Written by Puño Estupendo
Shout Factory always attracts my interest with just about every release from their company. Even if I'm not particularly a fan of the disc, or aren't really familiar with them at all, I always like to give their releases a look. Hiya, Kids!! A '50s Saturday Morning did exactly that. It caught my interest even though I don't consider myself a fan of 1950's television. The programs represented here range from shows you've most likely at least heard about (Howdy Doody, Lassie, or Kukla, Fran And Ollie), to maybe lesser remembered programs such as Ding Dong School and Juvenile Jury.
The shows themselves are really not all that captivating. Kukla, Fran And Ollie, for example, drove me a little nuts with its solitary camera shot and scriptless performances. The only time there's a cut to another camera is when the characters do an on-air commercial in the middle of the show, but this actually brings me to what I do like about these discs: the lead ins/outs and the ads. I've only ever seen most of these shows by way of clips on one documentary or another, but seeing them as full episodes is really different than that. They don't cut away like modern TV shows do. Some have title cards with the sponsor's name before the show and some even do the commercial as part of the actual show. That might sound unimportant, but you finally get a feeling of what it was like to actually watch these shows if you had been a kid in that era. That's really the draw with this set, the overall nostalgia and not just an interest in one show or another. I enjoyed the vibe here, the feel of "this is how it aired," "this is how my parents saw television."
But be prepared to do some heavy duty watching. Hiya Kids!! has 21 shows spread out over four discs with an accumulative running time of 9 1/2 hours. Not really stuff that'll wow you as far as the actual shows, but you might enjoy it for its time-trip aspect. I'd still recommend watching in small doses though, as I think a marathon viewing would probably disagree with most people.