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Who could not help but to enjoy the lovable larrikins of the Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard? From “Don't panic Mr.Mainwearing, don't panic!" to “You stupid boy!”, Dad’s Army has entertained generations of audiences since the late sixties. Who would have known that after almost 40 years, Dad’s Army’s popularity is as appealing now as when it was first created. It is one of the most successful BBC comedies and its entertainment legacy will live on for many future generations!

The Series
Starring Arthur Lowe (Captain Mainwearing), John Le Mesurier (Sergeant Wilson), Clive Dunn (Lance Corporal Jones), John Laurie (Frazer), Arnold Ridley (Godfrey), James Beck (Walker), Ian Lavender (Pike), Bill Pertwee (Hodges), Frank Williams (Vicar), Edward Sinclair (Verger)
Dads Army, The Best Of: Volume Two
Episode 1: No Spring for Frazer
Who amongst us has ever misplaced something of importance? Frazer takes a gun home to give it what he calls “a proper cleaning” only to find upon returning it for inspection, he has temporarily misplaced a spring that is necessary to fire the gun. God help the Home Guard if the Germans were to attack! Through a series of hilarious events, the Home Guards break into a house and attempt to break a lock off a coffin to look inside. (Thinking the spring might be in there!) They definitely give the Keystone cops a run for their money with their antics!

Episode 2: Mum’s Army
What were the Home Guards thinking inviting women to join their ranks? While women played an important part in supporting the war effort, the mere presence of women on parade only added to the confusion and chaos of the Walmington-on-sea Home Guards. Perhaps some of Sergeant Wilson’s charm has worn off on Captain Mainwearing?

Episode 3: Menace from the Deep
So how many Home Guards does it take to row a boat? The Walmington-on-sea Home Guards are assigned to a watchtower by a seaside arcade. Perhaps this will be the night the Germans attack? Captain Mainwearing gives the troops a “Monkey-see, Monkey do” exercise which leaves the Home Guard more concerned with where they are going to sleep and whether they will starve while on watch! An arcade crane game pursues to retrieve what is believed to be some chocolates. After much comic relief (and all of Frazer’s pennies), Walker tilts the machine and the cardboard chocolates fall out. If one pays close attention to details, perhaps they will notice who is operating the crane when Frazer takes his hands off the controls?

Episode 4: When Did You Last See the Money?
Corporal Jones is entrusted with a large sum of money which he tries to deposit in Mr.Mainwearing’s bank overnight and withdraw a check the following day to present to a charitable organization. He gives new meaning to his infamous words “Don't panic! Don't panic!" when he mistakeningly tries to deposit a pound of sausages (that he so carefully disguised in paper) instead of the money! The various members of the Home Guard pitch in to try and help Jonesy retrace his steps mentally to find out where he misplaced the money. By the time the money is found, the sausages mysteriously have gone missing!

Dads Army, The Best Of: Volume Two

Episode 5: The Honorable Man
When Sergeant Wilson inherits an honorable title, the people of Walmington-on-sea are only more than happy to associate with their new royalty. Mainwearing takes exception to Wilson’s new status and jealousy arises in an amusing way. Mainwearing is determined that Sergeant Wilson will learn how to drive a motorcycle as part of his Home Guard duties. Walmington-on-sea is preparing a welcome ceremony from a hero from the Soviet Union. Things take a funny twist when Sergeant Wilson becomes honored as a “man of the working class” and is presented with the key to the city.

The Best of Dad’s Army Volume 2 is presented in its Original Aspect 1:33:1 full frame. Unfortunately, some of the earlier BBC Comedy episodes have not been well preserved. Having said that, I thoroughly enjoy the BBC humour and the colourful characters of the Home Guard! One could say the shading and colouring might not be as good as it can be, but I would not let it get in the way of these humourous episodes! Considering the age of the material this is a pretty serviceable transfer.

Presented in English Dolby 2.0 mono, one will need to understand the age of the episodes. I don’t think one would argue that we could not hear the Theme (Sung by Bud Flanaghan) clearly. If you are like me, you have heard it hundreds of times and sing along with it each and every time! The only problem becomes when you can’t sleep and “Who do you think you are kidding Mr. Hitler?” runs through your minds on a seemingly unending basis! The mono soundtrack will suffice for this release.

Dads Army, The Best Of: Volume Two

The only extra included on the disc is a featurette entitled Don’t Panic – The Dad’s Army Story. Here we are treated to an insight behind not only the making of Dad’s Army, but the characters, the writing and the phrases that “just happened”. Ironically, the public picked up and made popular certain phrases that sometimes the writers did not think they would become catch phrases for those particular roles. Pike was created based on Jimmy Perry while he was in the Home Guard during the war. Jonesy’s character reminded Jimmy Perry of an old soldier that was also part of his unit. I enjoyed hearing from Pike (Ian Lavender), Jonesy (Clive Dunn), Hodges(Bill Pertwee), Mrs. Fox (Pamela Cundell) and Shirley (Wendy Richards). I would have liked to hear more about special moments they remembered while filming and of each other over the more than 80 episodes. I would also have liked to see some blooper footage as well as some film that only made it as far as the cutting room floor. My only negative with featurettes is sometimes one does not know either the person who is talking or their relationship to the show.

I agree it was a shame that actors like Arthur Lowe and John Le Mesurier did not live to see the full extent of their popularity. Whether through the Appreciation Society, the Museum of Walmington-on-sea, Memorabilia or Fan Clubs around the world, Dad’s Army is more than a “family event”, the show’s enjoyment will be remembered forever!

One can only hope that the last two missing episodes of the series may one day be found and preserved for future generations to enjoy! Jimmy Perry and David Croft have created over 80 episodes that continue to more than entertain audiences today! The casting (in addition to the humour) is really what makes Dad’s Army a gem! Memorable moments, famous words, and the antics are all an integral part of what makes us all enjoy and appreciate (and yes love!) the wonderful characters of the Home Guard!