Public Domain TV Show DVD's with the original Commercials included

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Chas_Michael, Jun 13, 2007.

  1. Chas_Michael

    Chas_Michael Second Unit

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    Lets make a listing of all the know Public Domain TV Show DVD's with the original commercials included!
     
  2. Bob Hug

    Bob Hug Screenwriter

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    Well, for starters, either the 4-disc, 38-episode "Fun with Ozzie & Harriet" or the 12-disc, 100-episode "The Essential Ozzie & Harriet Collection" are packed with commercials from the likes of Kodak, Listerine, Quaker Oats, and Hotpoint, among others. The vast majority of the episodes in both of these collections contain original commercials.

    Groucho Marx's "You Bet Your Life" usually has the Plymouth-DeSoto ads included in the public domain episodes.

    One other PD episode that comes to mind is from the "Richard Diamond" series. The episode is titled "Picture of Fear" and that has some Maxwell House coffee commercials, if I recall correctly.

    Most of the 1950s "Dragnet" episodes that I own have the commercials edited out but I seem to recall an episode or two that included ads for Chesterfield cigarettes. Also, some of the early PD "Make Room for Daddy" episodes (with Danny Thomas' first TV wife Jean Hagen) have some ads for the American Tobacco Company.

    Finally, the live "Martin Kane" episodes have ads for pipe tobacco integrated into the shows themselves.
     
  3. docdoowop

    docdoowop Second Unit

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    Then there's the George Burns and Gracie Allen shows from Passport and others with Carnation spots (sometimes shamelessly worked into the show's script itself.)
     
  4. mark-edk

    mark-edk Stunt Coordinator

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    The collections of 50s tv shows from Falcon Pictures Group also contain episodes with commercials. My DVDs are boxed up right now so I can't check, but I recall seeing original commercials on the Ellery Queen and Ozzie & Harriet episodes, and I'm sure there were others as well. (These are also the best quality PD TV transfers I've come across).
     
  5. Chris Lockwood

    Chris Lockwood Producer

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    Not public domain, but doesn't the Ed Sullivan featuring the Beatles set have the commercials, too?

    Also, I recently watched the episode of Studio One with William Shatner (the same one where scenes were used on Boston Legal)- it has the original spots, although they are from one sponsor.

    I'm surprised there aren't more (any?) DVDs with just classic commercials. I think they would sell well if done right.
     
  6. Hank Dearborn

    Hank Dearborn Supporting Actor

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    Naked City includes some original commercials but unfortunately they are there as extras and not where they belong in the show.
     
  7. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    Didn't the original airings also include promos for other shows though? I have some of those Ozzie and Harriet shows, but I don't know if the commercials are from the very first airing or just spliced in for a syndication run. There aren't any show promos on the Ed Sullivan Beatles discs either.

    The DVD of the final Howdy Doody show from 1960 includes a mid-show station break and a couple slides with voiceovers promoting upcoming shows at the end.
     
  8. Garysb

    Garysb Screenwriter

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    The Twilight Zone Season sets have promos for the next show that followed
    at the end. They also sometimes included public service announcements instead. Stay tuned for "Wanted Dead or Alive" on most of these CBS stations. Not all affiliates broadcast the full network. Some smaller market stations were affiliated with more then one network. That is why it said most of these CBS stations. I think hour long shows ran promos for other shows at midpoint as part of the station identification .
     
  9. David Levine

    David Levine Supporting Actor

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    It would be a legal nightmare to figure out.

    The problem is that the commercial rights are not tied into the programming rights and that's why you don't really see major studios including classic commercials very often (usually only if they are of historical importance to the show - and then they are still usually cleared).

    It's one of those things that shouldn't be a big deal, because it really isn't hurting the advertisers (it could actually help), but you're still selling something that you don't own. I think advertisers tend to not know or look the other way when it's a handful of commercials on a cheap PD package, but if you tried to sell a "commercial collection", you'd be really putting it out there and probably asking for trouble.
     
