).
These items (along with thousands of others) are available to pre-order now from Amazon.com. They are also available to order immediately from Alpha Video's website, where you can take advantage of their magnificent 5 DVDs for $25 special (talk about a deal) and, best of all, by ordering from them, you won't have to wait until February 24 to get these exciting titles!