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Who would buy Mr. Peepers?


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#1 of 57 Mark To

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Posted February 05 2005 - 08:22 PM

I wanted to throw this out after a conversation I had tonight. I would love to get this show as I've only seen a couple of episodes. Along with Lucy, Mama, and The Goldbergs, it's one of the classic comedies of the early 50s. Unfortunately since it was done live, only people who were around back then have seen it. But unlike Mama and The Goldbergs, the majority of the series was saved on kinescopes. Would many people give a chance to a show that most people alive have never had an opportunity to see? There was a rumor of SFM putting it out but they have been very quiet since the Make Room for Daddy debacle.

#2 of 57 Gregory V

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Posted February 06 2005 - 12:10 AM

I bought the Make Room For Daddy set as well as the Joey Bishop Show set and thoroughly enjoyed both of them. They should try advertising them. I found them online quite by accident. I dont know anything about Mr. Peepers, except to say that I was under the impression that it was a live show and there were few if any tapes or kinescopes left of it. Ditto with most of The Goldbergs, though with that show I think they did actually film the final season. I could be wrong though. I would like to see Mr. Peepers at least once so I could see the GREAT Marion Lorne in it.

#3 of 57 Steve...O

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Posted February 06 2005 - 03:53 AM

I might venture a look at this since I am familiar with this by reputation only having only seen the occasional clip, most recently when Tony Randall passed away last year.

Whether I purchased it would depend on the pricing and whether the episodes were kept intact, including the opening credits.

Steve
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#4 of 57 Mark To

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Posted February 06 2005 - 05:39 AM

Quote:
I bought the Make Room For Daddy set as well as the Joey Bishop Show set and thoroughly enjoyed both of them. They should try advertising them. I found them online quite by accident. I dont know anything about Mr. Peepers, except to say that I was under the impression that it was a live show and there were few if any tapes or kinescopes left of it. Ditto with most of The Goldbergs, though with that show I think they did actually film the final season. I could be wrong though


You are correct that it was done live but the producer saved kinescopes and of the approximately 127 episodes done there are 102 that still exist, including an unaired pilot. As for The Goldbergs, yes the last season was filmed for syndication but at that point it really wasn't the same show anymore and it's really not an accurate representation of the series. A comparable analogy would be if the only thing left of Hawaii Five-O was the awful 12th season without Danny and Chin Ho. The live Goldbergs had it in their contract for the kinescopes to be destroyed after airing so very few survived.
Mama also had its final 13 shows filmed and those are about the only episodes of that show still around.

#5 of 57 Bert Greene

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Posted February 06 2005 - 05:51 AM

I've only seen one episode of "Mr. Peepers," but I found it quite hilarious. Dry humor. But very, very funny. An interesting flip-side to the more raucous "I Love Lucy" style humor, which most people apparently think exclusively defines the 50s decade, in terms of sitcoms. I'd make a beeline for any set devoted to "Mr. Peepers."

#6 of 57 tom_tagliente

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Posted February 06 2005 - 06:16 AM

I've never heard of this show before, however, it sounds like being a show recorded on Kinescopes, it might have been a DuMont program like the Jackie Gleason Show and The Honeymooners. The Honeymooners is great and I own the CLASSIC 39 on DVD although there are DuMont episodes on DVD.

You might look into that. I think it might've been done by the same company.

Good Luck.

Tom

#7 of 57 Joe Lugoff

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Posted February 06 2005 - 10:38 AM

Quote:
The live Goldbergs had it in their contract for the kinescopes to be destroyed after airing so very few survived.



Mark, why would a show want its kinescopes destroyed? I can't imagine what the reason could be. And if anyone would know, it's you -- I look to you as the definitive authority on TV history around here.

To answer the original question -- yes, I'd get a Mr. Peepers set. I only saw one episode, and was quite impressed with it. Besides, I'd get anything with Marion Lorne in it, including episodes of The Garry Moore variety show!

#8 of 57 Jeff#

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Posted February 06 2005 - 01:19 PM

What I want to know is why there are kinescopes galore of game shows airing on The Game Show Network of original versions of To Tell the Truth and What's My Line when the videotapes of those shows from the late 1950s / early 1960s weren't saved?

Actually, that's not entirely the case with To Tell The Truth with Bud Collyer. The primetime version exists only in kinescope form (filmed off the TV monitors), but with the DAYTIME version both the black & white and color videotapes were saved, so they look and sound sharp!

What's My Line -- from 1950 to 1967, the show was always done live, but for that version with John Daly as host ONLY kinescopes exist. That includes the final season (1966-67), which was of course it's only one in color. But if it weren't for John Daly saying they were now in color, you'd never know that from watching filmed kinescope copies!!

