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The Abbott & Costello Show: 100th Anniversary Collection Season 1 DVD Box Reviews?


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#21 of 40 OFFLINE   Videowack

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Posted September 13 2006 - 08:25 AM

Here is the link for Passport Entertainment, for those who want to write them regarding the 2 discs that contain the very noticeable time-compressed episodes. Hey, it can't hurt. We should ask for discs that are properly made and a replacement should be in order to those who have already bought the set.


http://www.passporte...t.com/index.php
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#22 of 40 OFFLINE   Carlos Garcia

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Posted September 13 2006 - 11:42 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Videowack
Here is the link for Passport Entertainment, for those who want to write them regarding the 2 discs that contain the very noticeable time-compressed episodes. Hey, it can't hurt. We should ask for discs that are properly made and a replacement should be in order to those who have already bought the set.


http://www.passporte...t.com/index.php

Here's a post from the Abbott & Costello messageboard claiming those episodes are NOT sped up (unless the masters the Costello family had were already sped up. Why they would be, I have no idea.):

"Time to end all the speculation, accusations and conspiracy theories: The reel-to-reel masters used for the two new Passport sets came directly from the Costello family's vault. Nothing was done by Passport to speed them up or save time or space or remove even a frame of an actual episode. It was a straight transfer from the Costello masters to the new sets. The intention was to produce the new DVDs with the best sound and video quality available, but they can only be as good as the source material one is given to work with. Hopefully, the combination of the rare and remarkable (and lengthy) bonus features plus the reasonable price more than compensate for any perceived deficiences in the episodes themselves."
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#23 of 40 OFFLINE   Joe Karlosi

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Posted September 13 2006 - 12:27 PM

To The A&C Message Board:

So? I don't care "Who done it", but if some of these episodes do indeed look visibly sped up, I'll settle for the old Shanachie releases. I'm still awaiting more opinions from those who've seen the problems in question.

#24 of 40 OFFLINE   Carlos Garcia

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Posted September 13 2006 - 01:28 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Karlosi
To The A&C Message Board:

So? I don't care "Who done it", but if some of these episodes do indeed look visibly sped up, I'll settle for the old Shanachie releases. I'm still awaiting more opinions from those who've seen the problems in question.

I still want to know whether those 2 episodes on the Shanachie release are also sped up.
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#25 of 40 OFFLINE   Videowack

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Posted September 13 2006 - 02:05 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlos Garcia
I still want to know whether those 2 episodes on the Shanachie release are also sped up.

No, the 2 episodes that ARE sped up on the Passport release are NOT sped up on the Shanachie release. I have double checked them carefully, and I assure you that the Shanachie dubs are perfect regarding the 2 episodes in question. Passport's very recent release has those 2 episodes most ASSUREDLY and NOTICEABLY sped up to a very annoying degree. If they are claiming that it was the prints given to them to work with, and that they had nothing to say about the material they had to work with...then Passport didn't master them from the original negatives as Shanachie did and settled for second best. My thought is that they obtained those 2 time-compressed episodes from a secondary source, such as a TV syndication company who as recently as the 90's had these shows on various stations (WOR-TV in NY, for one) and each and every one of the 52 A&C eps WERE time-compressed for recent syndication.
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#26 of 40 OFFLINE   Gary OS

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Posted September 13 2006 - 02:09 PM

Carlos, I'll pull those two episodes out tonight (since I own the Shanachie dvds) and let you know for sure if they are or are not sped up. But I can tell you, 100% for sure, that those two episodes are sped up on the new set. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

I believe that the person that posted the message on the A&C board (which I also frequent) wasn't contradicting the fact that the episodes were time-compressed, but simply trying to pass the buck. The fault, in their minds, isn't with them but with the "originals" they worked with. In other words, they didn't purposely speed up any episodes. They simply used what they were given.

Gary "I still say this set is worth it just for the extras" O.

