Just to let you know Mr DeWilson..we have had a great deal of help from some like minded film collectors who do not feel the need to hold the show to ransom, unfortunately when Jack Chertok passed away he took the information of where these negatives went with him.
It's hardly a ransom when the carelessness of Jack Chertok caused these shows to be "lost" in the first place, it a recovery fee. It should be expected that there would be some higher than expect costs involved in recovering episodes. Did you really believe every single film collector or film dealer who had episodes would gladly help out the project for a small stipend,or even free? That's unrealistic. The point I'm making is there are always the possibility of this type of situation - someone holding out for a large fee for an episode or episodes - when you are dealing with a series with "lost" episodes,and should been factored in.
I have personally spent considerable time and much of my own money to try and find this show and return it to classic television fans, The Chertok company lost thousands of dollars that have yet to been recouped from producing this show.
I think the work,time and resources you've put into this project is great! How long has it be now, 5 years of Searching? However,as for what Chertok (and CBS) lost on this show - I hardly beleive they are still carrying that "loss" on their books since 1965 - it written off along ago. It's a non-issue 45 years later,really.
So Urbanski demands 1500.00 dollars to just borrow one print..together with another thousand or more to do the transfer at a facility of his choice.(when MPI had contacted him he upped it to 2K), based on your assertions Mr DeWilson we would never be able to bring this show back from the brink. 26 episodes in Black and White of a show that has not been seen since 1965..in today's market this show is a hard sell on a grand scale..with only 11 shows in hand we need to thank MPI for being willing to at least put those onto a set for all of you to enjoy.
I'm not talking about the 14 odd remaining "lost" episodes, just one episode ONE - at this point unlikely any more will turn up,is it? Lets say it cots $2500 to obtain this one elusive episode - spreading the cost over say 2500 units (A fair baseline number for a specialized release - I'm WELL aware that the's no chance this will sell more than a few thousand units) adds $1.00 to the production cost. I take it is fair say to begin with this release isn't going to be bargain basement but a well prepared release? - So what's an extra $1.00 per wholesale cost of the unit. It's targeted to the classic tv collector who will be willing to pay a couple extra bucks and curious viewer is just gravy in general. Sometimes you have to bite the bullet,and pay whats is requested - by not doing so, the ones who lose out in the end isn't Urbanski, but the classic TV collectors as well the the performers who lose out on the small residuals from the one episode. What would be the difference in paying him what he's asking, and say if you located an episode or episodes in a storage facility /bonded vault/lab storage and had to pay years, if not decades of back storage fees? Have you thought of it in those terms?
Frankly if I had read this post before the MPI deal had gone through..it would have perhaps given me a reason to walk away from this really almost impossible project.
If that would have been the case, then you wouldn't have really been up to the task of dealing with these hurdles, would you? The project is far from impossible - just had a little snag having a person like Urbanski to deal with after having different better experiences with other film collectors on this, and I take it, other projects.
Lets hope the elements surface so this print becomes worthless..perhaps the most shocking part of this is once contacted Urbanski bragged to the MPI producer he had made a great deal of money from the sale of bootleg VHS copies of the show.
Socking? That's being a little dramatic -I think you should take that bragging with a grain of salt from someone who's looking to get the best fee for what he has. It's unlikely he made a great deal of money on it. He was either exploiting whatever "loophole" in the copyright law to offer it or he just didn't care and just went ahead and put it out.. Whatever that issue is/was, best left to the legal people.to sort out.
Unlike the above mentioned we have to pay all the creative artists who worked on this show, we do not get to pocket all the money..profit from this release..hardly. if this was with a major studio they would never released a show with a negative return the only outcome.
Clearly there's going to be a some return from this, or MPI would't have made a deal to release whatever exists. They are not in the habit of releasing shows that don't make a profit. It's a given that royalties/residuals would be given on the DVD release. (ad any possible Internet streaming/download/hulu type thing and/or classic tv channel special filler) I wouldn't want to be the person who has to deal with the clearances on this series.
It also does no good to compare this to a major studio release - it's apples and oranges - this isn't the first,nor last, time a production from an independent producer that was short lived was put out on a small independent video label. ("I'm Dickens,.He's Finster" is due for release still,even with the untimely passing of Leonard Stern - which all exist,thankfully.)
But this became a pet project for myself.. if I had walked away at any given time the Chertok company would not have moved forward at all..nothing would have ever been done. and the show would have been just a footnote.
Again, I think it's great you've taken on this task. As it's been suggested before Why not just locate a VHS copy that Urbasnki released and use that? (as an "Extra" ) Sure it's less quality,but it would be there - and not like he can do a heck of a lot about it since all the rights to the show are in order. Or is this a last case option? At this late stage - 45 years later - is it still possible the negatives are sitting in some bonded vault someplace? in Los Angeles or New York?