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Warner Bros properties

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by FrosteyV, May 13, 2008.

  1. FrosteyV

    FrosteyV Well-Known Member

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    I'm fairly new to this forum, and this is the first thread I've ever started, so please excuse me if this topic has been discussed before, but does anyone know why Warner Bros (or whoever owns the rights) is so reluctant to release some of their classic shows from the 50's and 60's? They are sitting on a treasure chest of great old detective and westerns. 77 Sunset Strip, Surfside 6, Bourbon St. Beat, Lawman, Sugarfoot, Bronco, Maverick (the complete series), Hawaiian Eye, The Gallant Men, Cheyenne, the Roaring 20's, Colt .45, etc. They could be making a mint, especially on 77, and Hawaiian Eye, it seems to me.
     
  2. Bob Hug

    Bob Hug Well-Known Member

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    Richard, while I can't say conclusively, it's likely that the studio believes it can earn more on more recent and current shows than with vintage shows. There was a time, several years ago, when I thought Warner was going to be one of the best companies for vintage releases, but that time has pretty much come and gone. If you look at the company's pre-1970 output, it's pretty miniscule.

    Adventures of Superman (released all 6 seasons)
    Cheyenne (released season 1 plus a 3-episode sampler)
    F-Troop (released both seasons plus a 6-episode sampler)
    Gilligan's Island (released all three seasons)
    Maverick (released a 3-episode sampler)

    I may have missed a show or two, but what you see above is pretty much the studio's pre-1970 output. That said, I do see one possible ray of hope for Warner, and that's licensing. Warner did license the entire series of "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." to Time-Life last year. For the studio to release some of the great vintage shows that you list, I think licensing to an independent probably offers the best chance for us to see these shows. The question remains, however, will Warner license other shows to independent releasing companies?
     
  3. FrosteyV

    FrosteyV Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Bob. This might be a dumb question, but any idea why the major studios are so reluctant to license their shows? Again it seems to me that if they are afraid of spending a lot of money to restore and sell these series without a substantial return on investment, why not just license them out and get a guaranteed fee?
     
  4. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Well-Known Member

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    That has always amazed me about Warner and Sony/Columbia. You'd think if they didn't see certain properties as commercially viable, they'd like to get some money from the "poor schmuck" who wants to licence it from them. Without licencing, I'm afraid we'll never get to see shows such as Logan's Run or Quark make it out. They'd only need one release each and they've undergone film-to-tape transfers already (since they were both shown on cable around 1990).
     
  5. Bob Hug

    Bob Hug Well-Known Member

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    Well, Universal, for one, is now doing quite a bit of licensing to companies like Shout! Factory (Ironside, McHale's Navy), Arts Alliance America (Banacek, B.L. Stryker), and Timeless Media (Laredo, Cimarron City, Restless Gun, Riverboat, The Tall Man, Checkmate, Arrest and Trial). And, as I mentioned, Warner has at least experimented with licensing an older show with "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." But I'm unclear as to whether Fox, Sony and MGM have done any licensing of older shows. CBS Paramount doesn't have to go the licensing route as they actually release older shows from the 1950s and 1960s.
     
  6. David Levine

    David Levine Well-Known Member

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    One reason is they often don't feel it's worth their time/resources.

    It's not as simple as accepting a monetary advance and waiting for royalties to come in. The studio needs to track down and deliver the episodes in some form. If they are in possession of any artwork or photos, those have to be found and supplied. Then they need to have at least 1 point person that is available for constant communication with the studio they license the property to. Then anything that the licensing studio does (artwork, menu designs, ancillary features, etc.) needs to be approved by the studio, by it's legal department, potentially creators of the show, etc.

    It can all make sense if it's a show that is going to sell decently, but if it's something that is going to project to do 2500 units over it's lifetime, it becomes "more trouble than it's worth" to a big studio.
     
  7. Dan McW

    Dan McW Well-Known Member

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    There's some good news about Maverick, pending a DVD set. Encore Westerns will be airing it weekdays this summer, after a July 4 marathon to launch the run, and has Lawman, Cheyenne, and How the West Was Won waiting in the wings.

    Universal's Wagon Train and The Virginian also appear to be in the hopper at Encore, although a press release on Encore's site mixes those titles in with a list of licensed Universal films. Since the '40s Virginian film is already in Encore's stable, surely that refers to the '60s TV series, which the Westerns channel has aired before.

    The press release mentions WB series "such as" those four I listed, so maybe others in Richard's first post could turn up on Westerns or another Encore channel.

    Starz Bulks Up Movie Line-Up - Jan 23, 2008
     
  8. Elena S

    Elena S Well-Known Member

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    Wow, that's really good news.

    The short answer to the original question, though, is that those in charge of releases these days are too young to remember the vintage programs that many of us loved. Therefore, they don't really know what they have.
     
  9. Sky King

    Sky King Well-Known Member

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    While I applaud Warner Brothers for releasing "The Adventures Of Superman" on DVD, it's apparent their heart really wasn't in it.
    Aside from the fact that the visual quality of the prints, especially the B/W episodes, was subpar, they didn't even pay Noel Neill (Lois Lane) or Jack Larson (Jimmy Olsen) for their appearances in this DVD set. Noel and Jack did it gratis, for the love of the show.
    This DVD set could have been SO MUCH BETTER !!!
     
