Designing Women Collectibles
Designing Women Online presents a detailed description of DVD releases, books
and other officially released or distributed series collectibles.
DESIGNING WOMEN COMPLETE SEASON DVD SETS
After years of waiting and fans petitioning Sony to put Designing Women on DVD, Shout! Factory finally attained the DVD rights from Sony and delivered us the Complete First Season in 2009.
As a matter of fact, because Shout! Factory released this instead of Sony, subsequent season releases were all but guaranteed, and way more love and attention was put into the final product. Designing Women Online was also involved in contributing artwork for the Complete First Season!
The first four seasons are all presented in an identical format. The sets highlight each of the ladies individually on the outside box, with a photos of the Villa Marre (the house used to represent Sugarbaker's Design Firm) below the ladies on the front, and another cast shot with episode stills on the back. Inside, two double slim cases hold the four discs. Again, similar cast shots (2 of the ladies per case) are used on the front and individually on the discs, with episode titles with original airdates for each disc on the case back. The first four season releases also include a very nice episode booklet with complete descriptions, guest stars, original airdates, photographs, production credits, and even quotes from the episodes!
Each disc's menu has the opening theme song playing with videos from the episodes contained on the set, with the house at the bottom of the screen. You are given option to Play All or choose Episodes individually. The episode plays immediately once you have selected an episode, and there are chapter marks placed at all of the appropriate places in each of the episodes.
The episodes themselves look and sound like a series of its age and exactly as we are used to seeing them in syndication. On the plus side, the episodes appear to be uncut, although Season One no longer features Stevie Wonder's Isn't She Lovely over the closing credits of The Beauty Contest, and Season Three features an introduction made for syndication on Reservations for 12, Plus Ursula. All footage and all other popular music played throughout the episodes seems to be intact! And Shout! Factory has even provided closed-captioning.
There are two great surprises included with The Complete First Season. The first is about 43 minutes of a 2006 reunion that was put together at The Paley Center for Media where all of the original cast members (Delta Burke, Dixie Carter, Annie Potts, and Jean Smart) get together with Linda Bloodworth-Thomason on stage for an unscripted and unrehearsed discussion of the series. The other unexpected treat is that the episode booklet features a seven page introduction to the series from creator Linda Bloodworth-Thomason!
The Complete Second Season set is almost identical in presentation to the First Season set but uses a blue color scheme this time. The photos of the ladies on both the front and back of the box are primarily from the first season though (with Delta Burke's being a shot that appears actually to be from a her HBO series First & Ten). But the content more than makes up for it as the two slimcases feature our ladies dressed up as the classical southern belles, sitting on the front porch, complete with petticoats, parasols, hats, and fans.
Season Three uses the double slim case packaging design, just like the first two sets did. The cover art again has the four ladies in separate snapshots (this time from the appropriate season) above the house with a green color scheme. There is a cast photo (from season two), as well as several snapshots from the season on the back of the outer sleeve. The Complete Fourth Season uses a purple theme, but all of the cast shots used for the box are from Season Two.
Starting with The Complete Fifth Season, budget restrictions have forced some changes to the packaging, but more importantly, the episodes continue to remain unedited! The artwork on the packaging is similar to previous sets, but like most other Shout! Factory releases, the packaging has changed from slimcases to a clear keepcase. Like the previous sets, there is a photo of each of the four women, along with a photo of the Sugarbaker house on the front, but all artwork is taken from the first season.
There is no longer an episode booklet included, but inside the case itself you'll find a listing of all of the episodes along with a brief description for each episode. Unlike in previous sets, the disc menus are very basic, with the main menu featuring similar artwork to what is seen on the cover of the set.
Packaging for the Complete Sixth Season and Final Season are designed exactly like the Fifth Season set, and all episodes are again unedited. Previous conversations with Sony suggested that the big hold-up in releasing the entire series was an issue with Ray Charles' estate, so it a huge relief to see the Ray Charles intro intact for this release. Artwork for Season Six is again a disaster, with the shots of Annie Potts and Dixie Carter both from the First Season and looking nothing like they do in the actual episodes. Designing Women Online did intervene to fix the problem for Season 7, but it was too late for Season 6, so we've set up an Alternate Season Six Cover
for download that can be placed right over the current cover.
