The Barkleys were a typical idea of an all-American blue collar family since the days of radio sitcoms. Arnie, a know-it-all, short-tempered bus driver, his sweet but dim wife Agnes, and their problems dealing with their growing kids: Roger, a tall, long haired older boy, Terry, their headstrong, busy teen daughter and grade school boy Chester. Plots are usually about Arnie's harebrained schemes to get gain status or riches, or his misinterpreting his kids' activities.Written by
I remember "The Barkleys" very well. It, along with "The Roman Holidays" and the live-action kids' game show "Runaround," was one of my favorite shows on NBC's Saturday morning schedule of 1972-73 (I was then 10 years old).
Two episodes I especially enjoyed were "The Great Disc Jockey," in which Arnie becomes a DJ at a local radio station playing old-timey music after he got fed up hearing the music the kids liked, and became spurned by said kids even more (son Roger was a DJ at the opening of that episode as well), and "For the Love of Money," in which Arnie sets Roger up with a haughty, high-society girl named Elsie Schnauzer.
And if Arnie Barkley's voice sounded familiar, it was because Henry Corden - who voiced Arnie - went on to become the full-time voice of Fred Flintstone after Alan Reed, who originally voiced Flintstone, died in 1973. And Joan Gerber, who voiced wife Agnes, was also heard in a concurrent animated "All in the Family" derivative, "Wait Till Your Father Gets Home," as matron Irma Boyle (both Agnes and Irma sounded very much alike).
I understand Disney/ABC (!) now owns all the DePatie-Freleng Enterprises (aka DFE Films) shows (with the exception of "The Pink Panther," which is owned by MGM). Although select episodes of "The Barkleys" were on VHS tape in the late 80's and are now unavailable - long before Disney acquired DFE's backlog - the show has yet to make a DVD appearance. If Disney did renew the copyrights on "The Barkleys," then I can only hope someone like Shout! Factory or some other "video nostalgia" label will get the rights to all 13 episodes and put them on DVD; it would especially be nice to see the "Great Disc Jockey" episode again. It would be awful if "The Barkleys" was in the public domain because small-time video companies would snap it up, and they would very likely use poor-quality, unrestored film elements. (DFE Films, by the way, went out of business in 1981 and was ultimately absorbed into Marvel Comics Animation - which is now a division of Disney/ABC - thus explaining Disney's current ownership of "The Barkleys.")
As I've stated in other comments, all I can suggest is: (1) contact Disney, Shout! Factory, etc. and tell them you'd like to see all 13 episodes of "The Barkleys" on DVD; and (2) be sure to vote for it at TV Shows on DVD.com. If "The Barkleys" gets over 100 votes at that website, it might get Disney, etc.'s attention and they'll get it out of the vaults, renew the copyrights on the show if they haven't done so already, and get it on DVD (as of this posting, "The Barkleys" received only 38 paltry votes at TV Shows on DVD.com).
So for anybody else who remembers "The Barkleys" and would like to see the show again, don't delay - *take action now!*
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