Warner Archive has apparently been successful with their collections, since they keep announcing more of them — and the latest has a special bonus.
The Andy Hardy Collection (hopefully labeled Volume 1) collects six of the 30s and 40s films starring Mickey Rooney. The first 400 of these box sets (priced at $59.95, no discounts) will ship autographed by Rooney. That’s a very cool thing, since it’s impressive that the gentleman is still working in movies, giving him almost a 90-year-long career.
I’ve actually seen all 16 of the movies, thanks to TCM. I enjoy them. They’re a restful glimpse into another world, focusing on the concerns of a teenage boy in a long-ago culture and just before a world turning point. Rooney is very talented, and Lewis Stone, who plays father Judge Hardy, and Fay Holden are wonderful, old-fashioned parents.
The six films included here, all of which are new to DVD, are the 2nd (first in the series, since the first movie A Family Affair, was originally a stand-alone), the 5th, and the 8th – 11th. Those last four are strong family cinema, sending Andy through multiple dates, high school graduation, and trips to New York City.
- You’re Only Young Once (1937) — the family goes on vacation to Catalina Island, and romantic misadventures result
- Out West with the Hardys (1938) — cowboy cutups as they visit a dude ranch, where the judge helps settle a lease dispute
- Judge Hardy and Son (1939) — in trying to find the relatives of a destitute Italian immigrant couple, Andy winds up dating more than one girl and trying to scam himself into being a prize winner
- Andy Hardy Meets Debutante (1940) — guest-starring Judy Garland, who isn’t the title deb; Andy gets involved with a big-city socialite (if Andy is Archie, as he often is, then Judy’s role is Betty, the well-meaning best friend who gets overlooked for the more glamorous gal)
- Andy Hardy’s Private Secretary (1941) — if Andy can’t pass his final exams, he won’t graduate!
- Life Begins for Andy Hardy (1941) — it’s off to the city again for Andy’s first job and some tough life lessons
One other Andy Hardy film, also co-starring Judy Garland, is already available on DVD but not included in this set: Love Finds Andy Hardy (which I think is the best title of them all).
Update: The autographed copies are gone, a day after they were announced.