Run For Your Life?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by michael_ks, Jan 15, 2008.

  1. michael_ks

    michael_ks Screenwriter

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    I almost titled this thread in a JeffT vein (Run For Your Life!!!!!!). That'd be an attention grabber--just kidding around, Jeff.

    Anyway, I was thinking that for a Roy Huggins created show ("The Fugitive") that garnered several Emmy and Golden Globe nominations and had a decent run (3 seasons and 85 episodes) I don't recall this series getting discussed much. I vaguely recall a very solid performance by Ben Gazzara and some great guest stars but that's about all. Never got the chance to view it in syndication.

    I just now thought about this show and put it on my want list because, hey, it's 1965, Gazzara was a solid actor and the show features the usual great guest stars of that era. Anyone have strong recollections of this series? Was the first season in B&W? Who even owns the rights to the series? Sony or Universal I'll bet...
     
  2. Bob Hug

    Bob Hug Screenwriter

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    Universal . . . sounds like a perfect series for Timeless Media as I doubt that Uni would ever release it themselves. Calling all owners of 16 mm prints! Gazzara is very solid in his previous series "Arrest and Trial."
    *** Update ***
    Ed Robertson has a nice article on the series at his site:
    Television Chronicles: Run For Your Life
     
  3. Hank Dearborn

    Hank Dearborn Supporting Actor

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    Actually one of the first series I ever traded for on tape back in the early 80s. The show had a run on the satellite feed of WOR for a while, which of course we didn't get in NY[​IMG] . Very doubtful this will ever come out. Universal's kids, I'm sure never heard of it and there aren't 16mm prints around the collector's world. This goes in the category with Bold Ones, It Takes a Thief, Marcus Welby and Name of the Game as fairly successful late 60s shows that Universal won't license out and won't bother with themselves.
     
  4. Charles Ellis

    Charles Ellis Screenwriter

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    How about the spoof series Run, Buddy, Run starring Jack Sheldon (of "Schoolhouse Rock" fame)? I believe that was in color- who owns the rights to that one?
     
  5. michael_ks

    michael_ks Screenwriter

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  6. jdee28

    jdee28 Screenwriter

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    I recently saw the pilot for Run for Your Life at the Paley Center for Media (formerly the Museum of TV and Radio), "Rapture at Two-Forty." It was quite good, guest starring Katherine Crawford as a female daredevil and Michael Rennie as her father. As in the Fugitive pilot, the main character falls in love with the girl and eventually has to tell his secret. The Paley Center had an excellent copy, probably provided by Universal.

    The pilot ran as an episode of the anthology series Kraft Suspense Theater (aka Crisis). This another show in color from Universal that deserves a release and probably will never get one. This show, produced by Roy Huggins, had a really great theme song by John Williams along the lines of his Checkmate theme.
     
  7. Bert Greene

    Bert Greene Second Unit

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    I'd love for this series to make it to dvd. I've only seen maybe ten or so episodes, but I really liked it. I'd been thinking about the series lately, having watched and enjoyed Ben Gazarra's performance in the "Arrest and Trial" set. The premise of "RFYL" certainly allowed a wide variety of storylines. Never encountered it much in syndication. I remember a budding independent station in the mid-80s airing it on weekends, but the station was too weak to pick up well for taping, and then went under altogether within a few months.

    It really kills me that shows like this are so ridiculously inaccessible.
     
  8. JamesSmith

    JamesSmith Screenwriter

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    Can someone tell me if there were surreal scenes in either the theme or the series, where the star was running in the desert, trying to outrun something??? as the credits played.

    The title sounds right.

    I seem to recall something like that on television when I was two or three years old at the time. As a kid, you have a hard time understanding symbolism and surrealism.

    James Smith

    Does anybody remember something like that?
     
  9. Hank Dearborn

    Hank Dearborn Supporting Actor

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    Not sure. It was syndicated (overseas) by Viacom but it was a Talent Associates (Susskind) show and I'm not positive who ended up with their stuff. I think Warner did but they could be all over the place.
     
