Fair Exchange

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Joe Lugoff, Sep 28, 2006.

  1. Joe Lugoff

    Joe Lugoff Cinematographer

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    I read here that Smore Entertainment is going to come out with the complete single season of "I'm Dickens, He's Fenster." I used to watch that show back in the 1962-63 season on ABC, but right after I'd switch to CBS for what was, surprisingly, my favorite show on the air back then.

    It was called "Fair Exchange," and was touted as the first weekly hour sitcom. I thought it was great (but I was only 12, so what did I know?) It flopped pretty badly, went off for about three months, and then came back on in the standard, half-hour format like all the other sitcoms.

    It's unbelievable that the Dickens-Fenster thing is coming out, so I guess anything's possible. I'm hereby requesting the people over at Smore (or anyone else) to look into a set of "Fair Exchange." I'm guessing there were 13 hour episodes and maybe 15 to 20 half hours.

    Does anyone else have fond memories of this show? Or even unfond ones?
     
  2. Michael Alden

    Michael Alden Supporting Actor

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    Unfortunately the show is owned by Paramount so that it's buried so deep you would have to dig for 50 years to get to it. The reason Fenster is going to be coming out is that Leonard Stern and his company, Heyday Productions, retained the rights to it. So it was easy for Smore to license it from them. Fair Exchange on the other hand, being a Paramount show, you would have better luck trying to rip a piece of meat away from a starving tiger. I have a few that I've gotten over the years from 16mm. The whole 1 hour sitcom thing never really worked on any show. For the record, they made 15 hours and 13 half hours and probably the most notable thing about the show was that it was the first American show for Judy Carne, pre-Baileys of Balboa, pre-Love on a Rooftop and pre-Laugh-In.
     
  3. Joe Lugoff

    Joe Lugoff Cinematographer

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    Thanks for the info, Michael, and the bad news that I might as well forget about this show on DVD. [​IMG]
     
  4. Harry-N

    Harry-N Cinematographer

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    FAIR EXCHANGE was the show that replaced THE TWILIGHT ZONE on CBS after its third season. After the 13-episode run of FAIR EXCHANGE, CBS decided to resurrect TWILIGHT ZONE and gave it the full hour slot, hence the fourth (half) season of hour shows. When that didn't quite work to anyone's advantage, TWILIGHT ZONE was pared back to a half-hour for its fifth season.

    I remember the show as being about two exhange students dealing with the idiosyncracies of life in America and Great Britain. Judy Carne played the Brit living with the American family. I'm sure I watched it - but forty years of other memories have pretty much wiped out further details.

    Harry
     
  5. Joe Lugoff

    Joe Lugoff Cinematographer

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    What I remember most clearly from "Fair Exchange" were the phone calls back and forth across the Atlantic, where the parents were so eager to talk to their daughters. I remember them as being hilarious, but I was 12, so maybe they weren't so great, after all.

    Now I'm going to be really pedantic. It's 100% true that when "Fair Exchange" was cancelled in December of 1962, it cleared an hour for the new hour-long "Twilight Zone." However, it didn't literally replace "Fair Exchange," which was on Friday at 9:30 ET. That time slot went to "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" which had been on Thursdays at 10. Hitchcock's slot went to "The Nurses," which had been on Thursdays at 9 -- and that's where the hour "Twilight Zone" went.

    This meaningless trivia has been brought to you by Joe Lugoff, who has really never left 1962, which is why he remembers this so well.
     
  6. Harry-N

    Harry-N Cinematographer

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    Joe's memory is working better than my "Time Tunnel" and he's 100% correct, based on the little research I've done on this. From what I can gather, the fifth season of TWILIGHT ZONE went back to Friday nights at 9:30, right before HITCHCOCK at 10 PM.

    Harry
     
  7. Joe Lugoff

    Joe Lugoff Cinematographer

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    That is correct -- and neither show did well. "Twilight Zone" was cancelled -- Hitchcock went back to NBC again, and was cancelled after one season there -- and television has never been the same since. [​IMG]
     
  8. Jeff#

    Jeff# Screenwriter

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    The Alfred Hitchcock Hour wasn't cancelled by NBC in 1965, Joe. Hitchcock himself ended it when James Allardice, the writer who came up with the amusing comments he made for his 10 years on television had died. Al refused to go on with the show if someone else were writing his intros.

    I believe if the Hitchcock Hour came back in the fall, it would have started filming in color because the only shows that were shot in black in white on the NBC network that premiered in the fall of 1965 were both new: "I Dream of Jeannie" and the WWII action show "Convoy", although Convoy was cancelled after only a few months.
     
