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The beginning of the end for classic shows?


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167 replies to this topic

#1 of 168 OFFLINE   Joe Lugoff

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Posted October 11 2006 - 03:00 AM

I'm in a very pessimistic mood today. Other than the so-called "I Love Lucy Seasons 7, 8 and 9," there haven't been any announcements for Season Sets of TV Shows from the 1950s or 1960s in quite a while. Having no word yet on "Leave It to Beaver Season 3" is also quite ominous.

I've heard that sales of some classic movies have been embarrassingly low, and it wouldn't surprise me if the same has been true for classic TV shows.

The only real hope for the future will be if companies start to make everything available for download. Of course, the downside of that is that there will probably be no restoration done and we'll just be offered old, beat-up, syndicated prints or something.

So many abandoned series ... I guess I should be grateful for what I've got, but I don't like incomplete series.

#2 of 168 OFFLINE   MatthewA

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Posted October 11 2006 - 03:33 AM

How do the studios measure these sets' sales? Do they use sales to stores or sales to individuals? That may have something to do with it. Go to your Best Buy or Circuit City's TV DVD section. You'll see 50 copies of Friends, Will & Grace, and Survivor and 3 or 4 of I Love Lucy and Leave it To Beaver.

Someone else here opined that few people in the DVD business know how to treat these shows or how to time their releases. If they do, they're usually at an independent company like Anchor Bay or Shout! Factory where most studio material is off limits, or a freelance producer like Paul Brownstein. I agree with them. Warner has George Feltenstein for classic movies, but who have they got for TV shows? Especially after the "Mama's Family" incident.

Enough is enough, Disney. No more evasions or excuses. We DEMAND the release Song of the South on Blu-ray along with the uncut version of Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Blu-ray. I am going to boycott The Walt Disney Company until then.


#3 of 168 OFFLINE   Phyll

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Posted October 11 2006 - 03:53 AM

I really love the older shows. I hope this isn't true. Maybe it just takes the studios longer to get the prints, restore them etc and that is why more dvds have not been announced lately. Whenever I go on Amazon.com I am constantly reminded that people seem to just want the new junk that is being released. Maybe the big studios should hand over the job to smaller companies within their companies like Paramount did with the Odd Couple. They obviously have blown it. I mean there is so much more out there that could be mined. I am waiting for more of my favorites to come out like the Wild Wild West and Rawhide. I wish the studios would hurry. And Sony is so slow. I do like the job Paramount has done with Perry Mason. Very nice and worth the price. I am waiting for more All in the Family, Jeffersons and the Mary Tyler Moore Show. So get cracking you big studios. Hopefully more releases will be announced for next year. Has anybody asked the studios what their plans are for older shows. Maybe someone on this forum could find out for us and let us know. I noticed that cable channels don't play as many of the older shows as they used to because of ratings but I do miss them.

#4 of 168 OFFLINE   Bert Greene

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Posted October 11 2006 - 04:21 AM

I've also been rather dismayed at the slow-down of vintage (50s/60s) sets. Late last year and earlier this year, there were usually 4 or 5 sets each month that would interest me. But lately, it's trickled down to one (or two, if I'm really lucky). I'd hoped it was just a minor speed-bump in terms of releases, but more and more months have been passing by, with very little promising news.

True, I've probably always let my expectations get the better of me, with occasional pipe-dreams regarding season-sets to a wide variety of unlikely miscellanea. But since I'd go for virtually 95% of all 50s/60s-era product, I did tend to figure there would be enough sets to keep me quite contented. Now, I'm not so sure. I hate sounding like a complainer, because this whole tv-dvd advent has been so marvelous, and my viewing situation has improved dramatically compared to a decade ago. But, darn, I sure hope things pick up in 2007.

#5 of 168 OFFLINE   michael_ks

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Posted October 11 2006 - 04:51 AM

I've had this sinking feeling for some time now that in retrospect 2006 might very possibly be the pinnacle for golden/silver age tv on dvd releases. I'm beginning to think that most of the titles in my 'wish list' have a scant chance for being announced in '07. Maybe "Man from U.N.C.L.E.", perhaps even "The Fugitive" as these have been rumored for release, but "Route 66"...? "The Untouchables"...?" "Sea Hunt"...?

