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Matt Houston: Season 1

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UPC: 097360744040

Format: DVDMultiple Formats, Box set, Color, Full Screen, NTSC

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Lee Horsely is rocking his '80s 'stache as Matlock Houston, a transplanted Texas oilman who solves murders in Los Angeles as an amateur private investigator. Horsely has Tom Selleck's rugged good looks and James Garner's down-home folksy appeal. As his beautiful Harvard-educated lawyer and lifelong platonic friend C.J. (Pamela Hensley) remarks, "He'll charm the socks off you." Producer Aaron Spelling's distinctive stylish escapist touch is all over Matt Houston. Like Amos Burke of Spelling's Burke's Law, the fabulously wealthy Houston can afford to indulge himself in his hobby, piloting his private helicopter or driving his Excalibur to the scenes of the crimes. And as with Law, The Love Boat, and Fantasy Island, each episode is loaded with an eclectic roster of faded Hollywood greats, venerable character actors, and future stars. "The Purrfect Crime" boasts Playboy icon and Hee-Haw gal Barbie Benton, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Sonny Bono, and Werner "Colonel Klink" Klemperer. This being a Spelling production, that would also explain the appearance in "Fear for Tomorrow" of young Tori Spelling (billed as "Victoria"), who is endearingly god-awful. Matt Houston has the usual squealing car chases, gunfights, explosions, and cheesecake, but several episodes are refreshingly bizarre. "Here's Another Fine Mess" features Larry Harmon and Chuck McCann as villainous Laurel and Hardy impersonators, "Here's Joey" concerns a killer robot, and "Recipe for Murder" features Sid Caesar as a Russian restaurateur who is the prime suspect when his partner turns up dead in a Jell-O mold. Episodes have a comic B-story (in one, Houston avoids going to the dentist) and the ensemble serves up such colorful characters as LaMar Pettybone (Paul Brinegar, who was Wishbone on Rawhide), one of Houston's grizzled ranch hands; Murray Chase (George Wyner), Houston's excitable business manager; and Mama Novelli (Penny Santon), restaurant owner and the overbearing mother of Vince Novelli (John Aprea), Houston's best friend. That's another thing about Houston, C.J. informs us: he "doesn't like it when his friends get hurt." Most of these cases are personal as FOM either turn up dead or are accused of murder. Matt Houston is not groundbreaking television, but it's a decade-defining guilty pleasure. As C.J. suggestively states in the series' opening, chock-a-block with every '80s TV private eye cliché, "Better cock your pistols." --Donald Liebenson
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Video details

List Price: $36.99
Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Paramount
Actors: Lee Horsley Pamela Hensley 
Size: 7.5000" x 5.3000"
Weight: 0.4000 lbs.
Language: English, English