EDIT: Ok, I had composed this post before the poster above did the check. And I agree with them that Passport didn't remaster anything. They just used what they were given without any thought to checking it out. That's real obvious.
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#27 of 40 OFFLINE   Carlos Garcia

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Posted September 14 2006 - 04:11 AM

Once again, someone on the A&C messageboard insists those episodes in question were not sped up:

"Y'know, I tried to set the record straight with my other posting, but apparently all I accomplished was drop-kicking a hornets' nest. Passport did not in any way "settle" for inferior copies. I reiterate: The new DVD sets were made from the reel-to-reel tape masters that were stored in the Costello family vault (where they are kept at optimum temperature and humidity) and were not gotten from a television syndicator. These masters were the ones specifically set aside by the Costellos for use in creating these two definitive sets of Season One and Season Two in tribute to Lou. Nobody pulled a switcheroo on those two episodes. No corners were cut. Those were the only copies of those episodes included in the boxes of tapes lent to Passport by the Costello family, and much care was taken in the transferring of them to DVD. If you want to spend $143 assembling the individual discs from the other release just because you consider those two episodes positively unwatchable and unenjoyable in the Passport set, then fine. As the French say, to each his goo. Otherwise, this seems like a rather minor trade-off in order to get an entire season in one 5-disc set, plus the aforementioned new interviews, old home movies, and "10,000 Kids and a Cop." And yes, Season Two's bonus features have a lot more of the home movies, and the interviews with Chris and Paddy go into a lot of different subject areas not covered in Season One (which focused more on the TV show itself, the cast, favorite episodes and routines, etc.). Okay, now you may continue dissecting this issue until either your eyeballs or fingertips give out. Or both!"

If all this is true, how come the Shanachie DVDs weren't sped up?
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#28 of 40 OFFLINE   Videowack

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Posted September 14 2006 - 06:47 AM

Exactly, Carlos. Here are the running times of both questioned episodes, from both companies:

"ALASKA" - Passport Video, 22:23 - Shanachie, 26:12
"CHARITY BAZAAR" - Passport Video, 22:25 - Shanachie, 25:58

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#29 of 40 OFFLINE   Joe Karlosi

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Posted September 14 2006 - 07:30 AM

Looks like I'm going to place an order with Shanachie to get the last 3 DVD's I've missed.

#30 of 40 OFFLINE   Gary OS

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Posted September 14 2006 - 09:09 AM

Guys, heaven knows I don't pimp for the corporate "man" when they stick to the consumers, but in this case I do think some of you are misreading what the person at the A&C board is trying to say. They are NOT denying that the two episodes in question are time-compressed. We all know better, and so does Passport. What the poster was trying to say is that they [i.e. Passport] used what they were given by the Costello's. For some unknown reason what they were given was time-compressed. They didn't do it themselves.

It doesn't make it any easier for consumers, but I think we owe Passport a fair hearing on this and not accuse them of something they didn't do.

I'll say it one more time - this set is worth those "mistakes" simply for the extras. And like Joe said, if you feel the need to do so just pick up those couple of Shanachie discs and you'll have everything you need at regular speed.

Gary "just trying to keep the peace" O.
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#31 of 40 OFFLINE   Videowack

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Posted September 14 2006 - 11:04 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary OS
Guys, heaven knows I don't pimp for the corporate "man" when they stick to the consumers, but in this case I do think some of you are misreading what the person at the A&C board is trying to say. They are NOT denying that the two episodes in question are time-compressed. We all know better, and so does Passport. What the poster was trying to say is that they [i.e. Passport] used what they were given by the Costello's. For some unknown reason what they were given was time-compressed. They didn't do it themselves.

It doesn't make it any easier for consumers, but I think we owe Passport a fair hearing on this and not accuse them of something they didn't do.

I'll say it one more time - this set is worth those "mistakes" simply for the extras. And like Joe said, if you feel the need to do so just pick up those couple of Shanachie discs and you'll have everything you need at regular speed.

Gary "just trying to keep the peace" O.

Gary, I couldn't agree with you more. This is a case of what IS being said vs. what ISN'T. The poster on the A&C board is merely reporting on what he was told by Passport, which sad to say, is untrue. My OWN annoyance is with Passport, not the poster. Likewise, I am simply reporting on what I see and hear between the 2 sets based on 31+ years of home video involvement. I have seen every possible video and audio "glitch" imaginable over the years and I realize that digital home video products are not without problems. I also agree that the extras on this set are quite nice and very worth having. I just wish that there was a bit more quality control in home video products as I have seen so much of this kind of thing over the years.
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#32 of 40 OFFLINE   Gary OS

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Posted September 14 2006 - 12:31 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Videowack
Gary, I couldn't agree with you more. This is a case of what IS being said vs. what ISN'T. The poster on the A&C board is merely reporting on what he was told by Passport, which sad to say, is untrue. My OWN annoyance is with Passport, not the poster. Likewise, I am simply reporting on what I see and hear between the 2 sets based on 31+ years of home video involvement. I have seen every possible video and audio "glitch" imaginable over the years and I realize that digital home video products are not without problems. I also agree that the extras on this set are quite nice and very worth having. I just wish that there was a bit more quality control in home video products as I have seen so much of this kind of thing over the years.

