Will there ever be a definitive Stooges Collection? Yes! See Post #60!

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Blu, Feb 7, 2005.

  1. Robbie^Blackmon

    Robbie^Blackmon Stunt Coordinator

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    WARNING! This post falls under the category of "Lengthy Rant". If you don't like those, skip it!

    You know, something I'd like to see, or even to have a copy of, is the original contract that the boys signed with Columbia Pictures all those years ago. Think about what we've heard about the cost of broadcast rights for the Stooges' films. columbia Pictures, now Sony, kept such a stranglehold (or Death Grip, depending upon how you look at it) on the boys that none of the Stooges could make any further money off of their work once the films were developed. The boys were disallowed to appear as The Three Stooges in any production that would compete with their short films which meant no television series (Jerks of All Trades), feature films and so on. Residuals for television broadcasts of their films was non-negotiable, meaning that any dough from broadcast rights went entirely to Columbia Pictures.

    In a radio interview (available on "The Men Behind the Mayhem" documentary DVD) Moe Howard explained just how far Columbia Pictures went to protect their "property":
    "There was a very mean clause in the contract, which I learned and never have forgotten. It was worded like this: Columbia Pictures Corporation has the perpetual rights to your likenesses, your voices, in mediums now known or to be invented."

    Somewhere, still, within the depths of Sony Pictures' vast archives, there must be a copy of that original contract; Possibly nestled in a folder that also contains specific instructions for all future releases of Stooges material. I imagine a memo stapled to the front, on which is scrawled a simple statement... something like:
    Let it be known that any release or distribution of said material that is covered or implied by this legal document
    shall be made at the least possible expense to this studio, and at the greatest possible expense to
    the lessee. In short, SCREW 'EM!


    What I really hate about Sony dragging its heels in regards to releasing these films properly is that one simply cannot argue that the resulting DVD's would not sell. If the Stooges weren't marketable, why is there sooo much merchandise to be found? If the Stooges won't sell, why were all those VHS tapes released throughout the 80's and 90's?

    And let's not even begin to consider why in the world Comedy-3 or Sony Pictures would grant a license to use the Stooges' names, etc. in a new, alleged, film by the Cohen Brothers! I guess I deserve a double-slap and a poke in the eyes for not knowing all the details of that cock-eyed idea but I'll suggest this: If that film is made, why not release a new print of a different Stooges short for each city of release, to play before the feature starts. I guarantee you the general reaction to the new film would not be a positive one!

    (rant, rant, rant)

    How about a challenge, then, directed towards Sony Pictures? Why couldn't we at least be told why these films can't be released in a complete series format? Frankly I'm sick of the damn short-sighted (nay, invisible) politics used to govern this particular set of films. The Three Stooges video releases have presumably been put on hold indefinitely because the colorized discs didn't sell well? Is that true? Colorization? Who are you fooling? It is a novelty and it is wrong; wrong to change someone else's work of art and wrong simply because the process is all guess work! Does anyone really believe that the process is, effectively, updating the film?! Hell, I could update the engine in my car by guessing what all the parts should be... doesn't mean it'll run when I'm finished!

    Mods, readers... My apologies, now, for going on about this. I've covered topics covered before but one needs an outlet to vent, I guess! The sad part is that no amount of complaining, begging, asking, cajoling, crying or holding-one's-breath-till-one's-face-turns-blue will help get these films out on store shelves. Just nothing anyone can do!

    Thanks for reading, politely skipping or (Mods!) not censoring too harshly!

    -Robbie
     
  2. Mark Cappelletty

    Mark Cappelletty Cinematographer

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    Robbie,

    It was the Farrelly brothers (not the Coens -- not "Cohens") who developed a Stooge script. I've read it. It's pretty bad-- full of nasty, surprisingly scatalogical humor.

    Otherwise, we're in total agreement.
     
  3. Robbie^Blackmon

    Robbie^Blackmon Stunt Coordinator

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    Even if the Farrellys, Coens and the Cohens wrote it together, it is still a waste of time!
    [​IMG]
     
  4. David Deeb

    David Deeb Supporting Actor

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    That's not surprising given the Farrelly brothers track record of marketing base humor to 3rd graders and anyone else who finds jokes about going to the bathroom hilarious.

    It's hard to believe that Hollywood is so depleted of original ideas, that they come up w/ this bone-headed junk.

    "Hey, instead of selling the actual films to actual fans who want them, let's spend $75 million dollars by getting some people to act like the orginal actors, and have most of the movie take place around a toilet."