The unlikelihood for announcements to series pre-1970 grows stronger as I become more tuned to shifting demographics and the "incongruity" potentially caused by a phase-in HD-DVD/phase-out DVD format and how it relates to B&W/early color shows. Then there is the issue of follow-up and the dreaded "Season 1 and done" syndrome with classic shows that have been released. "Rawhide" is one I'm biting my nails over as I just can't envision all eight seasons getting released but maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised. I would feel a lot better about the marketablity of classic shows if this whole tv on dvd thing had been started in 1990...

#6 of 168 OFFLINE   Bob Hug

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Posted October 11 2006 - 05:03 AM

I'm actually a little more optimistic here, but a lot of that optimism varies depending upon which studio we're discussing. For me, Paramount "walks the talk." Consider that in 2006 we've seen "Gunsmoke," "The Phil Silvers Show (Bilko)" "Rawhide," "Wild, Wild West" and "Perry Mason" plus pretty much full series commitments to shows like "The Andy Griffith Show" and "Hogan's Heroes" and "Mission: Impossible" is coming. And I'm among those who believe that Paramount will eventually release "The Fugitive." Warner has committed to the full run of "The Adventures of Superman" and released "Cheyenne" and "F-Troop" this year. Fox did "The Time Tunnel" and is rolling along with "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" and pleasantly surprised and delighted me with "The Big Valley." Sony showed a little life with "Gidget," "The Flying Nun" and "Hazel" but they seem to steer clear of black & white shows and anything that's not comedy oriented ("Rat Patrol" excepted) when it comes to classic TV. Universal is a hugely frustrating company for me in terms of classic TV, in that it has arguably one of the very best catalogs of classic shows, but can't get seem to get past a season or two for most of its releases. So while the pace for new releases may have slowed down a bit, it's certainly not all doom and gloom.

I believe that the independent releasing companies like Image, Rhino and Shout! Factory, among others will continue to release classic TV shows. The issue for them, of course, is either getting their hands on shows that are not owned outright by the big studios or, and I still hold out some hope on this, that licensing arrangements can be secured with the major studios for those shows that the majors don't want to take a risk on.

#7 of 168 OFFLINE   Michael Alden

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Posted October 11 2006 - 11:41 AM

Well, I can't mention names as this was given to me as confidential information but I can tell you that one of the major studios (think one and done) has been quietly sending out lists of shows to independents that they would be willing to license. Unfortunately they are asking for a licensing fee that makes the shows cost prohibitive.

#8 of 168 OFFLINE   MatthewA

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Posted October 11 2006 - 12:50 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Alden
Well, I can't mention names as this was given to me as confidential information but I can tell you that one of the major studios (think one and done) has been quietly sending out lists of shows to independents that they would be willing to license. Unfortunately they are asking for a licensing fee that makes the shows cost prohibitive.

I think I know which one it is.

If they're going to jack up the cost, why license it at all? Isn't that the problem to begin with? They don't have any interest in these shows (or anything before 1990, really), and when they do agree to let them out they charge more than any independent can afford.

Enough is enough, Disney. No more evasions or excuses. We DEMAND the release Song of the South on Blu-ray along with the uncut version of Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Blu-ray. I am going to boycott The Walt Disney Company until then.


#9 of 168 OFFLINE   Stephen Wight

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Posted October 11 2006 - 08:01 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Hug
For me, Paramount "walks the talk."
Really? I think Paramount are the worst.They haven't comitted to the full runs of Happy Days,Laverne & Shirley,Mork & Mindy and Taxi.Paramount also has a habit,more than the other studios I find,of saying they're going to release shows and not following through.They said they were going to release Family Ties and Bosom Buddies and they never,and they also said they were going to release The Love Boat this year,which we haven't heard anything about yet and I doubt we ever will.

