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Benny Hill - how much is NOT on any DVD release yet?


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#1 of 47 OFFLINE   Steve_Smith

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Posted December 24 2005 - 07:41 AM

With A&E having released Volumes 1-3, plus adding in the 2 compilation DVDs from HBO *which are straight from the VHS releases*...does anyone know what percentage of sketches/songs have NOT yet been released? I would love to have everything in the order they aired, but with so many releases coming out soon *upcoming Dr. who's for me Posted Image plus the rumored Charlie Chan and I'm sure many more* that the future A&E volumes could take a lower priority for me if it will be mostly sketches already on dvd. I think it is Jan 31st that Volume 4 will be out.

#2 of 47 OFFLINE   William B.

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Posted January 26 2006 - 03:57 PM

In the first place, about the pre-existing DVD sets from HBO, I have avoided them specifically because of the A&E releases. With The Hill's Angels Years - Set 4: 1978-1981 being released this next Tuesday (the 31st), 70.7% of the total run of the regular hour-long TBHS episodes will have been put out on DVD. By A&E, that is. If you count the six shows in the Golden Greats series (which have been taken O.O.P. because of A&E's releases), that would be 81.03% of Mr. Hill's hour-long shows. Eddie In August was already put out on The Naughty Early Years - Set 3: 1975-1977, and we've yet to find out if and when which of the future remaining A&E sets will include his 1978 Australian-produced special, Benny Hill Down Under.

#3 of 47 OFFLINE   Bob Hug

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Posted January 27 2006 - 01:29 AM

As far as I know, almost all of the material that's out is from Benny's years with Thames Television. I believe that very little of his pre-Thames material, which dates back to 1955, has been released and some of it, quite possibly, may be gone forever, thanks to the BBC's practice of erasing video tapes for re-use. It would be interesting to find out what remains of Benny's early years on television.

#4 of 47 OFFLINE   William B.

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Posted January 27 2006 - 04:33 AM

I have an answer in three words: The Lost Years. Originally released as a three-VHS box set, and last summer put out on DVD. This consists of the surviving material of his BBC comedy-variety shows, going as far back as April 26, 1958 (three years after his show started), and going up to April 20, 1968 (his last three shows, aired on Nov. 20, 1968; Dec. 11, 1968; and Dec. 26, 1968, were destroyed by the Beeb upon his defection to Thames Television; the only parts of the last of these shows to survive are filmed inserts lasting 20 minutes). The DVD of The Lost Years has 34 minutes of bonus material, from four of his 1965 specials. About 14 of his variety shows for the BBC (out of a total of 32 - a 43.75% rate) survive in kinescope (or, as called in Britain, "telerecorded") form. Mostly from 16mm sources, only a few (about 2 or 3) on 35mm. And only two episodes (out of 19) of his half-hour sitcom-anthology series Benny Hill, which ran from 1962 to 1963, are known to still exist.

As for the DVD bonus material: I noticed that DVD players from one manufacturer don't play the sound at the outset, and you have to push the "Audio" button on your remote to hear the sound. Most other manufacturers play this bonus material with the sound on from Point Go.

#5 of 47 OFFLINE   Ethan Riley

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Posted January 27 2006 - 05:02 AM

Didn't realize how much of BH's stuff was neglected in this way. I thought only Americans did that to their tv greats (Milton Berle, etc). Now I read this and I read the fact that most of season one of the Avengers is gone for good too. Right bloody awful!

Quick question BH fans: which episode had the Firehouse singers sketch; the long one where Benny introduced Jackie by name and used his head for drums? That was my favorite sketch of all time; the only dvd I have is Naughty Years vol. 3 so far.
 

 


#6 of 47 OFFLINE   William B.

