Is the b&w era of TV on DVD slowly coming to an end?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Gary OS, Jan 12, 2012.

  1. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    Frankly, I'd like to see Shout finish what they started in regards to certain late 60s programs, namely "Ironside".
     
  2. Gary OS

    Gary OS Producer

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    Shout hasn't release Donna Reed. MPI is the company that's restarted that series after Virgil Films had abandoned it.

    Randy, we definitely prefer different settings. While I do enjoy "A&C in Hollywood" a lot, over all I like the Universal films far more than the MGM ones. Added "tinsel" has rarely done anything for me, and I'll take Rawhide and HGWT over any of the WB westerns every day of the week and twice on Sundays. It's not even close in my book. But to each his own when it comes to these things. And while I'm sure there is some difference in WBA release a/v quality and Encore a/v quality, it's just not important enough for me to pay the premium prices Warners has attached to them.

    Overall I still agree with Chris that we are on the downside of b/w TV releases. I hope those of you who are putting all your hopes and dreams into WBA see your wishes come true, but I'm going to want to see a little more from them before I start singing their praises as the savior of vintage TV on DVD.


    Gary "Shout's not been perfect (which studio has?), but I've enjoyed their output over the last several years and really don't have any major complaints" O.
     
  3. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    Another area where we differ, Gary. I can never look at Shout as reliable at all after the stunts they've pulled on titles of greater interest to me (I'm feeling more relief than excitement that Adam-12 made it to the finish line). And no way in a million years would I make myself a slave to the nuisance of having to record programs off-air ever again as an alternative to a ready-made set. Just imagine the aggravation of one missed show in a run and fouling up the sequencing of the discs or some other catastrophe? Thank goodness those days are long over for me.
     
  4. smithb

    smithb Screenwriter

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    And in a nutshell that's what it really comes down to in how each person views one of these company's, by how did they treat their personal favorites. If you don't really like westerns then Timeless will probably not be a first choice (yes they do other genre's, but that appears to be their niche). If WBA hasn't released a favorite then their releases are too slow and prices too high when less costly releases from others are competing for dollars. If a favorite wasn't treated as well as it could have been, well they are in the dog house and not to be easily forgiven (I can't think of any that haven't had a miss along the way). And that's why there are always going to be different opinions about how these companies are performing. Because we don't all share the same favorites.
    For me, Timeless has done really well overall (I like westerns), even though some of their prints can be quite suspect sometimes. Shout has done really well overall (complete FKB, LITB, Patty Duke, seasons I wanted from Mister Ed and Dennis the Menace, and most notably a complete Barney Miller), even though a few seasons were based on cut sources. As for WBA, I'm still waiting on a must have to come from their vaults before giving them more consideration.
    As for capturing one's own content that also depends on a person's outlook. Now I've only been doing it for probably a little over three years, where as you may have done it for much longer and tired of it. But I don't find it "slave" like to accomplish. Now technology has also improved. With a DVR, capture capability to a computer, editing software that doesn't re-encode for small changes like removing commercials, filtering software for removing unwanted tinting or hiss, authoring software to simplify menu creation, graphics software for manipulating menu backgrounds and case covers, I find I can create competitve sets to my liking in compared to what some of the smaller companies do (obviously like them I am limited to the source content provided). Of course, I'd rather buy commercial produced material when available in an attempt to get higher quality prints with no "bug" in the corner, but when not, I find this alternative much more satisfying then waiting for something not likely to come out.
     
  5. Gary OS

    Gary OS Producer

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    A-M-E-N to all of that, Brad! I can't improve on what you have posted. Perfect!!!


    Gary "I make no bones about it - right now Timeless is top dog for me" O.
     
  6. Professor Echo

    Professor Echo Screenwriter

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  7. Gary OS

    Gary OS Producer

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    Thanks, Glen. I know we see the settings thing the same way!


    Gary "take care, buddy" O.
     