#10 of 168 OFFLINE   Charles Ellis

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Posted October 12 2006 - 12:47 AM

No, Fox is the worst! They constantly repackage more recent shows like Buffy and X-Files, while taking forever to release older shows and even then, it's an eternity between seasons. Remember how many years between the first and second seasons of The Mary Tyler Moore Show? And where's the rest of Malcolm In The Middle and Son Of The Beach? And why no release for such classics like Peyton Place, Dobie Gillis, The Green Hornet, Room 222, Burke's Law, Honey West, Adventures In Paradise, and Judd For The Defense? Of course, we must mention the Holy Grail of TV-on-DVD, Batman!!!!! Fox has a LOT to answer for!
Bring "The continuing story of PEYTON PLACE" home on DVD: the one that started it all- from Dallas and Dynasty to Desperate Housewives and Gossip Girl!!! Starting this May, see the legendary saga starring Mia Farrow, Ryan O'Neal, Barbara Parkins, and Oscar-winner Dorothy Malone on DVD thru...

#11 of 168 OFFLINE   Gary OS

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Posted October 12 2006 - 02:10 AM

Wow, what a well represented topic! The first half dozen posts in this thread are all spot on, although I tend to side more with the pessimistic crowd rather than the optimism Bob has. Many of you have summed up my sinking feelings very well, especially Bert and michael ks. I see a very definite decline in the number of 50's and 60's releases as compared to last year at this time. No doubt about it.

Not to try and bring Gord or David into the thread (although I would love to hear from them on this subject), but I think their lack of comments in threads like the LITB Season 3 thread, for one example, speaks volumes. Although they may have no solid info that any of the major studios are purposely slowing down classic releases, it does seem to me that we've had a hint or two from them that certain studios have been disappointed with classics sales. Therefore the reality seems to be at this point that some of the great b&w classics from years gone by are in peril of never being released. And again I point back to some of michael's comments about the advent of high definition dvd and how that will naturally make older b&w classics even less "desirable" to release, since they can't utiltize the video and audio quality that today's generation is used to. The demographics have been, and will continue, to pull away from the classics many of us on this thread want to see. This is why I for one have been such a proponent of gettin' it while the gettin's good. I knew a slow down would come, therefore I wanted to see as many releases get onto the market as possible. I think we have seen the high point of classic tv on dvd. We are now on the downside, and that doesn't bode well for shows that have yet to be released, or have only seen one season released at this point. What a shame!

Gary "if Gord or Dave think otherwise, I'd love to hear from them on this thread" O.
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#12 of 168 OFFLINE   Charles Ellis

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Posted October 12 2006 - 02:47 AM

Nonsense! Things always run in cycles, like Wall Street. Soon enough there will be a new glut of first-time releases for some classic shows. It's a pity that not one of the posters in the forum is an insider for one of the major studios- a covert source who can divulge what'll be out within the next year.
Bring "The continuing story of PEYTON PLACE" home on DVD: the one that started it all- from Dallas and Dynasty to Desperate Housewives and Gossip Girl!!! Starting this May, see the legendary saga starring Mia Farrow, Ryan O'Neal, Barbara Parkins, and Oscar-winner Dorothy Malone on DVD thru...

#13 of 168 OFFLINE   Gary OS

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Posted October 12 2006 - 04:49 AM

Charles, I wish I could agree with you on this one. I certainly hope you are correct. But I don't see this slow down in classic releases as only a bump in the road. It looks like more of a "Road Closed" sign to me.

Gary "a year ago at this time I would have been as optimistic as the next guy about an increase in classic tv releases, but not anymore - we are definitely on a downward slide at this point, with the only hope being that somehow these studios will farm out shows to other companies for release" O.
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#14 of 168 OFFLINE   JeffWld

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Posted October 12 2006 - 05:13 AM

The crime of it is that within a few years, the (then) 456th re-release of "Buffy" will be considered "classic" TV...let's hope a few independents are still around to put out the occasional real vintage TV release.

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Posted October 12 2006 - 07:00 AM

Quite the most depressing posts I've read in a while, though I suspect you may be right. Six to twelve months ago every time I looked at TV Shows that were forthcoming there seemed to be another release pending.but the last few months -zilch !
When 'Wanted Dead or Alive S2' & 'Dragnet' failed to appear I was concerned, now I have grave doubts about Rawhide, Cheyenne, Big Valley,WWW, and even Perry Mason & Voyage.
If a show like 'Happy Days' couldn't make it to a season 2 (despite music rights problems) there is little chance for further releases of these series or items like the Fugitive, The Invaders & The Untouchables.
Maybe I'll have to try & get into Buffy !!