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Posted January 27 2006 - 07:05 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by Ethan Riley
Quick question BH fans: which episode had the Firehouse singers sketch; the long one where Benny introduced Jackie by name and used his head for drums? That was my favorite sketch of all time; the only dvd I have is Naughty Years vol. 3 so far.
The episode containing that, by some strange coincidence, was in The Naughty Early Years - Set 3: 1975-1977; it was on the edition that originally aired March 24, 1976, which also featured "Captain Fred Scuttle - Space Ace" and "Murder on the Oregon Express," amongst others.

But it wasn't just limited to Benny. Much of early British television is likewise gone with the wind. You're more likely to see early 1950's U.S. What's My Lines in massive quantity, for example, than its British counterpart from the same period.

#7 of 47 OFFLINE   Ethan Riley

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Posted January 30 2006 - 05:11 AM

I think it must have been another Firehouse singers sketch. I remember one where they were singing a German song or something...I don't know now, and I can't find volume two anywhere, cause it's probably in there. I'll get to it I suppose...the Firehouse sketch on volume three is the one where they sequeway into a Robin Hood film. I remember another Firehouse sketch...

Geez I'd rather watch one Benny than 100 What's my Line eps. Wouldn't you?
 

 


#8 of 47 OFFLINE   William B.

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Posted January 30 2006 - 07:02 PM

First off, the one with the German numbers (indeed, in Set 2; as originally aired Oct. 25, 1972) was actually the "Berlin Youth Choir Recital." And in that same set was yet another vocal choir led by Benny - the Dalton Abbott Railway Choir (as from March 29, 1973).

Speaking of Oct. 25, 1972 . . . anyone out there remember the ad parody Mr. Hill did on that show, the one spoofing the deodorant that supposedly lasted for days [with the late Trudi Van Doorn, a.k.a. Geraldine Gardner]. In the States, Carol Burnett, on her show, did a parody along very similar lines (but with the same punchline), in the 1972-74 period; Lyle Waggoner had appeared in that spoof (he had black tape over his armpits, which Carol yanked off - the tape, that is, not Mr. Waggoner's armpits). Does anyone frequenting this board know exactly which (originally aired) installment of Ms. Burnett's show this ad takeoff was featured in, and who were the guest celebrities?

As for What's My Line? . . . as far as the U.S. version goes, Bennett Cerf's puns make it all worthwhile for me . . . Posted Image

#9 of 47 OFFLINE   Bob Hug

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Posted January 31 2006 - 06:49 AM

Sad to report the news that one of Benny Hill's co-stars, Henry McGee, has passed away at the age of 77. See details at the BBC's site:

http://news.bbc.co.u...ent/4667190.stm

#10 of 47 OFFLINE   Ethan Riley

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Posted January 31 2006 - 07:21 AM

Thanks William--yup, that's the sketch I was thinking of. Haven't seen this stuff since about 1980. Now I have to track down set two somehow. Is the Dalton Abbot choir the one where the girl sang "so if your name is Martin or Larten, or Barton or Darton or Fargoooo"
 

 


#11 of 47 OFFLINE   William B.

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Posted January 31 2006 - 07:46 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by Ethan Riley
Is the Dalton Abbot choir the one where the girl sang "so if your name is Martin or Larten, or Barton or Darton or Fargoooo"
No . . . that bit was in the "Mexican medley" of March 13, 1974, with Diana Darvey . . . which had the distinction of being the very last TBHS on which Nicholas Parsons appeared. And that line was sung by Mr. Hill himself, not Ms. Darvey.

#12 of 47 OFFLINE   Ethan Riley

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Posted January 31 2006 - 07:51 AM

Watching the 3rd set, and seeing those sketches for the first time in 25 or so years was interesting. My memory of those things had skewed quite a bit but I did recall the Robin Hood film almost verbatim and it remains my favorite of all the silent movies.
 

 


#13 of 47 OFFLINE   Jon Martin

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Posted February 04 2006 - 09:27 AM

Just got set 4 today from Amazon.