  8. jdee28

    jdee28 Screenwriter

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    I'm not sure the B&W era of TV on DVD ever began, especially when compared to the color shows. I think it's just been drips and drabs. How many dramatic black and white series actually have been completed? The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, Wanted Dead or Alive, Thriller, Combat!, and Man with a Camera. M Squad, Checkmate, Arrest and Trial, and Frontier Circus have been too, but sadly mostly in 16mm less than pristine prints. The BW episodes of The Fugitive and The Man from Uncle are also out there.
    Gunsmoke, Perry Mason, Rawhide, The Untouchables, Route 66, The Naked City, Alfred Hitchcock Presents/Hour have never been completed. Obscure shows like The Millionaire, The Line-Up, The Detectives, The Defenders, Ben Casey, Dr. Kildare, Bus Stop, Adventures in Paradise, 87th Precinct, The Nurses, Saints and Sinners, East Side West Side, Twelve O'Clock High, The Eleventh Hour, Breaking Point, as well as all the WB shows have no chance of ever getting released to retail. The dramatic anthology shows like Playhouse 90, Westinghouse Studio One, Desilu Playhouse, Robert Montgomery Presents, General Electric Theater etc also have little chance of being released either.
    At least the comedies have fared better, with The Honeymooners, I Love Lucy, Leave It to Beaver, Father Knows Best, Andy Griffith, Dick Van Dyke, Patty Duke all having been released.
    But you will never get a complete picture of the b&w era of TV, at least not on (retail) DVD.
     
  9. LeoA

    LeoA Screenwriter

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    For me, shows such as these are what I want to see on DVD. Add on some shows like The Jack Benny Show, the first couple of versions of Lassie, some of the anthology programs, Ozzie & Harriet, Sea Hunt, and several others and I'd be happy.
    1960's is fairly well covered, but I'd love to see Green Acres finished, sets for The King Family Show, My Three Sons restarted properly (At least until Beverly Garland shows up, although I loved the addition of Tina Cole to the cast for the couple of seasons prior to that), Petticoat Junction (Especially the color seasons before Betty Jo marries, Bea Benaderet and Smiley Burnette passed away and Rufe Davis left), and probably a couple of others. Getting Daktari, at least, for a 1960s show that I enjoy.
    1970's is surprisingly well covered for me. The 70's episodes of Adam-12, all of Emergency, all of The Waltons, all of M*A*S*H, and all of Little House (Sadly, with many problems) are on DVD. And the seasons of Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley that I want are out or will soon be out. Not much else from this decade I'd like to see except for proper releases of WKRP, which will never happen (I think this show started in 78 or 79). Even The Facts of Life, which technically started in the 70's, is nearly done for me (I really want season 6, then I'm probably done with it).
    I can enjoy things like The Bob Newhart Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, but not enough to care to buy them. And most of the shows from the decade I detest (Any Norman Lear production, for instance). Give me a good black & white show from the 50's and the first half of the 1960's anyday.
     
  10. Regulus

    Regulus Cinematographer

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    There was only one Lassie series. It lasted from 1954 to 1973. Lassie went through four owners during the series, and when it went into syndication whoever was in charge decided to "Split" the series into three. The first one, when the Miller Family owned Lassie, was called "Jeff's Collie". The second, with the Martin Family was called "Timmy and Lassie" and the final (Color) series was simply called "Lassie".
    I was six years old when I was first introduced to this series, which was in its "Ranger" Years. I soon realised there were two other "Versions" out there which the stations in my area played on Saturday and Sunday Afternoons. I did not realise they were one complete series. Why? Because when they syndicated the series they LEFT OUT Season 4, where we are first introduced to "Timmy" who appears on the First Episode as a Child who has ran away from home, and who becomes Lassies owner after "Gramps" passes away and Jeff's Mother gets a new Job in another city. (A Couple, Paul and Ruth Martin, purchase the Farm and Adopt Timmy) as well as Seasons 9, 10 and 11 (In the first episode of Season 11 Paul Martin gets a Business oppurtunity in Australia. It is revealed that Ozzy-Land has a STRICT Quarentine Policy regarding the Importation of Animals, so the dawg ends up with the Rangers). Seasons 9 and 10 had several multi-part episodes where lassie spent time away from Timmy, during this time she was with people such as Truck Drivers, Military Personel and yes, Forest Rangers. These episodes were in fact "Experiments" to see who Lassie's New Owner would be (The Producers realised John Provost (Timmy) was growing up, and he had indicated he wanted to move on to other things (Tommy Rettig ("Jeff" had a simular phase earlier, which is how Timmy got in). The "Experiment" that got the most favorable review by the Audience determined Lassie's Fate). I finally got to see these "Lost" episodes only after seeing them via a method I refuse to answere on the grounds it might incriminate me. :f
     
  11. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    Great thread, guys. I've really enjoyed reading it.