    Coming soon: "The Andy Griffith Show-the Movie", "Rhoda-the Movie", "The Alka-Seltzer Commerical Movie", etc.
     
  5. Robbie^Blackmon

    Robbie^Blackmon Stunt Coordinator

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    --"Hey, instead of selling the actual films to actual fans who want them, let's spend $75 million dollars by getting some people to act like the original actors, and have most of the movie take place around a toilet."

    That's not too far off from that piece of dreck "The Three Stooges - A Dramatization", the alleged bio-pic about the boys from 2001. Those fools even re-made pieces of the original short films and the re-creations were pa-thet-ic! I might have been more tolerant of that garbage had the writer(s) gotten ANY of the facts straight. Such a waste of time!

    The Andy Griffith Show-the Movie : Starring the Wayans. Add lots of sex and fart jokes for a modern audience. Otis could be played by Ice T and he could repeatedly "get a snoot full" of cocaine. He could lock himself up on weekends and everyone could comment on his taking a dump right in the cell! That would be funny and would really give new audiences a great introduction to that landmark tv show!

    Rhoda-the Movie: Kathy Bates! Kathy Bates!

    The Alka-Seltzer Commercial Movie: Let's change that to the Ephedrine Commercial Movie so that crystal meth can be part of the story!

    -R
     
  6. David Deeb

    David Deeb Supporting Actor

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    Funny stuff Robert. And true. Don't give em any more ideas for an Andy Griffith Show movie though [​IMG] They will probably use them.

    I had forgotten about that bio movie a few years ago. It was a pretty bad flick.

    Can't they quit making movies about other people mimicking the 3 Stooges and just release the actual 3 Stooges movies on proper DVD sets? How hard is this to do, and why the stubborn refusal?
     
  7. Robbie^Blackmon

    Robbie^Blackmon Stunt Coordinator

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    See scan below:

    [​IMG]

    Sony has told us, on the back of the colorized Stooge DVD's, that The Stooges are "Funnier in color!".

    To think... all this time WE NEVER KNEW!

    -R
     
  8. Joe Karlosi

    Joe Karlosi Producer

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    It's absurd that there have never been proper box sets for The Three Stooges. It's absurd because this would be a strong seller for Columbia/Sony. I'm guessing they feel that, since those needlessly colorized and overpriced DVDs of the same old Curly shorts never sold, this translates to them that the Stooges "may not be marketable".

    Well, they'd be dead wrong. Soitenly many of us knuckleheads would buy complete box sets of all the Curly, Shemp and Joe Besser two-reelers, done in a definitive manner, in chronolgical order, with respect. Every company has their "big guns" -- for Paramount it's Star Trek, and for Sony it would be (at least partly) The Three Stooges. They should understand that it's not a matter of people not wanting to buy the DVDs; it's a matter of diehard fans not wanting bastardized colorization, and not wanting to pay ridiculous prices for a handful of the same old shorts, placed under silly selective titles like "Curly Classics," "Cops and Robbers', etc....
     
  9. Robbie^Blackmon

    Robbie^Blackmon Stunt Coordinator

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    Maybe part of the problem is "cold selling" Stooges to new audiences and, perhaps, Sony simply hasn't a clue how to do it! Just to further give you an idea of "Who don't have a clue", try this link to Sony Pictures' website (it is one result produced when searching their site for "Stooges"):

    http://www.sonypictures.com/homevide...396052765.html

    What in the hell is this? Monty Python and the Ghostbusters Holy Stooge Grail?

    But anyway, one can't deny that The Stooges aren't money makers since they obviously starred in the hugely successful Spiderman! Oh, and look who else was in this film written by members of Monty Python:

    "TRAVOLTAS BEST PERFORMANCE IN YEARS." Bill McCuddy, Fox News Channel



    See this? These are my hands up in the air. There is no hope. I give up!
    -R
     
  10. JimWICKS

    JimWICKS Extra

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    The color orange makes me laugh so hard I can't stifle the tears!
     
  11. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Or it might just be a good idea to do 4-5 disc collections with a nice mix. Anything post-Shemp would be a hard sell. On the other hand, it would be nice to have a blend of Shemp and Curly in one collectiion.

    Columbia doesn't seem to be sensitive to un-PC stuff, anyways. They released the Batman '43 serial uncut. Even the Stooges are safe... they put Uncivil War Birds on DVD - which has them doing a blackface musical bit!
     