Now that I think of it, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson was in color from the very first telecast in 1962, but many of those tapes from the early years were deleted (case in point: the 1964 show with Ed Ames of Daniel Boone doing the tomahawk throw). What was NBC thinking?

I once had some old TV GUIDES prior to that period that I bought in the 1980s. Did you know that The Tonight Show with Jack Paar was in color in the late 1950s? Not sure if it was from the start (1957 for Jack), but it definitely was by 1959! I'll bet those were taped too.

Here's a trivia question for ya: What was the first TV special (other than a "Hallmark Hall of Fame" play) from the late 1950s was shot (and preserved) on color videotape?

#9 of 57 Jeff#

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Posted February 06 2005 - 01:36 PM

Variety shows shot on black & white tape AND color tape that were saved in their original taped forms that I would like to see released in season sets on DVD:

The Jackie Gleason Show -- 1 hour, 1962 to 1970

Much more than just The Honeymooners! The first 4 seasons were a revival of Gleason's 1950s show. 26 years ago it was first syndicated cut down to 1/2 hour, but not all of them... Separately, a kinescope of the premiere episode from October 1962 with guest star Art Carney (as Ed Norton) and Sue Ane Langdon (as Alice Kramden) was released on VHS by itself. Basically while their wives plan a trip to the beach in Atlantic City, Ralph & Ed stay behind in New York to stay in a bomb shelter as an experiment! President Kennedy's name is invoked in the sketch.

Other sketches included a musical parody of The Untouchables called "The Retouchables" with Jackie as Eliot Slesh and Sue Ane as a showgirl. The Joe the Bartender sketch had Joe talking to regular Frank Fontaine (as Crazy Guggenheim) about both Pay-TV and also Jackie Gleason in the movie "The Hustler"! Teenage Wayne Newton was the musical guest in his first TV appearance, and he got to do 2 songs.

I also saw one of the earliest Gleason shows taped in color in 1966 that somebody once sent me a tape of from a UHF station that aired in the 1980s. Unfortunately, it was the Christmas show and Jackie played The Poor Soul lost in a winter Wonderland for the entire show (introduced by Art Carney as himself). Itwas during these second and last 4 years where Carney was a regular again, and The Honeymooners became the principal source of material. For the first time since the 1950s. Sheila McRae and Jane Kean played Alice and Trixie. All 3 of them also appeared in other non-Honeymooners sketches and bits too, just as Audrey Meadows, Joyce Randolph, and Art did in the previous decade.

The Danny Kaye Show -- 1 hour (1963 to 1967)

This is where the comedian got to shine in plenty of comedy sketches, and he got to sing a few tunes in each show. Before The Carol Burnett Show and several Mel Brooks movies, it was in this series, where Harvey Korman was prominently featured as a cast member! Unfortunately, I've never been able to find a complete Danny Kaye Show. Only clips turn up now and then, such as on CBS' 50th Anniversary special.

#10 of 57 Mark To

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Posted February 06 2005 - 04:28 PM

Quote:
why would a show want its kinescopes destroyed?


I really don't know what they were thinking. Maybe they didn't want them falling into the hands of some station that would air it without their consent? There were many strange decisions made regarding television shows in the 50s and 60s. For one thing, it was thought to be a live medium. Off-network syndication was not even thought of until later on in the 50s. The 2 main reasons why kinescopes were even made in the first place were 1 - for west coast airing as there was no coast-to-coast broadcasting yet and 2 - for sponsors so they could see that their ads got in and how they were done. It wasn't just The Goldbergs that had this in their contract. Major League Baseball also had it in their contract that all games had to be destroyed by the network within one month of airing. Preservation and history were things that very few people were thinking of at the time. Likewise when videotape came along, it was not thought of as a method of preservation but rather as a means to record shows in good quality and then be able to re-use the tape. You have to remember that 2-inch videotape, in addition to weighing about 25 lbs a tape, also was expensive, with one reel going for about $250-$300. With rare exceptions, programs that were not considered to have any rerun value, had their tapes wiped. Soap operas, game shows, talk shows. I actually consider it miraculous that as much was saved as there was rather than how much was lost.

Regarding season sets of variety shows: It will never happen. The costs are prohibitive (music rights again). I don't know the complete details but all of these shows had orchestras and the contracts were written so that they would all get paid their full fee for any airing. That's why you don't even see these things run in syndication.

The Danny Kaye Show does exist. I have a couple of kines but they all exist on tape. However, Danny's daughter has them stored in a vault somewhere and has no interest in pursuing any commercial use of them whatsoever. So buried they will stay.

