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The Bob Cummings Show aka Love That Bob (1955-1959)


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15 replies to this topic

#1 of 16 Jeffrey Nelson

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Posted April 19 2005 - 08:57 PM

I was exposed to this show on the CBN cable channel when I was an impressionable teen in the '80s. No, I didn't grow up to be a skirt-chasing Hollywood photographer. Unfortunately. That aside, I just picked up a 16-episode set on a double-disc DVD from Platinum, packaged with a DVD of 16 episodes of Life With Elizabeth, a show from 1953 starring a 31-year-old Betty White, that I had never heard of. The quality on the episodes runs from barely watchable to pretty decent. At least the original title theme music is intact, unlike on the abysmal TV Guide DVD versions.

At any rate, not having seen the Bob show since I was a kid, I find it still holds up pretty well. Bob Cummings, veteran of many films including a couple of Hitchcocks, is just right as Bob Collins, ace Hollywood photographer who's always trying to land the sexy models that visit his studio. The supporting cast is great: a pre-Dobie Dwayne Hickman as Bob's nephew, an extremely pre-Brady-Bunch Ann B. Davis (actually looking kinda cute--she was only 29 when she started out on the show) as his lovelorn secretary Schultzy, Rosemary DeCamp as his widowed sister Margaret, and the hilarious Nancy Kulp as beanpole birdwatcher Pamela, who's forever trying to put the moves on our hapless hero.

Are there any other fans of this show here? Does anyone know who owns the rights to this? Is there any hope for a legit DVD release?

#2 of 16 JeffWld

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Posted April 20 2005 - 12:45 AM

Quote:
Are there any other fans of this show here? Does anyone know who owns the rights to this? Is there any hope for a legit DVD release?


This show is in a very grey area. Although Universal owned the distribution rights to the show for many years, it appears that the copyright renewals were never properly acquired. This is why the show appears on PD/budget DVD releases and also runs on various religious channels that pick up off-network PD shows.

The show was a joint venture between several long-defunct production companies, and also lists revised ownership in the final season. The late Paul Henning was one of the partners in this production. It's likely forever doomed to remain in PD limbo.

#3 of 16 Jeff#

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Posted April 20 2005 - 07:14 PM

I enjoyed Love that Bob, and I too first saw it on the long defunct CBN Family Channel (since sold to ABC) in the early 1980s.

You described the show fairly well, but there are a few more things to add:

1. Bob Cummings also played Bob Collins' elderly father, who lived in Joplin, Missouri!

2. Ingrid Goude, the Swedish Miss America 1958 was a regular on the show for a while!

3. Cumming's most interesting dramatic role after Love That Bob was cancelled: In The Twilight Zone 2nd season premiere "King Nine Will Not Return".

4. His most forgettable role: As a psychiatrist who falls in love with a robot played by Julie Newmar in the mid 1960s sitcom "My Living Doll".

#4 of 16 Jeff#

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Posted April 20 2005 - 07:30 PM

Wow, look at the authors of the above posts: We Jeffs have to stick together!

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#5 of 16 Jeffrey Nelson

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Posted April 20 2005 - 08:31 PM

Well, fellow Jeffs and other Bob fans, I'll also add to those additions that Ann B. Davis, in her inevitable cameo in THE BRADY BUNCH MOVIE, played a trucker named Schultzy. I wonder if the name was her idea? Whosever it was, a very clever reference to two shows at once.

I saw that Twilight Zone episode with Mr. Cummings, and loved it. Bob certainly is a versatile actor. I think he's a bit underrated. Loved him in SABOTEUR, DIAL M FOR MURDER, and a forgotten B noir goody called THE CHASE.

#6 of 16 Jeff#

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Posted April 21 2005 - 12:40 AM

WAS a versatile actor, Jeff. Robert Cummings died 15 years ago. According to the Internet Movie Database, his last acting appearance before a long retirement was on The Love Boat in 1979.

#7 of 16 Ron Lee Green

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Posted April 21 2005 - 01:34 AM

Jeffrey,

Where did you purchase your double-disc DVD from Platinum?

I tried looking for it online but can't find it.

All I have right now is a dollar dvd from Walmart that has 3 shows, but I'd like to get the set with the Betty White Show.

Bob Cummings also appeared in an episode of Bewitched as a client.