  12. JohnPM

    JohnPM Second Unit

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    A Stooges collection could be augmented with some of those rare Columbia cartoons that haven't been shown anywhere in so many decades. Problem is no one at Sony seems to have any knowledge or appreciation for their company's library --- or maybe they have the knowledge, but are fearful of pushing too hard on such projects --- it's hard keeping your job in these places when the supervisor or "team leader" realizes you know something he/she doesn't.

    http://greenbriarpictureshows.blogspot.com/
     
  13. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    I'm confused by Columbia, though. They seem to lack interest in their cartoons, yet they've put out a terrific set of lesser Buster Keaton shorts. Apples and oranges, but if they can put out lesser Keatons, they should be able to profit from Magoo.
     
  14. DeathStar1

    DeathStar1 Producer

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    Question about colorization..

    When you have a TV running in color, and dial it down to Black and White, can't you create a computer program to recognize which color is witch, then get the proper color that was used on filming?

    Or is there only so many shades of black and white, that this would prove impossible?
     
  15. Steve...O

    Steve...O Producer

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    Reading through this thread I am confused on one thing, does the blame for the Stooges poor representation rest more with Sony or Comedy 3 (the rights holders) or both? If Sony owns the prints why would Comedy 3 be responsible for ponying up for restoration or does Sony not really have 100% ownership of these? Is this like the Batman TV show where one entity owns the prints and another owns the characters?

    Regardless, I agree with those who say this is an untapped goldmine. At 20 minutes each, 6 to 9 shorts could easily be put on a dual layer disc without sacrificing quality. Using 5 disc box sets, the entire canon could be released in no more than 6 box sets. I would buy each and every one, including the Joe Besser shorts. I've always had a fondess for him due to his work with A&C.
     
  16. Joe Karlosi

    Joe Karlosi Producer

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    There you go, Steve! Sounds good.
     
  17. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    One can argue that very easily -- there are PD discs of the Stooges on every cheapie rack in every big-box retailer to compete with, and maybe the discs Sony's already put out haven't sold as well as they'd hoped. Who knows?

    Of course, if they DO put out a good Stooges collection, I'll be first in line to buy it!
     
  18. Robbie^Blackmon

    Robbie^Blackmon Stunt Coordinator

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    You are absolutely right! Problem is, those discs always have the same four short films: Disorder in the Court, Malice in the Palace, Sing a Song of Six Pants, and Brideless Groom. One can almost hear a collective groan from Stooge fans every time a new disc pops up featuring these same films.

    I still believe and maintain that marketing and publicity would be the key to selling Stooge DVD sets. It all has to do with perception and snagging the correct target market. Advertise the hell out of them as classic films and really drive home the fact that many of them have never been released in a pristine condition to the home video market.

    An aggressive and sensible marketing campaign would, certainly, work better than, say, SpikeTV's ads. Remember those? The ones that went something like:

    "Wanna watch three grown men beat the crap out of each other?!"

    Bottom line is, Sony took a gamble restoring and colorizing 8 shorts and, IIRC, there were supposed to be more (there were some clips of a couple of Shemp shorts on a related website which I can no longer locate). The folks doing the digital crayon work must have been paid quite handsomely to visit museums, do research, dig in to archives and so forth-- if one can believe all that really went on behind the "scenes". Judging solely from posts on many message boards, many fans (diehard and otherwise) might have actually been impressed if there had only been releases of more restored, not colorized, films.

    I think whoever actually approved the colorization project got gypped and, as a result, so did the fans.

    -R
     
  19. David Deeb

    David Deeb Supporting Actor

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    It is silly that these same four PD Three Stooges films keep getting foisted on the public.

    However, the people that will buy Three Stooges box sets are the same people that bought the two Marx Bros box sets, the Chaplin collections, the Harold Lloyd box set, Walt Disney Treasures, the original King Kong, and countless TV Shows on DVD box sets. We aren't confused w/ PD crap.

    Also, PD stuff has about run its course. PD product is usually early format filler, and now that DVD is mature, PD stuff resides mostly at dollar stores and Junk-mart.

    Lots of PD stuff of the Andy Griffith Show, Charlie Chaplin and others flopping around out there too, and it hasn't prevented these shows from getting proper releases.

    Bring on the Three Stooges Box Sets. They will sell very well.
     
  20. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    GOOD NEWS!

    This just in from the Sony marketing crew:


    OK, so it's a year off, and possibly without a lot of extra features, but ya can't beat "sequential black & white!! [​IMG]

    You heard it here first, kids!
     

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