#11 of 57 Jeff#

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Posted February 06 2005 - 05:45 PM

Quote:
Off-network syndication was not even thought of until later on in the 50s.
There were plenty of TV series produced exclusively for syndication and shot on film in the early 1950s. Among them were The Lone Ranger, The Cisko Kid (first TV series filmed in color, although in the early years a lot of stations could only transmit in B&W) and The Abbott and Costello Show. Jackie Gleason's first series The Life of Riley, was produced for syndication in 1949-1950, and if I'm not mistaken, wasn't The Adventures of Superman also first-run syndicated?

Quote:
for west coast airing as there was no coast-to-coast broadcasting yet
The first show to do live coast to coast broadcasting was Edward R. Murrow's See it Now in 1951. By January 1953 NBC got into the act with The Today Show.

As for variety shows, there were many episodes of The Hollywood Palace from the 1960s put out on VHS, and those tapes are still sold by Movies Unlimited in Philadelphia. They aren't season sets, but they are in their hour-long entirety -- music guests and all. There are so many of them! I don't know if any of those are also on DVD, but for a variety show that is, the same goes for The Carol Burnett Show put out by Columbia House.

#12 of 57 Joe Lugoff

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Posted February 07 2005 - 01:34 AM

To Mark To: Thanks for such a complete answer to my question about kinescopes being destroyed.

To Jeff#: The Lone Ranger was an ABC network show (from 1949-1957) and their only hit until "Disneyland" came along in 1954. The Gleason "Life of Riley" was also network, NBC if I remember correctly. You are correct that Abbott and Costello and Superman were produced for syndication.

Don't forget to tell us what the first TV special captured on color tape was.

And now I'll spout off on contracts that require musicians to be paid for every showing. It's my opinion that these kinds of union demands do more harm than good. The end result here isn't that everyone gets paid -- which is what they wanted -- but that NO ONE gets paid, because it would be too expensive to do so. Besides, on a show that's over forty or fifty years old, it's most likely that many (if not most) of the musicians are dead and gone. So all they've gained now is that their work hasn't lived on -- which, being dead, would be much more beneficial to them than money would be!

It's a shame that art has to be linked to commerce.

#13 of 57 Mark To

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Posted February 07 2005 - 03:06 AM

Quote:
There were plenty of TV series produced exclusively for syndication and shot on film in the early 1950s. Among them were The Lone Ranger, The Cisko Kid (first TV series filmed in color, although in the early years a lot of stations could only transmit in B&W) and The Abbott and Costello Show. Jackie Gleason's first series The Life of Riley, was produced for syndication in 1949-1950, and if I'm not mistaken, wasn't The Adventures of Superman also first-run syndicated?


Read my post again. I said OFF-NETWORK syndication. That means shows being sold after its network run. All of the shows you mention were first-run syndication. Big difference. The Goldbergs started in 1949.


Quote:
The first show to do live coast to coast broadcasting was Edward R. Murrow's See it Now in 1951. By January 1953 NBC got into the act with The Today Show


That may have been the case but they were not going to have shows done on the east coast for primetime airing in the late afternoon on the west coast. Think about it, a 7:30 show would be on at 4:30 on the west coast. So they would make a kine and air it that way later on.


Quote:
As for variety shows, there were many episodes of The Hollywood Palace from the 1960s put out on VHS, and those tapes are still sold by Movies Unlimited in Philadelphia. They aren't season sets, but they are in their hour-long entirety -- music guests and all. There are so many of them!


These are bootlegs, not authorized releases. And they are from black and white armed forces kinescopes, not the original color 2-inch tapes. I have a few dozen of them myself. They have been around among collectors for many years. Of course they are complete, they're not paying rights to anyone by bootlegging them. You can put out whatever you want if you do it illegally.

#14 of 57 Rob W

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Posted February 07 2005 - 01:27 PM

Wasn't the first color tv special a Fred Astaire musical hour ?

#15 of 57 Jeff#

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Posted February 08 2005 - 12:34 AM

That's what I was thinking of, Rob! Posted Image "An Evening With Fred Astaire" aired in 1958, although it wasn't the first taped in color. As far as I know "The Piped Piper of Hamelin" in 1957, co-starring Claude Rains and Jim Backus was one of the early color videotaped specials. I was thinking it was a Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation, but it wasn't.

There had been live specials broadcast in color going back to the early 1950s. Shower of Stars was a once a month variety show sometimes hosted by Jack Benny that was often in color. CBS and NBC had done "experimental" color telecasts of series normally in black & white as early ss 1953 / 54 (such as The Jackie Gleason Show and The Red Skelton Show).