Thanks, Videowack. I didn't want anyone to get the wrong idea. There's no doubt that Passport dropped the ball on this one for the exact reason you mentioned - quality control. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt when it comes to whether they did or did not speed up these two episodes on purpose. I don't believe they did that just because it makes no sense. Somehow, some way, they received two time-compressed episodes from the Costello estate.

But all that being said, they should have caught the mistake on those two episodes and been able to easily find out that there were sources to correct this problem (via Shanachie's source - Koch). So I'm not letting them off the hook with my previous post. I'm just saying that I believe Passport didn't purposely time-compress those two episodes. They just missed this problem, which goes back to poor quality control.

Gary "in spite of these slight problems, I'm looking forward to the second set next month" O.
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#33 of 40 OFFLINE   Carlos Garcia

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Posted September 14 2006 - 12:56 PM

My question is...Didn't the Costello family supply Shanachie with the same masters as they did Passport? If so, where did Passport get these 2 sped up episodes from?
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#34 of 40 OFFLINE   Randy Korstick

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Posted September 15 2006 - 02:36 AM

I too think the Speed Ups were from the Masters supplied to them. If they intentionally sped them up for space saving reasons then it makes no sense to do this on only 2 of 26 episodes. Why not all of them? Then they could save a disk and the speed up might not be quite as noticable since it would be on every episode. For this reason alone I do not believe it was intentional.
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#35 of 40 OFFLINE   Jack Theakston

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Posted October 05 2006 - 06:59 PM

I just checked with Bob Furmanek to get the true story on these shows. He was the archivist for the Abbott and Costello Estates during that period.

Mr. Furmanek had located 35mm elements for ALL 52 episodes in 1984. It was a long process of tracking down materials because they were scattered in dozens of different places all around the country. At the time, Allan Enterprises was syndicating the shows, but he did not want to create new transfers of episodes which had already been mastered to video from inferior 16mm prints. He felt that what he had was good enough and they did not want to spend the extra money.

Shanachie had nothing to do with locating film elements. Their releases on video and DVD were done long after the film elements had been found. They were simply provided with video dubs by the Costello family.

The 35mm negative for JAIL was not at the Library of Congress. In fact, none of the film elements were there. It was stored at the Bekin's building in Hollywood, although it was inadvertently placed in nitrate vaults when it was a safety negative!

In the late 1980's, the distributor created a full set of time-compressed video masters, changing the running time from 26 to 22 minutes. Obviously, when Passport was given elements for their DVD mastering, somebody with the Costello family pulled the wrong tape masters.

To do this right, they should have gone back to the 35mm master fine grains for new hi-def transfers, and not simply re-used one-inch video copies made over 20 years ago.
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#36 of 40 OFFLINE   honestjohn

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Posted October 06 2006 - 01:00 AM

Damned fine piece of investigative work Jack. Thanks for the real story.

#37 of 40 OFFLINE   rialtos

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Posted October 18 2006 - 04:12 AM

You are correct in surmising that Passport had no control over the masters they were given by the Costello family. No 35mm film masters were made available; only the one-inch tape masters. It was an honest error on the part of the current Costello vault archivist that compressed masters for those two episodes were mistakenly included in the masters that were sent over to Passport for duplication. Apparently, the masters previously used by Shenachie are missing, and so the archivist believed those two substitute copies were identical to the missing ones. We now know they were not. At any rate, the errors on Discs One and Two have been CORRECTED and all episodes now run at the proper speed. The discs are currently being manufactured and should be in circulation shortly. One way to know if you see the initial run or the corrected version is that on the back of the original box, "The Wrestling Match" title was inadvertently left off of the list of episodes (although the episode itself was included in the set). The revised run, in addition to having corrected the projection speed on those two episodes, will also have "The Wrestling Match" listed on the back cover. And - again - the rare and lengthy bonus features should more than make up for this honest, if irksome, oversight.