#16 of 168 OFFLINE   RoyM

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Posted October 12 2006 - 07:35 AM

Heck, this issue isn't just with classic/vintage TV shows, but rather most TV-on-DVD in general. There are even several more recent shows that have been abandoned by the studios after a season or two. There is an indisputable downward trend on releases of TV-on-DVD that is directly attributable to the apparent lack of profitability of the retail market. I think the combination of higher production costs and lack of retailer shelf space are the main culprits, along with the reluctance of consumers to invest the time and money in collecting long running series, especially those older ones that are rapidly slipping from the popular consciousness.

I think there are two possibilities that may save TV-on-DVD in the future: either a new retail model (ie - direct-to-consumer/mail order) or a new high-density medium which will allow whole seasons (or even whole series) to fit on a single disk or two, which in turn could be relatively affordably priced and easily available at retail outlets, making collecting entire series more convenient and desirable to consumers.

In theory, any TV shows that the studios are sitting on could be profitable if handled correctly. It may require them to update and adjust their marketing philosophies, but certainly having the product out there in some form can only generate revenue, even if it's just reaching a niche market.

#17 of 168 OFFLINE   Carlos Garcia

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Posted October 12 2006 - 07:56 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Ellis
Nonsense! Things always run in cycles, like Wall Street. Soon enough there will be a new glut of first-time releases for some classic shows. It's a pity that not one of the posters in the forum is an insider for one of the major studios- a covert source who can divulge what'll be out within the next year.

With regular DVDs slowly being phased out (the same way VHS was a few yrs ago) in favor of the new HD-DVD & Blu-Ray DVD formats, it's more than likely that if an old show from the 50s & 60s (Like Father Knows Best or the Donna Reed Show for example) has yet to be released, chances are getting slimmer and slimmer that they will ever be released. At least shows like Leave It To Beaver got 2 seasons released, but who knows what kind of commitment the studios may have to finish releasing all the episodes now that a new higher quality format aimed at the younger crowd has been introduced.
I'm a classic TV fan. Widescreen? What's that?

#18 of 168 OFFLINE   Carlos Garcia

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Posted October 12 2006 - 07:59 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by silverking
Maybe I'll have to try & get into Buffy !!

I'd sooner die watching reruns of My Mother The Car! Posted Image
I'm a classic TV fan. Widescreen? What's that?

#19 of 168 OFFLINE   MatthewA

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Posted October 12 2006 - 09:29 AM

Maybe HD-DVD and Blu-Ray will help matters, not hurt them. Why?

—They would not be able to get away with using old SD masters, thus they'd need to remaster them, and restore them if necessary.
—They can fit more episodes on a disc. A videotaped show could fit all or most of its episodes on a 50GB Blu-Ray disc.

That won't cure the real problem: No one at the studios knows how to market this stuff unless it's a show like Bewitched or Lucy that's never been out of circulation on TV.

And there may be personal vendettas against old material. I remember reading on HTF about a woman at Paramount (now gone) who called old westerns "male testosterone fantasies" and kept them off DVD. I also remember reading an article that included a quote from a Sony executive who said "Who needs multiple seasons of Sanford and Son?" Yet they released it anyway.

Enough is enough, Disney. No more evasions or excuses. We DEMAND the release Song of the South on Blu-ray along with the uncut version of Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Blu-ray. I am going to boycott The Walt Disney Company until then.


#20 of 168 OFFLINE   Gary OS

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Posted October 12 2006 - 11:31 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by MatthewA
Maybe HD-DVD and Blu-Ray will help matters, not hurt them.

I can't see any realistic way in which the advent of HD and Blu-Ray will help our cause. I understand the logic behind your points, Matthew, and it does make sense. But as you yourself said later on, the real problem is that the studios don't know how to market this stuff. And worse than that, we seem to have some people in positions of power in these studios who apparently think these old classics mean nothing and have no intention of really trying to give these shows a decent shot.

Gary "again, I have to say I'm really down on the prospects of seeing most of the remaining 50's and 60's classic tv shows making it out" O.
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