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#8 of 16 Bert Greene

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Posted April 21 2005 - 08:59 AM

Add me to one who used to sit glued to the line-up of old-time sitcoms on CBN. I saw that "Love That Bob" / "Life With Elizabeth" set from Platinum at the store the other day, but I didn't get it. I was indeed curious to its quality. Not sure if ALL "Love That Bob" episodes have had copyrights lapse. The public-domain outfits mainly seem to offer a batch of later episodes, from around 1958. I never see earlier examples from 1955-57 circulating.

#9 of 16 Tom.W

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Posted April 21 2005 - 11:43 AM

Jeffrey,

I'd also like to know where you found that Platinum Love That Bob set. The America One network webcasts the show Monday afternoons with a repeat on Tuesday Mornings, but even a broadband connection doesn't provide a sharp picture. They also air Life with Elizabeth and several other 50's shows. Too bad they're not on cable.

#10 of 16 Jeffrey Nelson

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Posted April 21 2005 - 02:51 PM

I picked up the set at Best Buy for $9.99. It was stuck in the same section with other box sets such as the Warner Gangster Collection. The quality on Life With Elizabeth, from the few episodes I skimmed through, seems to be uniformly pretty good, actually. A pity the quality on the Love That Bob episodes isn't as consistent. But hey, for 16 episodes of each show, you can't go wrong for $9.99. The menus are even decent. Only caveat being the annoying Platinum logo that sometimes appears in the lower right-hand corner. One time I saw it appear during an episode of Life With Elizabeth, then I scanned backward a bit, let it play again, and the logo wasn't there this time. Weird.

Interestingly, a site/forum dedicated to public domain TV shows and films says that 70 episodes of Bob have fallen into the public domain:

Public Domain TV Shows

Bob Cummings Show PD episode list

Bob Cummings Show copyrighted episode list

It says the companies involved in the copyrighted episodes are:

L H M Productions Company
Laurel Productions, Inc.
McCadden Corporation
Revue Studios

I fear these four companies may be long defunct. Any guesses as to who would hold the original film elements for this show? Would it be Universal?

This show seriously needs to be remastered from original elements and released to DVD properly. Dwayne Hickman and Ann B. Davis are still around; perhaps they'd be willing to help out with interviews, commentaries, and materials they may still have on the show. Why is it that, even though it was quite a hit, it was left to decay, unlike other '50s hits such as I Love Lucy and Leave It To Beaver? The same goes for Dobie Gillis...right now, those are my two most-wanted missing classic TV shows: Bob and Dobie.

This just in: Love That Bob DVDs are being offered by none other than Mr. Dwayne Hickman himself, at his website:

Love That Bob DVDs from Dwayne's website

He offers a total of 32 episodes, some of them complete with original cigarette commercials! I emailed him to ask about the quality of the prints and such, so when I hear back from him I'll let ya know the skinny.

#11 of 16 Joseph_G

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Posted April 21 2005 - 06:17 PM

I know that Revue Studios was the TV production name for Universal Studios in at least the '50s and '60s.

#12 of 16 Jeffrey Nelson

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Posted April 21 2005 - 09:56 PM

I just watched the episode in which a 23-year-old Anna Maria Alberghetti guest stars...wow...I'm in love. She's an incredibly beautiful woman. I think I'd only seen her in her later years before...in a commercial I believe.

#13 of 16 Ron Lee Green

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Posted April 21 2005 - 10:01 PM

Thanks, Jeffery. I'll try Best Buy.
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#14 of 16 Michael Alden

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Posted June 11 2005 - 06:08 AM

It appears that only about 10 episodes had their copyrights renewed by Universal. Considering how dilligent they tend to be with regards to their properties, they must really not care about this show at all. That being said, the chances would then be nill of this show seeing a legitimate, remastered release. Really too bad.

#15 of 16 Chas_Michael

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Posted June 30 2007 - 02:38 PM

are there any Love That Bob DVD's with the original commercials included?

#16 of 16 David Rain

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Posted June 30 2007 - 04:58 PM

There are far too many classic shows like this that are still stuck in limbo. That's true of most of CBN's late-night lineup. Bob, Burns & Allen, Groucho, Margie, I Married Joan, My Private Secretary, etc.

I do have the PD IMJ's and they are actually not bad. It's a cute show and is sometimes shown randomly on satellite channels.
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