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Checkmate: Complete Series [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

Price: £45.14
Only 8 left in stock.
Dispatched from and sold by RAREWAVES USA.
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Region 1 encoding. (This DVD will not play on most DVD players sold in the UK [Region 2]. This item requires a region specific or multi-region DVD player and compatible TV. More about DVD formats)
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£45.14 Only 8 left in stock. Dispatched from and sold by RAREWAVES USA.

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Product details

  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 14
  • Classification: NR (Not Rated) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003K1NGXE
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 158,688 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Thank you Amazon - this came up as a link tied in with the Virginian - the link of course being the late, great Doug McClure. There's plenty about this series on Wiki, so I won't repeat that - but would recommend reading the Wiki entry.

What I love most about this series is it's atmosphere - set mostly in and around a foggy mysterious San Francisco that's a far cry from the glam tourist destination.

The 3 male stars are terrific (all sadly no longer in this world, but the strange immortality of film and tv makes them live again onscreen) - the interaction between them is what adds something special to an already good mix of varied storylines, punchy scripts and a glittering roster of guest stars.

14 discs in the set - every single episode of Checkmate, offer great value to discerning tv viewers. I'm not sure why this was never shown here....apparently it was popular in the States and Canada, but probably fell foul of the obsession with ridding our screens of black and white tv and only showing anything filmed in glorious technicolour.

Given the age of the archive material, there are only a few wobbles here and there - generally the odd "thready" picture grants more atmosphere. Sound quality is generally good. Remember, this is from the days when they knew how to craft tv - no need for Blu-ray and HD gimmickry to paper over the cracks of poor stories and appalling acting which dog so many modern programmes....switch over to your DVD channel and watch this - you're in for a treat

As Bogart fans will know only too well, there are no meaner streets than those filmed in black and white - the fabulous noir feeling of the best films in the genre translates well onto the small screen.

Buy it. Treasure it. Above all, enjoy it.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Good old fashioned 1960's TV at its best, the sort that came with real production values, seeing itself more as 'home cinema' than the slap-and dash economy serials that then filled the small screen.

Many Hollywood Greats appear in Guest Spots, so everyone on set, Guest[s] and Regular Stars are aware of a need to shine and deliver creditable performances. And mostly they all do!

Of course it is also an opportunity too for the viewer to return to a small 1960's world where problems seemed smaller and much more solvable!.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Great to see this series on DVD especially with all the guest stars. Pity about the packaging, not up to the standard of The Virginian.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x92584450) out of 5 stars 55 reviews
131 of 135 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x926ca990) out of 5 stars Its About Time 1 Jun. 2010
By Gary P. Cohen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
From 1960 to 1962, Checkmate was my favorite television show. During much of the 1980s and '90s, I collected as many episodes as I could on videotape. So I was quite excited when the dvd sets of Checkmate, the best of seasons 1 and 2 were released. However, as I said in my review of the season one set, the episodes on that set were far from the best of Checkmate. That has now been remedied with the upcoming release of Checkmate-The Complete Series. There were so many great episodes from season one that will now be released: the great pilot "Death Runs Wild" with Anne Baxter, "The Human Touch" with Peter Lorre and "The Murder Game," a greatly atmospheric episode featuring an old house, a stormy night and murder. (I love those type of plots.) As I stated previously, for some reason, the scripts for Checkmate's first season were far superior to Checkmate's second season. I noticed it when I originally watched and I can still easily tell a first season show from a second.
While Checkmate got good ratings its first season, CBS still wanted to cancel it. However the show was produced by Jack Benny's production company and Benny used his clout with CBS to renew it for a second season. (Benny even guest starred on an episode of Checkmate. How many other dramatic series did you ever see Jack Benny guest on? I can't think of any.) However CBS changed its timeslot the second season and wound up cancelling it after that season. I guess not even the great Jack Benny could get them to renew it for a third.
However, as I previously stated in my review of season one, Checkmate had some of the greatest guest stars I can ever remember appearing on a dramatic series. On top of the ones I just mentioned, there was Charles Laughton, Lee Marvin, Joseph Cotton, Joan Fontaine, Dana Andrews, David Janssen, Mickey Rooney, Elizabeth Montgomery, Jack Lord, Patricia Neal, James Coburn, Nick Adams, Claire Bloom, Dorothy Malone, Dick Shawn, etc. etc.
I look forward to purchasing the entire series. Now all I have to do is figure out what to do with the Best of Seasons One and Two.
74 of 77 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x926cab64) out of 5 stars Brickbats to Timeless 18 Oct. 2010
By Jeff K - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I have no problems with the TV show Checkmate - I enjoy it. That's why I bought "Checkmate the Complete Series" after forking out money for the two best of sets which had been released earlier, knowing that I would be duplicating these episodes. I do however have major problems with the quality of this release, as indeed I invariably have done with nearly every Timeless release which I have purchased.

Even on the first two sets there were quality issues - the episodes had not been remastered in any way, and there were frame drop-outs,sound problems, blotches, scratches and muddy image quality on many of the epsisodes, although from memory all of the episodes in the first two sets were watchable. I suspect that most of these epsodes were edited from their original running times, though not as I remember in a way so as to be obvious and detract in a substantial way from one's viewing pleasure.

The Complete Series release under discussion here unfortunately does not improve on this state - if anything the image qualty issues are somewhat worse - even on some of the epsiodes repeated from the first two releases!! What is even more annoying is that the editing on some of the previously unreleased epsisodes is so bad as to render some of the plots barely comprehensible in parts because of gaping holes in the narrative. Off the top of my head the best example of this is the episode "Will the Real Killer Please Stand Up?" where it is obvious that certain onscreen events have been deleted from the epsiode. And even more bizarrely, some of the episodes which are repeated from the first two sets appear to have been even further edited for this set, suggesting that the guilty party may not be the source - as in syndicated copies edited to fit a TV timeslot - but the people at Timeless themselves. The best example of this is the episode "Down the Gardenia Path" where the opening few minutes of the epsiode present in the first "Best of.." release are completely missing from the "Complete Series" release.