  10. Jeff Willis

    Jeff Willis Well-Known Member

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    Dan,

    Thanks for the info on the Encore plans! I've wanted "How The West Was Won" (assuming this is the 70's miniseries with James Arness) on DVD for a long time. I'm hoping that this means a studio DVD release is more of a possibility for these shows, as we've seen happen with some other shows after an Encore run (Time Tunnel, etc).
     
  11. Mike*SC

    Mike*SC Well-Known Member

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    Indeed, it's not as simple as just saying "You want to release it? Fine! Give me the money and I'll tell you where to find it." And it's not simply that elements must be unearthed (not just finished episodes -- if there are issues of music substitution, for instance, the elements must be delivered with clean, music-free audio). It's that binding contracts with people involved with the original show are still in force, regardless of whether the original studio licenses the property. Money is still owed, in some cases artwork must be approved, and on and on. And Warner Bros. cannot simply shrug and say "Hey, we didn't do it!" if somebody objects. They are still the responsible party.

    All this takes time and money, regardless of who's releasing the actual DVDs. And this is not money Warner Bros. would just swallow -- they'd need to pass the cost on to the licensor.

    So who knows? Maybe Warner Bros. has considered licensing some of their shows out. Perhaps they've even offered to, and the potential buyer has balked at the price. I have no idea.

    The point is, it seems easy to say that they should let somebody else take the risk, at little cost to them. But other risks remain, and the cost is rarely little.
     
  12. FrosteyV

    FrosteyV Well-Known Member

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    That is fantastic news, especially the westerns, Cheyenne, the Virginian, Maverick, and my personal favorite Lawman. I'd love it if they threw in Bronco, and Sugarfoot, but you can't have everything I guess. [​IMG] I wrote an email to the Sleuth Channel requesting the PI shows 77 Sunset Strip, Hawaiian Eye, and Bourbon St. Beat, but again nobody responded.
     
  13. Hank Dearborn

    Hank Dearborn Well-Known Member

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    They don't run any of their own older shows, they're not going to buy other studio's shows. All of those series just concluded a long run on American Life and were taken off after about 5-6 years. If anyone else would run them, and I highly doubt it, try Encore Mystery perhaps, but that would be an extremely long shot.
     
  14. Hank Dearborn

    Hank Dearborn Well-Known Member

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    All of that bunk they were spewing about bad elements - they had good elements but they are not going to pay the costs to remastered and retransfer any older shows. The only reason all of the 50s and early 60s westerns and detective shows got remastered is because American Life footed the bill for them.
     
  15. FrosteyV

    FrosteyV Well-Known Member

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    I was aware that American Life had broadcast these great old series for a number of years, but unfortunately, my carrier, Direct TV doesn't carry American Life and ignored my frequent pleadings for the channel. At least they carry Chiller which allows me to catch Night Gallery, Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Alfred Hitchcock Hour, and Twin Peaks. I am hoping for them to start showing the "Boris Karloff" Thriller, since they don't seem to have any aversion to showing the great old vintage shows.
     
  16. MatthewA

    MatthewA Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure there are plenty of transfer houses who would have done it for pennies on the dollar compared to Warner's in-house costs. Certainly less than $5000 per episode.

    Time Warner isn't doing so great financially. New Line Cinema is now a shell company, and Warner Independent Pictures has been shuttered. Have they had many non-Harry Potter hits lately? Someone here called "Speed Racer" the movie that'll replace "Heaven's Gate" in the books as the biggest disaster of them all.
     
  17. DeWilson

    DeWilson Well-Known Member

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    I wonder if TIMELESS will be given access to those masters on "Wagon Train" and "The Virginian" for future DVD releases?
     
  18. David Levine

    David Levine Well-Known Member

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    That's a good question. I'm pretty sure that ALIAS SMITH AND JONES looked a lot better on Encore than on DVD, so I doubt the same masters were used in that case.
     
  19. FrancisP

    FrancisP Well-Known Member

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    I would doubt that licensing costs that much more. Studios have to have the infrastructure for locating elements, approving artwork, and other issues whether they license or not. They already pay people to do that.

    Also I'm not sure that you can say Man from Uncle was a license. If I remember, Time-Life is a division of Warner. Also I believe the impetus for this release was the legal dispute over who owned the dvd rights for the show. I suspect Warner's claim was not as strong as they were telling us.
    I do believe its release was a settlement of sorts.
     
  20. bobPON

    bobPON Well-Known Member

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    I keep hoping they'll release all of the shows mentioned. I loved the Cheyenne dvd's and would buy more immediately. I'd sell all of my other tv dvd's to get 77 Sunset Strip, Hawaiian Eye and Surfside Six. I'd buy all seasons on the spot. So far I've been lucky enough to get some of the shows I most wanted, like Combat and Secret Agent Man but number one on my want list has always been 77 Sunset Strip.
     

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