  9. Jeff#

    Jeff# Screenwriter

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    The main star of "Fair Exchange" was rotund character actor Jack Weston, a man who did a lot dramtic TV work in the early 1960s, including guest appearances on such shows as The Dick Powell Show and The Fugitive.
    In 1959 he was in The Twilight Zone episode "The Monsters are Due on Maple Street" as the neighbor who argued with Claude Akins about the plan of action to take when the town were in fear of the weird
    going-ons.

    Jack's first TV work after the cancellation of Fair Exchange was a return to Twilight Zone, in the most amusing comedy dictated into a tape recorder by Rod Serling...."The Bard", one of the hour-long shows from the 4th season.
     
  10. Joe Lugoff

    Joe Lugoff Cinematographer

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    What ever excuse they allowed Hitchcock to concoct with his PR firm, the show was really cancelled due to low ratings.

    Jack Weston wasn't in "Fair Exchange." His sitcom of that era was the previous season's "The Hathaways," with Peggy Cass. They played a couple with three chimpanzees instead of children. (I wonder if that's a possibility for Smore Entertainment?) The American father in "Fair Exchange" was Eddie Foy, Jr.
     
  11. Tom.W

    Tom.W Stunt Coordinator

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    I'd like to see a release of the Hathaways too, Joe. Might fit in with the esoteric I'm Dickens, He's Fenster from Smore. Although the premise of having the Marquis chimps play children was a bit bizarre, it may be too far off the wall even for an independent company. A few episodes are circulating around, and they confirmed my hazy memory from 1961-62 that there were some hilarious scenes. In part due to Cass' and Weston's poker-faced approach to treating the chimps as family members.
     
  12. Michael Alden

    Michael Alden Supporting Actor

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    The Hathaways is owned by Sony. So no, smore can't do it and we know how Sony feels about black and white shows.
     
  13. Joe Lugoff

    Joe Lugoff Cinematographer

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    We live in such a frustrating world. Of course, it's easy for us to tell these companies to lose tons of money on releases that would sell very badly .......

    But if some company is optimistic enough to release some of this stuff, I wish Sony or Paramount (or whoever) would give them a chance. They'd get something out of it, and the last time I checked, something was better than nothing.

    In an ideal world, everything ever made would be available on demand. Supposedly, some record company (can't remember which one) is digitizing every recording they ever made and will have them all available online for downloading. Some day this may be true for television shows. But, at the rate they're going, I won't live to see it. [​IMG]
     
  14. Jeff#

    Jeff# Screenwriter

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    That's right...I knew Jack Weston was in a sitcom back then, and it was The Hathaways (which I also never had the opportunity to see). Peggy Cass must have really been annoying as his wife in that show with her shrill voice. She's best known as a panelist on most versions of "To Tell the Truth" though.
     
  15. Michael Alden

    Michael Alden Supporting Actor

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    And if there's anyone here who's an expert on being annoying...
     
  16. Jeff#

    Jeff# Screenwriter

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    That was uncalled for, Michael, damn you.
     
  17. Harry-N

    Harry-N Cinematographer

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    A bit off-topic, but since it was brought up: Both CONVOY and I DREAM OF JEANNIE being NBC's only regular prime-time black & white series that fall was explained away as:

    I DREAM OF JEANNIE required a lot of trick photography, and they were unwilling to spend the added bucks for color on an unproven series.

    CONVOY relied a lot on old stock footage that was in black & white, so it seemed natural to blend the new stuff in black & white with the old.

    I don't know how true those reasons are, but that's what they told us, the public.

    Harry
     
  18. Jeff#

    Jeff# Screenwriter

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    That's long been my theory behind the cancellations of both 12 O' Clock High and Combat! in the following season, but at least both got to film in color by their last seasons and it was just too expensive for ABC to find color WWII aerial photography for one show and ground footage for the other.
     
  19. Charles Ellis

    Charles Ellis Screenwriter

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    Regarding the 1966 cancellations- ABC decided to go full-color in its fall schedule that year, and told all of the producers that their shows had to go to color if they were to be on the 1966 fall season schedule. However, United Artists' TV division balked at this (despite already having the color Gilligan's Island and My Mother the Car for CBS and NBC, respectively the previous season), and would not go the distance in cost of upgrading its ABC shows to color. And so, that's the reason why both The Outer Limits and The Patty Duke Show were cancelled!! It's all true- Ms. Duke even talked about it in her memoirs.
     
  20. michael_ks

    michael_ks Screenwriter

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    OL was cancelled halfway through the 1964-65 season, and I always thought it was due to its being crushed by "The Jackie Gleason Show".
     

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