#38 of 40 OFFLINE   Steve...O

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Posted October 18 2006 - 04:57 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by rialtos
You are correct in surmising that Passport had no control over the masters they were given by the Costello family. No 35mm film masters were made available; only the one-inch tape masters. It was an honest error on the part of the current Costello vault archivist that compressed masters for those two episodes were mistakenly included in the masters that were sent over to Passport for duplication. Apparently, the masters previously used by Shenachie are missing, and so the archivist believed those two substitute copies were identical to the missing ones. We now know they were not. At any rate, the errors on Discs One and Two have been CORRECTED and all episodes now run at the proper speed. The discs are currently being manufactured and should be in circulation shortly. One way to know if you see the initial run or the corrected version is that on the back of the original box, "The Wrestling Match" title was inadvertently left off of the list of episodes (although the episode itself was included in the set). The revised run, in addition to having corrected the projection speed on those two episodes, will also have "The Wrestling Match" listed on the back cover. And - again - the rare and lengthy bonus features should more than make up for this honest, if irksome, oversight.

Thanks for the update! For those who have purchased the prior version, is there a procedure in place to exchange for the corrected version?

Also, are you saying that Shenachie lost original masters? Or were they lost later? It seems inconceivable that Shenachie would not ensure the safety and preservation of these one of a kind items.

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#39 of 40 OFFLINE   rialtos

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Posted October 18 2006 - 06:55 AM

Steve (he said to himself):

It's not that Shenachie lost the masters to those two episodes. Their masters were made 20 years ago from tapes on very large (and now woefully obsolete) cassettes that cannot be played by today's machines (or at least the equipment that Passport had access to). So all of the masters given to Passport by the Costellos were the one-inch, reel-to-reel tapes (which still had to be transferred to professional Beta format in order to be usable in a DVD format). Consequently, it was the one-inch masters to those two episodes that were no longer findable, hence the inadvertent substitution of the abnormal brain (or am I confusing my classics?).

Because the time-compression was a relatively subtle defect (compared with loss of audio or film breaks or too dark or that sort of thing), various eyes checked the DVD masters before they were duplicated, but no one noticed the subtle increase in speed on those two shows until it was too late. I believe Passport intends to make good on exchanging those two discs if the discs are sent to them in California. You might try emailing nnickson@passportentertainment.com and inquiring about the exchange.

#40 of 40 OFFLINE   CIULLOCAMNY

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Posted October 18 2006 - 12:59 PM

Hi everyone. I too have fond memories of watching Bud and Lou late night on WPIX - 11 in New York. Here are some interesting tid bits that you ought to know. First of all. Channel 11 ran actual FILM through a film chain. they might have had them transferred to tape later on, but it was film. Second of all, they were edited episodes - cut enough for today's TV standards for more air time. And here's the kicker - they were the original prints struck from the original negs. Which means that it contained the original SOUNDTRACK of the episodes. When the TV show went back into syndication in the late 80's and WWOR - Channel 9 in NY picked them up for daytime airing, not only was the picture and sound dramatically compressed (and you can physically see that everyone was walking and talking faster), but a newer soundtrack with a new laughtrack was incorporated in some of the shows. There were various scenes in various episodes that lacked some lustre, so the syndicators decided to boost it a bit. It is these newer versions that we are being treated too. They were compressed, so that we can get to see an uncut episode. They did the same with the TV syndication package for My Favorite Martian as well which actually aired before A&C during the week. I believe that I still have a videotape of when I recorded A&C show when it aired on Channel 11. That was back in 1982 - WOW !!! The tape hasn't busted or disintegrated. It was the POLICE ROOKIE SCHOOL episode from season 1. And there are dramatic differences in the soundtracks. So let everyone know that there different versions of the TV show languishing out there. Sorry to burst the bubble. BTW, someone had posted that the season 2 opening credits are different than season 1- well, yeah, they are supposed to be. You may notice that Season two actually had a couple of different themes on some episodes. Also, the opening had to be changed because they didn't bring back Hillary Brooke, Mr. Bacciagalupe. And Mike the Cop appeared in only a handful of S2 episodes as well as Sid Fields and NO STINKY IN S2 either.
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