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Fat Albert & The Cosby Kids - Complete Series A Personal Review

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Brian Himes, Jul 2, 2013.

  1. Brian Himes

    Brian Himes Well-Known Member

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    Well folks, this set just took a HUGE nose dive back into the toilet. Disc 6 has the first season of the New Fat Albert Show (episodes 37-44) and out of the eight episodes only two have the correct opening titles and ending credits. All the rest have the 80's The Adventures of Fat Albert openings and credits. I'd say the next two discs will be just about the same. All episodes have a run time of over 21 minutes except episode 37 and 38 which clock in at just 21 minutes. All the rest are between 21:52 and 21:34.

    I'm sorry to say but at this point the only episodes that are going to be correct are the 50 episodes from 1984-85 which are in fact The Adventures of Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. At that point I really don't think they can screw up anymore than they already have.

    I'm just disgusted enough at this point to send the entire package back. I'll check discs 7 and 8 to verify run times and opening titles and credits, but this is not looking good. As far as I am concerned this is not the Fat Albert set I hoped it would be. I'm really beyond upset. I'm really quite angry. I am going to pop over to the Shout board and post and see if I can get some kind of explanation as to why after a year of waiting this set is as messed up as it is.
     
  2. Brian Himes

    Brian Himes Well-Known Member

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    Ok, just checked discs 7 and 8. Out of the 8 episodes on disc 7 only two have the wrong opening titles and end credits. All the rest are correct. The run times are between 21:46-21:52 for the correct opening titles shows and 21:34 for the incorrect opening titles shows.

    Disc 8. Out of the 8 episodes only two have the wrong opening titles and end credits with run times of 21:34. The other six have the correct opening titles and end credits with run times between 21:46-21:49.

    I'm still rather disgusted with this set but at least discs 7 and 8 are way better than disc 6. However, it appears that the episodes on discs 6, 7, and 8 that have the incorrect opening titles and end credits are in fact edited episodes. They are missing the 30 second tag scenes with Fat Albert and the Gang. Pathetic. This set is a butchered mess and I'm not at all happy.
     
  3. Brian Himes

    Brian Himes Well-Known Member

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    Well, I've checked the episode (it's titled Busted) and it is the censored version. Another nail in the coffin of this set. What a shame.
     
  4. jcroy

    jcroy Well-Known Member

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    Awhile ago I picked up the two older dvd volumes of Fat Albert, coincidentally a few weeks before the Shout Factory complete series set was formally announced. (At $5 a pop, it was kinda hard to resist at the time :) ). I was mainly interested in the early episodes.

    From the sounds of things, perhaps it wouldn't have mattered anyways whether I picked up the two older dvd volumes or the complete series set (besides cost).

    Did a third dvd volume ever get released back in 2006/2007 ?
     
  5. Brian Himes

    Brian Himes Well-Known Member

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    No, there were only the two volumes.
     
  6. Cowboy

    Cowboy Well-Known Member

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    Info on Filmation,here is why Fat Albert uncut will not happen:

    Since then, the studio's intellectual property assets have changed hands on a number of occasions. Most of the Filmation back catalog first come under the ownership of Hallmark Cards, through its Hallmark Entertainment subsidiary. However, since a large amount of Filmation's output was based on characters licensed from other companies, many titles which were also under the ownership of Hallmark were actually (and still are) under the control of other studios (such as Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros.).
    In March 2004, ownership of the Filmation back catalog which was under the ownership of Hallmark was sold to Entertainment Rights. Entertainment Rights has since made the revelation that when Hallmark converted all of its Filmation shows to digital format in the 1990s, only PAL-format copies were made, with the original film prints apparently discarded.[20] This was due to Hallmark's previously un-stated (but long suspected) short-sighted policy of only distributing Filmation shows outside of the United States. As a result, many of Entertainment Rights' DVD releases (distributed by BCI Eclipse in the United States) are based on the international versions (which have PAL prints).
    Because they were taken from PAL-based transfers, without correction, these releases exhibit the so-called "576i speedup" effect in which the soundtrack plays 4% too fast resulting in the pitch being a half-step higher than it was originally (see PAL and Telecine for more information). PAL-NTSC conversion artefacts also include softness and ghosting. The exception appears to be at least four titles from ER's library: Groovie Goolies, Ark II, and both the live-action and animated Ghostbusters series. These series appear to have been sourced from original NTSC transfers for their U.S. release by BCI. Another exception, Star Trek: The Animated Series which was owned by Paramount Television, now CBS Television Distribution, is also in the NTSC format
     
  7. DeWilson

    DeWilson Well-Known Member

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    Can we confirm that the FAT ALBERT shows were sourced from PAL elements?