  10. Zardon

    Zardon Agent

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    I first saw the Kraft Suspense Theater episode "Rapture at Two Forty" in the early 1980s, along with a number of other Kraft and Bob Hope Chrysler Theater dramas made in the early 1960s, when CBN Cable reran many of them under the syndicated title "Startime". All of those were filmed in color from the start. So was the Run for Your Life series (produced from 1965 to 1968).
    But it wasn't until 1995-96 that I was able to enjoy every 84 of the 85 episodes Run for Your Life uncut and with limited commercial interruption thanks to WWOR EMI Service airing reruns of that and a lot of other old TV shows. This was a good (but not great) series starring Ben Gazzara as Paul Bryan, a successful San Francisco attorney who discovers from several doctors that he only has a year to a year 1/2 to live. So he sells his share of the practice to his partners and travels around the world with his last $2 million.
    Bryan was not on the run. He was not a Fugitive. (Although watching him and a young woman being pursued by African head hunters in one early episode would make one think otherwise). [​IMG] In fact in one episode he returns to San Francisco to help a former client in need pro bono. I recall Paul even defending her in court in that particular story.
    He also went to Washington DC in two separate episodes (one of which never aired on WWOR). There were several episodes that were dramas with no action. In the very mundane but charming "Time and a Half on Christmas Eve", Paul comes to a midwestern state and hangs around with a cab driver played by Ernest Borgnine.
    Pete Rugolo's beautiful instrumental opening theme was shortened for the 2nd season, and slightly improved for the third. The last season also abandoned the voice of the doc (played by an unseen John Hoyt) and replaced it with a narrator telling Paul Bryan's story with photos of the man flashing on the screen. The camera jutting down the desert road at a high speed was present in the opening montage every season.
    One could say he wasn't running away from life but rather towards it. Yet Run for Your Life lasted longer than the diagnosis that Bryan's doctors gave him. It lasted 3 full years, and he was still "running" when the series ended in 1968.
    I sometimes wonder if John Lennon ever watched this show. He wrote and sang "Run for Your Life" on The Beatles' album Rubber Soul in 1966. Lennon publicly stated in retrospect that he hated the lyrics to it.
     
  11. Hank Dearborn

    Hank Dearborn Supporting Actor

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    Oh no, it's alive. Aaaaaaaaaaaagggggggggggggggggggghhhhhhhh. [​IMG]
     
  12. jperez

    jperez Stunt Coordinator

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    The 'surrealism' the poster above mentioned years ago, obviously, refers back to another series of the time, The Prisoner, where Patrick McGoohan's character is persecuted by what seems to be a very big bouncing ball.
     
  13. jperez

    jperez Stunt Coordinator

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    Anyway, I still am at a loss to understand why Run For Your Life has never been released (officially) con DVD. Obviously there are great prints available, as the whole series was shown recently on Retro TV, after a long absence from syndication.
     
  14. Frank Soyke

    Frank Soyke Screenwriter

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    Run For Your Life is my personal grail show. My absolute favorite of all time. I also have no idea why this hasn't been released on DVD. I'n guessing it has something to do with who owns the rights but I haven't researched that. I have a complete set of all 84 eps on VHS recorded from WOR channel 9 out of NYC when they ran it circa 1990. They are, of course cut (and deteriorating daily) and I would love to upgrade to a legitimate DVD release. Let's keep hoping.
     
  15. jperez

    jperez Stunt Coordinator

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    Yes, I bought a DVD-r collection a couple of years ago, which has the full lot: 86 episodes. But some are barely watchable, due to the bad video quality. Incidentally, there's a Gazzara-Run For Your Life web page. The lady who operates it has lots of information there, including whole scenes from many of the shows.
     
  16. Frank Soyke

    Frank Soyke Screenwriter

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    I looked for the web page you mentioned but couldn't locate it. Is there any mention of a possible DVD release on the page?
     
  17. jperez

    jperez Stunt Coordinator

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    The Gazzara-Run For Your Life page is here: http://www.run4.us/index.htm No, it doesn't mention anything about an official DVD release.
     

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