Seasons 1-7 are currently available from Shout! Factory.
WOMEN OF THE HOUSE COMPLETE SERIES DVD
In February 2018, Questar Entertainment shocked and delighted us with a surprise release of the short-lived Desiging Women spin-off, Women of the House.
All 12 episodes are included in the correct order on two discs, including the hour-long pilot. There are a few minor music edits, including the original theme being removed from the pilot episode, but the replacement music is actually still music originally done for the series by composer Bruce Miller.
The DVD artwork is pretty bad, with poor resolution stock images pasted together, but the episodes themselves are vibrant for a cheap release of an older, un-touched series.
Women of the House is available from the Questar DVD Store.
THE Q GUIDE TO DESIGNING WOMEN
Publication Date: 11/01/2007
The classic 1980s sitcom goes Q Guide! Learn the truth about the backstage drama that nearly overshadowed the runaway success story of Southern-bred ladies Julia, Mary Jo, Charlene, and Suzanne. Writer Allen Crowe has worked with Linda Bloodworth-Thomason since the show's original run in the late '80s and has written for numerous television series, including Hearts Afire, Evening Shade, and penned the Designing Women Reunion Show for Lifetime television.
The book features many of your favorite quotes and short descriptions of each episode of both Desiging Women and Women of the House. There are also interviews with Dixie, Delta, Annie, Jean and Meshach - plus behind the scenes stories from various guest stars, members of the writing staff and even the show's costumer!
This is no longer in print, but copies can often be found on the internet from various sources and collectors.
THE DESIGNING WOMEN COOKBOOK
Publication Year: 2000
The Designing Women Cookbook originated as a heartfelt effort to aid in the preservation of the only Victorian house museum in Little Rock, AR -- the Villa Marre, known to Desiging Women fans as the home of Sugarbaker's Design Firm.
Robin Loucks and Karol Zoeller, editors of the Designing Women Cookbook, are both long time residents of Little Rock's historic district, the Quawpaw Quarter, where the Villa Marre is located. As active members of the Quapaw Quarter Association (QQA) for many years, both ladies are passionate restorationists, as well as accomplished cooks. Robin and Mark Zoeller, Karol's husband, were instrumental in beginning the Villa Marre Endowment Fund to ensure the preservation of this wonderful example of Victorian architecture. At that time Robin proposed the idea of a Designing Women Cookbook for the endowment but was turned down.
The idea, however, never died, and when Karol approached Robin in the Fall of 1999 about doing a cookbook, once again the beloved Villa came to mind. They wrote the producers of Desiging Women and heard nothing. After the first of the year they put their heads together and decided to give it another try, and they wrote again. It was the end of May when they received their answer -- a GO from Desiging Women creators and producers Linda Bloodworth-Thomason and Harry Thomason, complete with photographs of the cast and themselves and the official Thomason recipe for inclusion in the cookbook! A mad scramble to do market research, assemble and edit recipes, coordinate with the publisher, and proceed with getting a cookbook into the hands of collectors and cooks all over the country ensued.
The goal was to raise $100,000 for the Villa Marre Endowment fund, and they started out with a bang! The QQA's decision to sell the Villa in 2001 came as a shock and disappointment, but Robin and Karol remained undaunted -- redirecting the royalties towards Breast Cancer research through the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Added a very excited Robin about their choice of beneficiary, "I think the Thomasons and the Desiging Women cast would approve."
The Designing Women Cookbook is no longer in print, but copies can often be found on the internet from various sources and collectors.
DESIGNING WOMEN VOLUME ONE
DVD - Release Date: 9/28/10
Shout! Factory released a budget, 7-episode DVD for the more casual fan that features the following episodes:
Designing Women (Pilot)
A Big Affair
I Do, I Don't
New Year's Daze
And Justice For Paul
BEST OF DESIGNING WOMEN
DVD - Release Date: 9/03/03
Sony released this 5 episode compilation made up of fan-voted favorite episodes as a way to temporarily appease fans. The single disc features the following episodes:
Designing Women (Pilot)
Killing All the Right People
Reservations for Eight
Big Haas, Little Falsie
They Shoot Fat Women, Don't They?
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