"The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" featured early performances of Warren Beatty, while "Fridays" starred a young Larry David
Shout! Factory has acquired worldwide rights to "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" and "Fridays." It marks the first time that either show has appeared on DVD.
"Dobie Gillis" (below) centers on a teenage boy (Dwayne Hickman) and his struggles to win over various girls and achieve popularity.
"Fridays" was a sketch comedy show that was ABC's failed attempt to duplicate the success of rival NBC's "Saturday Night Live." Despite only being on the air for just three seasons, it served as a stepping stone for a number of comedians like Larry David ("Seinfeld") and Larry Charles ("Borat") who graduated to bigger things.
"Dobie Gillis" is the better established property. The series is well-known to a generation of Baby Boomers who tuned in weekly to watch its youthful protagonist's butt heads with his over-bearing mother and strong-minded father. The show's cast of characters also included Dobie's beatnik friend, Maynard G. Krebs (Bob Denver).
"Dobie Gillis" aired for 147 episodes on CBS and featured two actors in its early seasons who would go on to have major careers on the big screen. Warren Beatty played a rich boy who frequently got the best of Dobie in his pre-"Bonnie and Clyde" days, while Tuesday Weld ("Looking for Mr. Goodbar") portrayed the object of Dobie's affection.
Shout, which has built up its business by packaging niche or nostalgia television shows like "Freaks & Geeks" and "Leave It to Beaver," and marketing them to their devoted fan bases, secured worldwide rights from the Max Shulman Trust. Shulman was the creator of the series and died of bone cancer in 1988.
Shout! Factory founders Bob Emmer and Garson Foos told TheWrap that they became intrigued by the property because there was a lot of activity around the series on message boards and other online communities. It helped that they were very familiar with the series themselves.
"We grew up on it," Emmer said. "I fondly remember watching it. It was a passion play, but one there was a lot of interest and a terrific cast."
Shout! Factory is currently in pre-production on a DVD box set of the complete series and expects it to hit stores later this year. The company secured both physical media rights and all digital rights.
Shout! Factory secured the same set of rights to "Fridays," but does not know when it will release the show on home entertainment platforms. The sketch comedy series ran from 1980 to 1982 and, like "Saturday Night Live," it featured celebrity hosts such as Susan Sarandon and Billy Crystal and musical guests such as AC/DC and The Pretenders. Although "Fridays" briefly bested "Saturday Night Live" in the ratings, it went off the air after ABC decided to make "Nightline" a five-nights-a-week program.