Oddly enough many years later, their were some more unusual things done along those lines. Only one episode of Perry Mason was filmed in color in 1965: "The Case of the Twice-Told Twist" before going back to black & white for the rest of the final season.

Science Fiction Theatre was produced for first-run syndication and filmed in color during it's first season (1955-56) and then in black & white for the second and final season.

Wagon Train -- Black & white / 60 minutes from 1957 to 1963, color / 90 minutes 1963-64, switched networks again and was back to b & W / 60 minutes 1964-65!

The Joey Bishop Show started in B & W in 1961 on NBC in 1962 and was then filmed in color for 2 years, only to go back to CBS and black and white from 1964-65!

This just goes to show you that in those days once a series returned to black & white after being shot in color, that meant the show had been on too long and it was the kiss of death. So much for trying to save money! Posted Image

#16 of 57 Mark To

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Posted February 08 2005 - 02:46 AM

Well, there's a story behind what happened with the Joey Bishop Show. It had been cancelled by NBC and was over and done with. CBS was planning to put on a show in the fall of 1964 starring William Bendix. There was a party that many entertainment people were at and one of the CBS bigshots saw Bendix there and he looked bad. Someone told the CBS guy it was because he had about 2 months left to live. CBS then asked Joey if he could put his cast back together and do another season. As for the black and white thing, CBS did not want to help NBC/RCA sell color televisions so they deliberately stayed in black and white until they legally had to switch to color. I think it was 1966 when all prime time shows had to be in color.

#17 of 57 Bert Greene

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Posted February 08 2005 - 06:01 AM

That's an interesting tidbit about the ailing Bendix and the extension of Joey Bishop's series. I never knew that.

On the topic of color, early-50s Ziv productions seemed quite cognizant that color would give some of their shows extended life in later syndication. But, I've never quite pinned down the extent in which they used it. Someone once told me that all the "Boston Blackie" (1951-53) episodes were shot in color (but were only seen in b&w prints). At least one color episode seems to circulate on bootleg lists, but I could never verify that claim. Similar was Ziv's "Mr. District Attorney" (1955-56?) When the Nostalgia Channel aired the series back in the late-80s, there was at least one color episode (albeit rather faded) aired. Then, there was the aforementioned "Science Fiction Theater," too, with its first season in color. I think perhaps Ziv's "Eddie Cantor Comedy Theater" (1954?) might have been shot in color as well, but somehow that series really disappeared from sight.

I can't help but wonder if any color prints or negatives still exist in the archives for something like "Boston Blackie." With all its early-50s on-location filming (around Los Angeles), it would certainly be fascinating to see all restored, especially if in color.

#18 of 57 Jeff#

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Posted February 08 2005 - 03:31 PM

Yes, that was interesting! Not the part about William Bendix (because he would have kept on working anyway, if he had lived past the age of 58), but CBS' reason for filming the final season of The Joey Bishop Show in black & white in 1964 so people wouldn't buy RCA color TVs?! Was that the real reason?

One other bit of trivia that I know from my once having purchased some old TV Guides from decades past: Paul Burke, who is best known for replacing some of the original leads in superior TV series remakes of movies (Naked City and 12 O' Clock High) had the title role as one of two veterinarians in his first show Noah's Ark during the 1956-57 season. I never got to see it (and I don't want to) but it was filmed in color and was produced and directed by Dragnet's Jack Webb!

#19 of 57 Michael.J.Hayde

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Posted February 09 2005 - 06:07 AM

Quote:
Off-network syndication was not even thought of until later on in the 50s.


I'm not sure what constitutes "later on," Mark, but Dragnet began off-network syndication in October 1953, under the title Badge 714. I'd like to know if there's any earlier instance of reruns that went into syndication while the original series was still airing on network.

Quote:
Paul Burke, who is best known for replacing some of the original leads in superior TV series remakes of movies (Naked City and 12 O' Clock High) had the title role as one of two veterinarians in his first show Noah's Ark during the 1956-57 season. I never got to see it (and I don't want to) but it was filmed in color and was produced and directed by Dragnet's Jack Webb!


Webb was a major pioneer. He did the first network TV episode filmed in color (Dragnet's "The Big Little Jesus," which aired on 12/24/53), and Noah's Ark was the first filmed network series to air in color.

To get back on topic, I'd definitely buy Mr. Peepers DVDs. I've never seen it, but have read about it.

Michael


#20 of 57 John Carr

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Posted February 09 2005 - 06:47 AM

I remember watching Mr. Peepers as a kid! It was a funny show with Wally Cox as a poor man's Woody Allen. I would certainly purchase a DVD set.


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