    Just got me to wondering: since TV production had switched to full color by around 1966-67, what was the last series to be produced totally in black and white? It would have to have been a show with a short run since shows like Bewitched started in b&w and switched to color. Was it Honey West?
     
  12. Richard V

    Richard V Cinematographer

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    Might have been Hey, Landlord.
     
  13. Joe Lugoff

    Joe Lugoff Cinematographer

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    About LASSIE's "lost season" of 1957-58, it might also have been left out of syndication because Timmy was supposed to be adopted by the Martins, played by Cloris Leachman and John Shepodd, but in the 1958-59 season, the Martins suddenly were June Lockhart and Hugh Reilly, and unless I'm mistaken, I don't believe he was supposed to be adopted. It's as if they just "started over" there.
     
  14. FanCollector

    FanCollector Producer

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    I suppose any black-and-white series lasting one season, produced in 1965-1966 would count. Honey West is one. The Trials of O'Brien with Peter Falk would be another.
     
  15. smithb

    smithb Screenwriter

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    Having watched the majority of these not to long ago I actually preferred Shepodd over Reilly as the father. I had no problem with Leachman or Lockhart. My understanding is that either Leachman wanted out or wasn't "motherly" enough for the viewers (heard both as explanations). Unfortunately, it would appear Shepodd lost out only because they didn't think they could replace one without the other.
    I can understand season 4 being left out of syndication when only part of the season dealt with the Martins and then the cast change happening for season 5. Transitions and cast changes don't always work in syndication, and this show had both back-to-back.
     
  16. Regulus

    Regulus Cinematographer

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    I'm sure during season five (When Timmy's Adoptive Parents were Replaced by new Actors), the audience had a "WT*" Experience regarding the swutch, :huh: however this phase of the series became the most popular one of the series. Season 11 was the last that was filmed in black & white. Unfortunately, when the series was "Spilt" into three during syndication, leaving out seasons 4 as well as 9, 10 &11 left out some pretty serious "Plot Holes" because these were the seasons where the dawg changed masters. I have no regrets about how I was able to find out what what really happened, even though it was through illicit means. :f I'm not the only one who was duped. I now have those "Lost Episodes" (as well as the rest of the series) and I cherish them as much as I do the rest of the series! :D
     
  17. smithb

    smithb Screenwriter

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    Regarding Lassie, having recently finished the Jeff era and transition to Timmy, I have to say I think I like the Jeff era better overall. No doubt Timmy has the edge over Jeff, but as the series went along there was less focus on the family aspect with the Timmy episodes. With Jeff, you always had Ellen and Gramps, and Porky playing more significant roles. As I believe June Lockhart once said, it was all about Lassie. I guess that's why i never got into the ranger years.
    As far as the original topic goes, probably so, but it is interesting reading the different perspectives.
    For example, I'm nearing 51 and would consider myself as being an avid TV show watcher when growing up in the 60's and early 70's. But back then we only had three primary networks and two local, so there was only so much time available for older syndicated shows. With that in mind I have most of what I viewed back then, and a lot more that I never knew even existed. So my initial reaction would be "how much could still be left?" that would be a great interest. Obviously, when you participate in a forum such as this you find out quickly how little you really know about the shows of that period, and how much interest there still is. So for me now, it is about finding the gems I never knew about.
    However, there you have a problem:
    - Age and interest wise, I am probably a better then average candidate for the studio's to market to. And if my demand for TV shows from the b/w era is waning based on what is left on my wanted list, and my knowledge of TV shows from that period in general, how must that look to the studio's making the decisions on what to release.
    - What is the experience and knowledge of the executives making the calls on what should be released? Some of the smaller distributor's appear to have a "fan" outlook along with a business perspective. But from the large studio, who is to say if they are taking anything but a financial view of this, and how can one really judge the market (or risk) for a show that hasn't been in any syndication in over 40+ years.
    - It seems like many of the shows being mentioned in these threads now for release haven't been seen for over 40+ years. So not only is there the risk of misjudging the market, but you also have the issue that most of these will probably take more work and $'s to get into shape for a release.
    - Not to forget the music rights issues that have caused so many problems to releases, or the continued aging of the primary customer base for these releases, or the limited income some may.
    Other then some noted titles that have had large cult followings for decades (e.g., Twilight Zone), releases from this period have not exactly been flooding the marketplace. Many titles have even tended to only trickle out slowly and stall occasionally. So with even more obscure titles from a general knowledge standpoint, I would say it is unlikely they will ever be released.
    So Yes, I agree with the assumption that as the focus continues towards more and more obscure titles, the end is coming closer and closer due to smaller returns on higher risk titles.
     