In any event, I doubt whether I will bother with any further Timeless releases, even if they are TV shows I have been wanting to see for years.
45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91e74288) out of 5 stars Great Show! Soft images/transfer 29 Oct. 2010
By R. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I'll try to add what other reviewers have not mentioned:

* QUALITY OF TRANFERS: Images are soft and appear as dubbed VHS video cassette images although they are probably secondary (video) copies of older film transfers. Nevertheless, the episodes are highly watchable and appear as 40-50s type of material. Persons over 40 years old will probably be satisfied since they grew up in this era. There does not appear to be ANY type of remastering and this is clear in the first episode that shows splotches, scratches, and other old film type of defects. Sound is acceptable mono. No subtitles (English, etc.)

* DISKS AND PACKAGING: Excellent. Disks are single-sided, labeled, and in polypropylene (soft plastic) cases packaged 2 per case. There is a strong odor of printer's ink on the disk that may go away with time. I hope that the Studio will use more environmentally friendly inks in the future... they should demand it from their source of manufacturers.

* SHOW IN GENERAL: 5-star show--suitable for all ages that like to see crime drama that is not gory as in "classic television"-- BLACK & WHITE television. Photography tends to be on the dark side, but plots and acting are excellent and believable with even some humor interlaced with the action and suspense. The audience is generally given the viewpoint of the 3 detectives, but also knows many of the overall crime elements.

* PRICE: I had never seen this series and bought it on the basis of the reviews and price. For $32.99 (USD) or roughly 59% off the list price, the show represents good value, although similar sets (Wanted Dead or Alive) with similar production (minimal) are in the $13-$20 USD range. The price may go lower than this and if so, it is series worth having unless remastered versions become available.

* CONCLUSION: a little more effort could have been made by Timeless Media Group Studio to make a better compilation. BEWARE OF THIS STUDIO BECAUSE THE QUALITY IS MINIMAL.
41 of 48 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x926ca828) out of 5 stars Never Fear, The Men From Checkmate Inc. Are Here 25 July 2010
By Eric Pregosin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
For years my dad told me about this great series, and now I can enjoy it myself any time I want. This team of 3 private detectives are not like any you will see again, and they do their job well (as many of you know my role model is a pretty good one at that). There mission was to prevent major crimes BEFORE they happen. That is not something you see today. But from 1960 to 1962, it did happen for 70 hour long episodes. Hence the name of their organization, Checkmate. The stars: Anthony George as Don Corey, well experienced private detective, Doug McClure as Jed Sills, his junior partner who has a weak spot for the girls but still gets the job done to everyone's satisfaction. Along for the ride is Sebastian Cabot as Carl Hyatt, a former Oxford professor of criminology who now teaches at the local university (the series takes place in San Francisco I believe). I would not be surprised if the good doctor obtained some of his methods from Sherlock Holmes himself. The series as I said ran 2 seasons, and 70 episodes (not much time for reruns well considering it was the early 60s, reruns were still a new concept or maybe even non existing one at the time) with a guest star list that could fill their own personalized volume of Who's Who. Joining the team in Season 2 sporadically was Jack Betts as Chris Devlin, a "new recruit". This series has been previously video released in 2 12 episode, 3 disc spurts (1 from each season) in 2007 and 2008 (the latter containing at least 1 Devlin episode). The manufacturer also released a hard to find 2 disc 4 episode third set later on that year (2008) as well which did not duplicate the episodes in the above mentioned "Best of" sets (remember those words don't always mean the best episodes, but is advertising ploy to get you to buy) so if you could find it, at the time it was worth the purchase. Several episodes have also been released by the "el cheapos" who offer compilations of old cop/detective shows like Dragnet 50s, Ellery Queen 50s and others in a variety pack. Most likely, the episodes in these sets are now duplicates of Timeless Video's 3 previously mentioned sets. When I found the 3rd set, and I emailed the manufacturer about it's availability and they told me how selective it was, they also offered to put me on a waiting list as they working on this mega set for hopefully a soon release at the time. Now just in time for the show's 50th anniversary (although it took an extra month from the street date to get copies to other retailers including Amazon), HERE IT IS, all 70 shows, 5 each on 14 discs, uncut and uninterrupted which of course makes the other 3 sets worthless. This set is definitely a keeper, if nothing else for the array of guest stars. For those of you who only remember watching Tony George for the short time he was on Dark Shadows, Doug McClure for his westerns, the late 80s sci fi sit com, Out Of The World, and other stuff, and Sebastian Cabot for Family Affair and his work for Disney (and for whatever else is on Jack Betts' resume for that matter), you are in for a treat. This is a show that shares one thing with "24", "Wiseguy", "West Wing", "NCIS" and other "keepers". Once you are hooked, you won't give it up. And once you reach the end of disc 14, you will wanna start again. BUY IT BEFORE IT GETS AWAY!!!!
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x926ca720) out of 5 stars Checkmate Quality Review 22 Feb. 2011
By The Duchess - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Checkmate was one of my favorite TV shows. I saw the complete series was available for purchase and I jumped at the chance to own it. I was deeply disappointed in the quality of the video, it was obviously not remastered. I have purchased other vintage TV series, Alfred Hitchcock TV series for example and I found the quality to be excellent. Timeless puts a disclaimer about the quality at the beginning of the video but I do not believe that releases them from the responsibility to produce a quality product. Hope to never purchase a video put out by Timeless again.
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