Is anyone else having any problems with it? Disc 1 has a few episodes that are very glitchy. One episode breaks up at the end, and the last episode won't play at all. (I checked for dirt, and there was none).

Since it is the DVD with 4 episodes (the other two with 3 play fine) I didn't know if it was a production issue.

But, I'm sending it back to Amazon for a replacement.

#14 of 47 OFFLINE   William B.

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Posted February 06 2006 - 06:35 AM

I haven't noticed any problems with playing, they go all the way through on all discs. As for artifacts on things like the April 16, 1980 "Women's Lib TV" number (with Benny and co. as the male dancers), it's not too dissimilar to the artifacts on the other sets, especially with fade-in and fade-out.

#15 of 47 OFFLINE   nizzam

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Posted February 13 2006 - 03:34 AM

I'm a big Benny Hill fan from Malaysia. Just bought box set 2 & 3. No English Subtitles. Cannot understand some skits due to different accent. How to download or get copy of the subtitles.

#16 of 47 OFFLINE   William B.

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Posted February 28 2006 - 01:24 PM

Originally posted by Ethan Riley
I remember another Firehouse sketch...

Actually, there were two versions of one. On Set 1, from Dec. 23, 1970, in living black-and-white, there was "A Tribute To The Lower Tidmarsh Fire Brigade," with a cameo from Liz Fraser of "Carry On" fame. On Set 4, there was a remake of the same sketch, in color, with additional gags not in the original. Is that what you're enquiring about?

And speaking of the later version, you've probably heard of the death of 1979-89 TBHS producer/director Dennis Kirkland, on Feb. 16 at age 63 . . .

#17 of 47 OFFLINE   William B.

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Posted October 07 2006 - 10:12 AM

* UPDATE: As of the Sept. 26, 2006 release of A&E's Set 5, 86.2% of the complete shows of Mr. Hill's are on DVD. If figuring in the 1988-89 shows that made up the rest of Golden Greats, then 91.38% of his complete hours are on DVD.

One plus about Set 5, though: As seen especially on the rolling end credits, they run smoothly, without the galloping jaggedness associated with the *old* PAL-to-NTSC transfers as on the Golden collections from HBO. Seemed like some software was used effecting some 5:6 pulldown on the basis of fields rather than frames. A few examples, from the May 27, 1985 end credits. First, from Golden Greats:

Posted Image

Then, from the new A&E Set 5:

Posted Image

#18 of 47 OFFLINE   John Stell

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Posted October 26 2006 - 09:46 AM

Amazon.com has Volume 6 of the Benny Hill series from A&E up for preorder. It's subtitled The Later Years and covers 1986 into the 1990s. Due 1/30/07.
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#19 of 47 OFFLINE   William B.

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Posted October 26 2006 - 02:01 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Stell
Amazon.com has Volume 6 of the Benny Hill series from A&E up for preorder. It's subtitled The Later Years and covers 1986 into the 1990s. Due 1/30/07.
Actually, to 1989, as that was when his last show for Thames was aired. (The New York special was produced by an independent company, thus the contents are not in the syndicated package; besides, that show is already out on DVD.) The subtitle may be subject to change; I noticed it isn't totally complete in Amazon's pre-order page. (And I pre-ordered it, already.)

The only question now is, what will the bonus material be? The only uncovered work in his oeuvre from his Thames years was his 1977 Australian-made special Benny Hill Down Under (a.k.a. Benny Hill in Australia) - especially given: a) some of its contents being in the HBO Video compilation Video Sideshow (ex Best of . . . Vol. 3) and b) some of the contents being scattered amongst the U.S. syndicated half-hours. But though Fremantle owns the British rights, there's a big question mark as to the rest of the world.

#20 of 47 OFFLINE   Jon Martin

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Posted October 27 2006 - 02:17 AM

Does anyone know anything about the Benny Hill DVD being released next week? Not one of the A&E sets, by another company. Made up of bloopers and such.





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