  18. Gary OS

    Gary OS Producer

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    I can't disagree with any of those points, Brad. I see it the same way as you do. Between the economy nosediving and technology constantly advancing (dvd to Blu-ray to downloading to streaming to ...) I honestly believe we are on the downside of dvd in general, and for sure on the downside of older titles being released. We've all hit on the basic issues as to why this is happening. There's really very little left to say on that front. Except in the case where we have an "advocate" who has a personal interest in seeing older material released and is in a position of power (Timeless as an example), I think we have to expect less.

    There's little doubt we'll still see Shout or M.P.I. give us a nice treat once in a while, but as Brad has pointed out the more well-known series are indeed dwindling and therefore it's going to be tougher and tougher for these outfits to take a chance on what I'd call a second tier (in terms of popularity, not worthiness of release) series. Some of these are undoubtedly great shows that many folks simply don't know much about, and unfortunately most will never know anything about them. I can't tell everyone here how many times over the last decade that I've taken a chance on a blind buy series and come away very pleased to have discovered something new that I really did enjoy. It can and does happen.

    The other option for continued releases of older material seems to be the WBA. My problem with them continues to be the higher starting price point. All that does is make it less likely I'll take a shot at a blind buy, or even a release I'm on the fence about. It's a shame this seems to be the newer model. Yes, it's better than nothing. But its simply not something I can get all excited about. There are many dvds on my shelf I'd never had bought at current WBA prices, which makes it much less likely I'll discover new treasurers. Money is simply too tight at this time for me to buy most of the sets they offer. I've been able to get a couple at super low pricing, or as a "gift", which has been nice. But those opportunities are far and few between. On top of that, as I've mentioned previously on this thread, while Warners does have some material I'd be interested in, they've aired a majority of their westerns on Encore so it's not like we haven't had access to these series.

    Overall I think the prospects are NOT good that we see many more b/w shows released. That time is quickly passing. We've had a great run but it's definitely slowing at this point. I'm not heartbroken to say this because I do have a ton of material, and almost every holy grail show I'd ever want is in my library already. But neither am I happy to say this because there's still material I'd really like to see either released for the first time or move off the stalled list. On top of that I also believe there are still hidden gems out there that I'd really enjoy if given the chance to purchase and view. At the end of the day I'm simply making an observation that we are seeing a decreased output of b/w TV on DVD.


    Gary "thanks for all the contributions to the thread" O.
     
  19. Ethan Riley

    Ethan Riley Producer

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    Was there ever a time when there were large quantities of B&W tv dvds being released? They already got through the most prominent shows, and a fair smattering of second-tier shows are still trickling forth. Seems like things are proceeding logically. Doesn't mean there aren't still dozens of good shows that deserve release, but it seems the farther back you go, the more cloudy become rights-holder issues, problems with usual materials, remastering issues, etc. And as they dip into shows that are more obscure, the less willing the studios will be to slough through all those problems.
     
  20. Joe Lugoff

    Joe Lugoff Cinematographer

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    A question today on Jeopardy! indicates how much Classic TV means to even the more intelligent, better educated person. The category was (basically) performers who played a doctor and someone else on television, and the "answer" was "Marcus Welby and Jim Anderson on 'Father Knows Best'" -- and NO ONE knew it. There was dead silence.
    It just goes to show you, doesn't it? :rolleyes:
     

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