    For that matter, were THE ARCHIES also from PAL elements?
     
  8. DeWilson

    DeWilson Well-Known Member

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    Wonderful, a paste and cut from Wikipedia.

    As mentioned, most of FILMATION's output was licensed and the rights revered back to the rights holders. This is why Warners has the DC Comics/Tarzan/Gilligan's series (which all exist on 16mm/35mm elements) and Paramount has Star Trek & The Brady Kids,etc

    While Archie Comics.Mr.Cosby,and Mattel have the rights to their respective FILMATION series, has it ever been 100% confirmed about the Elements that exist. Did they ever retain a set, or just let Filmation,etc handle the properties? ARCHIE did do their own DVD releases several years BEFORE the sets - any idea of what the elements were?
     
  9. Brian Himes

    Brian Himes Well-Known Member

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    Ok, thanks for the information on Filmation and what Hallmark did. While it is interesting, it doesn't explain what happened to Fat Albert. On this set there are complete and uncut episodes. There are three complete episodes from season 1, but they have the 80's Adventures of Fat Albert opening titles and ending credits. The season 2 episdoes 17-22, season 3 episodes 23-28 and season 4 episodes 29-36 also seem to be complete and uncut. As do the 79-81 episodes that have the correct opening titles and end credits.

    The whole set is pretty much a mixed bag of complete episodes that have incorrect opening titles and end credits, edited episodes with the correct opening titles but the 1976 end credits, edited episodes with the incorrect opening titles and ending credits, and complete episodes with the correct opening titles and ending credits.

    So, these complete episodes came from somewhere. If they didn't come from the Filmation Library, then where did they come from?

    And all of that aside, how difficult would it have been for Shout to, at the very least, make sure that each episode had the correct opening titles and end credits? They obviously had access to them. Slapping correct openings and end credits on the episodes without them is no big deal. Other studios have done it. Why couldn't Shout? Not only that, the episode Busted has Bill Cosby at the beginning of the episode telling you that the episode will have some harsh language and then the episode doesn't have the harsh language. Kind of makes Cosby look like a bit of a fool, doesn't it? If Shout couldn't obtain an uncensored version of the episode then they should have put some sort of disclaimer on before the episode to let you know about the change. Most of these issues just smacks of pure laziness on Shout's part. If the reason that they delayed this release last year so they could get better versions of these episodes, then I say they failed. This set is a butchered mess.

    I could live with edited episodes if that is all that there are left if all of the episodes at least had the correct opening titles and end credits. Seriously, how difficult would that have been? At this point I'm just over it.
     
  10. JMFabianoRPL

    JMFabianoRPL Well-Known Member

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    Hmmmm.....this leads me to ask, does the uncensored Busted exist ANYWHERE? Or is this one of the cases where the censored version became the official version, and the original is lost for good, or so it seems? (See also: It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown, though clips of Peppermint Patty speaking her original lines have since surfaced on YouTube. Also, there's the whole "Tourette's" Simpsons incident.)

    Yeah, Shout is good for the programs it licenses, but look at what happened with the first Rhoda set where they also settled on mostly edited episodes. Though, given how difficult Fox is, who knows if they had an influence on whether or not they could procure original length episodes? (Fox is why they can't release Season 5 of the show)

    I still think the older eps. were part of the 80s syndie package (I do remember seeing the duck intro back then) and wonder if all that's left is the syndies. But that doesn't explain why some episodes are complete. Were some available from other sources, but not all? I'll probably still be interested in the set, as long as the essence of the characters and stories are still there. And what else could I do, unless someone is hoarding a complete set of OB Fat Alberts?

    /Now CBS is still where I draw the line, there's making do with what you've got (Shout) and then there's revisionist history (CBS).
     
  11. Brian Himes

    Brian Himes Well-Known Member

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    All good questions and I'd really like to have the answers to all of them plus a few of my own.
     