  10. Bob Hug

    Bob Hug Screenwriter

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    There are actually quite a few DVD compilations of TV commercials that are available, but outside of some video specialty stores you probably are not going to find too many of them at your local brick & mortar store. A simple search at Amazon yielded the following:

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw...ds=commercials

    I suspect that copyrights for most commercials are probably not renewed (if they're even copyrighted to begin with) as it's doubtful that a company would use a commercial that's 28 years or older to promote a current product, though I suppose that it's possible that there may be some exceptions. But, generally speaking, a television commercial's lifespan is comparatively short lived and I'm guessing that most companies would probably not go to the expense of renewing copyrights after the initial term, simply because there's no intention of using an old, outdated commercial to promote whatever product that they are trying to sell currently (if the product and/or company even still exists).
     
  11. docdoowop

    docdoowop Second Unit

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    I have the first set depicted via the Amazon link. It's well worth the price. And as for B&M stores, I saw this racked at Best Buy this week...but didn't bother with a price check.
     
  12. David Levine

    David Levine Supporting Actor

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    Oh, I know they're out there, but again their legality is questionable at best. That's why you only see them from smaller studios like Madacy or Mill Creek. The legal departments of bigger studios won't let stuff like that fly.
     
  13. Bob Hug

    Bob Hug Screenwriter

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    The fact of the matter is that many older television commercials are public domain. The Internet Archive and the Prelinger Archive house a huge amount of public domain material, including many television commercials. See:

    http://www.archive.org/search.php?qu...Commercials%22

    So if the commercials are in the public domain, what would be the legal issues associated with using them on a set of vintage TV shows?
     
  14. Doug^Ch

    Doug^Ch Second Unit

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    If you want to see vintage commercials, don't forget about MPI's excellent Beverly Hillbillies releases. There you will see the Clampetts extoll the virtues of Winston Cigarettes and Kellogg's Cornflakes.
     
  15. David Levine

    David Levine Supporting Actor

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    Because not all of them are, and it only takes screwing up 1 single commercial to cause serious damage. And Public Domain can be a bit nebulous. It's not uncommon for studios to get sued over a release because they were assured it was PD - but it turned out not to be.
     
  16. Kevin Segura

    Kevin Segura Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, apart from having to clear the onscreen talent, pay fees to the Directors Guild and other crew unions, clear any extraneous music with the pertinent music publisher and negotiate with the corporation that currently owns the copyrights and trademarks to whatever product is involved, I can't think of anything off the top of my head... [​IMG]

    -Kevin
     
  17. DeWilson

    DeWilson Cinematographer

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    I believe on a case-by-case basis, the use of old commercials (Public Domain or Otherwise) would fall under "Fair Use".

    Of course, this will all depend on how they were used,etc.

    I guess the larger studios and companies are just either ignorant or don't want to 'risk' using "Fair Use".

    But let's not get into a long argument on the pros and cons of fair use,etc. [​IMG]
     
  18. David Levine

    David Levine Supporting Actor

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    This is a very good point. If the commercial uses any music - especially from a song of the era, music clearance would be essential - and possibly quite problematic.
     
  19. Kevin Segura

    Kevin Segura Stunt Coordinator

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    Not in the context of being shown unedited, in their entirety, as part of a home video presentation.

    -Kevin
     
  20. roseha

    roseha Auditioning

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    I thought it was hilarious in one episode where Gracie calmly opens a cupboard door and the whole cupboard behind her is filled with cans of Carnation!

    (that was in the show itself... I saw it on public television).

    If you go to the Museum of Television and Radio (who are now changing their name to the Paley Media Center I believe) you can often watch the commercials that aired with the show you are seeing. I noticed while watching the first episode of The Fugitive that the Tide (I think) laundry detergent, even with its hidden camera, and the Crest toothpaste ad were strangely downbeat and muted. Perhaps commercial hype began in the mid-60s?
     

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