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40 Nostalgic Installments of TV's 'Fugitive' : Nu Ventures Video concentrates on 'key episodes' of '60s TV series that's now a hit movie. Barry Morse--the original Lt. Gerard--introduces each segment.


Seeing the new smash-hit movie version of the 1960s TV series "The Fugitive" has been known to create a need for what might be dubbed "a 'Fugitive' fix." In other words, you need to see some episodes of the TV show starring the late David Janssen as Dr. Richard Kimble, on the run because he's been accused unjustly of killing his wife.

If you can't satisfy the craving by watching the daily reruns on cable's A&E channel, you can find "The Fugitive" at video outlets.

Nu Ventures Video, a Marina del Rey-based company, has been marketing the series since February, 1991, when the first five volumes appeared. Each volume, priced at $20, includes two one-hour shows and is duplicated in the SP mode, for the best audio-visual quality.

Five more volumes came out in September, 1991, and, to capitalize on the movie's release, 10 more were released several weeks ago. The first 10 featured a trailer for the TV show, which has been deleted in the recent repackaging. Now all 40 episodes on the 20 volumes include a two-to-five-minute introduction--a different one for each show--by Barry Morse, who plays Lt. Gerard, the cop who's trailing Kimble throughout.

If you've never seen the series, don't expect anything like the slick, slam-bang adventure you see in the new screen version. But in the context of black-and-white '60s series television, it's not that bad--even though the action sequences are relatively tame, low-budget affairs. Janssen carries the show, projecting a rock-solid veneer that clearly has a layer of vulnerability underneath. But, like all video versions of old TV shows, the main selling point of "The Fugitive" is its nostalgia value.

Nu Ventures executives watched all 120 episodes before deciding which to market. "We picked key episodes, ones that propelled the series along," explained vice president Alan Grossman. "We picked key Gerard vs. Kimble conflicts, key episodes showing Kimble as a humanitarian and key episodes featuring the one-armed man (the character responsible for the murder for which Kimble was blamed). We also paired similar episodes. For instance, both shows in Vol. 19 have a civil rights message."

Grossman added that there was another factor in choosing episodes: "We were looking for shows that feature people who became stars. There are shows with people like Angie Dickinson, Bruce Dern, Robert Duvall and Telly Savalas. An episode in Vol. 20 features the Lakers' announcer Chick Hearn. There's also one with William Shatner. It's not one of the best in the series, but it will appeal to all his fans."

The first and last episodes of "The Fugitive" are available on video from Worldvision.

What's New

"Falling Down" (Warner, no set price). A stressed-out defense worker (Michael Douglas) erupts, abandoning his car in a traffic jam and treks across Los Angeles to see his ex-wife (Barbara Hershey) and daughter. Along the way, he gathers arms and mows down assorted enemies. Robert Duvall plays a retiring cop who's tracking him. Crassly manipulative, pro-vigilante nonsense that preys on urban dwellers' paranoia. Cartoonish characters make it hard to take any of this seriously.

"Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey" (Buena Vista, $23). The adventures of two dogs and a cat crossing the treacherous wilderness on the way home. The voices of Michael J. Fox, Sally Field and Don Ameche tell us what the animals are thinking, a device that becomes annoying after a while for anyone over the age of 7. Cute and a bit corny, but an OK family film.

"Swing Kids" (Hollywood, $95). In 1939 Germany, with Nazism on the rise, teens rebel through big-band jazz, much like their '50s counterparts did through rock 'n' roll. The sets seem authentic but the actors, particularly star Robert Sean Leonard, are never convincing as Germans. Good idea that's not executed well enough to make it ring true.

"Benny & Joon" (MGM/UA, 95). A small-town mechanic named Benny (Aidan Quinn) is dedicated to caring for his mentally ill sister Joon (Mary Stuart Masterston). In a card game, Joon wins Sam (Johnny Depp), a kindly eccentric who acts like a silent-screen comic. Will Sam and Joon fall in love? Will Benny adjust to the changes in his sister? The answers are obvious. Overly sentimental but with good performances.

"Hear No Evil" (FoxVideo, $96). A variation of two old thrillers about blind women being stalked by killers: "Wait Until Dark" (1967) with Audrey Hepburn and "See No Evil" (1971) starring Mia Farrow. But in this one, Marlee Matlin, as the hearing-impaired heroine, isn't in that league. She's being stalked by a nasty cop (Martin Sheen) who's after a valuable coin. Cliched and routine.

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