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'Many Loves of Dobie Gillis' and more TV shows released on DVD

From left, Dwayne Hickman, Bob Denver, Sheila James

From left, Dwayne Hickman, Bob Denver, Sheila James Kuehl from "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis." Credit: Gabi Rona

SERIES "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis"

You know a modern TV show when you see one. That distinct point of view, telling the story through the eyes of one vital character. Maybe some narration, baring the character's soul. The lens might add its own commentary, with quick-cut edits crafting a sense of irony or attitude. Ditto sharp dialogue and accent music for feisty punctuation.

Welcome to "Dobie Gillis" -- contemporary TV, made 50 years back. Never mind that this half-hour comedy is in black and white, with '60s costumes and hairstyles. "Dobie" still comes off crisply current in the new full-series DVD box from Shout.

It's character comedy that radiates from dreamy suburban teen Dobie Gillis, as played by Dwayne Hickman ("Cat Ballou"), who, in the words of the singable theme song, craves "a girl to call his own." He shares his quest with us during chatty contemplation before Rodin's statue "The Thinker" in a local park. He also shares it with laid-back "good buddy" Maynard G. Krebs, the inimitable "beatnik" in scruffy sweatshirt and something like a beard, made classic by Bob Denver before "Gilligan's Island" boxed him in.

Humorist Max Shulman had created Dobie in his 1951 short stories, turned him into a 1953 film (with Bobby Van, sold at WarnerArchive.com), and secured his cultural legend with this 1959-63 CBS series, revived for new generations in '90s runs on Nick at Nite/TV Land.

DVD now archives the show's many delights. There's Maynard's entry line, "You rang?" and fearful response to any suggestion of "Work?!" There's Dobie-chaser Zelda Gilroy (Sheila James Kuehl, as the "ordinary" girl Dobie aims above), wrinkling her nose at Dobie, forcing his reflex protest "Now cut that out!" There's Dobie's exasperated grocer dad (Frank Faylen): "I've gotta kill that boy." And season 1 stars-to-be Warren Beatty and Tuesday Weld.

Watching shows-in-a-row underlines how literate and deft Shulman's scripts were ("propinquity"?), referencing everything from jazzman Dizzy Gillespie to "Chickens, hypodermics and Zelda -- there's a combination for you." Don't ask. Just watch.

EXTRAS Episodes of younger Hickman on "Love That Bob" and "The Stu Erwin Show," plus variety show clips with Dinah Shore and Pat Boone; original (longer) "Dobie" pilot; informative Hickman interview. Also DVD-ROM scripts.

LIST PRICE $140 for 147 episodes on 21 DVDs, out Tuesday from Shout.

Also new on DVD:

SERIES "Last Resort"

WHAT IT'S ABOUT Andre Braugher plays a submarine commander battling government saboteurs. And he's got nukes! ABC's short-lived drama (from "The Shield" creator Shawn Ryan) arrives in standard case holding three stacked discs.

EXTRAS Brisk mini-featurettes for all 13 episodes.

LIST PRICE $40, out Tuesday from Sony.

SERIES "Rectify"

WHAT IT'S ABOUT Critically acclaimed Sundance Channel series created by actor Ray McKinnon ("Sons of Anarchy," "Deadwood") tracks a death-row inmate suddenly freed back into his small town after two decades

EXTRAS Interviews with cast, creator and cinematographer

LIST PRICE $30, Anchor Bay

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