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Hitting the ‘Beach’

February 16, 2013
By Cindy Votruba , Marshall Independent

I don't know if it was the fact that I was reading a book these past few weeks that took place during the Vietnam War ("The Lotus Eaters" by Tatjana Soli, highly recommend it), but I found myself doing another search on whether or not the television show "China Beach" would come to DVD.

Late last week, I was overjoyed with the news that finally, after clearing the rights to almost 500 musical copyrights, it was going to be released sometime this year by Time Life.

So I hit the Time Life website and my jaw nearly dropped at the cost of the show's four seasons - $199.95. For just 62 episodes? I spent less than $30 on the entire series of "Daria" (granted it didn't have the original music). Well, it is Time Life, which tends to have high prices on its CD sets of whatever era you're into. And from the looks of it, the "China Beach" DVD is set to be released in mid-April. Some sketchy-looking websites had the show listed at $44.99 or $59.99. I'm not too keen on pirated or bootleg DVDs, so I'll wait a little while to see if they'll ever become available on Amazon.

When the show started back in 1988, I was hooked from the opening theme song - "Reflections" by Diana Ross and the Supremes. It had Dana Delaney before she was a desperate housewife or a medical examiner, Marg Helgenberger before she was a CSI and Robert Picardo before he played a gym teacher or joining Stargate.

"China Beach" thrust you into the heart of Vietnam, telling it from a woman's point of view. Delaney was First Liet. Colleen McMurphy, a nurse with the 510th Evac Hospital. Helgenberger was K.C., a part-time prostitute. Concetta Tomei was Maj. Lila Garreau, Army commanding officer at China Beach. Picardo's character, Capt. Dick Richard, the head surgeon, was, well, kind of a womanizing creep. I'll admit that I vaguely remember Michael Boatman's character of SP4 Samuel Beckett, but I sure remembered Boonie played by Brian Wimmer (wonder what ever became of him?). Then there was Dodger, Cherry White and Holly Pelegrino, played by Ricki Lake.

The show featured the stories of nurses, doctors, officers, soldiers, Red Cross volunteers and civilian personnel. I don't think I ever missed an episode. But it's been so long since it last aired that I can't recall any of the details of those episodes. I remembered the romance between Lila and "Sarge" (Master Sgt. Bob Pepper) and that was roughly about it.

Although it was a great show, "China Beach" didn't get the greatest of ratings. It eventually ended in 1991. That was more than 20 years ago. Guess I'll have to wait and see if this show will ever be less than $200 after the April release.

Now it's time to start the campaign of getting "Cold Case" released on DVD. Seven seasons worth of copyrighted songsthis may take a couple of decades or so.

 
 

 

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