George Peppard as BanacekYour voice has been heard!

A couple of months ago we asked your support in getting the great old TV show Banacek released on DVD. Well, it has finally happened, according to Hart Sharp Video.

Season 1 of Banacek will be released on DVD on May 15, according to Hart Sharp. The 2-disc release will be the first in a series called TV Guide Presents, which will benefit from promotion in the magazine, on the TV Guide television channel, and the TVguide website.

The set will consist of the first eight Banacek episodes (although not the pilot episode, as far as I can discern) and will retail for $29.95. The show ran for two seasons and constituted 16 episodes plus the pilot film, which ran in a two-hour time slot and was originally titled Banacek and later renamed Detour to Nowhere.

In each episode, suave but tough Thomas Banacek (George Peppard) recovers stolen items that the insurance companies’ detectives cannot find, identifies the thief and any accomplices, and pockets double the percentage of value that is ordinarily offered.

The neat twist is that each theft has been done in a way that seems impossible. As I wrote in my earlier post on the program, "A large, bejeweled coach would disappear from a locked cargo hold of a ship in transit, a horse and rider would vanish from a racetrack during a practice run, an experimental car would be stolen from a train while in transit and watched by multiple witnesses, a football player would disappear after being tackled on the field before tens of thousands of fans in the stadium and millions of TV viewers, and other such puzzlers would occur in each episode."

Banacek rose from humble roots to make a large fortune for himself, and he clearly enjoys the good things that money can buy. Nonetheless, he does not seem driven by any lust for wealth. What really seems to push him is a desire for justice—and a powerful wish to prove himself worthy of others’ respect.

As such, Banacek has served as an inspiration to urban, working-class, ethnic youths such as I myself once was, in that he was proud of being of Polish descent and took no crud from anybody about it. Seeing Banacek dismiss people’s prejudices and make his way regardless of what others thought he was worth really did make a difference in how I saw my place in the world, and I am rather grateful to both the filmmakers and George Peppard for doing that fine little thing.

I am sure that others growing up today could benefit from that lesson as well. 

According to TVShowsonDVD, special features of the Season 1 release will include "a photo gallery, TV Guide Crossword puzzle and exclusive access to a Banacek microsite."

Here is the Hart Sharp Video press release:

TV Guide Presents BANACEK- The First Season (2 discs)


A self-made millionaire, and living in Boston’s posh Beacon Hill area, Thomas Banacek (played by George Peppard) has a taste for only the finest things. Being of Polish decent, he also loves to recite enigmatic Polish proverbs. Banacek is aided in his efforts by his limo chauffer and gofer, Jay (played by Ralph Manza). Jay usually has his own ideas on how the items were taken, and also has dreams of recovering the items himself first and get the reward. Banacek also relies heavily on his close friend and bibliophile/bookstore owner Felix Mulholland (played by Murray Matheson) to help in background research. Insurance companies are loath to call on his services for the recovery of lost or stolen insured items because of these fees. Nevertheless, they call on him when they get stuck, as no one else can solve these impossible cases.

CAST: George Peppard (TV’s The A-Team, Breakfast at Tiffany’s ) – Guest stars include Michael Lerner, Margot Kidder, Brenda Vaccaro, Mike Farrell and many more

Rating: Not Rated Genre: TV Drama Run Time: 576 minutes on 2 discs – (8 episodes/72 minutes each) DVD SKU#: (8) 29567 0428-2 (3) DVD SRP: $29.95

Bonus Features include Photo Gallery, TV Guide Crossword Puzzles, and more! (Special features subject to change).