Sky King on DVD?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Chas_Michael, May 27, 2007.

  1. Chas_Michael

    Chas_Michael Second Unit

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    Hello all! Did anyone compare the 2 Sky King DVD's listed below?

    Alpha
    Sky King
    UPC: 089218477392

    Critics Choice
    Sky King, Vol. 1
    UPC: 617742107692

    I understand they both have the same episodes listed.
    CC has some commercials? Does the Alpha?
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Bob Hug

    Bob Hug Screenwriter

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    Chas, I have the Critics Choice version; it's been a while since I've watched it and, if I recall correctly, two of the four episodes have original commercials. Visual quality is OK; fairly standard, but watchable public domain quality. I don't have the Alpha version, but from the description provided at Alpha's site (Oldies.com), the episodes are the same . . . . . but I have no way of knowing if they include commercials or not, though.

    Interesting story on the Critics Choice release. Originally, CC released three volumes of "Sky King," each with four episodes. CC had to pull volumes 2 & 3 from the market because the episodes contained on them were later found to still be under copyright. A few lucky people (I was not one of them) were able to get volumes 2 & 3 before they were pulled from the market. The four episodes on the CC and Alpha releases are the only ones that are public domain.

    There IS an officially licensed, private release of the series, but it will set you back $249; see: http://www.skyking.com/ordering.html
     
  3. Gary OS

    Gary OS Producer

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    Raises hand sheepishly. I was one of the lucky ones. I'd love to own that boxed set, but the price tag is simply way over my head (and wallet). Perhaps if they lowered the price to about $100. Then I'd consider it. But even then I would want to know for sure that they are high quality transfers.

    Gary "there are so many little gems like this out there just waiting to be mined" O.
     
  4. docdoowop

    docdoowop Second Unit

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    Wow, Bob! That official box reminds me of the effort Germany's Bear Family puts into music boxed sets. I wonder how many they've sold.
     
  5. Bob Hug

    Bob Hug Screenwriter

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    I can't imagine too many, other than to dyed-in-the-wool, hardcore fans of the show (of which I'm not). It's an enjoyable enough show, but the episode run is equivalent to just two seasons of shows (by 1950s standards). I'd certainly buy season sets of the series, but it would have to be in the list price range of around $40 to $50 (at most) per season, with appropriate discounts bringing the actual selling price even lower. Not that I necessarily agree with this, but I'm guessing the rights holder probably feels that the buying audience for this series is probably too small for any kind of commercial release and simply decided to go the direct route. It's a shame because there are many boomers who remember the series from Saturday mornings/afternoons (depending where you lived) and might buy it if it were competitively priced. Frankly, this sounds like a perfect series for Critics Choice to revisit and secure licensing arrangements with the rights holder; CC has proven that it can release some of these older series (Sergeant Preston, Dangerous Assignment, Jim Bowie, The Real McCoys, etc.) and keep them moderately priced for fans of vintage television programs. In fact, for Sergeant Preston and Jim Bowie, CC had previously released public domain episodes from both of those series before going the licensing route for the series' full runs. But, unless that ever happens, we're stuck with the four PD episodes.
     
  6. David Grove

    David Grove Stunt Coordinator

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    Wadda ya know... Here I am minding my own business, when, out of the clear blue, Chas brings up "Sky King". :)

    I'm in for season sets.

    Every Sat.... my sister, who liked horses, had to watch "Fury". I was into airplanes, and couldn't miss "Sky King" which was on right after, as I recall.

    DG
     
  7. silverking

    silverking Guest

    Not too familiar with this series, having seen only the PD episodes.

    I do believe I read somewhere that there were a lot more episodes which got destroyed in a fire & these two seasons are all that remain.
     
  8. docdoowop

    docdoowop Second Unit

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    I'm a car guy and miss seeing Sky's cool DeSoto wagon!
     
  9. John Sparks

    John Sparks Screenwriter

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    And I thought I was the only one who remembered doing that!
     
  10. Rob_Ray

    Rob_Ray Screenwriter
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    Watching "Sky King" along with "Whirlibirds" was a Saturday morning tradition growing up in Houston in the early-mid sixties.
     
  11. Jeff Willis

    Jeff Willis Producer

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    Same in Dallas, Rob [​IMG] I remember Fury as well. Anyone have any additional info on what Chris mentioned about destroyed episodes of this series?

    Bob, why is this series available for that price? Too many $$'s for me as well. I had thought that the only legal release of a TV series would come from a studio. I'm not up on the "direct release" thing.
     
