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Shirley Booth's iconic sitcom on DVD has innate appeal to her strident fans, but that's pretty much it....
Shout! Factory / 660 Minutes / 1964-1965 / Unrated / Street Date: December 11, 2012
Hazel (Shirley Booth) doesn't put up with much claptrap. As her eponymous series' third season plays out on DVD, it's apparent from start to finish that as the woman pretty much runs things at the Baxter house, Hazel will love you, nourish you, and entertain you, but if you get on her bad side - God forbid you sass her - she'll come right at you. It's part of her charm - she may be rough around the edges, but when you feel a friendly, kind glow from Hazel on screen, you know it's authentic.
Fans of the series will remember that Hazel revolves around life in a nice big fancy house. Missy Baxter (Whitney Blake) grew up with Hazel as a maid, so our title character is just as much a part of the family as anybody else. There's Mr. Baxter (Don DeFore), who is under the assumption that he is the main decision-maker of the place (he ain't), and young Harold (Bobby Buntrock) is also around, ready to get into trouble when a good sitcom scenario demands it.
But Hazel: The Complete Fourth Season works best when it focuses on Hazel being Hazel. This kind of TV-on-DVD won't have much appeal to viewers not fully entrenched in the Hazel experience (if you don't remember watching it in the 1960s, you'll probably max out after two or three episodes here), but as a glimpse into what TV used to look like, there's definitely a nostalgic draw to this release. Its stories and setups are Sitcom 101, but it's clear why Booth and her show were at one time so very popular.