  12. DeWilson

    DeWilson Well-Known Member

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    3 Season One episodes with 1980's titles makes me wonder if they have all of those uncut except for the 1980's titles, but the prints with the original/1976 end credits are edited but no one bothered to check. other prints for completeness.
     
  13. derosa

    derosa Well-Known Member

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    I remember waiting for volume 3 to come out on the announced date, and UrbanWorks
    shut down right before the release.

    But there was also the "ultimate collection" which actually was the first release that
    came out before Vol. 1 and 2. So if anyone is interested in a 4 disc sampler set,
    and not the whole series for $100, the Ultimate set for $12 has episodes that are spread
    across the whole series.
     
  14. derosa

    derosa Well-Known Member

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    Since the same 3 episodes appeared on the 2004 Vol. 1 in the exact form released by
    Entertainment Rights/Urban Works, my guess is that there is the same source
    material being used for this new set as before.

    Does that mean there isn't original film out there? I have no idea, but it seems clear
    that no additional video was found, or PAL speedup corrections were attempted for
    this new set. Too bad.
     
  15. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Well-Known Member

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    I consulted with BCI on a number of their Filmation releases and was told that all of the live-action shows (Ark II and Ghost Busters included) were from PAL masters.

    One thing that has to be remembered about Ghost Busters: that show was shot on videotape rather than 16mm film. Because of that fact, a transfer from NTSC to PAL would not have resulted in audio speed-up in the case of that show (the speed-up phenomenon only affects filmed shows), so the audio sounding correct is not proof of an NTSC source in that case.

    I'm pretty sure Ark II was from PAL also, because I had off-air PAL recordings prior to the BCI set, and the audio pitch sounds exactly the same to me (i.e. not 4% slower).

    Also, on the subject of Fat Albert...someone correct me if I'm wrong, but prior to Urbanworks, there were some Time-Life releases, and from what I recall on the message boards around the time the faults of the UW sets became known, people were saying the previously-released Time-Life episodes were uncut (with the tags left in, etc) and also that they played at the correct speed.

    If so, it would seem that T-L got whatever masters they used from a different source than Entertainment RIghts. It might also be that the Time-Life releases happened before Hallmark sold out to Entertainment Rights. I wonder if Cosby's company has (had) film prints of episodes?
     
  16. Brian Himes

    Brian Himes Well-Known Member

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    Does anyone remember which episode of Fat Albert that Russell told Rudy he was like school on Sunday. No class. There is an episode where Russell tells Rudy that he's like school on Saturday, but I can't seem to locate the Sunday version of the line. I've finished the entire runs of Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids (72-76) and the New Fat Albert Show (79-81) and so far the line hasn't shown up. Has everyone been mistaken for all these years in thinking the line was Sunday when in fact it was Saturday? If so, then Bill Cosby was also mistaken. In the making of featurette on the DVD set, he mentions the school on Sunday line as well. He mentions it as being Sunday and not Saturday. Now, the line could have been used in the 84-85 run of the show, but I remember the line from the 72-76 era of the series. Does anyone have a clue when the line was used? It's not in the Christmas Special either. I haven't watched the Halloween or Easter Specials yet, but I don't think the line is in either of those specials.
     
  17. JMFabianoRPL

    JMFabianoRPL Well-Known Member

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    There were many variations to that joke over the years.
     
  18. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Well-Known Member

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    I'm pretty sure the "no class" joke is in the first Urbanworks set (the only volume I purchased apart from Halloween, after I noticed the atrocious editing), but I'm pretty sure the one I remember seeing was Saturday, not Sunday.
     
  19. Brian Himes

    Brian Himes Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I know but I was specifically asking about the schoool on Sunday one. Cosby himself mentions the line in the making of featurette and he quotes it as bgeing school on Sunday. That's how I remember hearing it but in the episode I heard it, Russell says school on Saturday. Not Sunday. So, was the school on Sunday line ever used or was it always school on Saturday?
     
  20. Brian Himes

    Brian Himes Well-Known Member

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    That's the one I saw as well. I first heard the line as school on Sunday but in the episode Russell says school on Saturday. I think everyone just thought the line was school on Sunday. Even Cosby himself.
     

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