  12. Bob Hug

    Bob Hug Screenwriter

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    Jeff, “Sky King” was one of those independently produced television series of the early 1950s (there were many) that was made outside of the big studio system and, consequently, the ownership of the series lies outside of the studios and in the hands of an independent production company (or to whomever may have acquired ownership of the series in the ensuing years). Essentially, this means that the owner of the series can choose to either release or not release the series. If they do, they can do it independently on their own, as appears to be the case here, or they can license it to a DVD releasing company for some negotiated fee. There is at least one other series that I am aware of, the western “Cimarron Strip” that’s owned by actor Stuart Whitman and has been released independently at an astronomical price of $345 for 23 episodes that were made for an hour and a half time slot (72 minutes). Check the details here:

    http://www.cimarronstrip.com/Cimarro...rip%20DVD.html

    I also remember reading some time ago the 1950s series “West Point” had a private release and was sold at the United States Military Academy’s store (it’s no longer available). The key point that I’m trying to make here is that you have to understand who owns the series; the ownership rights of many television programs, particularly in the medium’s early years, were not with the big studios. Of course, over the years, that situation has changed dramatically.
     
  13. silverking

    silverking Guest

    Further to my last post about 'lost'episodes of Sky King.

    Most episode guides list 72 episodes. However one source I read says there were 130 filmed. All negatives, masters & prints were then put into storage together but a fire broke out from which only 72 survived.

    The series apparently ran fron 1952 to 1958. The surviving segments are from 1952,57.& 58.There do not appear to be any episodes from 53-56.

    Unlikely they went 3 years between 53-56 without making more episodes which lends credence to the story of the 'lost 'items,
     
  14. Bob Hug

    Bob Hug Screenwriter

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    Chris, Regarding the number of "Sky King" episodes, here's what Wikipedia has to say about the subject http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sky_King:

    "There has long been a rumor that a vault fire destroyed the only prints of 64 other episodes. This is incorrect, though. There were only 72 episodes produced in total."

    There's link at Wikipedia to SkyKing.com that is used as the source of this information: http://www.skyking.com/about.htm

    The four public domain episodes are the first four episodes of the fourth season.
     
  15. Jeff Willis

    Jeff Willis Producer

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    Bob, thanks for the expl (post #12) about the DVD-release question. This series is temping since my collection is very thin in 50's series but that $$ is a little "sobering" for me [​IMG]

    Do you have this set? Does anyone here at HTF own this one? I'd be interested in how the xfrs rate.
     
  16. Bob Hug

    Bob Hug Screenwriter

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    No way that I'm paying that much money for 72 half hour episodes. I honestly don't know why the owners of the series have chosen to go this route but, if priced more competitively, I'm guessing that they could actually make more money due to higher sales volume. As it stands now:

    1. Only those fans with deep pockets can afford to own the entire series, and

    2. Like most fans without deep pockets, I'm stuck with just the four PD episodes.

    This really ought to be a series that's licensed to an independent releasing company, but, at the end of the day, the owner(s) can do anything that they want with it . . . it's their property.
     
  17. Bob Hug

    Bob Hug Screenwriter

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    Jeff, there is actually quite a bit of 1950s television available if you want it. Certainly, there are many shows that have not yet been released, but I'm constantly surprised at what's available. There are essentially three legitimate sources . . .

    1. Major studio releases like "Cheyenne" from Warner, "The Honeymooners" or "Perry Mason" from Paramount, "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" or "Leave it to Beaver" from Universal, etc.

    2. Independently produced shows, i.e., not produced under the auspices of the big studios, that are released by independent DVD companies. Examples include "Sergeant Preston" and "The Real McCoys" from Critics Choice, "The Invisible Man" from Dark Sky Films, "Tales of Tomorrow" from Image Entertainment, etc. These are all licensed by their respective owners to the DVD releasing companies.

    3. Television shows that have episodes that have fallen into the public domain, i.e., copyrights have lapsed or were never properly registered initially. The quality on these releases is almost never as good as releases from the big studios because they are, typically, sourced from 16 millimeter prints that were used for syndication (not necessarily edited, though). You would be surprised at how much of 1950s television falls into this category. Alpha Video has a ton of these old shows, including 44 (out of 52) episodes of "Ramar of the Jungle" and some real rarities like "Terry and the Pirates" and "The Adventures of the Scarlet Pimpernel," among many others. It's definitely not "grade A" material, but it's watchable and most of these series in this category will never get a proper, i.e., restored release.

    Here's a link to Amazon's 1950s TV-on-DVD starting page. I think you will be surprised at just how many series are out there waiting to be "discovered."

    http://www.amazon.com/1950s-60s-Tele..._rd_i=13743401
     

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